Siamese Cats

Siamese Cats.

Siamese cats are beautiful, elegant, intelligent, and lovable. Siamese have a rich history and have contributed to the development of several other breeds. They have gained acceptance in all cat associations and have been shown in rings since the late 1800s. With a stunning appearance and affectionate personality, the Siamese kitten or adult cat makes a wonderful family companion.


History of Siamese Cats

siamese catsThe Siamese cat originated in Siam (now Thailand). The Siamese was first depicted in the ancient manuscript called, “Tamra Maew,” (Cat Poems). The text is estimated to have been written from the 14th to the 18th century. In 1878, the first documented Siamese cat reached the United States as a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes. The cat was named, “Siam,” and was gifted to the President by the American Consul in Bangkok.

In 1884, Edward Blencowe Gould, the British Consul-General, brought a breeding pair of Siamese cats named Pho and Mia back to Britain as a present for his sister, Lilian Jane Gould (who became Lilian Jane Veley after she married in 1895). In 1901, Lilian Jane Veley co-founded the Siamese Cat Club.

In 1885, Pho and Mia had three Siamese kittens named Kalohom, Duen Ngai, and Khromata. These Siamese kittens, along with their parents, were entered into the London Crystal Palace Show during that same year. The Siamese cats attracted attention at the Crystal Palace Show, but all three kittens passed away shortly after. The cause of death for the Siamese kittens is not documented.

Eva Forestier Walker and her sister, Ada, imported another pair of Siamese cats and their kittens to the UK by 1886. Cat fanciers imported several more cats, which formed the base for the entire Siamese cat breed in Britain during the following several years. It is believed that many of Britain’s Siamese cat population can be traced back to 11 of these imported cats.

The Siamese cat was originally medium-boned and in no way extreme in its appearance. The head, body, and tail were all medium in size. In the 1950s and 1960s, breeders and cat show judges began to prefer the more slender appearance of the Siamese cat. Eventually, the show Siamese cat was bred to be more slender with tubular bodies, long, thin legs, a very long and thin tail that tapers into a fine point, and a wedge-shaped head with very large ears.

By the 1980s, the traditional Siamese cat nearly disappeared from the judging rings at cat shows. However, breeders, especially in the UK, continued to breed and register them with cat associations. Today, there are two types of Siamese: the modern, “show-style,” Siamese and the, “traditional,” or, “old-style,” Siamese. The International Cat Association and the World Cat Federation now accept the traditional Siamese for show under the new breed of Thai.

The Siamese cat is a natural breed, occurring as a result of a genetic mutation. The Siamese cat has helped develop several other breeds of cats, including the Havana Brown, Oriental, Tonkinese, and Balinese.

Siamese are accepted by all cat associations. In the Cat Fanciers Association, seal point Siamese were the first to be recognized. The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the blue point Siamese in 1934, followed by the chocolate point. The lilac point Siamese cat was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1955. While The International Cat Association accepts Siamese in all colors, the Cat Fanciers Association only accepts the Siamese cat in seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac.

In 1990, the World Cat Federation began to accept the Thai breed for championship status. In 2007, the Thai breed was granted Preliminary New Breed status by The International Cat Association, and the breed was promoted to Advanced New Breed status in 2009.


Appearance of Siamese Сats

The show-style Siamese cat has an elongated, siamese catsmuscular body with a long neck and a thin tail that tapers into a fine point at its end. The breed has a wedge-shaped head, creating a triangle from the tip of its nose to the tips of the ears. The Siamese cat’s ears are big in size, irregular, and wide-set. The cat’s deep blue expressive eyes are perhaps the most striking feature of the breed. The eyes range from medium to large in size and have an oriental slant. The Siamese cat’s fur is short, glossy, and lies close to the body with no undercoat.

Many Siamese cats coming from Thailand had a kink in their tails. However, over time, this trait has come to be considered a flaw, and breeders have mostly eliminated it. Many street cats in Thailand still have kinked tails, though.

The Thai shares the Siamese cat’s pointed pattern, but the breed differs in head and body shape. The Thai has a medium-length body with medium legs, head, and tail. The Thai’s forehead is long and flat. The Thai’s face is more rounded than the Siamese’s, and its ears are broad-based and sit relatively high on the cat’s head.

Both the Thai and the Siamese cat have points. The pointed pattern is actually a form of partial albinism. This partial albinism is the result of a mutation in an enzyme called tyrosinase that plays a role in melanin production. Mutated tyrosinase is heat-sensitive; it doesn’t function at normal body temperature, but it becomes active in cooler parts of the body. This is why Siamese and Thai cats have darker coloration in their faces, tails, ears, and legs.

