What is a lynx point Siamese?
Also known as tabby point, the lynx point Siamese is a Siamese cat with tabby markings on the face, legs and tail and the characteristic tabby M on the forehead. Lynx point refers to the coat pattern, and occurs in a number of cat breeds, but is most often associated with the Siamese.
Lynx point pattern
Siamese cats carry the Himalayan gene, which is a mutation at the C locus (a fixed position on a chromosome where a particular gene is located), causing partial albinism on warmer parts of the body. The gene is recessive to full colour, which means the cat needs two copies of the gene (homozygous) for the Siamese colour to show up.
The tabby pattern was introduced by crossing Siamese with tabby cats, the recessive Himalayan gene resulted in the tabby pattern being confined to the face, legs and tail.
The lynx point was developed in the 1960s, although there are records of earlier lynx point Siamese existing as far back as the early 1900s. These cats carried many names including Shadow Point, Silver Point, Tiger Point and Atabby. Frances Simpson, author of The Book of the Cat mentions them as ‘Any Other Colour Siamese Tabby‘ in 1902. Other examples belonged to Mrs Hood in Scotland in the 1940s and Mary Dunnill has photos of early cats between 1944 and 1949, which were referred to as Silver Point Siamese.
Related: Flame point Siamese, Seal point Siamese
In 1952, Mrs Hood of Kutjing Lynx Points brought a Seal Point Siamese to England, who was accidentally mated to a male moggie. The kittens were described as having mackerel coats with the Siamese body type. Mrs Hood kept one of the kittens, a pointed female, who was mated to a Seal Point Siamese resulting in several tabby pointed cats. Mrs Vernon Green continued the Lynx Point experimental breeding programme after Mrs Hood’s death. A female named Teenyweenyone and a male named Tambu of Gwent went to live with Kristie Buckland who continued to breed for several generations, sadly there appear to be no further records of these cats.
In 1960, Lady Me, a Seal Point female owned by Eileen Alexander disappeared but was found and taken to Druid, a Seal Point Siamese stud owned by Mrs Buttery. The resulting litter of five kittens contained one kitten named Patti who had a Siamese coat with tabby points, indicating that Lady Me had mated to an unknown cat prior to her planned mating with Druid. Because the Himalayan (pointed) gene is recessive, both parents must carry the gene to pass it on to their offspring, meaning the unidentified male carried pointed. Interestingly, cats are induced-ovulators, which means that the act of copulation induces ovulation. Female cats release several eggs per ovulation, and these eggs are released after she mates and survive for 24 hours. Therefore if she mates with several males, each egg has the potential to be fertilised by any of their sperm (superfecundation). The number of kittens delivered is usually the same as the number of eggs the female cat releases. In theory, a female cat can have a litter of kittens each of whom has a different father.
Once mature, Patti was taken to Samsara Saracen, another seal point Siamese owned by Mrs Buttery. The mating produced a litter of six tabby point kittens. Mrs Alexander took her tabby point kittens to the Croydon Cat Club Championship Show and placed them in the Any Other Variety class. The kittens sparked much interest and Greta Hindley bought Tansy, a female kitten from the litter. More breeders came on board and in 1966 the Siamese Cat Club accepted the variety to be known as Tabby Point Siamese.
Meanwhile, in America in the 1940s and 1950s, cat breeders had crossed a seal point Siamese to an American Shorthairs to introduce the red colour to the breed. Ron Reagan, author of Siamese Cats (1940) writes:
Red Points were produced by breeding Seal Points with self-red or red tabby Shorthairs and then mating the resulting offspring with Siamese. In the later 1930s, Dr. Joseph C. Thompson (the man credited with introducing the Burmese to the Western world) of San Francisco became interested and involved in the development of Reds. From the 1940s on Alyce de Filippe advocated the acceptance and worked on the development of Red Points and it is Mrs. de Filippe who is most directly responsible for the success of this variety in the United States. 
As all red cats are tabby, this introduced the tabby gene into the new breeding programme. The Cat Fanciers Association recognises the tabby point as a Colourpoint Shorthair and the name lynx point, which was advanced to championship status in 1969.
