|Left: Dori with her blue eyes. She looks very much like her sire, Buki. Dori has had 2 litters. The first sire was not a pointed carrier. The second litter she had 2 pointed kittns!|
Interesting notes about this gene: Blue eyes are also the norm for pointed (and pointed and white) kittens. The partial albinism gene that causes the coloration, also causes the eyes to remain blue.The color is actually the result of light being reflected back from the retina.
Also,any cat with the pointed gene,is born white because of this gene that produces partial albinism. However, a genetic mutation of this gene restricts coloring to the cats' extremities, including the facial mask, legs and tail. This mutation affects the enzymes that produce pigment in the fur, but the amount of pigment these enzymes produce is greatly affected by temperature.
Temperatures of 98 degrees Fahrenheit or greater cause the enzymes to produce almost no discernible coloring in the hair shafts on the cat's main body. However, the cat's extremities are generally cooler than the body, so the enzymes do produce coloring in these areas.
Combine this heat sensitive enzymatic action with other modifying genes, and the results are the various color point patterns seen in Siamese cats.
So, why are pointed kittens born white? The temperature inside the womb exceeds 98 degrees Fahrenheit, so color production is retarded. The enzymes don't become fully operational until the kittens are a bit older. Experienced breeders can make an educated guess at the color outcome of a breeding, but won't be able to tell for sure which color a kitten will be for approximately 3 weeks.