Vital Stats:Life Span: 11 to 15 years
The sophisticated Siamese looks dressed for an elegant masquerade ball in pale evening wear with chic black accessories and tanzanite-blue eyes. Cats with light-colored coats set off with black mask, ears, paws and tail have been known in Thailand (formerly Siam) for centuries. Ancient manuscripts depict the cats, but they were not seen in the West until the late nineteenth century, when they were exhibited at the Crystal Palace Cat Show in London. Not everyone appreciated their unusual appearance, but they quickly became fashionable pets. By the turn of the century, if not earlier, they were popular in the United States as well. President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) and his wife Lucy were the recipients of a Siamese cat shipped to them in 1878 by David B. Sickels, a U. S. diplomat stationed at the consulate in Thailand. A letter from Sickels detailing the gift is on file at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio.
At first, only the cats with seal points—a dark brownish-black—were shown, but blue, chocolate and lilac-point Siamese were soon developed and accepted in the show ring. Today Siamese come in many different point colors and patterns, including tabby points and smoke points.
The Siamese itself is a natural breed, meaning its original pointed pattern was the result of a genetic mutation. The breed has contributed to the creation of many other breeds, including the Balinese, Oriental, the Himalayan division of the Persian, the Tonkinese and the Havana Brown.
The Siamese is recognized by all cat associations. The International Cat Association also recognizes the Thai, described as the original form of the native pointed cat of Thailand. In Thailand the cats are called Wichienmaat. Some people refer to it as an old-style Siamese. It shares the pointed coat and domineering personality of the Siamese but has a more moderate body type.
“We are Siamese if you please. We are Siamese if you don’t please.” Those lines, sung by two haughty Siamese cats in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, express the Siamese personality perfectly. Perhaps the most important thing to know about these cats is they are talkative and opinionated. They will tell you exactly what they think, in a loud, raspy voice, and they expect you to pay attention and act on their advice. Siamese cats are extremely fond of their people. They like to be “helpful” and will follow you around and supervise your every move. When you are sitting down, a Siamese will be in your lap, and at night he will be in bed with you, probably under the covers with his head on the pillow.
Do not get a Siamese if living with a chatty busybody would drive you insane. On the other hand, if you enjoy having someone to talk to throughout the day, the Siamese can be your best friend. Just be sure you have time to spend with this demanding and social cat. Siamese do not like being left alone for long periods, and if you work during the day it can be smart to get two of them so they can keep each other company.
The Siamese is highly intelligent, agile, athletic, and loves to play. Keep his busy brain active with puzzle toys and his body exercised with teaser toys he can chase and a big cat tree he can climb. Never leave him without any form of entertainment, or you will likely come home to find that he has reprogrammed your DVR to record only nature shows or at the very least decided your toilet paper rolls and tissue boxes look better empty.
Choose a Siamese cat if you look forward to spending time with and interacting with your cat. This is a loyal and loving feline who will pout and pine if given little or no attention. In the right home, however, he thrives for years.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Problems that may affect the Siamese include the following:
The short, fine coat of the Siamese is easily cared for with weekly combing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing.
It’s a good idea to keep a Siamese as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Siamese who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.
Coat Color And Grooming
What the Siamese looks like depends on the breed standard of each particular organization. Most cat associations call for the Siamese to have a svelte but muscular body with long lines. The wedge-shaped head is long and tapering from the narrow point of the nose outward to the tips of the ears, forming a triangle. The unusually large ears are wide at the base, pointed at the tip, giving them the same triangular shape as the head. Medium-size almond-shaped eyes are always a deep vivid blue. The body is often described as tubular and is supported by long, slim legs, with the hind legs higher than the front legs. The Siamese walks on small, dainty, oval paws and swishes a long, thin tail that tapers to a fine point.
The short coat of the Siamese has a fine texture. In the Cat Fanciers Association, it comes in four colors: seal point, a pale fawn to cream body with deep seal brown points and deep brown nose leather and paw pads; chocolate point, an ivory body with milk chocolate-colored points and cinnamon-pink nose leather and paw pads; blue point, a bluish-white body with deep blue points and slate-colored nose leather and paw pads; and lilac point, a glacial white body with frosty pinky-gray points and lavender-pink nose leather and paw pads.
The International Cat Association allows for a range of colors beyond the four point colors recognized by CFA. They include tabby points, red points, cream points, silver tabby points, smoke points and particolor points.
The Traditional Cat Association recognizes two types of Siamese, the Traditional and the Classic, both with a very different look than the modern Siamese recognized by CFA, TICA and other cat associations. The TCA’s Traditional Siamese has a round head and a big-boned, rounded body. The TCA’s Classic Siamese is also big-boned but has a slightly more elongated body than the Traditional Siamese and a wide wedge-shaped head. They come in the same four colors recognized by CFA, plus albino.
What about the Thai? The TICA breed standard calls for it to have modified wedge-shaped head of medium width with rounded cheeks and a muzzle that tapers to a rounded end, much like a tapered garden spade. The head is longer than it is wide, but not to an extreme degree. The eyes have a full almond shape and the ears are medium size to slightly large, with the tip pointing outward at a slight angle. The lithe, graceful body is moderately long but not tubular. Medium-length legs are graceful and are supported by medium-size oval-shaped paws. The tail is as long as the torso, tapering at the tip. The coat is short and silky with a pale, off-white body color and dense, even point colors.
Children And Other Pets