Tortie point Siamese cats, an article by Joan Pounds. Joan is a GCCF Siamese Judge and also breeds her cats under her prefix Jomese.
History of Tortie Point Siamese Cats
Tortie point Siamese cats were not recognised as “proper” Siamese until 1966, when seal tortie points were finally granted a breed number – 32b – and given championship status. Blue, chocolate and lilac torties were classified as breed number 32c – any other dilution Siamese.
Given that the first known tortie point Siamese was bred in the late 1940s recognition took a fair while to arrive!
In May 1967 the Red Point & Tortie Point Siamese Cat Club was granted affiliation to the GCCF, catering for enthusiasts of red and tortie point Siamese.
In February 1971 a revised standard of points for tortie points was approved and blue, chocolate and lilac tortie points were transferred to breed number 32b and given championship status.
In February 1979 the GCCF gave permission for the tortie point breed numbers to be split, for registration purposes only, as follows:
- seal torties 32b1
- blue torties 32b2
- chocolate torties 32b3
- lilac torties 32b4
In October 1993 cinnamon, caramel, and fawn tortie points gained preliminary recognition – the caramel torties gaining full recognition and championship status in June 2000 followed by the cinnamon and fawn torties in June 2004. Thus the remaining tortie point breed numbers are:
- cinnamon torties 32b7
- caramel torties 32b8
- fawn torties 32b9
Understanding Tortie Point Siamese Cats Genetics
The red colour in Siamese cats is sex linked – the O (orange) gene being carried on the X chromosome only. There is no O gene on the Y chromosome.
The O gene is dominant and when present, turns black colouring into shades of orange – red, apricot or cream.
Purebred seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, caramel and fawn point Siamese don’t carry the Orange or O gene. If one of these cats is crossed with a cat that does have the O gene, one of several things can happen…..
Female cats have two X chromosomes – so can inherit:
- two O genes making a red, cream or apricot
- one O gene making a tortie (only half the colouring will change, the remainder remaining as it would have been without the Orange gene and creating the tortie mottling effect)
- no O genes making a seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, caramel or fawn cat.
Male cats have one X and one Y chromosome – so can inherit
- one O gene making a red, cream or apricot
- no O genes making them seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, caramel or fawn cat.
A tortoiseshell male cat is therefore a genetic abnormality and most are found to be sterile. Instead of the XY chromosome pattern, he will be XXY which is extremely rare!
What do Tortie Point Siamese Cats Look Like?
The facetious answer is who knows?
No two torties are the same. The tortie mottling is completely random and unpredictable.
For show purposes a tortie point Siamese must have some (no matter how little) mottling present on their face, ears, legs/feet and tail.
The body colour will be as if the cat were a solid point.
Some torties will have a facial blaze, some will not.
Sometimes a tortie will have symmetrical facial markings, sometimes not.
The colouring of the tortie mottling depends on the base colour of the coat.
- Seal torties have mottling in shades of red
- Blue torties have mottling in shades of cool toned cream
- Chocolate torties have mottling in shades of red
- Lilac torties have mottling in shades of cool toned cream
- Cinnamon torties have mottling in shades of red
- Caramel torties have mottling in shades of apricot
- Fawn torties have mottling in shades of cream
The tortie markings can take quite some time to appear in their full glory, particularly in the lighter coloured cats.
As a tortie grows older, the body will gradually take on some tonal tortie shading to a greater or lesser extent. This is no more predictable than the patterning of the tortie points.
Below is a picture of I GR CH & GR PR Jomese Jenny Manydots who has, at nearly 6 years old still got a relatively light coloured and lightly shaded body and her daughter CH Jomese Jenni Lotsaspots, aged just 3 years old who is already very darkly shaded. Both are seal tortie points.
The other pictures is of CH & GR PR Jomese Jenni Igotbluspots (age 2) and Jomese Sassy Jassy (aged 5 months). Both are blue tortie points, so alike that people think they are mother and daughter, yet they are unrelated.
The final picture (pending) is of Jomese Sleepy Jean (age 5 months) who is a lilac tortie and full sister of Sassy Jassy, but showing as yet only very muted tortie markings.
Torties – Love Them or Hate Them
People seem to either love or hate torties, with little or no middle ground.
If you love the unpredictable and enjoy breeding kittens that will be a complete surprise colour/markings wise and that will be quite unique, you will probably love torties.
If you like your breeding to be predictable and you like to know what you will be getting from a litter you probably won’t be particularly sold on torties.
Some torties are stunningly attractive but sometimes the markings can create a detrimental optical illusion in the shape of the face. It can be heart-breaking to produce a very beautiful tortie only to discover it cannot be shown because it does not have tortie markings on all of its points
Breeding torties is exciting and they do look different to other Siamese colours. They are also often very typey and stylish cats.
For those who have no wish to show or breed torties – why have one?
Most people have heard of “naughty torties”. As a generalisation, they do tend to be full of character, often mischievous, sometimes wicked – but are never boring! They seem to retain their kitten playfulness for a very long time and you will never grow tired of looking at them.
Torties are cats of character for owners who like the unpredictable and enjoy adventure!!!
Gallery of Tortie Point Siamese Cats