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January 23, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 5 Faves: 0

The Siamese

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

Siamese Cat Stats

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Cat of the Week: The Siamese

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Siamese Cats

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Fun Facts About Siamese Cats

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  • One of the oldest known cat breeds, the Siamese was written about and illustrated in a manuscript titled “Tamra Maew” (translation: Cat Poems) sometime between 1350 and 1767! ( Experts aren’t sure, but they know it had to be before the city of Ayudha was burned by invading forces.)
  • When these cats were originally brought the western hemisphere, they were touted as “Royal Cats of Siam” – named for their origins in Siam, which is now called Thailand.
  • Though they may both have the distinctive blue eyes and Siamese color points, you may have noticed that there are two very different looking cats being called Siamese. Traditional  or “Apple-head” Siamese cats have a softer look with a thicker body and rounder face. Modern Siamese on the other hand, are the show standard with a triangular face, very thin figure and large wide set ears.
  • There is a myth that Siamese cats, charged with guarding a sacred vase, stared so intensely on it that their eyes to become crossed. Today though, that particular trait has been mostly bred out and is a disqualifier among show Siamese.
  • The Siamese patterning is actually caused by a type of albinism. Siamese kittens are born all white, but because of a mutation which makes their melanin supporting enzyme heat-sensitive, cooler parts of their body become darker with time. In fact, the fur of Siamese cats continues to darken gradually throughout their entire lives!

Famous Siamese cats include children’s book character Skippyjon Jones, children’s TV show character Sagwa, there’s Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp (voiced by the fabulous Peggy Lee!), Ling Ling from Bewitched, Chatty Kitty from the Bad Kitty series and a whole pride of unnamed kitties in one of my favorite childhood movies, The Three Lives of Thomasina.Siamese Cats

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How to Spot a Siamese Cat

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Color “Points”. Show Siamese come in seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac, as well as flame, cream, tortie and lynx point depending upon which cat association you talk to. However, regardless of coloration, all cat associations will agree that ears, muzzles, tails and feet should be darker than the rest of the body.

Intense Blue Eyes. While coats can come in a variety of colors, show standard is pretty strict when it comes to the Siamese eyes. Regulations describe the ideal Siamese eyes as almond shaped, medium sized, slanted toward the nose and “deep vivid blue” in shade.  Any  eye color other than blue would disqualify them!

Thin, Muscular Figure. The body of a Siamese – especially a modern Siamese – really looks like a sculpted work of art with a long, thin limbs and in graceful lines. While it’s possible for this breed to become overweight, you seldom see a fat Siamese.

Triangular Face. The biggest difference between the “traditional” Siamese cat and the modern show Siamese, is in the face.  Show standards require a long, wedge-shaped head with large, wide-set triangular ears.Siamese Kittens

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What To Expect From A Siamese Cat

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A Talker. Looking for a quiet companion for your apartment? Go back, check out last week’s Feline 101, and steer clear of the Siamese! Compared with the Persian, the Siamese is on the opposite side of the vocality spectrum. Not only will they “tell” you when they want more food, or more water, or your attention, they’ll tell you about the weather, how their day is going, and their plans for the night. Though they do vocalize with a purpose, no question, it sometimes also seems they meow their distinctive raspy meow for no reason at all!

A Best Friend. Siamese cats are notorious for having a favorite person in the household – usually the person they see as holding most authority - who they devote most of their attentions to.  Cats are more independent animals than dogs, but the Siamese cat will not enjoy being left alone for too long. Discovery describes them as being like Mary’s lamb, wanting to follow their best friend wherever they go through the house.

A Dog-Like Cat. Siamese cats just may be about the best cat for a self-described “dog person.” They are extremely loyal and affectionate. They’re extremely playful and intelligent and many Siamese cat owners even say they’ve taught their cat to play fetch and walk on a leash.

A Smarty Cat. Siamese cats are among the most intelligent cat breeds out there which means  while they’re lots of fun, they also require lots of toys and playtime to keep them happy. A Siamese that is left alone for too long, or receives too little mind-challenging activity may entertain himself getting into things you wish he wouldn’t.

Siamese Cats

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More Siamese Cats!

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Siamese Cat

Siamese Cat and Her Kitten

 Siamese Kitten

SOURCES

Vetstreet: Siamese

Animal Planet: Cat Breed Directory: Siamese

Animal Genetics: Albinism in the domestic cat (Felis catus) is associated with a tyrosinase (TYR) mutation

PHOTO CREDITS

Thomas Yuan@flickr

Jamie McCaffrey@flickr

FurLined@flickr

Black Zero@flickr

Brett Jordan@flickr

Robert Couse-Baker@flickr_

Teb@flickr

pawsforportraits@flickr

arbyreed@flickr

iampeas@flickr

Barb Henry@flickr

Bluewinx15(BACK)@flickr

Nicolas_Goulet@flickr

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5 Comments

  • These are by far my absolute favorite type of cat. I love seal-point siamese so much! I have been able to have four different ones live with me over the years, and have dearly loved all of them. I don't even know what a quiet cat would be like. I love how they chat with me when I come home, telling me about their day. My latest one is still kicking and is 15 years old! If I ever get another pet, it will definitely be a siamese. They are a just-right mixture of standoffish and your best friend. You can talk to them for the first fifteen minutes when you get home, and may not see them for a while. And one of my favorite parts about them is when you are gone for more than a day or two, they are really mad at you when you get home, but in a few hours, they are back to being your best friend. BTW, did you steal some of these pictures from me? They look exactly like my cats! ;-)

  • My first cat was a blue-point Siamese named Mojo JoJo and he was definitely my baby. He loved me best of anyone. He'd run to greet me as soon as I'd get home from school and follow me wherever I went. They're great cats. :)

  • (Mojo JoJo was ALSO the evil monkey villain in Powerpuff Girls)

  • Our Siamese cat is so smart! She is now 14 years old and we love her dearly. She does let us know when she wants something and likes to be near us, although she does not want to be held. Her name is Sheba.

  • Aww... love that name. :) About the being held thing - well, Siamese cats can be quite willful. haha

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