(Pictures below)
The cat is a female cat with blue eyes. I used to think that the off-white (creamy?) color on her back could be considered a red, which would make her some kind of weird calico, but I’ve never been entirely sure and it bothers me. I began to think not too long ago that she had some colorpoint in her because she has black on her tail and face and I have heard that there can be “broken” colorpoint patterns. I had the impression that a colorpoint pattern could only look one way, so that knowledge changed my view quite a bit. She is definitely a mixed breed or moggie cat. I’m not interested in breeds; I just want to know what color or pattern this is.
I’ve known her since she was a kitten, but I don’t remember how she looked. I found a picture (also below) that may or may not be her, but might prove that she’s part colorpoint. Since the kitten does not have her dark markings, it never occurred to me that it was her. However, it does match up with the time frame (in late August 2020 she was born and the picture was taken around October 2020).
It probably doesn’t count for much, but she also had a litter of two kittens: a calico and a male red harlequin. All the red in her family made me think that she must just be a very light colored red as well.

Would love for someone to clear this up for me. I don’t know if you can just tell from a picture or not, but any answer would be appreciated.

side view

face & tail markings

darker spots along back

old picture, possibly the same cat?

  • 1
    It’s just a strange-looking van pattern, I believe. Some of the information I give here (like “broken” colorpoint patterns) is probably false and I was just thinking of Ragdoll cats. She’s also a calico, to answer my other question.
    – MGL
    Jun 7, 2023 at 9:06
  • I like to call these either "pirate" or "phantom" patterns, but that's just me. Very beautiful though :)
    – bgse
    Jun 7, 2023 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


She is clearly at minimum a type of calico cat, as she has patches of both black and cream, with the white belly. The calico markings make it much more difficult to determine whether she also has color point markings, as it is possible she just turned out with black patches on the tail and face coincidentally, but from the photo I think it is also possible she does.

Color point kittens are born a uniform color and acquire the point pattern as they age. This is because the point pattern is caused by a gene that makes different amounts of pigmentation based on the temperature of the hair follicle. In the womb, the kittens are pretty much one temperature all over. As they age, new fur grows in. Parts of the cat that are naturally cooler end up more pigmented.

The possible photo you have of her as a kitten may be evidence of her being born a uniform color, as her coat did look much lighter in the face.

There are also degrees of the color point gene. Some cats have some amount of coloration, but less, on the body. In Tonkinese cats, the sort of in-between point and solid coloration is known as "mink," though this isn't a universal term between cat breeds, as for other breeds "mink" may mean something else entirely. Also, the average temperature of the environment can make her body lighter or darker. So the fact that you can see distinct albeit light patches on her back does not rule out that she could have point coloration.

If you know anything about the mother's background, it may help to make a determination. The point gene is a recessive trait. If mom does not show point markings, she has to be at least a mixed breed cat in order for your cat to be showing point markings.

Your cat's blue/blueish eyes are also supporting evidence that she may very well have Siamese genes in her background. Blue eyes of course aren't terribly common in your regular street cat, but it is a Siamese trait, and Siamese is surely the most common breed that has blue eyes. Furthermore, the color point gene actually has an effect on eye color, making them turn out blue. If your cat did not have blue/blueish eyes, then you could rule out the possibility that she has color point markings. (Mink Tonkinese cats have aqua or blueish eyes rather than the full blue of a point Tonkinese, so the eye color could be a little less blue if the point gene is less pronounced.)

You can't necessarily infer anything from her siblings' appearance, as kittens from the same litter can have different fathers.

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