A red pointed Siamese cat has orange tinted fur on their ears, muzzle, legs and tail. Red pointed Siamese cats are more likely to be described as friendly and affectionate than cats in other colors. But some breeders don’t think Siamese cats can actually be red at all. Today we’ll share the truth behind this cute pattern, and help you to decide whether this is a good Siamese kitten color for your family.
- What is a red pointed Siamese?
- Are red point Siamese pedigree cats?
- Siamese red point genetics
- Are red point Siamese cats rare?
- Red pointed Siamese temperament
- Health and care
- Red pointed Siamese lifespan
- How much does a red pointed Siamese cat cost?
Our complete guide to red pointed Siamese cats will answer all your questions on this divisive kitty color. From whether they’re really a true Siamese, to whether they come with a feistier personality to match their fiery coat.
What is a Red Pointed Siamese?
Red pointed Siamese cats are also called:
- flame point Siamese
- orange Siamese cat
- flame tip Siamese
- fire point Siamese
- and even just red Siamese.
‘Flame tipped’ and ‘fire tipped’ are particularly apt and beautiful descriptions of the red Siamese, because red fur almost always has visible tabby stripes in it, which look like flickering flames. Characteristics of a show quality red point Siamese cat are:
- Clear bright reddish-gold tabby markings on their nose, ears, paws and tail (their points).
- White fur on the rest of their body.
- Blue eyes.
- Pink nose leather, eye rims and paw pads.
- And occasionally some freckling on their nose, paw pads, lips, eyelids and ears.
Are Red Pointed Siamese Cats Pure Bred?
They are indisputably beautiful, but cat registries disagree on the pedigree status of red tipped Siamese cats. The main pedigree cat registry in the United States in the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). The CFA only recognizes 4 Siamese cat colors:
These colors are all based on the coat pigment eumelanin, which appears as black, or a modified version of black. They don’t recognize any Siamese colors based on the red pigment pheomelanin (which includes red, apricot, cream and tortie).
Meanwhile, the International Cat Association (TICA) was originally an American registry, but they now register qualifying pedigree cats all over the world. TICA accepts Siamese cats with points in any color, including red. Internationally, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), the World Cat Federation (WCF) and the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIF) all recognize red pointed Siamese cats too. So red pointed Siamese are true Siamese in the eyes of everyone except the CFA. Red Siamese cats living in America can still have pedigree certificates from one of the other registries though, if they have qualifying ancestry.
Siamese Red Point Genetics
Red Siamese cats produce their beautiful points because they carry the gene for making the red pigment pheomelanin. The pigment is limited to their points because they also carry a gene that causes temperature sensitive albinism. In other words, their coat can’t produce pigment where the surface temperature of the skin is too high. So, pigmentation is limited to the places where the surface temperature of the skin is coolest – the extremities, or points. As we touched on earlier, all red cats also carry the tabby gene, which means most of them have visible tabby stripes in their points. This includes characteristic ‘M’ markings on their forehead. The amount of contrast between the stripes and their background varies though, and when it is extremely low it can even give the impression of being a solid color instead.
Are Red Pointed Siamese Cats Rare?
Surprisingly, despite their registration status, the answer to this is ‘not especially’. In large parts of the world, they are a popular and fully recognized Siamese cat color. Even in North America, many breeding lines which started out as Siamese cats with red points still qualify for registration, just in the Colorpoint Shorthair category rather than the Siamese. So they still exist, they’ve just been renamed!
Whether a red point cat is registered as a Colorpoint Shorthair or a Siamese, one thing which can be said for sure is that they’re more likely to be male than female. Cat coat color is inherited via the X sex chromosome. This means males can only inherit the ability to make one type of pigment: red, or black. But females can inherit two copies of the instructions for one color, or one copy of each (resulting in tortoiseshell points). So more red cats are male than female, simply because male cats have fewer color possibilities. Meanwhile, female red pointed Siamese are somewhat rare, but not incredibly so – about one quarter of red cats are female.
Red Pointed Siamese Temperament
Siamese cats are chatty, sociable and playful. They regularly seek out contact with their human family, and owners often report that they bond especially closely to one particularly favored person. They are very intelligent, and they enjoy playing with treat-dispensing puzzle toys. Siamese cats can even be clicker trained to respond to simple cues.
