The photographs illustrating this post are by a Flickr photographer who lives with a fantastic looking cat who just happens to be a Flame Point Siamese. I won’t get as lucky again. The photographs are reproduced under a creative commons license.
The license permits no derivatives, no commercial work and it requires an attribution. I have complied with this. Many thanks to the photographer for granting the license.
She is talented, generous, and taken….I don’t know her name but this great cat is called Whitaker. OK down to business. There are a range of Siamese cat types as we know. Siamese cat history, charting the journey from Traditional through Classic (to me, this is the Thai cat) to Modern is interesting. Whitaker has a totally natural and gorgeous traditional appearance. You won’t get a more handsome cat. What makes him the way he is?
There is a lot of genetic work going on in a Flame point Siamese Cat. First there is the pointing. All Siamese cats have pointing. The classic is seal point, a dark brown to black pointing. The first Siamese cats to be imported into the West (the UK) were seal points. Two copies of the pointing gene (see below) makes a black cat a seal pointed cat.
The cat breeders of the cat fancy created the flame point (starting about 1948). Himalayan cats are pointed Persians, for example. You can see a flame pointed (red point) Doll Face Himalayan called Ayla by clicking on the link. Albinism is a caused by a lack of melanin pigmentation.
Pointing is partial albinism caused by the pointing gene, which affects the production of a chemical in the body called tyrosinase that in turn controls the production of melanin pigmentation. When both alleles (a pair of genes) of the pointing gene (cs) are present, pointing shows. It affects eye pigmentation too, hence Siamese cats are blue eyed.
We know how we get pointing but how does it turn orange/red in color? As I understand it (and this is a complex area) a Flame Point Siamese Cat is a red cat (or orange) carrying 2 copies (a pair) of the recessive pointing gene mentioned above. This turns the cat pure white at birth and the gene creating the red color comes through at the cooler extremities after birth as the pointing gene is heat sensitive (the extremities of a cat are cooler than the rest of the exterior of the body).
Whitaker has a ringed tail. This I believe is due to the presence of the agouti gene (tabby gene – see cat coats tabby). You can see the same pattern on the legs in the Lynx Point Siamese. His legs have faint tabby markings too. Finally, an archaic name for this cat is Flame Concha.
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