Siamese cats are the 4th most popular breed of cat in the United States. Between their elegant beauty, keen wit, and sense of humor, it’s no wonder that they are so popular. My in-laws swear by them and won’t own any other breed of cat. I know that my in-laws are not alone, Siamese cats have quite the following. Let’s take a look at what makes Siamese cats so amazing.
Sleek Siamese Cats
Siamese cats are known for their distinctive look. One of their most striking features are their large, slanted blue eyes. Those almond-shaped eyes are as deep and expressive as they are beautiful. Siamese cats also have a short, silky coat with highly contrasting colors. The body tends to be a solid, lighter color while the points (mask, ears, legs, and tail) have a darker color. All Siamese cats are born white as they are part albino, but they develop their color over time. Siamese cats are found in the following color combinations:
- Seal Point – Dark brown, almost black points with an almost white body.
- Chocolate Point – Milk chocolate covered points with a creamy white colored body.
- Blue Point – Blue (slate gray) points with a bluish-white body.
- Lilac Point – Pinkish-gray points with a white body.
- Red/Flame Point – Orange-red points with a white body.
- Tortie Point – Points are a muttled combination of 2 or more colors with a lighter colored body.
- Lynx/Tabby Point – Points have tabby markings while the body is a lighter color.
Over time, 2 different styles of Siamese cats have emerged : Traditional and Modern. The Traditional style Siamese cats have a rounder body and an “apple-shaped” head. The Modern style Siamese cats have a much more slender body and a “wedge-shaped” head. In either variety, Siamese cats tend to have long legs and tails and large ears.
Notes on Health
Siamese cats are generally healthy cats. This breed is prone to being cross-eyed. Cross-eyed cats will have problems with depth perception and limited peripheral view. Kinked tails are also common to Siamese cats, but they don’t really cause any health problems. The Modern style Siamese cats are more prone to dental and respiratory issues due to the shape of their head.
Siamese Cats and the Kinky Tale
Legends were created about a feature that Siamese cats were originally known for – a kinked tail. The feature was eventually bred out of Siamese cats as it fell out of favor in the show ring, occasionally the kinked tail can still be seen. One legend claims that Siamese cats got their kinked tail as a result of helping a princess who didn’t want to loose her rings while she bathed. A second legend claims that Siamese cats got the kink in their tail after a very brave mother cat stood guard over a royal goblet in the woods. Her tail remained kinked from holding the goblet so tightly and when her kittens were born, they all had kinked tails too.
The History of Siamese Cats
While the complete history of Siamese cats is a bit of a mystery, we do know that the breed originated in Thailand (formerly known as Siam). The ancient Siamese people believed that the cats were sacred; Only buddhist monks and members of the royal family could own Siamese cats.
The first known writing about Siamese cats comes from a manuscript from the city of Ayudha known as The Cat-Book Poems. No one knows that date of the manuscript, only that it must have been written between 1350 and 1760. Drawings in the manuscript show long, slender cats with a pointed color pattern (seal point and blue point). The cats are described as having red eyes, but that may have been a misconception based on the color perceived as sunlight hits the eyes of Siamese cats.
Siamese cats made their way around the world when members of Thailand’s royalty began giving them to gifts to European dignitaries who visited Thailand. When Siamese cats showed up at the first official cat show in London, they were not well received. One judge is quoted as calling them “an unnatural, nightmare of a cat.” Luckily, the public liked them more than that judge did. They quickly became popular pets. The first Siamese cat arrived in the U.S. in 1878 when American Consul in Bangkok gifted him to President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Many of today’s favorite cat breeds are derived from Siamese cats. These breeds include the Balinese, Oriental Short Hair, Oriental Long Hair, Himalayan, Burmese, Tonkinese, Snowshoe, and Javanese. Debates still continue over whether the Traditional style of Siamese cats or the Modern style of Siamese cats is the original style.
Siamese cats make great family pets. They are outgoing, highly intelligent, curious, and playful. Other animals and children don’t phase them a bit. However, this may not be the cat for you if you don’t enjoy a good conversation with your kitty. Siamese cats love to talk and socialize with their people. They love to be with their people wherever their people go. These cats are so social, that it is recommended that you get more than one so they can keep each other company in your absence.