It feels I never run out of things to write when Siamese cats are the context.
Every time I write an article on Siamese cats, I always think maybe I have written it all, there is nothing more to be said.
And before I know it either, you guys humble me with some new question or topic or I find something on forums or similar that urges me to address the topic on this platform.
The topic this time is a really fun one.
Do Siamese cats get darker with age?
The answer is yes, Siamese cats do tend to get darker with age. The reason can be attributed to a temperature-sensitive modifier gene. It is because of this gene that relatively cooler parts of a Siamese cat’s body like paws, face, ears, and tail are darker.
So cool right?
I know a simple explanation like that doesn’t do justice to what the article topic demands.
In the subsequent sections of this article, let me dive a little deeper, into what exactly is this ‘temperature-sensitive albino gene‘ and what kind of impact it has on a Siamese cat’s body and coloration.
As I said, it’s almost my habit by now to write on Siamese cats. Here are some more articles that the general populace here in Kitty County has loved.
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- Are Siamese indoor cats?
- Why are Siamese cats so clingy?
Science behind Siamese Coloration
So, what is the reason behind a Siamese cat’s coat getting darker with age or otherwise?
On so many occasions on this blog have I talked about the nature and persona of a Siamese cat.
But let’s be honest as affectionate and playful as Siamese cats are, their looks are a big reason why we wish to own them.
It only takes a look to fall in love with them. I think I have mentioned this somewhere else on this blog that I don’t know about humans, but with Siamese cats love at first sight is a very real thing.
So, what is the reason behind their coat pattern?
In addition to their very nature, one thing that keeps us in awe of felines is just how cute and beautiful they are.
First, there are so many breeds to choose from, secondly, no two cats from the same breed look the same and every single one of them has a different personality.
They were not kidding when they minted the word, cat heaven.
Let’s keep the personality aside for a second and focus on their beautiful coats.
The color of a cat’s coat is determined by the collection of 8 different genes. So, these genes are what make a black cat black, orange cat orange, etc.
What kind of pattern will a cat will have, is decided by another set of genes called the modifier genes.
I think this is the perfect juncture to introduce you to a category of cats of which Siamese are a part, called pointed cats.
You see pointed cats are those that have relatively darker colors in their extremities as compared to the color of their torso.
For pointed cats (including Siamese cats) the modifier gene also called the Siamese allele, does a very special task, which is inhibiting the pigment from developing in the fur.
This results in partial albinism in Siamese cats. But why exactly is the albinism partial?
This modifier gene which creates albinism in Siamese cats is temperature-sensitive meaning it only impacts the cat’s coat above a certain temperature(38-39°C).
So, all the parts that are around this temperature will cease to see the coloration offered by the color deciding genes
A cat’s torso is the warmest part of her body and it needs to be because that is where most of her vital organs are.
Her extremities (ears, paws, face, and tail) are at a lower temperature than her torso and in these areas the inherent color genes become active.
Reasons that Lead to Darkening of Coat
So that was the science behind the coloration of Siamese cats.
The question that stands now is what are the different scenarios and reasons that may affect the coloration?
You see the core thing to keep in mind is the fact that the modifier gene is temperature-sensitive.
So, if the cat’s body temperature gets affected in some way, will give the pigmentation a reason to seep in.
Here are the different scenarios that render the coat a dark coloration.
- Change in Body Temperature
Siamese cats don’t just attract potential owners. Scientists have been equally interested in knowing different facets of this incredible breed.
There have been experiments that have been conducted to solidify the understanding that Siamese coloration is indeed temperature-dependent.
Siamese cats under proper care were subjected to varying temperatures and their body response was studied.
And sure enough, a change in the coloration of the fur was observed and the cause was attributed to a mutation in a protein called tyrosinase.
Therefore, if a Siamese cat’s body is subjected to a cooler environment, you will observe that her fur gets visibly darker.
- Siamese Cats get Darker as they Age.
This is much more in tune with the topic under discussion. But the root cause remains the same.
You will observe that Siamese kittens are mostly predominantly white when they are born. In other words, they are born albinos.
As they grow and become more adjusted to the ecosystem they are a part of, their color changes.
The extremities get darker and relatively warmer parts of the body exhibit albinism.
As they grow even older you will observe that the fur on their torso which was otherwise lighter becomes dark too.
This is because, as your cat transitions into being a senior cat, her natural body temperature comes down too.
And as the body temperature recedes the color genes become active which results in the fur becoming dark.
So, yeah, if your Siamese cat is getting progressively darker and the reason isn’t the changing climate, it’s a good indicator that your Siamese cat is getting old.
- Improper Diet
A Siamese cat fur may see dark coloration if her diet lacks the necessary nutrition.
There is, of course, a scientific explanation to this and I will relay it in a second. But I think intuitively you can see why this should happen.
You see just like use, diet is your cat’s fuel. Therefore, the diet you keep your cat on must be balanced, nutritious, and must be served to your cat at a proper time.
