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The Thai cat emerged from an already existing cat breed, the Siamese. As the Siamese cat breed continued to develop in the direction of a graceful cat type, the stronger, original type of the Siamese cat was recognized as an independent breed. The “Thai” breed was born.

History of the Breed

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When the modern Siamese cat breed preferred an ever-slimmer, long-legged type, the demand for “Siamese cats of the old type” increased at the same time. Many breeders and cat lovers preferred the more rounded, more robustly built type of pedigree cat – thus the “Thai cat” was born. The goal: to preserve the original type of masked cat from Thailand. The breed was known in the English-speaking area Old Style Siamese has been recognized by the umbrella organization TICA under the name “Thai” since 2007. By the way, in Thailand, the Thai Cat is known as the “Wichienmaat”!

The origin of the Thai cat lies in the Siamese breed. Both races come from what was then Siam, located in what is now Thailand. The Wichienmaat, a house cat with a striking point color and bright blue eyes, has been valued as a pet there for over 700 years. At the end of the 18th century, the first Siamese cats came to England with seafarers and colonists and from there to the USA. They caused a sensation – this was particularly true of a Siamese cat exhibited at the Crystal Palace in 1871. When the Siamese King Chulalongkorn gave a Siamese couple to the British Consul General in 1884, this was the starting signal for modern Siamese cat breeding in Europe. “Pho” and “Mia” were the first parents of the new breed. In 1892 the first breeding standard for the “Royal Cat of Siam” was created. In 1901 the “Siamese Cat Club” was founded in England. In Germany, systematic breeding did not begin until 1927. Due to the low Siamese cat population and breeding with correspondingly few animals, however, there was a high inbreeding factor and the development of the genetic defects of the breed that are still predominant today.

Globalization made it easier to import animals from Asia, which is why Siamese have been bred worldwide on a large scale since the middle of the 20th century. In doing so, certain types of color were specifically developed and further bred. At the same time, the pursuit of an even more graceful, long-legged type of Siamese began: The Siamese of the 1950s were on average more delicate and thinner than the cats originally imported as Thailand. While many feline lovers preferred the new type, others missed the breed’s more temperate, rugged appearance. But the traditional Siamese was only found sporadically in the 1960s, and later it was even excluded from cat shows. In the 80s, the first breed clubs were established that specifically dedicated themselves to the original, traditional type of Siamese. In 1990 this was recognized as an independent breed under the name “Thai” by the World Cat Federation. At the turn of the millennium, Thai breeders began importing more animals from Thailand to expand the breed’s gene pool and preserve the point cat’s original appearance. In 2009 the Thai was also recognized by the TICA as a separate breed. Today the Thai cat can be bred independently or mated with Siamese cats.

Appearance

It is no wonder that the Thai cat is often confused with the Siamese. After all, Thai cat breeding has its origins in breeding the Siamese! Often referred to as the “Siamese of the old type”, these animals are outwardly similar to the Siamese, but are a little stronger and more rounded than the modern Siamese. According to the breed standard, the clear distinction from the extreme type of the Siamese is important: The Thai cat should correspond to its ancestors from Southeast Asia and the traditional type of the Siamese in its harmonious personality and moderate appearance.

The Thai cat is a shorthair cat of the oriental type. She is athletically built, but not overly slim like the Siamese. Good proportions and a muscular neck give it a solid structure. The head shape of the Thai is particularly characteristic: A long, flat forehead merges into a round skull and a well-proportioned muzzle. The chin and nose mirror form a straight line, the ears are set wide apart and set high. These ears and the shape of the head are some of the great distinguishing features of the Siamese. The fur of the Thai cat is adapted to its country of origin in Southeast Asia: with only a little undercoat, its fur is soft and silky. It’s short but doesn’t lie flat against the body.

Nevertheless, the Thai cat cannot deny its relationship to the Siamese. It is not for nothing that they are also called the “traditional Siamese cat”! Just like the Siamese, Thai cats are “point cats”. The cold body tips, also called “points”, are colored in the darker basic color, while the rest of the cat’s body appears lighter. This coloring is one of the most important breed standards for the breed. Still, point coloring isn’t the only standout feature of the Thai cat. Like many point cats, the Thai has bright blue eyes. According to the breed standard of the Siamese and the Thai, the almond-shaped eyes are clear and bright, while they glow intensely blue.

