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What are the different types of colorpoint shorthairs?

Colorpoint shorthairs are a breed of cat that originated as a cross between the Siamese and American Shorthair breeds. They have the pointed coat coloration of the Siamese but in the color variants of the American Shorthair. There are four main color types of colorpoint shorthairs recognized by cat registries.

The Point Color Varieties

The colorpoint pattern seen in colorpoint shorthairs results from a temperature sensitive albino gene. This causes the cooler areas of the body – the face, ears, legs, tail and testicles in males – to be colored while the warmer torso remains light colored. The color is restricted to the “points” of the cat.

There are four main point colors seen in the breed:

  • Seal point – Body is beige/fawn, points are dark brown
  • Chocolate point – Body is ivory, points are milk chocolate brown
  • Blue point – Body is bluish white, points are slate blue
  • Lilac point – Body is glacier white, points are pale dove gray with pinkish tone

Seal Point

The seal point color variety has dark brown points contrasting with a pale fawn to cream body color. The points will be darkest on the ears, mask, legs and tail. The body color can range from pale fawn to cream. Kittens are born very pale and the points color up as they mature. The tip of the tail is normally the darkest point color.

Seal Point Cat Characteristics:

  • Body color: Pale fawn to cream
  • Point color: Dark seal brown
  • Nose leather: Dark brown
  • Paw pads: Dark brown
  • Eye color: Blue

The seal point is the most common and well-known color variety of colorpoint shorthairs. It resembles the traditional Siamese point pattern. The dark brown points stand out boldly against the paler body. The overall look is striking and distinctive.

Chocolate Point

The chocolate point colorpoint shorthair has milk chocolate brown points on a pale ivory body. The chocolate brown is a warm, brownish tone. It will appear darkest on the coldest areas like the ears and tail tip. The body is an off-white ivory color. The nose leather, paw pads and eye color are also different than the seal point.

Chocolate Point Cat Characteristics:

  • Body color: Ivory
  • Point color: Milk chocolate brown
  • Nose leather: Cinnamon brown
  • Paw pads: Cinnamon or coral pink
  • Eye color: Blue

The chocolate point has a warmer, softer look than the seal point. The milk chocolate points coordinate beautifully with the ivory body color. The overall appearance is rich and luxurious.

Blue Point

The blue point colorpoint shorthair has bluish-gray points on a bluish-white body. The grayish-blue point color ranges from slate blue to deep blue-gray. It will be darkest on the coldest regions like the tail, ears and paw pads. The body color is a blue-tinged snow white. The eye color is also different than the seal and chocolate points.

Blue Point Cat Characteristics:

  • Body color: Bluish white
  • Point color: Slate blue to blue-gray
  • Nose leather: Blue-gray
  • Paw pads: Blue-gray
  • Eye color: Blue

The blue point has a cool, elegant look. The plush blue-gray points stand out boldly against the pale icy white body color. This gives the blue point cat an aristocratic appearance.

Lilac Point

The lilac point colorpoint shorthair has soft dove gray points with a pinkish tone on a frosted white body. The lilac gray points have a warmer, pinkish cast compared to the blue point. The body is white with a glacial blue tone. The lilac point’s eye color, paw pads and nose leather also differ from the other colors.

Lilac Point Cat Characteristics:

  • Body color: Glacier white
  • Point color: Pale pinkish dove gray
  • Nose leather: Lavender-pink
  • Paw pads: Lavender-pink
  • Eye color: Blue

The muted dove gray points with their pinkish cast stand out softly against the icy white body. This gives the lilac point cat an exquisite, refined look. Of the four colors, lilac point is considered the rarest variety.

Possible Eye Colors

While blue is the typical eye color seen, colorpoint shorthairs may also have aqua, violet or odd-eyed colors. Odd-eyed means one eye is blue while the other is green, yellow or amber.

Point Pattern Characteristics

In addition to the colors described above, colorpoint shorthairs will exhibit the following characteristics that are common to all cats exhibiting the colorpoint pattern:

  • Darker, cooler areas of the body will be colored, warmer areas stay light.
  • Points on the ears, face, legs, tails and testicles are the darkest.
  • Shading is gradual, no sharp demarcation between light and dark.
  • Kittens are born very pale, points appear gradually as they mature.
  • Adults cats appear paler and points are less defined during hot weather.
  • Points may darken in size and color as a cat ages.

These traits are all related to the temperature sensitive albino gene that restricts color to the cooler parts of the cat’s body. This creates the characteristic colorpoint pattern.

Non-Point Colors

In addition to the main point colors described above, some other non-pointed colors are sometimes seen in colorpoint shorthairs. However, they are not considered acceptable by breed standards since they deviate from the signature colorpoint coat pattern. These non-standard colors include:

  • Red
  • Cream
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Tabby patterns

These non-pointed colors likely result from outcrossing during early development of the breed. Breeders generally try to avoid producing non-pointed kittens that would be disqualified from the show ring.

Most Common Color

Of the four main point colors, seal point is generally considered the most common and popular color seen in the breed. Blue and chocolate points are less common, while lilac point is quite rare.

One survey of 147 colorpoint shorthair cats found the following distribution of the four point colors:

Color Percentage
Seal point 51%
Blue point 20%
Chocolate point 14%
Lilac point 9%
Other 6%

This data shows that seal point comprises about half of all colorpoint shorthairs. Blue and chocolate follow at 20% and 14% respectively. Lilac point is quite uncommon at only 9% of the surveyed population.

Genetics Behind the Point Colors

The different colorpoint shorthair colors are inherited based on just two genes – the color gene (B/b/b1) and the point gene (cs):

  • B – Allows black pigment
  • b – Allows chocolate pigment
  • b1 – Allows lilac pigment
  • cs – Causes color to be restricted to the points

The colors are inherited as follows:

  • Seal point (BBcs)
  • Chocolate point (bbcs)
  • Blue point (Bbcs)
  • Lilac point (b1b1cs)

So just two genes account for all the point color varieties in colorpoint shorthairs! This simple genetic basis allows breeders to reliably produce kittens of the desired colors.

Show Standards for Points and Body Color

To be considered ideal show quality specimens, colorpoint shorthairs must conform to the following color standards:

  • Points should be cleanly defined and as dark as possible.
  • Body color should be off-white with no shading or spotting.
  • Nose leather, paw pads and eye color should conform to the color descriptions for each variety.
  • Overall good contrast is desired between points and body color.

Well-matched, clearly defined points and proper off-white body color are desired qualities. Judges will deduct points for faded, uneven or poorly defined points. An off-white body free of markings is also expected by the show standard.


Colorpoint shorthairs exhibit the colorpoint pattern in four main shades – seal, chocolate, blue and lilac points. Seal point is the most common, followed by blue and chocolate. Lilac point is quite rare. The colors result from just two genes and follow simple inheritance patterns. For show cats, well-defined points with good contrast on an off-white body is desired. The striking colorpoint pattern remains the signature feature of this breed.