Siamese are one of the most recognizable cats in the world. We all remember that scene in “Lady and the Tramp” when the two Siamese Cats slinked out of the basket to wreak havoc on Lady’s home and then cleverly blamed her for the damage. While Siamese Cats don’t have an evil bone in their bodies, the film captured this unique breed’s intelligence and mischievous nature.
The Siamese Cat is clever, playful, and curious. But what they love more than anything is spending time with you. This cat will never leave your side, chatting with you quite animatedly as you go about your day. If you don’t mind their raspy cat yowls, the Siamese is the perfect companion for any family looking for a devoted, loving addition to the household.
Siamese Cat Breed Origin & History
The Siamese is one of the oldest domestic cat breeds in history. This svelte and slinky cat originated in Siam (now Thailand), living in palaces and temples. Religious leaders in the community kept Siamese as treasured companions, using this feline to guard valuables in Buddhist temples.
So how long ago was this exactly? A manuscript written in Siam between 1350 c.e. and 1767 c.e. — known as the Cat-Book Poems — depicted slim cats with pale coats and dark coloring on their ears, face, tail, and paws. This is the oldest document about cats in existence, meaning Siamese were around even before the first cats were written about!
Even though the Siamese was rarely given to outsiders, records indicate that the coveted kitty was exported to Britain in the 1800s. The Siamese was shown at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871. Its unique looks shocked the public, who was accustomed to heftier breeds. A journalist called the Siamese “an unnatural, nightmare kind of cat.”
But the British public didn’t agree! The Siamese quickly became a popular breed in the region, with cat fanciers enamored with their crossed eyes (not considered a flaw at the time). In 1892, the Siamese was described a bit differently. Now they were called “striking” with an “admired svelte appearance” and even “distinguished.”
Siamese Cats made their way to the United States in 1878. The first Siamese imported to the US lived in the White House, owned by first lady Lucy Hayes. This was the first attempt to send a Siamese to America, according to the letter archived at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
Siamese Cat Breed Personality
The Siamese is just as well known for its personality as it is for its unique appearance. One thing that almost everyone knows about the Siamese is their loud and quirky vocalization. It’s often described as a yowl or rasp. And you’ll hear it everywhere. This cat never misses the opportunity to make their opinion heard.
In the shower? They’ll remind you to wash behind your ears. Cooking? Don’t forget the olive oil! Reading? Did you hear about what happened in the next chapter!?
Did you know that cats don’t meow to other cats — only humans? Siamese constantly talk to you because they love interacting with their humans.
Siamese will follow you from room to room, hoping to be involved in every activity you do. They are so attached to their family that several breeders compare them to having a human child.
Beware of the Lone Siamese
Siamese Cats have a strong devotion to their family. But that means they thrive on attention from you as well. This isn’t a cat that will tolerate being alone for long hours at a time. If you are often away from home for work or travel, the Siamese will turn destructive.
This is destruction unlike you’ve ever seen before. Siamese are incredibly intelligent and clever. No area of your home is off-limits to this feisty feline. They will figure out ways to open almost everything in your home (cabinets, doors, drawers) — even with baby locks. Trust me; I’ve tried!
Get Ready to Play!
Siamese Cats are very active. You will need to set aside time to play with this rambunctious kitty daily. They are agile and determined, always finding new ways to entertain you with their hilarious antics. Whether it’s chasing after jingly balls or flipping for ribbons, the Siamese seems never to grow bored of playing with you.
Siamese Characteristics (Physical)
Siamese Cats are graceful, elegant, and svelte felines that stand out from the crowd due to their one-of-a-kind characteristics and striking blue eyes. Refined and balanced, the Siamese’s breed standards from the Cat Fanciers’ Association discusses the cat’s unique coat pattern and interesting facial features.
Weighing 8-15 pounds, Siamese Cats are a medium-sized breed. They are a “distinctive combination of fine bones and firm muscles.” Together, these features create a sleek and tubular body. Their body is long and thin, as is their tail, completing a harmonious feline form.
The Siamese’s head is a long tapering wedge. It starts at the nose and then flares out in straight lines to the tip of the ears, forming a triangle.
They have a very striking bone structure and a long, straight nose. The Siamese has a fine muzzle and flat skull, continuing the wedge shape appearance. Their ears are “strikingly large.”
The Siamese Cat has medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes. They are slanted towards the nose. While many Siamese have crossed eyes, that is not the breed standard. Their eyes should be a deep and vivid blue.
Legs & Paws
The Siamese has long and slim legs to match their lean body. Their hind legs are higher than the front. Their paws are dainty and small, with five toes in the front and four on the back feet.
