Origin: Britain and North America
Type: Cross breed
Size: Small to Medium
Coat Length: Short hair
Body Type: Svelte
Appearance: Colourpoint Shorthairs are small to medium-sized cats with a strong and muscular appearance. Adult males weigh between 3 and 4kg and females 23kg. They have a short and fine coat and can be seen in no less than 16 colour variation. Their ears are rather large and pointed at the tip. The eyes are medium in size and regardless of the colour of the coat are always a vivid blue colour.
Grooming Requirement: Not a lot grooming needed
Activity Level: Very high
Affection: Very affectionate
Time Alone: Less than 4 hours a day
Attention: Needs a lot of attention
Talkativeness: Very vocal
Temperament: Colourpoint Shorthairs are intelligent and curious cats. They are the perfect pet for someone who has a good sense of humour and will certainly keep the fun going. They’re playful and energetic, often even mischievous but nonetheless great companions. They love any sort of toy and need activity and interaction to keep them happy. If there’s something they don’t like, they’ll tell you, though not as chatty as the Siamese, Shorthairs are still quite vocal.
Interesting Facts: The name “Colorpoint Shorthair” is used only in North America.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: If you have children or catfriendly dogs the Colorpoint Shorthair is a good choice. They get along with other cats as well. You’ll still need to spend some time socialising your pets towards each other and the teach children how to interact properly with animals.
Common Health Problems: Colourpoint Shorthairs and Siamese are closely related breeds and they have similar health issues: congenital heart defects, amyloidosis, lymphoma, hyperaesthesia syndrome, progressive retinal atrophy, nystagmus, asthma and crossed eyes.
Lifespan: Average 12 to 17 years
Essentially a Siamese available in more colours and patterns, the Shorthair Colourpoint was developed in the 1940s by British and American Siamese breeders who wanted to produce cats similar to the Siamese but in a wider variety of pointer colours. The breeders used Abyssinians and red tabby Domestic Shorthairs for out-crossing. Attempts to achieve the new colours and patterns they wanted often came at the expense of the slender body type of the Siamese. Colourpoint breeders experienced further difficulties working with the sex-linked red colour. When the proper colours in the proper places were achieved, the mixed cats were crossed back to pure-bred Siamese to re-establish the physical appearance and personality.
In the CFA, the Siamese is registred in four colours only: seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac points. The Shorthair Colourpoint comes in 16 colour and pattern variations, which include:
- tortie Point (tortoiseshell-patterned markings in colours that include blue, blue-chocolate, cinnamon, fawn, lilac, seal);
- lynx Point (tabby-style markings in colours including chocolate, chocolate-tortie, lilac, lilac-cream, cinnamon, fawn, red, seal, blue, cream, blue-cream).
Originally considered a variety of the Siamese, these cats were given the name Shorthair Colourpoint and the red and cream points were granted championship status by the CFA in 1964. The lynx and tortie points were advanced in 1969. Other American associations, however, simply added the new colours to the Siamese standard in order to avoid confusion, although it may not have been genetically accurate. The British Governing Council of the Cat Fancy lists the Colourpoint Shorthair as a Siamese but under a different breed classification number, which comes to show that they have reservations about the Colourpoint being truly a Siamese. While technically a hybrid, the Colourpoint now has little non-Siamese gene inheritance, based on a ten-generation bloodline bred back to the Siamese after the colour has been achieved. The body type of the Colourpoint Shorthair is almost identical to that of the Siamese, with the head shape, body conformation, ear and eye placement, and size are the same in both standards. The only notable difference is in the colour and pattern.
Generally a healthy breed, the Colourpoint Shorthair can suffer from the same defects as the Siamese. There have been reported cases of 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. Respiratory conditions are usually a problem among younger cats and upper respiratory infections can be prevented by keeping Colourpoint cats as only-indoor pets and up-to-date on their vaccines. Eye conditions which affect the breed, such as glaucoma, conjunctivitis, and cataracts can be treated for the prime cause but the inherited form is untreatable. There is a genetic test available for progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and people looking for a Colourpoint kitten should ask the breeder for health clearance.
The short fine coat of the Colourpoint requires minimal grooming. Combing it every couple of weeks with a stainless steel comb or soft bristle brush, and a chemical-free chamois or soft cloth to finish off and make it shine. The breed sheds very little and is considered hypo-allergenic, although there is still a risk that they might trigger symptoms in people with allergies. The eyes need regular wiping with a soft damp cloth or pet wipes and owners should seek veterinary help if the cat is pawing at her eyes, or there is watering, discharge, crusty buildup, white or red eyelid linings, and under-eye staining. Ears also have to be checked weekly for signs of infections and cleaned with specialised solutions or wipes, without reaching the ear canal. Daily dental hygiene using a veterinary-approved kit helps prevent mouth infections and reduces the risk of gum diseases.
Colourpoint Shorthairs establish affectionate bonds with their owners and need plenty of interaction and attention. Owners should spend at least 10-15 minutes every day actively involved in games and exercising activities, which will not only maintain their body weight and keep their muscles toned, but will also make an excellent bonding opportunity. These cats love to play fetch and engage actively in brain stimulating games. They can keep themselves entertained for hours chasing their favourite toys around the living room or simply play with a cardboard box. Colourpoints have a penchant for heights and love to climb. They should be provided with cat trees and posts to practise their high-jumping skills.
As any other cat, the Colourpoint is a carnivore and needs to eat a high proportion of meat for fat and protein. Chicken is a great source of protein for cats, and can be varied with cooked rabbit or poached fish. When feeding regular cat food, owners should make sure it has high levels of proteins and is free of grains and meat by-products. Carbohydrates have to be avoided whether feeding home-cooked or prepared food, as they may put the Colourpoint at a risk of obesity and diabetes.