What does the lynx point Siamese look like?
Body: The lynx point Siamese is a medium-sized, elegant animal that stands between (22.8 – 28 cm (9 – 11 inches) tall at the shoulders. The body is long, athletic, muscular and tubular. Legs are long and slender with small, oval feet. Hind legs are longer than the front legs. The tail is long, thin and whip-like.
Head: The head is a long, tapering wedge that flares out in a straight line to the tip of the large ears. The nose is long and straight with no break. Eyes are almond-shaped, and slant towards the nose. All lynx point Siamese have vivid blue eyes.
Coat: The lynx point Siamese has a pale cream body with tabby points on the face, legs and tail that are distinct to the lighter background colour. Nose leather will reflect the point colour. Accepted lynx point colours include:
- Seal tortie
- Chocolate tortie
- Blue tortie
- Lilac tortie
Weight: An adult male weighs around 4.5 – 5.5 kg (9.9 – 12.1 lbs), while females weigh between 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
Lynx point Siamese personality
The lynx point Siamese is an extremely intelligent and loyal cat who tends to form a close bond with one member of the family. Because they bond so closely to people, Siamese cats don’t do well if left alone for extended periods. They are often described as dog like as they will follow their chosen human around the house and are known to love a game of fetch.
Lynx point Siamese cats do well in homes with children or retirees. Their devotion to people makes them the ideal companion for homes looking for a pet to be a big part of the family.
Siamese cats are known to be a talkative breed with a unique deep meow who love to give their family a running commentary.
Lynx point Siamese cats are a generally healthy breed, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Not all Siamese cats will have or develop any or all of these diseases and breeders work hard to ensure their cats are screened and DNA tested to eliminate these conditions.
- Convergent strabismus (cross eyes): A cosmetic only condition due to the effects of the Himalayan gene which gives the Siamese cat its unique appearance also involves the eyes. The eyes of cats with strabismus do not line up with each other, instead of facing forward, the eyes turn inward (exotropia) due to abnormal wiring between the eyes and the brain.
- Kinked tail (cosmetic only): Some Siamese (and Burmese) will have a slight kink or bend in the last bone of the tail. There is scant information on this, but tail ‘abnormalities’ are commonly seen in Asian cats and are presumably inherited.
- Hemophilia B: Factor IX deficiency: An inherited bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot properly due to a lack of clotting proteins (coagulation factors).
- Familial amyloidosis: A build-up of amyloid proteins in the heart, kidneys, liver or other organs. Amyloid is an abnormally folded protein produced in the bone marrow and deposited in tissues or organs causing damage by displacing normal cells. The liver is typically affected in Siamese cats.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus: An inflammatory disease that is caused by the cat’s own immune system attacking the tissues when the body produces antibodies against itself (known as auto-antibodies), attacking various systems including the skin, joints, blood vessels, kidneys, heart, and lungs. There is a higher incidence of SLE in Siamese, Persian and Persian related breeds.
- Feline hyperesthesia syndrome: A condition characterised by unusual behaviour which may include: rippling skin along the back, sudden bouts of frantic biting and licking at the tail, pelvis or flank, eyes wide open, dilated pupils and aggression. During an attack, your cat will behave as if he is reacting to hallucinatory stimuli.
- Pica and wool sucking: A potentially serious condition where they have an abnormal compulsion to eat non-food substances such as clothing, plastic, wool etc. The preferred food choice is generally reserved for the same object.
- Mammary (breast) cancer: The third most common tumour in the cat. 85-95% of mammary gland tumours are malignant, and adenocarcinomas are the most common type of malignant neoplasm of mammary gland cancer. Siamese cats have twice the risk of developing mammary cancer than all other breeds combined.
- Mast cell tumour: Skin tumours that have arisen from mast cells, which are a type of white blood cell formed in the bone marrow. These cells are found throughout the body but concentrate at points of contact between the cat and the outside world, especially the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and conjunctiva.
