While the earliest domesticated cats were likely brownish and designed to blend with their surroundings like wild cats, selective breeding has given us many cat colors to enjoy. There’s a shade of coat to catch the eye of any cat fancier. Both the shaded, dark, pointed pattern of the Siamese and the bright patches of the Calico are immensely popular, but when the two come together to produce a litter of kittens, neither of these distinctive patterns is guaranteed; in fact, the possibility of either is reduced.
When we cross these two breeds, each parent brings a set of traits to the mix. A few of these physical and personality traits are similar enough between breeds to pass along predictably to a mixed kitten. When crossing a breed with a color based on recessive genes to a color variety that can be found in many breeds, we are bound to get some unique and beautiful surprises.
Blending two breeds produces a cat that may display traits from both breeds in roughly equal proportions or extremes of each type. The breed characteristics of each parent serve as a point of reference for what to expect. Regardless of which breed your kitten resembles most, your blend will be a cat like no other.
Siamese Breed History
Recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) in 1906, the Siamese is one of the earliest pedigreed breeds. The original Siamese had a more generic body type before fashion changed the breeders’ emphasis, creating an extremely thin, angular feline. Both the distinctive blue eyes and ombre coloration are linked to the Himalayan mutation. This genetic mutation causes blue eyes, mask, ears, tail, and legs to be much darker than the body pattern (colorpoint). It is recessive, which means both parent cats carried the mutation if it appears in your kitten.
Siamese Genetics Explained
The colorpoint trait has a remarkable effect on the cat’s coat color. Like plastic that changes color according to the temperature of the liquid in it, the color of the chocolate point Siamese’s coat is deeper where his body is cooler. This mutation, known as Himalayan, alters tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin (pigment) production. Where his body is warmest, the Himalayan mutation deactivates the enzyme. The warmer the area of the body, the less melanin is produced to color the coat. This partial albinism allows the base coat color to be still seen but at different concentrations. The extremities of the body, like the ears, face, tail, and legs, have deeper color because they have more melanin in the hair follicles.
Coat And Color
Siamese cat coats must have the colorpoint trait to meet the breed standard. Each different pointed color is a Himalayan mutation on the primary coat color. The chocolate point is a genetic variation on a basic brown coat, while the seal point is a variation on black. Although it isn’t a recognized color, the orange pointed flame point is a variation on the orange tabby. The same genetic mutation causes his body to be lighter than his extremities and his eyes to appear blue.
Calico Genetics Explained
The Calico pattern depends on sex-linked alleles. The particular alleles controlling this coat color relate to orange and black. With most colors, one will be dominant over the other. With this specific allele, if a female cat is heterozygous and each X chromosome has a copy of the different alleles, one orange and one black, both orange and black will be expressed in patches. Without the white background, we call this orange and black pattern Tortoiseshell. This extra genetic difference that adds the white background on which the orange and black patches reside is called piebald, and its expression creates the difference between Tortoiseshell and Calico.
Males cats only have one X chromosome. The Y chromosome doesn’t have this allele, so only the one on the X chromosome is expressed. A male cat will be either orange or black and cannot be Calico or Tortoiseshell. The way the female genes express is a function of a process called Lyonization. Lyonization happens in the embryonic development of every female mammal. Because there are two X chromosomes, so that there is not a double expression of genetic material, one of the two X chromosomes inactivates by supercoiling into a structure known as a Barr Body. This Lyonization leaves one active X chromosome in each cell in the female embryo, and only the functional alleles are expressed.
The Calico Through History
While the history of the Calico color is unclear, the orange mutant gene partially responsible for the coat pattern likely originated in Egypt and has been traced to port cities and trade routes along the Mediterranean coast. Now, unless a breed is color limited, many allow the Calico color.
Siamese Calico Mix
First of all, the body type of this mix will depend on the breed of the Calico mother. Because Calicos are female and can be various breeds, the male parent will be the Siamese. The Siamese body type will influence the look of any Siamese blend. The male will pass along his body length, elegant head, and eye shape. What he will not be able to pass on, however, is his pointed color pattern, known as Himalayan.
