Whether or not you are a cat fancier, odds are you could identify a Siamese cat with little trouble. After all, almost everyone is familiar with these regal cats and their distinctively patterned coats.
However, did you know that the royal family of Siam was fond of honoring visiting dignitaries with the gift of a Siamese cat or kitten? In fact, the first Siamese in the United States was the famous “Siam” of White House fame, which was a gift to President Hayes from David B. Sickles. Sickles had located the cat in Bangkok during a tour of duty as a diplomat. Let’s discover some other interesting Siamese cat facts.
Where Did the Siamese Breed Originate?
Siamese cats date from the 1700s, where they were honored and kept as temple cats. They arrived in England in 1800s when the British consul Edward Blencowe Gould gave his sister, Lillian Veley, a breeding pair of cats named Pho and Mia. These two cats, along with two more that Mrs. Veley later acquired, were the English foundational stock for Siamese.
11 Siamese Cat Facts You Might Not Know
- Nickname: Meezer, or the dog of the cat world
- Life Span: The average life span is 12 to 15 years
- Weight: Six to 12 pounds with the females being slightly smaller than males
- Color/Coats: The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA ) recognizes four colors for Siamese: Seal point, Blue point, Lilac point, and Chocolate point
- Eyes: Almond shaped blue eyes; cross-eyed cats cannot be registered
- Grooming needs: Almost nil, as their short fine-textured coats and minimal undercoat requires only an occasional rub with a chamois cloth.
- Need for attention: These cats crave human interaction and are quite loud and vocal in demanding attention. They often bond with one person and are loving and smart. Because of their high energy level, they are high maintenance. They do not like to be left alone, and may not be suitable for those who work all day.
- Need to vocalize: Extremely high; as a matter of fact, Siamese are vociferous talkers
- Intelligence Level: Extremely intelligent; they can be trained to retrieve and walk on a leash. However, they are not known to be an exceptionally friendly breed.
- Famous Siamese Cats: Who could ever forget the harmonizing Siamese cat duo from the Disney movie "Lady and the Tramp?" Their names were SI and AM, and they crooned and played their mischievous pranks throughout the movie.
- National Breed Associations: The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc., (CFA), The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), and The International Cat Association (TICA)
- Rescue: Siameserescue.org
Siamese Are Vocal Pets!
The Unique Appearance of Siamese Cats
Lean, lanky, elongated: these adjectives sum up neatly the overall physical appearance of the Siamese. Their delicate appearance may disguise their muscular bodies; their slightly slanted, vividly blue eyes are a signature feature, which reveals their intelligence and personality. Their coats feature high contrast between the light colored body fur and the darker fur on their extremities. (These dark colors are referred to as points or colorpoints and are typically seen on the face, paws, ears and tails. )
The head and overly large ears give the appearance of a wedge or inverted triangle. They have Roman noses, and hind legs that are longer than the front legs. Siamese are born white, and their points develop as they mature; coat color is fully developed at about three years of age. Eyes should not be crossed.
Known Health Problems
Siamese cats are predisposed to the following health problems:
- Agenesis of the upper eyelid, where the upper lid does not develop
- Psychogenic alopecia, which is abnormal hair loss
- Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, or hyper-sensitive skin
- Feline Maratoeaux-Lamy syndrome, which is “bone enlargement of ribs and ends of long bones.” (1)
- Vestibular disease, which affects the ear nerves
- Respiratory: Feline calici virus and feline rhinotracheitis virus
- Vision defects: lack stereoscopic depth perception, cross-eyed, lack binocular interaction, decreased visual resolution
How Popular Are Siamese Cats?
In addition to the other Siamese cats facts that we have learned, did you know that Siamese are one of the most popular cat breeds in the United States?
At number five on the list, we can see from the information we have gathered about their affectionate natures and extremely high intelligence levels why they are so popular. If you would like to learn more about Siamese cats, visit your local library or the website of a cat fancy organization like GCCF.
If you are interested in getting a Siamese cat as a pet, why not start your search at your local animal shelter or look for a rescue organization first? There are always more pets waiting for homes than individuals who are willing to adopt them, so consider giving an unwanted pet another chance at a happy, long life with a loving family.