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November 21, 2008 1:39 PM   Subscribe

SiameseCatFilter: If I shave my siamese, will he be brown under his fur, or does the fur change color as it grows out?

I'm not going to try shaving him to find out, but I was wondering if the siamese colorpoint gene was like the agouti gene where the hair starts out one color and changes to a different color as it grows. Under his fur, he looks pink, but that could just be my eyes.

From what I could tell about the breed standard for sphinx cats, a "pointed sphinx will darken and appear solid in color as an adult." Which seems to support my idea, but I thought some even crazier cat people could tell me more.
posted by fiercekitten to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
You seem to be asking two questions: (1) Is his skin the same color as the adjacent hair; and (2) is each hair a same color along its entire length. In either case, the question is not clear, since you're in a better position to see the cat than we are.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:51 PM on November 21, 2008

I cat sat a siamese that had undergone chemo. His fur grew back a different color... darker.
posted by k8t at 1:56 PM on November 21, 2008

The colour is caused by an enzyme that works differently at different temperatures. It producing dark brown when it's cool and cream when it's warmer. See Wikipedia article on Siamese cats.

I remember seeing a rabbit with an ice pack strapped to its back so that it'd develop a brown patch there but no idea where that was (biology textbook?).

Oh, so yes, the skin would be pink.
posted by hydrobatidae at 2:09 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was just told by a friend - longtime cat-owner - that the skin is a different color - flesh-like so to speak. "Are you red beneath your hair?" It seems that the flesh is colored because the stubbles of hair are still colored, much in the same way a person who shaves their head still has a shade of color as it starts to grow back. She had no answers for the more specific question about genes.

For my own observation, if you shaved your Siamese cat, its flesh would be blood red - the color of your arterial spray on its skin for trying to do such a thing.
posted by elendil71 at 2:13 PM on November 21, 2008

My late seal point Siamese's coat got darker as he aged. Or more accurately, the dark areas spread and eventually connected. He was also an Orson Wells of a cat, so I suspected his layer of blubber insulated his skin from his internal heat, allowing his fur to come in darker as he aged (and got fatter).

He had grayish-pink skin with the gray shading to darker grayish-brown on his limbs, face and tail (which we knew from shavings done for various medical procedures).
posted by jamaro at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2008

My Siamese started as pure white with color points. A decade later, he's deep chocolate/caramel. I'm up in coastal Northern California, where temps range from 70F to 30F. Could I shave my Siamese up and return to a nice white kitty?
posted by porn in the woods at 2:26 PM on November 21, 2008

With the agouti gene, an individual hair will have bands of color, and this creates tabby patterns and the ticked pattern in Abyssinians. I don't believe the colorpoint gene is related, and even if your little guy's fur color changes it'll probably be due to darker hairs replacing the lighter hairs, and individual hairs will not be banded - kind of like gray hairs in humans.

Colorpoints often do get darker with age, and Messybeast says that the effect depends on temperature - if you guys move somewhere cold, his fur may darken over time. This Wikipedia article might be interesting too.

To my knowledge all cat skin is pinkish. Sphynx cats will show patterning, but they are not totally hairless so I believe the pattern is still in the fur and not the skin. I may not be completely right about this, however.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:31 PM on November 21, 2008

all cat skin is pinkish

hm, my cats like to fight each other, and once one cat bit a chunk of fur (not skin) off the other one. The skin was white. I don't mean "white" like "white people are white," I mean white like a sheet. btw it grew back just fine, the same color (black), and the vet said everything was OK
posted by desjardins at 2:43 PM on November 21, 2008

Response by poster: When my tuxedo as without hair (after being spayed by a very old-fashioned vet), she clearly still had a pattern, pink where she was white and brownish where she was black. I wondered if Simon would be brownish on his feet and white on his tummy.
posted by fiercekitten at 2:54 PM on November 21, 2008

Best answer: My Siamese-cross has differing skin shades between her darker and lighter zones, as have many of the multicoloured and even light tabbies I've had over the years.

All Siamese I've known have darkened and/or greyed as they aged, maximum sample size of 10.
posted by batmonkey at 3:40 PM on November 21, 2008

Best answer: The seal-point Siamese my parents had when I was growing up had various vet procedures through her life that meant a bit of shaving. She was white underneath on her skin and the hair around the shaved bit grew back noticeably darker than her surrounding creamy/beige body coat. Over time the darker patches blended in with the rest of her coat. She also got darker overall as she aged. Oh, and I remember, if you looked at one of the hairs closely, it was different colours along its length.
posted by t0astie at 4:38 PM on November 21, 2008

My calico had to have her leg shaved for an iv, and her skin was redder where she's red, and darker where she's black. It didn't seem to be the fur growing in (and the fur grew in the same colour it used to be). Sphynxes are certainly patterned, and you can see a calico sphynx with three clearly defined skin colours.

That said, pointed cats have a different kind of colouring (heat based), and now I desperately want to shave the other cat to see if she's darker on her tail and face.
posted by jeather at 6:22 PM on November 21, 2008

Not all cat skin is pink. My cat had her leg shaved for an injection and her belly shaved to be spayed, and I took two pictures (you can also see in the first picture that her pads are multi-colored).

I can't answer your question about Siamese cats in particular, though.
posted by johnofjack at 7:44 AM on November 22, 2008

To my knowledge all cat skin is pinkish. Sphynx cats will show patterning, but they are not totally hairless so I believe the pattern is still in the fur and not the skin. I may not be completely right about this, however.

Tabby cats, like jeather's calico, have skin in stripes of various colors. Sammy Katz is brown and pink underneath. In fact, half of his front toes are even black.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:32 AM on November 24, 2008

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