Thai Cat Colors

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Thai cats belong to the so-called “mask cats” or “point cats”. The basic color of the cat can be seen in the cold body tips, the so-called “points”. The cause of the discoloration of the body’s fur is now known: a mutation that leads to a deficient function of the enzyme tyrosinase and thus disrupts the production of the pigment melanin, which leads to what is known as “partial albinism”. According to the genetic basis, every coat color can also appear as a point color. Thai and Siamese cats aren’t the only point cats in the breeding world. The Birman, Ragdoll, and Neva Masquerade have similar coloration.

According to the breed standard, a light white is preferred as the body color of the Thai – but more important than the color itself is the uniformity of body and point color. There are up to 100 color combinations, the point colors black and red and their dilutions “Blue” and “Cream” as well as “Chocolade” and “Cinnamon” and their dilution “Lilac” and “Fawn” are particularly popular.

The colors of the Siamese and Thai are designated as follows, depending on the basic color:

  • Seal-point: Thai and Siamese cats in Seal-point have a black basic color. The rest of the body appears lighter.
  • Blue-point: A black base color is diluted to “blue”
  • Chocolate-point: Thai cats in chocolate-point have a brown base color that only prevails in the point tips
  • Cinnamon-point: Red basic color of a Thai cat, only visible in the point tips
  • Fawn-point: The basic color “Cinnamon” is diluted to “Fawn”
  • Lilac-point: “Lilac” is the name given to the thinning of brown – here it is of course only visible in the point tips
  • Red-point: Siam and Thai Red-point have a red basic color
  • Creme-point: The name of red is called “cream” – Thai Creme-point have cream-colored points

But that’s not all! Modifying the individual hues creates further interesting colors. The extent to which these are recognized for breeding depends on the decision of the individual breeding associations. Here are some examples:

  • Silver: In “silver” Thai cats, a genetic modification interrupts the complete coloration of the individual hair by suppressing pigment formation. Only the upper hair areas, in extreme cases only the tips of the hair, are colored. As a result, the coat color appears silvery. A corresponding seal-point cat with a corresponding silver modification is called a
  • Thai seal-silver point.
  • Tortie: Also known are combinations with red in the form of a tortoiseshell color, called “tortie”.
  • Tabby: The point tips can even have stripes! These are listed as “tabby” in the color name. The so-called “Lynx-Point” is allowed in Thai breeding as long as the basic color contrasts well with the point color.
  • White: As with the Siamese, there is also a continuous white coloration in the Thai cat, called “Foreign White”. The white coat color of the Foreign White is returned by an additional gene for “epistatic white” in combination with the point mutation. Due to the lack of point coloring, the animals appear pure white.
  • Bicolor and tricolor: The point coloring can be covered almost completely or partially with white by spotting. The result is two-tone Thai cats, in which the point coloring is combined with a white piebald. Tricolor Thai cats show a combination of the point color, tortie, and white spotting.

Thai Cat Temperament

Not only the appearance of the Thai cat is unique. Just like Siamese, Thai cats are extremely friendly, open-minded, and people-loving. The above-average litter numbers of four to six kittens are most likely the reason why the Thai are particularly sociable. The active, intelligent animals follow “their” humans at every turn and loudly involve them in conversations. Many Thai cat lovers report that life with a Thai is similar to everyday life with small children: Thai cats are curious just like Siamese cats. They examine everything and nothing is safe from them!

The social Thai cats need daily address and contact with fellow cats so that they do not get lonely. They enjoy grooming together with fellow cats just like fishing games and like to cuddle with their fellow cats for the rest of their lives. They are therefore not suitable as a single cat. Like many oriental cat breeds, Thai cats are more dominant. The selection of the right cat partner should therefore be carefully considered. Depending on the character of the cat, quieter types of cats are suitable as roommates. Littermates are an alternative. They are used to each other, are similar in character and attitude, and are ideal playmates and life companions!

