A Siamese cat will let you be their best friend.
But they have to be the boss - understand?
Siamese cats are like dogs in many ways
Imagine a little kitty trotting through the Canadian Wilderness, crossing rivers and attacking wild animals? Better still, her two companions are dogs and as a team they survive a 250 mile hike to be reunited with their human family? It's true! Sheila Burford told the original story: Homeward Bound that was later made into a movie in 1963 called The Incredible Journey. It is still a popular DVD and is watched by animal lovers the world over. Tao the Siamese cat and her two companions, a Labrador Retriever and a Bull Terrier were for real. So it is true that you can take a Siamese cat for walks. They are brave, loyal and devoted cats as was Tao. So, if you choose to live with a Siamese cat you will know that the relationship is based on their terms, not yours!
Beware: Siamese cat on guard!
Siamese cats originally came from Siam, the country we call Thailand today. The original breed has now been diversified and owners have crossed Siamese with Burmese, Tonkinese and Balinese cats. Their colouring changed somewhat but all Siamese have the characteristic blue eyes that set them apart as a unique and fascinating breed of cats.They are one of the oldest of all types of cats and their owners believed they kept evil spirits away. They were traditionally temple cats. The Thai Buddhist temples are laden with valuable treasures, especially items made of gold. The Siamese cats were trained to guard the temples at night. They would sit on a ledge above the entrance and pounce down upon an unsuspecting intruder.
Credit: Sue VisserSiamese cats have strong, sharp claws as well as jaws and are capable of killing people. They target the throat. We once had a cat who was just such a "watch dog." A few years ago Ming, one of our dearly departed Siamese cats used to do the same for us. He would not allow anybody past our front door. When couriers came to collect parcels he would shred their trousers and slash at their legs, drawing blood in some cases. We had to promise that we would lock him in the bedroom before they came. He also chased away large dogs and kept the property free of vermin and other intruders. Our gardener and workshop staff were definitely not allowed inside.
To be a thoroughbred Siamese or a cross-breed?
Although Siamese cats are strong, agile and adventurous they have a softer side. It depends on their ancestry and not all Siamese breeds are created equal. As kittens they can be very aggressive when threatened and will give a nasty bite! We have always has cross breeds, the ones that look like Siamese but don't have a thoroughbred, registered father. This little slip in their pedigree seems to have made them a bit more accommodating in many respects. They are cheaper and there is less to worry about in terms of security and Theft. But still, there is no guarantee that they will want to stay with you forever. If think you call them or try to teach them cute tricks, forget it. But in real emergencies, they do come because they can sense the urgency in your voice.Credit: Sue Visser
We had two brothers - a Chocolate point called Bhumipol and a Lilac one we called Yindee Dharma. They have strong characters, and being two Alpha males, Yindee chased his brother away two years later. Bhumipol used to sleep in other people's homes and have meals with them - probably to get away from his brother. One evening they had a tussle in the lounge and then they dashed out of the house. We never saw Bhumipol again. He could have come home, (what about the incredible journey?) but I got the message from the "feline internet" - nope, I left with the people who moved out of the complex because Yindee does not like me. Talk about sibling rivalry! My friend told me their cat followed them when they moved. It took the animal a couple of weeks to walk 15 miles but cats can do that - if they want to.
Some Siamese cats will only respond to certain people and will remain aloof and shrink away from friendly overtures if they don't fancy you. Breeding has a lot to do with how healthy they are and there may be a number of inherent medical problems. If you need a more technical guide to Siamese cats, there are some excellent articles on Info Barrel to give you more feline facts. But we have not had any serious health issues apart from the near deadly bite of a tarantula to deal with. We prefer to use homeopathy or herbal medicine but in this case we rushed Yindee to hospital. A day later the vet said there was nothing more he could do for him because he refused to eat or drink. So home we went and after a shot of Vitamin B 1 down his throat his appetite returned. This vitamin makes people insanely hungry - now you know!
Feline communication is not really based on words
Siamese owners have long verbal conversations with their cats. The older they get, the more they talk. They are good mimics and can pronounce certain words. When our children were young, they used to say "Ma, Mom" and "hello" a lot during the day. Our beautiful Seal Point (half-breed) Siamese called Mee-Lo was brilliant at talking. He seemed to mean it too, when he called down the passage. "Gheelo maaaaa!" He would miau. So cute. Siamese cats communicate at different levels and are able to interact telepathically, as do most cats but our Siamese friends have amazed us!
