What to Know About a Colorpoint Shorthair


In this Article

  • What Is a Colorpoint Shorthair Cat?
  • Characteristics of Colorpoint Shorthairs
  • Caring for Colorpoint Shorthairs
  • Health Problems To Watch For With Colorpoint Shorthairs
  • Special Considerations for Colorpoint Shorthairs
  • History of Colorpoint Shorthair

The colorpoint shorthair is a human-made breed. They are well-known for their distinct coat patterns, which come in cream, red, lynx, and tortoiseshell points. These cats are loud, loving, and full of personality. They make ideal family companions because of their friendly and outgoing nature. If you’re looking for an affectionate cat to whom you would be able to devote ample time and attention, then the colorpoint shorthair is the right choice for you.

What Is a Colorpoint Shorthair Cat?

The colorpoint shorthair is a cross between the Siamese cat and the American shorthair cat. This is the same mix that created the Oriental shorthair cat. Many breeders also call colorpoints the first cousins of the Siamese. While some cat registries recognize them as an independent breed, others consider them to be a part of the Siamese and Oriental breeds. 

The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) was the first cat registry to come up with the name “colorpoint shorthair.” The registry specified this name for the cats of Siamese origin who had dotted coat patterns and non-traditional coat colors, different from those of Siamese cats.

Characteristics of Colorpoint Shorthairs

Physical characteristics. As you may understand from their name, cats of this breed have colors only on their “points,” meaning their extremities. While the bodies of colorpoints are more or less pale, their extremities (face, feet, ears, and tail) are darker. Cats of this breed are around 24 inches in length and weigh up to 14 pounds.

Most of the physical characteristics of colorpoint shorthairs  including their coat length, body style, pointed coat pattern, and even their personality  are similar to that of the Siamese cats. The only feature that points to their American shorthair ancestry is their wide range of non-traditional point colors. 

Colorpoint shorthair cats come in 16 colors, which belong to these three categories:

  • Solid (having a single color all over): cream point and red point
  • Parti-colored (having two or more different colors): chocolate-tortie point, lilac-cream point, seal-tortie point, and blue-cream point 
  • Lynx (similar to the tabby pattern): chocolate lynx point, lilac lynx point, seal lynx point, blue lynx point, cream lynx point, red lynx point, chocolate-tortie lynx point, lilac-cream lynx point, seal-tortie lynx point and blue-cream lynx point.

Colorpoints are known for their refined and elegant bearing. Just like their Siamese cousins, they have long, lean bodies and fine bone structures. You can easily recognize them by their distinct wedge-shaped heads that are set off by large, flaring ears and slanted, almond-shaped, vivid blue eyes. Their short-haired coats are glossy and finely textured. 

It is said that well-bred colorpoints are so similar to Siamese cats that a blindfolded person holding them both may not be able to tell them apart.

Temperament. Most breeders describe the personality of colorpoint shorthair cats as being extroverted. They are an intelligent, outgoing, and friendly breed. You may often see them lazing around and playing with the people in the family. 

However, what makes them great companions is their affectionate and loyal nature. As their owner, you might find them following you around the house most of the time. Colorpoints are also known to sense the mood of their owners. On a bad day, you might find your cat purring more softly and giving you extra attention.

The colorpoint shorthair is a very loud breed. They have over 100 vocal sounds, many more than other breeds. So, don’t be surprised if your cat produces some unusual sounds while meowing and purring. Colorpoints also have a sensitive side and often get nervous in unfamiliar environments as well as around strangers.

Caring for Colorpoint Shorthairs

GroomingJust like Siamese cats, colorpoints don’t require much grooming. To get rid of any loose hair, brush their coat weekly using a rubber brush. Give them a bath once in a while, whenever you find their coat turning dull. Moreover, make it a habit to trim your cat’s nails regularly to keep them short. 

Check your colorpoint’s ears regularly for any signs of redness or dirt buildup. If you find any debris in their ears, use a cotton ball and pet ear cleanser to gently clean their ears. Take your cat to the veterinarian if you find their ears swollen and red, or if you see them constantly scratching their ears or shaking their head.

ExerciseColorpoint shorthair cats have high energy. They love to jump, run, climb and play. To make sure they get enough exercise, you might need to make some changes in your house. Create artificial perches like kitty condos and cat trees where they can keep a lookout. You can also designate some high places in your house for them to climb.  

