The History of the Cinnamons
The cinnamon colour has been known since the beginning of the century in the Sorrel (Red) Abyssinian breed, but it is only relatively recently that it has been introduced into the Siamese-type breeds.
In the 1960's, when Maureen Silson (Southview prefix) was breeding Tabby, Red and Tortie Point Siamese, another "experimental" line of breeding was suggested. In Guinea Pigs the combination of a red gene and the himalayan (Siamese-pointed) gene produced an animal which was albino in appearance and it was suggested that the same gene combination might produce a white cat.
It was well know that the combination of the sex-linked orange gene and the himalayan gene in cats did not produce a white cat - it produced a Red Point Siamese. The only other "red" gene in cats was the gene that produced the Sorrel Abyssinian (then known as the Red Abyssinian) so Maureen set out on a breeding programme to combine the genes and investigate this.
Pam Evely (Kernow prefix) mated her Seal Point Siamese, Annelida Fair Maid, to a Sorrel Abyssinian stud, Tranby Red Tutankhamen, and Maureen had the resulting kittens.
The male, Kernow Gerza, was a brown agouti (a chocolate ticked cat, intermediate in type between Siamese and Abyssinian) and the female, Kernow Koptos, was a black agouti. When these two were mated together they produced a kitten, Southview Pavane, who was registered as a Havana although she was far paler than any other Havana that Maureen had bred or seen. She grew up to be the beautiful light, rich colour that we now know as Cinnamon. Pavane was, so far as we know, the first cat in the UK to be bred in this new colour, so the early Cinnamons were known to their breeders as "Pavanes".
Maureen went on to mate her Cinnamons and cinnamon carriers to her Siamese and produced Cinnamon Points, thus proving that, whatever happens in Guinea Pigs, the combination did not produce white cats. She also proved that the light brown gene (bl), which produces the Sorrel Abyssinian and the Cinnamon, is allelic to the ordinary brown (chocolate) gene, and recessive to both black and brown.
This perfectly straightforward breeding programme was, unfortunately for the Cinnamons, complicated by two separate events at the time. In the USA there were "Albino Siamese" and Maureen was offered one. Since there were no cats in this country where the white coat was produced by a recessive gene, Maureen imported Anart's Miiko, who was then mated to the Southview cats, introducing the recessive white gene into the same lines as the cinnamon gene. Since the GCCF decided that the recessive white gene was undesirable, the Cinnamons were also set back for some time until some of the present breeding lines were cleared of the recessive white gene.
The other gene introduction was inadvertent: some Abyssinian lines carried the longhair gene. Unfortunately, Tranby Red Tutankhamen was a carrier and passed it on to at least one of the kittens Maureen had, and hence into the line that she continued to breed with. One of Pavane's kittens, Southview Trappist, was a "Longhaired Havana" whilst his litter brother, Southview Trapper, who looked like a normal Havana, was kept by Maureen as a stud.
The cinnamon gene was kept going by a few breeders, despite these problems, whilst today's UK Oriental Longhairs (Angoras) were developed from the longhaired descendants of these same cats.
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