A Siamese kitten is born completely white or cream-colored. Siamese kittens develop points in their first few months of life. By the time a Siamese kitten reaches four weeks of age, his points should be clear enough to recognize what color he will be. Siamese tend to darken as they grow older. Those who live in warmer climates tend to be lighter in color than those who live in colder climates.

siamese catsInitially, most Siamese had seal points. Seal point Siamese have pale fawn bodies and dark brown, nearly black, points. Blue points are a genetic dilution of seal points. A blue point Siamese cat has slate blue points and a bluish-white body. Chocolate points are a genetic variation on seal points, and a Siamese cat with chocolate points has a cream-colored body with milk chocolate points. Lilac points are diluted chocolate points. Lilac Siamese have white bodies and pinkish-gray ears, face, legs, and tail.

A Siamese cat can have several other point colors. Red and tortoiseshell point Siamese were created by crossbreeding a Siamese cat with red or tortoiseshell British Shorthairs. Red point Siamese are also called flame point Siamese. Tabby or lynx point Siamese cats were created by crossbreeding seal point Siamese with a domestic tabby cat. The lynx point Siamese cat’s striped points can come in any color.


Siamese Personality

Siamese are loyal, social, and intelligent cats. If the siamese catsidea of a talkative busybody drives you crazy, a Siamese cat is not for you. Siamese are very talkative and will tell you all about their day when you get home from work. They expect you to listen and pay attention to them. They are highly intelligent and should not be left alone without something to entertain them. Otherwise, you might find your toilet paper unrolled when you return home.

Siamese are very social and do not do well being left alone for long periods of time. If you work outside the home, it would be wise to get two Siamese cats so they can keep each other company while you are gone. Siamese are a, “people cat,” and really love their humans. They tend to bond strongly with one person. They also get along well with children and other pets.

Siamese love to play. They will often play fetch for as long as they have someone to toss to them. They also enjoy interactive games involving fishing pole toys and laser pointers. Keep your Siamese cat’s mind active by giving her puzzle toys to play with. Puzzle toys in different sizes and shapes are available for purchase. Alternatively, you can make your own puzzle toys by cutting a few treat-sized holes into small containers that are easy for your cat to roll around. You can also keep your cat’s mind active by hiding treats around the house for her to hunt and find while you are gone.

Siamese cats love being warm. Provide your Siamese cat with plenty of comfortable beds and blankets he can curl up in and under. You may also want to consider getting your Siamese cat a heated or self-heating bed to enjoy. Don’t be surprised if your Siamese cat joins you in bed under the covers with his head on your pillow.

Don’t get a Siamese cat if you don’t want an interactive cat. Siamese love their people and will jump into your lap when you sit down and follow you around the house as you do your daily activities. Siamese cats can become depressed if they don’t have enough interaction with their people. In the right home, a Siamese cat can thrive for many years.


Siamese Health

Siamese cats are predisposed to some health conditions. For siamese catsinstance, Siamese are predisposed to developing amyloidosis. Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid, a type of protein, is deposited in organs throughout the body, which can interfere with their ability to function. Amyloid in the kidneys can result in chronic kidney disease whereas amyloid in the liver may result in hepatomegaly. Unfortunately, spontaneous rupture of the liver, resulting in fatal bleeding into the abdomen is not uncommon when amyloid is deposited in the cat’s liver.

The breed is also prone to aortic stenosis, the narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve controls the flow of blood from the cat’s left ventricle to the aortic ventricular outflow tract. Aortic stenosis is a congenital condition and can lead to complications. There are three types of aortic stenosis: valvular, which is present at the valve, supravalvular, which is present above the valve, and subvalvular, which is present below the valve.

Aortic stenosis usually occurs over the first few weeks or months of a cat’s life, but symptoms can occur at any age depending on the severity of the condition. Symptoms include abnormal lung sounds, a sudden loss of consciousness, rapid breathing, congestive heart failure, and difficulty breathing.

Siamese are also more prone to developing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, as well as dental problems. The breed is also more prone to developing certain types of cancer, such as mammary cancer as well as other congenital heart problems, bladder stones, and eye conditions, such as glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy.

