What are cats' points?

The question in the title can refer to 2 things (1) the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme also known as CATS which enables academic credit to be transferred between higher education institutions i.e. "CATS points" and (2) the dark extremities to the fur of cats carrying the Siamese gene, typically the Siamese cat.

Pointed and angular head of the Siamese. Photo: Frangipani Balinese cattery.
Pointed and angular head of the Siamese. Photo: Frangipani Balinese cattery.

I'm going to address the second point. Pretty well everyone on the planet knows what a Siamese cat looks like. The ends of their legs, their tail, their ears and the extremities of their face are covered with darker fur than the other parts. This is because the production of melanin in the epidermis of the skin in melanocytes is heat sensitive. This means that where the skin is warmer there is less melanin which is in the flank or the middle of the body and where the skin is cooler at the extremities, because of a lesser blood flow at those points, there is more melanin production and therefore the fur is darker. The typical Siamese colour at these dark extremities is called "seal".

However, over many years of selective breeding and evolution of the appearance of Siamese cats, cat breeders have added to this central, core colour which is why you will see, for example, blue pointing which is in fact grey pointing with a hint of blue.

There are other cat breeds with pointing such as the Ragdoll and the pointed Persian which is called a Himalayan cat. If you are interested you can click on this link to look at all the purebred cat breeds and this link to look through some articles about the Siamese cat.

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