The Siamese cats are among the best-known, oldest and most widespread pedigree cats. Along with the long-haired Balinese and the oriental short- and long-haired cats, they belong to the group of “oriental cats”. In the mid-1960s, the Siamese shorthair breed was divided into the “modern” Siamese and the “traditional” Siamese (Thai cat) due to changes in characteristics caused by breeding. Today, the “modern” Siamese is internationally recognized as an independent breed, whereas the Thai cat is only recognized by one umbrella organization (WCF).
Weight: female/male 3-4 kg/ 4-5 kg
Life expectancy: 15-18 years
Physique: Very lean but muscular
Coat colors: Over 100 different colors and pointer variants
Special features in appearance: Significantly longer hind legs than front legs, blue eyes
Breed type: shorthair breed
Country of origin: Thailand
Recognized cat breed by FIFE, WCF, TICA, GCCF
Typical diseases of the breed: As pointed cats (partial albino), the lack of melanin can lead to various eye diseases.
The nature of the Siamese cat
Siamese cats are highly intelligent animals that exhibit a high degree of social competence both among their peers and humans. They are extremely communicative cats that can grow up to be real “chatters”. They also have a very loud voice, which is often used for communication. They are spirited and persistent and are therefore particularly suitable as family pets. Furthermore, they are very attentive animals that eagerly await a free spot on your lap.
The typical appearance of Siamese cats is based on a genetic mutation, the so-called partial albinism. Like the Sacred Birman, the Colourpoint-Persian, the Ragdoll and the Neva Masquerade, Siamese belong to the pointed cats. Typical for cats with this mutation is a significantly lighter body fur, whereas the body regions with less blood supply such as the face, ears, legs, tail, and scrotum are darker in color. These darker areas are called “Points”. The color of the points always depends on the underlying basic color of the coat. In kittens, the points are still weak. The spots are only completely colored after about nine months. Another consequence of partial albinism is the Siamese cat’s distinctive blue eyes, which are due to a lack of melanin (pigment).
The characteristics of the Siamese cat
Siamese is medium-sized, very slender but muscular shorthaired cats. Adult females reach a weight of 3 to 4 kg. Male Siamese is a maximum of 1 kg heavier than their female partners. Their hind legs are visibly longer than their front legs. The Oriental cat has a very long and thin tail that tapers to a point. The beautiful blue eyes are enveloped in an almond shape. They are wide apart and slightly slanted to support the almond shape. The Siamese’s nose is long and leads straight to a less prominent chin.
The main difference between the “modern” and “traditional” types is mainly reflected in the head shape of the pedigree cat:
The “modern” Siamese:
Breed-specific is a wedge-shaped, medium-sized head with straight lines. Ideally, the face forms an isosceles triangle in connection with the large ears. Viewed in profile, the head curves outwards (convex).
The “Traditional” Siamese/Thai Cat:
Unlike the “modern” Siamese, whose head is wedge or V-shaped, the Thai cat has a U-shaped head. Her face is rounded, narrowing towards the chin. The transition from the cheeks to the large ears is slightly curved. Their head profile is angular, with a straight bridge of the nose and a severely sloping chin.
Colors and coat markings
We encounter the short-haired Siamese cat in more than a hundred different color and pattern variations. This diversity is based on the four classic basic colors (natural color varieties caused by mutation) and the color variants brought in by crossing. The classic basic colors include: Seal-Point (body color: cream/ Point: black-brown), Blue-Point (body color: white/ Point: blue-grey, slate-grey), Chocolate-Point (body color: ivory/ Point: chocolate-colored) and Lilac-Point (Body-color: off-white/ Point: light grey, pale purple).
History and origin
Like all oriental cats, the Siamese cat comes from Southeast Asia. It is no longer possible to trace when the breed originated. The only thing that is certain is that, alongside the Persian cat, it is one of the oldest cat breeds. She is probably a descendant of a mating between a free-living wild cat and an already domesticated house cat. From historical works, one can learn that Buddhist monks worshiped the ancestors of today’s Siamese as temple guardians. Due to their high reputation, the spotted cats were reserved for royal families and monks for a long time.
Centuries would pass before it finally began its triumphal march to Europe at the end of the 19th century. The Siam was put on public display for the first time in London’s Crystal Palace. As a result, more and more breeders and lovers were interested in the unusual cat breed with the eye-catching spots. Years of breeding selection finally led to the previously mentioned division of the Siamese breed into the “modern” and “traditional” types.
Notes on keeping the Siamese
The Siamese cats have very distinctive social behavior. In addition, the Siamese appreciate an intensive group life. They love mutual grooming and extensive catching and hunting games with their fellow dogs. It should therefore never be kept alone! A multi-cat household of at least two to three animals is therefore considered species-appropriate.
Despite their strong social behavior and the intense bond with their playmates, they are considered to be extremely people-oriented cats. Because of their extraordinarily strong bond to humans, they are also referred to as the “dogs among pedigree cats”.
Even Siamese cats are not protected against the common hereditary and infectious diseases of cats. In addition, in the earlier breeding history of Siamese cats, there were often malformations of the tail, the so-called “kinky tail”. However, due to years of breeding selection, this hereditary defect can only be observed in exceptional cases.
Sometimes a hereditary malformation of the head (hydrocephalic) is also reported. The chance of survival with this genetic defect is minimal. As a rule, the kittens die immediately during or after birth.
Another genetic condition affecting Siamese cats is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). This is a progressive disease of the retina, which can lead to the onset of night blindness and even complete loss of vision.
As already mentioned, the Siamese cats are pointed cats and therefore part of the albino cats. This genetic defect significantly limits the production of the valuable pigment melanin. Without the pigment, the eyes cannot properly regulate the incidence of light. It is believed that the impairments that occasionally occur in Siamese cats, such as squinting and eye tremors, are direct consequences of this lack of melanin.
A species-appropriate and balanced diet for the cat is important for a strong immune system and a long and happy cat life. Obesity is considered to be the biggest and most dangerous consequence of poor nutrition. Also important is the annual check-up at the vet and the associated vaccinations against cat cold and cat disease. Outdoor cats should also be vaccinated against rabies and feline leukemia.