- Progressive retinal atrophy: A disease that results in the degeneration and atrophy of the retina, which is made of photosensitive cells known as rods and cones which convert light into electrical impulses and transport them to the brain via the optic nerve. The disease is caused by a mutation of the CEP290 gene, which encodes for the centrosomal protein 290 kDa which maintains the important structure known as the cilium in rod photoreceptors.
Breeders have worked hard to eliminate inherited diseases in Siamese cats, and early spaying greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Strabismus and kinked tails have largely been bred out.
The Siamese cat’s coat is low maintenance, brush the coat once a week to remove loose hairs and trim the claws every 4-6 weeks.
Dental care is important for all cats to prevent gum disease, brush the teeth once a day with a cat toothbrush and toothpaste. Or you can feed him raw chicken necks or human-grade chunks of beef two to three times a week.
Free-roaming Siamese are at risk from cars, dogs and predators, their unique appearance also makes them a target for theft. If space permits, build a cat enclosure so the cat can enjoy time outside without the associated dangers.
Feed a high-quality age appropriate diet. Kittens should be fed a small amount 4-5 times a day, which can be gradually tapered to two larger meals as the cat reaches maturity. Fresh water should be available at all times.
Choosing a lynx point Siamese
All purebred cats should be purchased from a registered cat breeder to ensure you are getting what you pay for. Visit cat shows to chat with breeders and meet their cats.
Kittens should not leave the breeder until they are a minimum of 12 weeks old, some breeders prefer to keep Siamese cats a few weeks longer as they can be slow to mature. By this time, the kitten should have had all three vaccinations, and have been regularly treated for parasites. Most breeders spay or neuter kittens before they go to their new home.
All registered cat breeders must have a prefix (the name of the cattery). Use the Internet to research breeders for buyer feedback and/or complaints. Ask which cat registrar the breeder is registered with, and check the website to verify they are registered with who they say they are.
Where possible, meet the kittens before committing to buying one. Does the breeder screen for inherited diseases, and offer a health guarantee on all kittens.
Ask for a total cost, including shipping (if arriving from interstate), and get everything in writing. Request paperwork including health testing, vaccination and desexing certificates, health guarantees and the cat’s pedigree.
Frequently asked questions
What is the lifespan of a lynx point Siamese?
The Siamese breed as a whole has a lifespan between 15 to 20 years.
How much does a lynx point Siamese cost?
A lynx point Siamese costs between $1,000 – $2,000
Do lynx point Siamese shed?
All cats shed, the Siamese sheds less than other breeds. Brush the coat once a week to remove loose hairs.
Is my cat a lynx point Siamese?
The only way to guarantee your cat is a lynx point Siamese is to purchase one from a registered breeder. The pointed pattern has made its way into the random-bred cat population and is a common trait in both purebred and random-bred cats. If you look at other articles on lynx point Siamese, most of the images are NOT Siamese cats, but domestic shorthairs (aka random-bred cats) who carry the lynx point pattern. The lynx point Siamese has a long, slender ‘wedge-shaped’ face, and large ears, without ear tufts. All pointed cats carry the Himalayan (pointed) gene, but not all pointed cats are purebred. The photo below shows the angular face of the lynx point Siamese next to the more rounded face of a domestic shorthair. The traditional Siamese has a rounder face but is extremely rare.
It is now possible to have a DNA test performed by UC Davies to determine a cat’s lineage. Unlike dog breeds, which have been around for hundreds of years, cat breeds are relatively new. All cat breeds descended from random-bred wild cats who originated in 8 geographic regions including Western Europe, Egypt, East Mediterranean, Iran/Iraq, Arabian Sea, India, South Asia, and East Asia. A DNA test can provide information on your cat’s lineage based on 29 reference breeds using 170 DNA markers.
Lynx point in other breeds
Lynx point refers to a pointed cat with tabby markings and can be found in a number of cat breeds, not just the Siamese or Colourpoint Shorthair. This includes the following:
- British Shorthair
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Exotic Shorthair
- Scottish Fold
- Reagan, R. (1988). Siamese cats. T.F.H. Publications.
Feature image: Laura Fokkema, Shutterstock