Siamese cats are either loved or hated, but one cannot deny that they’re a special kind of cat breed. Their personality is only half of what makes them unique. Everyone knows Siamese cats for their distinctive and beautiful fur coloring.
Regardless of what kind of Siamese cat you have, a flame point, a tortie, a lilac, or a seal point, all Siamese cats have a predominantly white, cream, or silver-grey body with darker ends or tips towards their paws, face, ears, and tail.
A question that we often hear is whether black Siamese cats exist.
Black Siamese cats do not exist because their distinctive coat color is caused by the Himalayan gene which all Siamese cats possess. The Himalayan gene prevents their fur from being completely black. Black Siamese-like cats are usually Oriental cats who share many distinctive features with Siamese cats, however, fur color not being one of them.
Do black Siamese cats exist?
Our readers often ask us if black Siamese cats exist. The main reason is that they came across a breed with all the characteristics of a Siamese but with a black fur.
Contrary to what you might have been told, black Siamese cats do not exist. This is because they lack the one gene that defines a cat as Siamese, which is the Himalayan gene. This gene is what gives Siamese cats their distictive light fur with darker ends.
If you happen to come across, what you think is a black Siamese cat, they might very well have Siamese blood in their family tree and inherited some of the characteristics. Or, chances are that you’re looking at an ‘Oriental Cat.’
Another question we come across often is whether black Siamese cats are rare. Based on the fact that black cats can’t be Siamese, we would say that they are extremely rare, not to say non-existent. If someone is trying to sell you a black Siamese cat, be aware. It is surely not a purebred Siamese cat.
That, of course, doesn’t mean that it cannot be a sweet and beautiful cat with all the nice personality traits of a Siamese cat. On the other hand, it’s likely not worth paying a premium as you would for purebred Siamese cats.
The Himalayan Gene
What is the Himalayan Gene? The Himalayan gene is a specific gene present in all Siamese cats and causes partial albinism and is heat sensitive. This heat sensitivity causes the cooler parts of the cat’s body to be colored darker than the warmer regions. The partial albinism is also what gives Siamese cats their light blue eyes.
Heat sensitivity is also the reason why all Siamese cats are born white. In their mother’s womb and the nest, directly after birth, they’re very warm and thus completely white. The darker colors start developing when their bodies are exposed to cooler temperatures.
Because having the Himalayan gene is a defining feature for Siamese cats, a completely black cat can’t be Siamese. Also, their eyes are almost undoubtedly green instead of light blue because they miss the Himalayan gene.
What is an Oriental cat?
Oriental cats are often confused with Siamese cats because they share many characteristics and personality traits with Siamese cats.
They both have the same slender built, large and pointy ears, long tails, and triangle-shaped heads. Like Siamese, Oriental cats are highly intelligent, very friendly, playful. They go well together with other cats and need a lot of attention.
Siamese cats and Oriental cats are so similar because they are closely related. They share a lot of the same genes.
They do, however, not share the Himalayan gene that gives Siamese cats their light color and darker tips as well as their blue eyes. Oriental cats have single color fur and green eyes.
How to inherit the Himalayan Gene?
To get a purebred Siamese cat, both mother and father need to carry the Himalayan gene. This is the only sure-fire way to pass on the Siamese characteristics to their offspring.
If both cats do not carry the gene, then (surprisingly) their offspring can never be Siamese and will not have color points and blue eyes.
If only one of the parents carries the Himalayan gene, their child is unlikely to exhibit the color points that partial albinism causes. The child can still pass on the gene to the next generation, though.
If both parents have the gene, their child will surely exhibit all the defining characteristics of the Siamese breed, looks, and character traits.
Are black cats popular?
Black cats have the same need for love and attention as all other cat breeds. However, the sad truth is that, according to Peta2, black cats are much more likely to end up in shelters and are less likely to get adopted.
Some say it’s because black cats are hard to ‘Instragram’. Others say it’s because of their assumed relation to the occult and witchcraft.
One could argue that we should have passed those beliefs in this day and age, but it seems like they are ever-present in our subconsciousness.
Are black cats evil?
Still, you will hear people say that black cats bring bad luck. These prehistoric fears come from the belief that something black that lurks in the shadows, ready to attack us when we least expect it, spells danger, like a sabretooth tiger or a black panther.
According to Ethos, not everyone feared black cats, though. There were plenty of black cat-lovers throughout history, too!
Ancient Egyptians viewed black cats as divine and believed that gods lived within them. In certain parts of 19th century Europe, black cat sightings were actually considered good omens. The Irish believed that a black cat on your porch was good luck, and in Japan, black cats are similarly revered as symbols of prosperity.
Truth is that a black cat can be as loving, sweet, funny, and smart as any other color. They are very much worthy of our love and care as well, and who knows, they might be even more grateful to receive it.