Mee-Lo would lie next to one of the children if they were sick or sad or just being iffy teenagers. I soon got to know who was having a bad day. If the other cat was ill, then Me-Lo would lie next to him as if asking me to attend to the problem. Funniest of all was the friendship between Auntie my daughter's pet white rat and the Siamese. The rat lived in an open box and was free to roam around. One day Mee-Lo was sitting next to the box. Auntie was flaked out on her little bed and her eyes were almost popping out of her head. We laid Auntie down on a towel on the floor and tried to drop some water down her throat. Mee-Lo lay down next to her and stayed there until she died - from a spider bite, it seemed. Mee-Lo was a loving and loyal friend.
Credit: Sue VisserSure, cats can come when you call their name and will respond to your voice if it suits them. But how do they really interact with you? They are able to send messages as pictures. You will pick up their signals, especially at their regular mealtimes. Our cat sends me images of serving suggestions - succulent pieces of chicken and other tidbits. You can also send back messages, telling them to sit, or to wait by visualising the cat doing as asked. Bhumipol loved to play catch, especially with a corn cob we had to throw for him to retrieve. He would drop it at our feet and miaw until we threw it for him - just like a dog! Then he went and stole a lovely pink ball that belonged to some children to play with.
Yindee, our current companion is not keen to sit like a dog and offer his front paw before he is given his bowl of carefully chopped chicken breast. His opinion is expressed by the swish of his tail. "Thank you, but I don't do tricks." Gestures too, show what the cat is saying. So, when Yindee sniffs his bowl of chicken and tries to bury it into the kitchen floor we know it is not fresh enough. I told an expert on cats about his disdain for slightly iffy food and she said it is because cats are more prone to food poisoning than dogs - or humans? We keep small servings of his chicken in the freezer and now he approves of it.
Our chocolate point Siamese used to bring us special gifts
Credit: Sue VisserBhumipol used to love stealing from the neighbours. Although we tried to be strict about his diet, he would pop through the cat flap with sandwiches, pizza or cake that he stole from our neighbours. They said he used to join them for meals and beg off their plates. Once he stole a teddy bear from them and presented it to me on Valentine's day. It was under my dining room chair. I sheepishly returned it the next day, only to find he had brought me a leather slipper. The following day , he brought in the other one.I couldn't find their original owner. Embarrassing.
On Easter Sunday we were woken up in the middle of the night. We heard thumping noises and a growl in the bedroom. I shone a torch into two pairs of eyes. Bhumipol and a huge wild rabbit! I am not sure if that was our Easter gift or if he just enjoyed hunting or being plain naughty. Ditto for the goldfish and Koi that once graced our fish ponds. Some of them ended up under our bed and he didn't eat any of them. He just loved to go fishing, it seemed. Siamese cats are very intelligent and may even behave like this to get attention. It cost us a fortune in fish and one never knows if you are supposed to gush all over them and thank them for the gift or to punish them? Do they really want to be kind or merely attract attention I wonder?
How do you discipline a Siamese cat?
You will never be able to make a cat feel guilty, especially not your Siamese friend. They never show remorse the way a dog does. No tail between the legs, no cringing. At least they don't urinate all over the floor if you scold them. But Siamese cats can make yo feel very guilty indeed! They can give you the glare - that look of disdain that sends you scuttling for some kitty treats if they were accidentally locked in the garage. They ambush your computer and sit no the keyboard. Yindee can press key combinations that disable macros - I don't know what the means, but I had to ask an IT specialist to sort out the problem.
Never shout at them?
Never ever even raise your voice to a Siamese. Oh no. Yindee will head for my laptop computer the moment I open the cover and step onto the keyboard. He will rub his face and chin all over the screen and push my hands away so I can't type. Then he trots across the keys, usually targeting the delete button and backspace key. You know the rest. Yindee gets flung across the room and bounces back. He likes to interfere with my sewing, especially when I am cutting out an intricate piece of fabric. Jealous he is, but he also likes to take part in my activities. He likes being draped in a few pieces of fabric scraps and I make a fuss of him. Being thus satisfied he will parade around in his costume and gaze at me lovingly. His favourite session is in front of the camera. Yindee can "smell" when I take out the camera from the other side of the garden.