Like other breeds, colorpoints love scratching their backs. Besides being a natural urge, it’s also a fun activity for them. While cats tend to find their own scratching surfaces, you can also place specific objects (like cardboard scratchers) at different places in your house so that they don’t ruin your furniture. Since colorpoints are playful by nature, you may also want to buy several kinds of interactive toys to keep them busy and happy.

Training. Colorpoint shorthair cats are very intelligent and easy to train. Since they like being around humans, they respond well to gentle orders from a very young age. As soon as you bring your kitten, you can start their basic house training and command training. Thanks to their smart nature, colorpoints can easily be trained to play fetch and even perform some tricks. 

Nutrition. To maintain the lean and muscular body of your colorpoint, you should feed them specific amounts of protein-rich cat food regularly (two times a day if they’re an adult). Make sure you don’t leave food out for them all day, as it might encourage them to overeat. This could cause them to become overweight and lead to health issues like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. You may ask your breeder or veterinarian for guidance about the best food for your cat. 

Medical care. Like other cat breeds, colorpoints can get infected by viruses and bacteria. It’s possible that your cat may get health issues like rabies, rhinotracheitis, panleukopenia, and calicivirus-induced respiratory disorders. 

Moreover, various kinds of bugs and worms can infest your pet, including ticks, fleas, ear mites, whipworms, roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms. The good news is that most of these problems can be avoided by preventive medications. Your veterinarian can suggest these medicines during your cat’s regular checkups.

Health Problems To Watch For With Colorpoint Shorthairs

The colorpoint shorthair is a moderately healthy and robust breed that often lives 12 years or more. However, like other pedigreed cats, they can have these congenital issues: 

  • AsthmaThis condition can cause your colorpoint’s lungs and nasal passages to become narrow and inflamed. Symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and difficulty in breathing could point to the fact that your pet is developing asthma.
  • Amyloidosis. In this disease, amyloid protein deposits start building up in various organs. It can lead to high blood pressure and tissue damage as well as organ failure in severe cases.
  • Crossed eyes. In this condition, your cat’s eyeballs turn inwards towards the nose, giving them a cross-eyed look. Colorpoints can have this problem at the time of birth or can develop it later in life.
  • Congenital heart defects. Cats born with such conditions have problems in the structure of their hearts. This makes their hearts weaker and interferes with their functioning. 

Before buying a kitten, you should confirm with your breeders if the cats in their litter have or are prone to developing any of these problems.

Special Considerations for Colorpoint Shorthairs

Colorpoint shorthair cats are highly kid- and pet-friendly. They love to play with children, other cats, and even gentle dogs. However, if not trained well, the male cats can act aggressively toward other animals to show their dominance or defend their territory.

Since colorpoints crave human companionship, they can develop separation anxiety if left alone for a long time. So, they may not be the right breed for you if you stay out for work a lot or don’t like being bothered when at home, even by a pet. You may also want to avoid getting them if you like peace and quiet in your house. This is because colorpoint shorthairs are loud, and noisy, and tend to meow constantly to get their owner’s attention.

Also, keep in mind that colorpoints are not hypoallergenic. If you have cat allergies, talk to a doctor to confirm if getting them will worsen your situation.

History of Colorpoint Shorthair

The traditional colors of Siamese cats have always been chocolate, seal, blue, and lilac. During the 1940s, a few adventurous breeders in the United States and England decided that they wanted to create a Siamese with red points. To do so, they bred a seal point Siamese cat with a red tabby American shorthair cat. Their litter led to the origin of the colorpoint shorthair breed.

In 1964, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) awarded championship status to cream and red colorpoint shorthairs. The lynx and tortie colorpoints soon followed and received their championship status in 1969.

Colorpoints are recognized differently by different registries. For example, CFA, the Canadian Cat Association as well as the World Cat Federation recognize them as a stand-alone breed, different from the Siamese. However, the International Cat Association considers the colorpoint shorthair a part of the Siamese breed.

Show Sources

Photo Credits:

1. CarlSalonen / Getty Images


Cat Fanciers’ Association: “About the Colorpoint Shorthair.”

Europetnet: “Colorpoint Shorthair.”

Mascotarios: “Colorpoint shorthair cat.”

The Spruce Pets: “Colorpoint Shorthair: Cat Breed Profile, Characteristics & Care.”

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