Care, Nutrition, and Husbandry

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Thai cats are active, intelligent cats. As such, they want to be promoted around the clock! They are not suitable for pure housing. A secure garden or balcony, in contrast to keeping things in the house, gives you the opportunity to let off steam and let your joy of exploration run free. Since Thai cats are considered to be curious and intelligent, you should offer your Thai cat enough variety. Intelligence toys, for example, are suitable for this. Furthermore, the cats should be offered retreat options such as cat tunnels or playhouses. Scratching furniture, such as a multi-story scratching post, should also be available so that your Thai cat can really let off steam.

The gregarious, social Thai stunted in a solitary position. It is therefore advisable to buy a second cat, the temperament of which corresponds to your Thai cat. They join a cat partner as well as their human family. The Thai cat likes to include this in her everyday life – she loves to play with her human, cuddle and involve him in long conversations! If you can pay enough attention to your Thai cat and make sure that it does not get boring, you offer it the best conditions for a healthy cat life.

Diseases

Due to the prevailing inbreeding in the early Siamese cat breeding history, some genetic diseases and malformations appear in the Thai cat. These include a recessively inherited kinky tail and the formation of a water head. Watered Thai cats usually die soon after birth. The cause of this malformation is not yet known, but it is known that it is inherited recessively. This means: even cats that are not affected by a certain trait can pass this on. If both parents have the predisposition, the kittens will suffer from the corresponding disease.

Thai cats often suffer from retinal atrophy. In this disease, which is also known to Abyssinians, the retina of the eye is destroyed by local metabolic disorders in the tissue. As a rule, visual disturbances occur from the age of two, the first sign being sudden night blindness. The partial albinism due to a disruption of the melanin metabolism is most likely the reason for frequent squinting in Siamese and Thai cats. As a rule, however, the animals are hardly restricted by this.

The endocardial fibroelastosis that occurs in Thai cats is characterized by a thickening of the inner heart wall. This can spread to the heart valves and often leads to heart failure. As with the common ductus arteriosus, the actual cause is not yet known. The persistent ductus arteriosus is a failure to close the short-circuit connection between the aorta and pulmonary vascular trunk in newborn kittens, causing weakness or heart failure.

Thai and Siamese cats are also prone to various cancers, congenital blood cell defects, and metabolic disorders. Mention should be made here, among other things, of the excessive storage of metabolic products that have not been broken down, such as amino acids or polysaccharides. The accumulation of gangliosides in the brain means that the affected animals suffer from increasing brain damage and damage to the central nervous system even at a young age.

The fact that the traditional Siamese cat is susceptible to certain genetic diseases does not mean that your Thai cat has to suffer from one of the diseases mentioned. In the meantime, work is being carried out on genetic tests which should enable the diseases to be identified at an early stage. Targeted exclusion of affected animals from breeding is intended to prevent the transmission of inheritable diseases to the offspring.

Cat Breed

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These examples show the importance of thoughtful, responsible breeding. For professional pedigree cat breeders, the health of their animals is the highest priority. They test early for any hereditary diseases, mate carefully and accompany their dams through the entire pregnancy. The real work only begins with the birth of the kittens. Because the kittens want to be fed, socialized, and looked after – and around the clock! Healthy cat food and regular checks by the vet are also part of this. A responsible breeder is available to those interested in advice and action. After all, he too wants the best for the kittens!

Of course, all of this costs money. Traditional Siamese cats cost from 500 dollars and up. Nevertheless, please refrain from advertisements that offer “pedigree cats at a low price”! If you want to offer a Siamese cat at a reasonable price, you have to save. And this is often at the expense of the animals. Often the necessary health care of the animals is ignored, there are no genetic tests and they are mated with cats and queens that are currently available. The latter is rarely given time to recover after giving birth. Long-term females increase profits, but an exhausted cat cannot look after its young as well. If the cat is sick during pregnancy, this will also affect the health of the kittens. The same goes for inadequate nutrition.

The result is cats suffering from the above hereditary diseases and poorly socialized. If you are interested in the Thai cat, a professional breeder who belongs to one of the numerous breed clubs is the better solution! Another alternative is to visit the local animal shelter. Many cats are waiting for a good new home here, including many pedigree animals! Cats from the animal shelter are not to be given away for free, but the nominal fee does not come close to the purchase price of a pedigree cat with papers.

We wish you and your Thai cat a nice time together!

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