The Colorpoint is often confused with the better-known Siamese. In fact, some believe the Colorpoint Shorthair is nothing more than a Siamese hybrid.
Its origins began in the 1940s, when cat breeders made a concerted effort to create a cat which could boast the characteristics of the Siamese but would come in a variety of colors other than the traditional four.
To achieve their ends, breeders used foundation crossings between the Siamese, Abyssinian, and the red domestic Shorthair (the American Shorthair was also used). After years of struggle and innumerable failures, the breeding program succeeded. This breed was again crossed with the Siamese to retain its body style and personality.
To quell protests from Siamese breeders, cat fanciers finally agreed to give this cat a new name, the Colorpoint Shorthair. This breed now has very few non-Siamese genes, as many generations have passed, though technically it is still a hybrid.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association granted the breed Championship status in 1964. Today, all the major associations have followed suit, though most use the Siamese standard to identify the Colorpoint Shorthair.
The Colorpoint Shorthair is a medium sized, svelte, refined cat with long tapering lines, very lithe, but muscular. Males may be proportionately larger. Balance and refinement are the essence of the breed, where all parts come together in a harmonious whole, with neither too much nor too little consideration given to any one feature. The ideal is a cat with type identical to the Siamese, but with its own distinct and unique colors. While the color differences set it apart as a unique breed, the purpose of the hybridization was to establish cats identical in type to the Siamese but with separate colors. The Colorpoint Shorthair standard reflects this objective and preserves it’s unique colors.
Head: long tapering wedge. Medium in size in good proportion to body. The total wedge starts at the nose and flares out in straight lines to the tips of the ears forming a triangle, with no break at the whiskers. No less than the width of an eye between the eyes. When the whiskers are smoothed back, the underlying bone structure is apparent. Allowance must be made for jowls in the stud cat.
Skull: flat. In profile, a long straight line is seen from the top of the head to the tip of the nose. No bulge over eyes. No dip in nose.
Neck: long and slender.
Nose: long and straight. A continuation of the forehead with no break.
Muzzle: fine, wedge shaped.
Ears: strikingly large, pointed, wide at base, continuing the lines of the wedge.
Eyes: vivid blue in color, no other shades or colors allowed. Almond shaped. Medium size. Neither protruding nor recessed. Slanted towards the nose in harmony with lines of wedge and ears. Uncrossed.
Chin and jaw: medium in size. Tip of chin lines with tip of nose in the same vertical plane. Neither receding nor excessively massive.
Body: medium sized. Graceful, long and svelte. A distinctive combination of fine bones and firm muscles.
Shoulders and hips continue same sleek lines of tubular body.
Hips never wider than shoulders.
Legs: long and slim. Hind legs higher than front. In good proportion to body.
Paws: dainty, small, and oval. Toes: five in front and four behind.
Long, thin, tapering to a fine point.
Coat: short, fine textured, glossy. Lying close to body.
Colour: body: subtle shading is permissible, but clear color is preferable. Allowance should be made for darker color in older cats as Colorpoint Shorthairs generally darken with age, but there must be definite contrast between body color and points.
Points: mask, ears, feet, legs, and tail dense and clearly defined. All of the same shade. Mask covers entire face including whisker pads and is connected to ears by tracings. Mask should not extend over the top of the head. No white hairs or clearly-defined white undercoat in points. Lynx points may have white as appropriate for the tabby pattern around the eyes and nostrils, on the whisker pads, chin, upper throat area, and under the base of the tail.
Free and graceful.
Weight — 2-4 kg.
The Siamese and the Colorpoint Shorthair might differ in color, but beneath the skin they are identical. The Colorpoint Shorthair is talkative and opinionated. He will tell you exactly what he thinks, in a loud, raspy voice, and he expects you to pay attention and act on his advice. Colorpoints are extremely fond of their people. They like to be “helpful” and will follow you around and supervise your every move. When you are sitting down, a Colorpoint Shorthair will be in your lap, and at night he will be in bed with you, probably under the covers with his head on the pillow.
Do not get a Colorpoint if living with a chatty busybody would drive you insane. On the other hand, if you enjoy having someone to talk to throughout the day, a Colorpoint can be your best friend. Just be sure you have time to spend with this demanding and social cat. Colorpoints do not like being left alone for long periods, and if you work during the day it can be smart to get two of them so they can keep each other company.
The Colorpoint is highly intelligent, agile and athletic, and loves to play. Keep his busy brain active with puzzle toys and his body exercised with teaser toys that he can chase and a big cat tree he can climb. He is fully capable of opening doors and drawers or rifling through your purse in search of something interesting or shiny to play with. Never leave him without any form of entertainment, or you will likely come home to find that he has reprogrammed your DVR to record only nature shows or at the very least decided that your toilet paper rolls and tissue boxes look better empty.
Choose a Colorpoint if you look forward to spending time with and interacting with your cat. This is a loyal and loving feline who will pout and pine if given little or no attention. In the right home, however, he thrives for years.
The short, fine coat of the Colorpoint is easily cared for. Comb it every couple of weeks with a stainless steel comb or soft bristle brush to remove dead hair, then polish it with a soft cloth to make it shine.
Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
Keep the Colorpoint’s litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene.
It’s a good idea to keep a Colorpoint as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Colorpoints who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.
Lifespan — up to 20 years.
Very smart. Good with other animals and children.
Caring for these cats is easy.
Very nervous and vindictive.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. The same problems that may affect the Siamese can also affect the Colorpoint Shorthair, including the following:
Amyloidosis, a disease that occurs when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in body organs, primarily the liver in members of the Siamese family
Congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis
Gastrointestinal conditions such as megaesophagus.
Hyperesthesia syndrome, a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, leading to hair loss, and to act frantically, especially when they are touched or petted.
Nystagmus, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary rapid eye movement.
Progressive retinal atrophy, for which a genetic test is available.