Every Siamese cat is an individual, and no breeder can guarantee you a completely healthy cat for life. However, you should not purchase a Siamese kitten from a breeder who does not guarantee a kitten’s health. Visit the breeder, and ask a lot of questions before you buy a Siamese kitten from her. Responsible breeders will be happy to educate you about your new Siamese kitten. Many breeders will not allow you to take your Siamese kitten home until he is 16 weeks old. This allows the Siamese kitten to wean off his mother and receive his first set of vaccinations. You will need to take your Siamese kitten to the veterinarian for the rest of his vaccinations.


Grooming and Care of Siamese Cats

The breed’s short coat doesn’t need much siamese catsmaintenance. A weekly brushing is sufficient for helping your Siamese cat remove loose fur. Due to the fact that Siamese cats are more prone to dental problems, it is especially important that you brush your Siamese’s teeth regularly. Daily teeth brushing is preferable, but weekly teeth brushing is much better than nothing. You can find cat toothpaste at your local pet store. Do not use toothpaste for humans on your cat’s teeth as it is toxic to cats. If you cannot brush your cat’s teeth, try feeding her some dental cat treats or putting a dental additive in her water instead.

It is always best to keep your Siamese cat indoors. Many dangers lurk outdoors for cats. Keeping your Siamese cat indoors reduces the chance that he will contract feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia (FeLV), diseases that can be passed to your cat from other cats who live outdoors. Additionally, vehicles, other people, and parasites are other outdoor dangers your cat can avoid by living indoors. If you do allow your Siamese cat to go outside, it’s recommended that you keep your cat on a harness and leash, always supervising his time outside.


Children and Other Pets

Siamese are social cats and do well with children who siamese catstreat them kindly. Getting a pet is a great way to teach your child about how to treat animals with respect. A Siamese cat also gives you the opportunity to teach your child responsibility. Having your child feed and water your Siamese cat daily or scoop the litter box are great ways to help your child learn responsibility. Siamese also tend to get along well with other cats as well as cat-friendly dogs. Siamese are natural fetchers, so playing a game of fetch with your dog and cat is a great way to bond with your pets.


Siamese Breed Contributions

The Siamese cat has contributed to the formation of siamese catsmany other cat breeds.

Balinese: The Balinese is a long-hair version of the Siamese cat. The Balinese occurred as a natural mutation of the Siamese cat.

Bengal: The Bengal is a hybrid cat breed and was created by breeding a Siamese and an Asian leopard cat.

Birman: The Birman cat breed nearly died out during World War II. French breeders reconstructed the Birman cat through interbreeding with various breeds of cats, one of them being the Siamese. The modern Birman inherited its point color from the Siamese cat.

Burmese: The Burmese is descended from one cat, Wong Mau. Joseph Cheesman Thompson found her in Burma in 1930. Wong Mau was brought to San Francisco and was bred with Siamese. Burmese were considered a form of Siamese for many years.

Colorpoint Shorthair: The Cat Fanciers Association only accepts the four traditional Siamese colors: blue, lilac, chocolate, and seal point. They created a new breed of cat for Siamese who have different colored points, such as red, tortoiseshell, and lynx points. These cats fall under the Colorpoint Shorthair breed.

Havana Brown: The Havana Brown was created by crossbreeding a chocolate point Siamese cat with a black cat.

Himalayan: The Himalayan is a long-haired breed the Siamese cat has also contributed to. Siamese were used to help create the chocolate and lilac points of the Himalayan breed.

Javanese: In the Cat Fanciers Association, the Javanese is referred to as a Colorpoint Longhair.

Ocicat: An Ocicat is a beautiful spotted cat that was originally created by crossbreeding a Siamese cat and an Abyssinian cat.

Oriental Shorthair: An Oriental Shorthair is a Siamese-style cat, but it does not have any points. The Oriental Shorthair comes in tortoiseshell, silver/smoke, tabby, and solid colors.

Oriental Longhair: An Oriental Longhair is a long-haired version of the Oriental Shorthair.

Savannah: The Savannah is another hybrid breed. It was created by crossbreeding a serval cat with domestic cats, the first being a Siamese.

Snowshoe: The Snowshoe has blue eyes, some points, and a white or cream body. It was created in the 1960s by crossbreeding the bi-colored American Shorthair and the Siamese.

Thai: The Thai is a traditional Siamese and was imported from Thailand in the 19th century. It is also referred to as the old-style Siamese.

Tonkinese: Tonkinese were created by crossbreeding Siamese and Burmese. Tonkinese cats often have aqua eyes.

siamese cats


Siamese in the Media

Siamese have starred in movies and books as main and supporting siamese catscharacters for decades.