Your Siamese blend will appreciate plenty of hiding places within your home. Designate specific areas for their food and water away from the litterbox. Your Siamese blend’s athleticism needs a safe outlet, so plan to play with him daily. Household cleaners and electronics may pose a hazard to your feline companion. Providing cat trees and scratch toys will help him find appropriate ways to express his desire to climb and scratch.
Keep breakables safe, and even the highest shelves and tops of furniture may not be out of reach of their climbing and jumping abilities. Unless your blended kitten has a parent like the Persian or Ragdoll who prefers to stay low to the ground, you’ll need to leap-proof your home. Provide your Siamese Calico blend with space in a lofty place or a tall cat tree.
Coat And Colors
The kittens that result from a cross of Siamese with Calico will not look like their Siamese father. The mutation that causes the colorpoint pattern is recessive, so it cannot be expressed unless it exists in the Calico parent. All of the kittens in this blended litter will be able to pass it along. The mutation modifies a base coat color. For instance, a seal point Siamese has a black base coat color.
The Siamese’s short coat is fine-textured and glossy. Although he sheds, he produces less of the allergen, Fel d 1, the protein that typically triggers a cat allergy. Because Siamese cats have short hair, your Siamese Calico mix will be shorthaired even if his Calico mother had long hair. Short hair is dominant to long hair, but the offspring of this blend could potentially pass the recessive long-haired gene to subsequent generations. The Himalayan gene that causes the Siamese’s colorpoint coat is also recessive, so that a Siamese Calico blend will have his Siamese sire’s distinctive fadeaway color. He’ll most likely reflect the black or orange coat type from his Calico mother.
Like lions and tigers, your Siamese Calico blend loves to hunt, even if he is only hunting dust bunnies under the coffee table. Cats stalk, play with, and kill their prey instinctually. By scratching surfaces with their claws, they keep their nails healthy and mark their territory. Scratching is natural and healthy, but it can prove destructive in the house. Cat trees and sisal scratching posts are perfect alternatives to channel scratching appropriately and alleviate boredom.
Any cat is safest being an indoor-only cat. You cannot ignore a cat’s need for exercise, though. Obesity is a leading cause of health problems in house cats. Toys and climbing structures help your cat stay healthy and entertained. Cats enjoy running through tunnels, and activities like this keep them in motion. Consider a cat treadmill to keep them active. Dangle toys with small stuffed toys or feathers at the end of a stick. Exercise your cat efficiently. Siamese cats often enjoy playing fetch, so toss some toys for your Siamese Calico to keep him exercising. Both kittens and adult cats benefit from several sessions a day of interactive activity.
Common Training For Cats
- Use the scratching post or cat tree, not the furniture.
- Keep claws retracted when playing with people.
- Urinate and defecate only in the litter box.
- Do not bite people or other pets.
- Games and tricks.
- Standard commands like sit, stay, roll over, jump, high-five, time to eat, come here, play a game, fetch, etc.
- Familiarity with brushing, bathing, teeth cleaning, and nail clipping.
- Riding calmly in the car.
- Appropriate behavior when left home alone.
A blend of two distinct cat breeds reduces the risk of recessive breed-related genetic disorders being expressed. Siamese cats do have some predispositions to specific health problems. If you know the particular breed of your cat’s Calico parent, ask your vet about the health problems common to that breed. The most concerning, of course, are those shared by both breeds because of the increased risk of unhealthy kittens.
Feline Dental Disease
Due to the shape of their heads, Siamese cats and Siamese blends are prone to dental problems. Any cat can develop dental disease, so be sure your blend’s teeth are cleaned regularly. The plaque that naturally builds up on your cat’s teeth will eventually move below the gum line if not removed periodically, where it will cause gingivitis. The cat’s immune system attacks the bacteria in the plaque, causing inflammation, which, if left untreated, can develop into periodontitis.