Perhaps because they are so clever, curious, and emotionally attached to their owners, Siamese cats are among the breeds most likely to be described as sensitive and easily affected by change. They are also more than averagely likely to display obsessive compulsive comfort behaviors such as wool sucking, over grooming, and scratching.
At the time of writing, no direct link between cat color and personality has been established. But in owner surveys, people are more likely to describe red cats as being friendly and affectionate. It’s not clear if this is also true of a red Siamese, which is actually mostly white! It could also be that what people are actually noticing are sex-based differences in behavior, since most red cats are male. On the whole though, it’s very difficult to make generalizations which apply to every individual. Your flame point cat’s temperament will also depend on things like how much you socialize them as a kitten, and how much physical activity and mental stimulation they get.
Red Pointed Siamese Health
The most common health problems of Siamese cats are:
- Dental and oral diseases such as tartar and gingivitis.
- Traumatic injuries such as wounds and fractures.
Data from veterinary clinics and insurance companies reveals that Siamese are one of the cats most likely to need veterinary treatment, and the breed responsible for the most pet health insurance claims. There’s no evidence about whether red Siamese cats have different odds of getting ill. But generally male cats are more likely to get injured in fights with rival toms, and as a result of roaming to find a mate.
How Long do Red pointed Siamese Cats Live?
Siamese cats typically live for 11 to 19 years, and their average life expectancy is 14 years. As veterinary medicine and pet nutrition improves, pet cats are increasingly living to over 20 years. So they’re not a short term commitment! There’s no evidence that Siamese cat’s life expectancy is linked to their color. So, you can expect a red point Siamese to have the same lifespan.
Red Pointed Siamese Kitten Cost
Red point Siamese kittens or red Colorpoint Shorthair kittens (depending on where you live) are typically sold for between $400 and $1,200. How much a breeder can command for a kitten depends upon things like
- How many show winning cats are in their pedigree.
- Whether they are showing early signs of also being show quality.
- And whether they are being sold with breeding rights.
A reputable breeder does not usually charge more for kittens in any particular color. And choosing healthy parents with great temperaments ought to take priority over their color, or any other aspect of their appearance. A good breeder will be keen to find out about you, and make sure you’re ready for the commitment of owning a Siamese cat.
They will also be happy to chat about the steps they’ll take to socialize your kitten before it’s time for them to come home with you. For example by exposing them to household noises and different kinds of visitors. Bear in mind that waiting lists for female red pointed kittens might be longer than waiting lists for males red pointed kittens, because there are likely to be fewer in each litter.
Your Red Pointed Siamese
Red point Siamese cats have tabby orange fur at the points. In America, red is a non-standard Siamese color. Siamese breeding lines with red fur have been incorporated into the Colorpoint Shorthair breed instead. But elsewhere, they are still registered as Siamese. Siamese cat with red fur are playful, energetic and sociable. They frequently seek out human contact, and are prone to abnormal or destructive behaviors if they don’t get enough company or physical and mental activity.
For this reason, they’re best suited to owners who have plenty of time to interact play with them. They are more likely than average to need veterinary care for illness or injury at some point in their lives. So it’s a good idea to think about how you’re going to afford that too.
More About Red Pointed Siamese Cats
If you already have a red Siamese, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section down below! And don’t miss these Siamese cat resources, elsewhere on the site:
- Siamese Cats: A Complete Guide
- Are Siamese Cats Hypoallergenic And How Much Do They Shed?
- Wedge Head Siamese Vs. Traditional Siamese – What’s The Difference?
- Choosing The Best Siamese Cat Food
- Lilac Pointed Siamese Cat
- Newborn Siamese Kittens Care and Traits
References and Resources
- Borns-Weil et al. A case-control study of compulsive wool-sucking in Siamese and Birman cats. Journal of Veterinary Behavior. 2015.
- Delgado et al. Human Perceptions of Coat Color as an Indicator of Domestic Cat Personality. Anthrozoos. 2015.
- Egenvall et al. Morbidity of insured Swedish cats during 1999–2006 by age, breed, sex, and diagnosis. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery. 2010.
- O’Neil et al. Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery. 2014.
- Siamese Breed Group Standard. The International Cat Association. 2009.
- Siamese Show Standard. Cat Fanciers Association. 2015.
- Siamese Standard of Points. Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. 2019.
- Vapalahti et al. Health and Behavioral Survey of over 8000 Finnish Cats. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2016.