Points refer to cats' coloring

Wednesday, September 18, 2002


By Dr. John Koch

Question: The other day I heard someone talk of pointed cats. What are pointed cats?

Answer: I believe pointed refers to color and markings that are used to describe Siamese, Himalayan and certain other breeds. These cats have white or cream-colored bodies with points of contrasting color. These points usually involved the paws, legs, tail, ear and masks.

One of the more common varieties of these cats is called seal point. These cats have points that are dark brown. Other pointed cats are chocolate, blue, lilac, red or flame and cream. The name obviously denotes the color of the point.

Other common names for coloration and markings frequently heard are tabby, tortoiseshell and calico. Tabby cats have a distinctive M marking on their foreheads and stripes on their tails and legs. The bodies of tabby cats may be striped or spotted. Tortoiseshell cats are basically multicolor with yellow, black and brown as primary colors. Calico cats must have at least some white on their faces, chests and feet with black, white and reddish-brown patches over their bodies.

Black-and-white cats with copper eyes are sometimes referred to as magpies. Black-and-white cats with white feet, white blaze face and mostly black bodies are sometimes called tuxedo cats.

Of course there are solid-colored black, white, blue, red, brown, lilac and cream-colored cats as well. I apologize to any color category of cat that I may have left out. The wide variety of colors and markings is just one of the many things that makes cats interesting.

Dr. Koch is a Cape Girar-deau-area veterinarian.

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