The Siamese’s coat is short, fine, and textured. There should be a very dramatic contrast between their body coat and points. The points on their mask, ears, legs, feet, and tail should be much darker. Here are the coat patterns that are allowed:
- Seal point: Cream or fawn body, warm in tone. The points should be dark brown.
- Chocolate point: Their body should be ivory with no shading. Their points should be a warm milk chocolate color.
- Blue point: Bluish-white body with a cold tone. It should shade gradually to white on the chest. The points are a deep blue.
- Lilac point: The CFA describes their body as “glacial white.” Their points are a “frosty grey” with a partially pink undertone.
Siamese Cats usually live between 10 and 12.5 years. Sixty-eight percent of Siamese Cats live over ten years old. Forty-two percent live more than 12 years. The oldest Siamese on record was a male cat named Scooter. He lived to be 30!
Siamese Health Problems
Like all purebred felines, Siamese Cats carry some hereditary diseases. Always adopt your Siamese kitten from a reputable and registered breeder who can guarantee the health of their litters.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive retinal atrophy is a disease that leads to blindness. It’s most common in Siamese, Abyssinian cats, and other oriental cats. PRA occurs when the photoreceptors in your cat’s retinas degenerate over time. You’ll notice a decline or total blindness around four to five years old.
The most common complication of this condition is kidney disease, usually developing around six years old. Your Siamese will get a very fragile liver thanks to an unfortunate gene mutation.
Asthma and bronchial disease are common lower respiratory disorders in cats. They are especially prevalent in Siamese Cats. You’ll usually see it develop between two and eight years old.
Abnormal development of the hip joints leads to lameness. Siamese Cats with this condition might limp, avoid jumping, or have a decreased range of motion. They will be lethargic since they can’t move without pain. They might also appear irritated or aggressive.
Siamese Cat Breed Care
Siamese Cats have a short coat that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. Still, it doesn’t hurt to brush them weekly. This gets rid of any excess fur, limiting their shedding and hairballs.
You should also check your Siamese Cat’s big ears for dirt and wax buildup. Gently wipe away anything you see with a vet-approved wipe or cotton swab dipped in water and vinegar. Also, trim your cat’s nails if they get too long. Brush their teeth daily to avoid dental complications for your cat, something that can be common in Siamese cats.
Siamese Cats should be left indoors. An indoor lifestyle protects your kitty from diseases feral cats may be carrying, as well as cars, dogs, and predators. Cat nappers might also want to get their hands on your Siamese because of their distinct appearance.
Always look for cat food with quality ingredients. The first ingredient should always be protein, like turkey, salmon, or chicken. Avoid brands where the first ingredient is something like “chicken meal.”
Another thing to avoid is cat food heavy in carbohydrates, including wheat and corn. These ingredients are often called “fillers” because cats don’t need them in their diet. In fact, it’s often what makes cats overweight or allergic to their food.
A healthy alternative is wet food. Canned food has no carbohydrates. Instead, it contains over 70% water. Wet food is a great way to give your cat the liquids they need to ensure they don’t become dehydrated.
Children & Other Pets
Siamese get along with dogs and children, but they should be supervised. They will let a younger child know they don’t like something, whether it be pulling their tails or playing with their ears. Make sure kids understand how to properly handle a cat before allowing them to interact with them.
Once your Siamese Cat knows they can trust this little human, they will become fast playmates. Kids love to watch Siamese run around for toys. Their entertaining antics also make them perfect friends for dogs that want a pal to fool around with.
Siamese almost always need a companion, especially if you aren’t going to be home all day. Getting two Siamese is a great choice, although you need to be aware of some mischief here and there. More often than not, you’ll catch the pair cuddling on the couch together in an adorable pile of fur.
More About This Breed
The Siamese Cat is an old, sacred breed, and many legends surround it. One story tells the tale of a Siamese temple cat in charge of guarding a valuable vase. The Siamese curled its tail around the vase, watching it so closely that their eyes became permanently crossed.
There are two types of Siamese variations: Extreme and Old-Style. Extreme describes the cat’s original look, which is sleek and thin with an elongated head. Old-Style refers to Siamese with rounder, heavier bodies, and an “applehead.” Breeders often argue about which version is the “original” body type of the Siamese, as depicted in the old tales and drawings.
Whether you prefer the rounder Siamese or its thinner counterpart, there’s no denying that every Siamese Cat has a spunky personality and a loyal devotion to its family. Vocal and expressive, the Siamese is a quirky feline breed that loves cuddling on your lap just as much as chasing a feathery toy — as long as it’s with you!