In the absence of a proper diet, the necessary heat to maintain a normal body temperature may not be there and thus may result in the darkening of the fur.
What happens is if the diet isn’t balanced and or if your cat isn’t getting proper exercise, it leads to the development of fatty cells.
The fatty tissue has fewer veins than the inside muscles and this leads to lowering of temperature. And because of this, the pigment genes become active leading to a darker coloration.
- Exposure to the Sun
This again is the extension of impact due to changing temperature. Cats love sunbathing and if they expose themselves to the sun too much some coloration may occur on the fur.
But I am not implying that you prevent your cat from exposing herself to the sun.
Natural sunlight is a very good source of vitamin D and additionally, cats have a natural inclination to bathe in the gentle warmth of the winter sun.
So, moderation is the key here.
Can You Prevent the Dark Coat Coloration?
Now you know there are multiple factors that can contribute to the darkening of a Siamese cat’s fur.
I understand that some of you may not want the coloration to happen.
But here is the thing, change is the law of nature and despite your efforts, with time your cat will undergo changes too.
I am not saying you cannot prevent the changes at all, but I want you to come to an acceptance of change too.
And in this cycle of change, the key thing to understand and control is moderation and well-being.
Here are some tips.
- Maintain the right temperature
Because the coloration I temperature-dependent, the first logical step in the direction to ensure that the home temperature is moderate.
Now I understand that it isn’t possible to maintain the temperature for just this. All you need to do is adjust the temperature so that her body maintains its usual body temperature.
Keeping the environment too cool will cause her fur color to change. In winter, therefore, you will observe, the most change in fur color.
If your cat likes to play outside, especially in winter, make sure she is kept warm and comfortable when she is inside.
- Keep the diet clean
Once again you don’t have to do something special. You have to keep her diet and exercise routine such that she is jolly and vibrant throughout the day.
As I have mentioned in so many articles prior to this Siamese cats are like these balls of energy that need constant activity and engagement.
The absence of exercise and diet that sustains her playfulness will render her bored and even anxious. And that can directly or directly affect her physical well-being.
You don’t want that. So, create an ecosystem where she has sufficient avenues to express herself in addition to having a proper diet.
- Only allow moderate sun exposure
As I just said cats love sunbathing. And it is beneficial for them as fresh morning sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D.
I am using the word morning sunlight because that is when exposure to sunlight is most beneficial.
Intense noon sunlight can have negative effects on the cat’s body. To be honest with you cats are sensitive about that and will in most cases move away by themselves.
Still, you can never be too careful plus your home must be such that it provides access to sunlight and shade together so that they have the best of both worlds.
A great way to do this is by placing a cat perch near a sunlit window, that has a panel through which only filtered light can fall over the cat’s body.
Just ensure that you don’t find your cat getting overexposed to intense sunlight (especially in summer) as that can enable her fur to get darker very easily.
Siamese Cats Color FAQs
So, that was the explanation behind why do Siamese cats get darker as they age and what can you do to prevent it.
You see this is such an interesting topic of discussion that taking every single facet around it will make the article unnecessarily large.
Still, I want to take this opportunity to clear up some more questions surrounding the Siamese cat’s coloration.
I guess I wish to acquaint you with the most necessary knowledge so that you won’t have to hunt for the same anywhere else on the internet.
Now once again, even after the best of my efforts, I may not have covered something. And for that, you can write your questions in the comments or shoot me an email and I will answer those questions asap.
At what age do Siamese cats stop changing color?
Siamese kittens are born predominantly white. As they age, they start changing color and their relatively colder body parts become dark. They achieve color equilibrium by the end of the first year but it’s not absolute and their fur color may still vary depending on temperature.
Do Siamese cats darker in winter?
Yes, during winter, it is possible that their otherwise cream-colored coat gets darker as the environment temperature changes. The color of their extremities (face, ears, and tail) in a lighter shade may start to seep in on their fur.
Do Siamese cats’ color change back from dark to light?
The underlying reason is temperature change. So, yes, as the outside temperature gets warmer, your Siamese cat’s body temperature gets warmer and the coloration gets lighter.
I hope you enjoyed this write-up on do Siamese cats get darker as they age.
Now, I have seen many Siamese cat owners, especially those who are new and not aware of the fact that their cat’s fur color is temperature-sensitive get worried.
They tend to think that changing the fur color of their cat is a bad thing. While yes, changing body temperature due to bad health can be an attributing factor sometimes, it’s important to know it isn’t the only factor.
And if you maintain scheduled vet visits, you can almost take that factor out.
You should be okay if your cat goes through subtle changes in its body, its fur, and its behavior. It is a part of her growth process.
Siamese cats are these incredible cat breeds that in addition to having excellent personality traits have so much history, facts, and facets attached to them.
I hope with this article I did justice to one such facet.
If you have any other queries do let me know over the email, if it does appeal to the masses I will make it a point to dedicate an article to that.
Take care of yourselves and your cat and I will see you in the next one!