That Darn Cat: In 1965, a Siamese cat starred in the Walt Disney film That Darn Cat. The movie stars Hayley Mills and Dean Jones as well as a Siamese cat named DC. The movie is about bank robbers, a kidnapping, and a mischievous Siamese cat. It is based on the 1963 book Undercover Cat by Gordon and Mildred Gordon.

Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat: The animated series, Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat is based off of the novel bearing the same name by Amy Tan. The series is set around 1840 during the Qing Dynasty. Sagwa is an adventurous Siamese cat who has a lot of fun in her daily life while teaching children valuable life lessons. The show was produced by executive producers Michael Lemire and George Daugherty and producers Leon G. Arcand and David Ka Lik Wong. The show premiered in September, 2001 and was canceled in 2002, airing a total of 40 episodes on PBS Kids.

The Incredible Journey: In The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, three pets journey 250 miles through the Canadian wilderness to find their way back home. One of the pets is a Siamese cat named Tao. The book was made into a film in 1963.

Lady and the Tramp: Two Siamese cats named Si and Am make an appearance in the Disney movies Lady and the Tramp and Lady and the Tramp II.

The Aristocats: This Disney film features a Siamese cat named Shun Gon. Shun Gon has a Chinese accent and is a member of the Scat Cat gang. The movie revolves around a family of aristocratic cats and how an acquaintance alley cat helps them after they are kidnapped by a butler who wants his mistress’ fortune that’s intended to go to the cats. The story is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe.

The Cat Who: The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun features two Siamese cats named Koko and Yum Yum. In the series, Koko and Yum Yum help their owner, John Qwilleran, solve mysteries. The series contains 29 books.


Siamese Legends

siamese catsThere are various legends about the Siamese and how they got crossed eyes, kinks in their tails, and their stunning blue eyes.

Golden Goblet: The Golden Goblet legend explains why some Siamese cats have crossed eyes and kinks in their tails. The legend goes that once, long ago, there was a war that required all the men in Siam (now Thailand) to fight and defend their country. Two Siamese cats were left behind to guard a very valuable golden goblet that had been used by Buddha. The two cats spent a few romantic days together, but the male cat got bored and left the temple to indulge in other pleasures. The female Siamese cat, who was now expecting Siamese kittens, was left to guard the goblet alone.

She fixed her eyes upon the goblet and watched it constantly. To guard the goblet while she slept, she wrapped her tail around the goblet’s stem. She hoped that the men would return home before her kittens were due. With all the staring she did while guarding the goblet, she developed crossed eyes, and her tail became permanently kinked due to the time she had curled it around the goblet’s stem. Unfortunately, the men did not return from the war before her Siamese kittens were born. Her kittens were born with crossed eyes and kinked tails. To this day, some Siamese have kinked tails and crossed eyes.

The Princess and the Ring Stand: The Princess and the Ring Stand is another legend that explains why some Siamese have kinked tails. The legend goes that a Siamese Princess of the Royal Household loved to swim. Everyday she would travel to her favorite bathing pool. Her faithful Siamese cat accompanied her. To protect her rings, she would take them off, and put them on her cat’s tail. The cat would bend her tail in order to keep the rings from falling off. Gradually, over many years, the cat got a permanent kink in her tail. Some Siamese cats are still born with kinks in their tails as a result.

The Lion and the Monkey: The legend of The Lion and the Monkey explains how Siamese cats came about. When Noah built his ark, he filled it with two of each animal on the earth. As the days of rain turned into weeks, some of the animals on the ark got bored. A monkey saw a lioness and fell in love with her. They mated, and Siamese kittens were born as a result.

Alter Guards: Another legend explains why the Siamese cat has blue eyes. The legend goes that once there was a temple where Siamese cats lived. The temple included a sacred alter containing many valuable treasures. One day, some robbers came and stormed the temple, driving all the monks away. The robbers thought they were free to steal the treasures from the alter, but when they approached the alter, they discovered Siamese cats guarding it. The cats showed the robbers their sharp teeth and claws. This threat was enough to drive the robbers away. When the monks returned to the temple, they saw that the Siamese now had blue eyes, the heavenly color. Siamese cats are born with blue eyes due to the courageous act of the cats in the temple who protected the sacred alter.

Siamese cats have a long and rich history. They are elegant and beautiful. Both the old-style and
show-style Siamese have points that come in a variety of colors. If you want a talkative, intelligent, social, and affectionate cat that interacts with you frequently, a Siamese kitten or adult cat may be right for you.

siamese cats


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