Unfortunately, periodontitis cannot be reversed. Pain from periodontitis can cause your cat to drool and tilt his head while eating. He may have halitosis or chronic bad breath. Your veterinarian will show you how to brush your cat’s teeth, so he won’t develop any problems. Ask about specially formulated feline toothpaste and set up regular cleaning appointments.
Siamese cats mature physically by about eighteen months old, but your mix may take longer to develop, depending on his Calico parent’s breed. Protein and fat levels should support slow, steady growth. Kittens need a specific calcium-phosphorus ratio for proper bone development. Look for a recipe with .8 to 1.6% calcium on a dry matter basis.
Your Siamese Calico blend needs plenty of fresh water to stay healthy. Some cats prefer fresh running water and will appreciate a fountain drinker. Monitor his water intake, and if he isn’t a good drinker and becomes prone to urinary tract infections, add set cat food to his diet. The additional moisture content of wet cat food can help reduce the frequency of his ailments.
Any cat food you choose should meet the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards as a complete and balanced diet for your feline. In the wild, animal meat is the most significant part of the feline diet. Their diet should still be mainly animal meat, even in processed form. In the wild, they consumed high amounts of protein, moderate fat, and a minimal carbohydrate intake. The prey they caught provided adequate vitamins and minerals before they were domesticated.
Read the label no matter which type of food you choose, whether wet, dry, freeze-dried, or fresh. Look for meat, meat by-products, or seafood among the first few ingredients. These ingredients suggest the food contains enough animal-source ingredients to supply essential amino acids and fatty acids without additional supplements. For cats prone to urinary tract issues, consider a low-magnesium wet food.
Breeders & Kitten Costs
The price of a mixed breed kitten will usually be much less than the cost of their purebred parent breeds. Although Siamese aren’t the most sizable cats, they are athletic and lithe. If you don’t know the Calico side’s breed, err on the side of too large rather than too small. You’ll need to budget for the upper range when you plan your kitten’s space and purchase cat trees or travel crates.
You may find a Siamese Calico blend kitten free from a backyard or accidental breeder. Kittens may have had their first vet visit or their first round of vaccinations before they’re ready to come home with you, in which case their owners may ask you to reimburse some of the associated veterinary costs. While a backyard breeder may not offer health guarantees, they should be able to answer your questions, and you should be able to see the parent cats on site.
Before you are ready to bring your kitten home, you’ll need to purchase the supplies necessary to take care of him. Set up the litter box away from foot traffic. You may wish to have a bed, a crate for transport, some toys, and grooming tools. If you don’t already have a relationship established with a local veterinarian, ask friends with pets for their recommendations. Expect to spend about $150 to $400 for your kitten and supplies if you’re starting from scratch.
Rescues & Shelters
Check your local shelters regularly for kittens with Siamese or Calico listed in the mix. Breeders will try to limit accidental litters because purebred kittens bring high prices. Depending on your needs, you may find a kitten with the look and temperament to make you happy at the shelter. The Humane Society of the United States, your local shelter, and your veterinarian are reliable resources for finding reputable shelters and rescue groups. You can expect to pay a shelter fee of between $60 and $120. If you are willing to adopt an older cat, you’ll be able to meet him and get to know his mature personality. There are many advantages to adopting an adult cat.
If you have time and energy to spend with a new addition to your family and want a feline companion with a vocal personality, you’ll love a Siamese Calico blend. Depending on his Calico parent’s breed, he will probably be an average-sized cat with natural grace and athletic ability. If his mix includes another trainable breed, you may even be able to teach him to walk with you on a leash. Being half Siamese, he’ll want to be next to you and may even help you when you’re washing dishes or otherwise working with water.
This personable blend could be your sidekick for fifteen or more years. Provide him with proper nutrition at each stage of his life, develop a regular schedule for his veterinary care, and groom him at least twice a week. Although he likely won’t look specifically Siamese or Calico, your blended kitten will bring you joy for years to come.