Long ago in a place that is currently known as Thailand a mutation occurred in the native cats. It may be surprising for some to hear that Siamese, Tonkinese and Burmese are basically black cats with one tiny difference, they carry a genetic mutation on the color locus of their gene. With the magic and infinite wisdom known only to mother nature she bestowed upon some of these poor black cats who were suffering in the intense heat a mutation that lightened their coats lessening the absorption of the suns heat. The brown cats were cooler than the black cats, the lighter brown cats were cooler than the dark brown cats, the cream colored cats were cooler still and the white cats, cool as a cucumber. The mutation affects all the pigment in the body and the eyes became lighter as well.
Another really cool ( ok pun intended) thing about this mutation is its ability to regulate depending on the ambient temperature. The darker points on the extremities of these cats are because those are the coolest parts of the body. The warmer parts of the body are considerably lighter and the warmest parts, the throat, the belly and groin even lighter still. When kittens first come out of the even and consistent warmth of the womb they are so much lighter than they are as adults, light brown for the solid, light tan for the mink and solid white for the pointed. Within days of arriving in the air they start to darken. It is also interesting to note the cats in Thailand are much lighter than their New England counter parts, that is simply because Thailand is much warmer than here. When the cats come over here their color changes. As the seasons turn and the cats shed and regrow their coat they slowly get darker to absorb more of the suns warmth. And anyone who has been thru a New England winter can understand the benefit of absorbing as much of the suns warmth as possible.