One has to forget about a quiet session of catalogue shots. All too soon we get him sitting on top of our latest products. After all, Yindee is the official Nature Fresh consultant! I must have his permission, it seems. He even helped me to make gadgets out of CD spindles so long as he could show them off in one of my articles!
Yindee also brings me unusual gifts. Snakes, for instance. I have received about 5 already. One was in my sewing basket, hidden under a pile of fabric. I thought is was a common grass snake at the time, but it was identified as a venomous little number. My husband Jim has the pleasant task of taking them out into the bushes again instead of scaring the hell out of me. One day a very fierce egg-eating snake tried to attack me from the hallway. It made a frightening roaring sound and lunged at me with a large open mouth. When the snake was safely inside a pillow case I dropped it into a garbage bag, closed it and left it by the front door and went to call the snake man. When I returned I saw what looked like a snake's tail wriggling next to the bag. Yindee was tapping the bag with his paw. Next to him there was a lizard, now without a tail. Phew!
According to the experts on cats there are ways and means of getting your cats to do all sorts of things. But they do not live with Siamese cats that have personally trained their humans. Luckily one day the urgency of my call seemed to have engaged with the curious side of Bhumipol. He was sitting on the verandah next door, having a friendly chat with a gigantic snake that was coiled up a few feet away from where he was sitting. It was a puff adder and as you know, these front fanged snakes have a deadly bite. It was bigger than the seal point and they were both enjoying the sunshine. Our neighbour came to warn us. We gingerly climbed onto the balcony and I called him."Bhumipol, Bhumipol!" I shrieked. He looked up and to our relief he walked through the palisade fence and came to our patio. I grabbed him and slammed the door shut. But the puff adder decided to follow him! We had to call the local snake catcher to come and remove it.
Cat pee and the meaning of being a Piss Cat
Cats have pungent urine and this is the reason they dig a hole in the ground, do their business and immediately cover it up. No smell, no mess. I wish dogs and humans would do the same! Even horses and especially elephants - that would be a great idea! But in Nature, animals leave their urine and dung strewn about for the message it conveys. It tells other animals that they are in their private territory, so keep out. The urine can express the identity of the tribe, the Alpha males, the females and so on. Ammonia is the carrier wave, when the urea mixes with air and bacterial activity sets in. But when a male cat sprays this elixir around your sitting room it is to mark HIS territory. What you smell is telling other cats to scram, to go away. Sure, if an intruder sprays all over your priceless leather couch, then your cat will cover it with his own pee.'
Credit: Sue VisserNow be careful about the detergents you use, because if they also contain ammonia, the resident cat in control may think another cat is coming in. So immediately after you clean it up, he will have another go at the same area. Sound familiar? Our Siamese cats get neurotic if other cats drop by for a fight or even a friendly visit. They don't understand why we humans get angry when they are trying to defend us and our communal home. So to accommodate their feline instincts, it is important to stay tuned to the action.
We now have a problem with our new grand children. The baby twins sound like Siamese cats when they cry. They smell different to Yindee's other family members. From his viewpoint they have no fur,they smell of milk and other yutz and they make ugly noises. Every time Eden and her twin brother Skye come to visit, we notice the familiar scent of Yindee's own personal perfume in our study. He has to get used to them. but for now, he zooms upstairs and skulks under our bed until the coast is clear. He does the same when my Mother or my elder sister come to visit. I guess he prefers male voices. But he does not spray when the old ladies visit.
The last time I saw a streak of evil Siamese pee glistening on the lounge wall I rubbed it off with a piece of paper towel. I placed the "visiting card" on the floor, as if to say "thank you, Yindee". I then sprayed the mark on the wall with a bio-enzyme spray that I make using a potent traditional recipe. The enzymes eat up the biological residue and away goes the smell without a sudden new whiff of "Wishee-Washee detergent with ammonia." Try to buy or make a bio-enzyme detergent. It's great for organic substances like spilt milk on carpets and iffy stuff like puke, pee and baby crap. It breaks them down so there are no haunting odours to attract cats and repel humans.
Siamese cats love to chat, to get attention and even play music!
Yindee loves to sing and to chat. We make a point of singing to him every day - the same tune of Jingle bells, but using his name. Now, many years later he can miau the first few notes. He lies on the floor, curls on his side and repeats the notes. He waits and then you are expected to join in. He responds - with a loud voice, note for note and ends with a flourish of "AaaaawaghH!" He knows he will get tummy tickle and upside down swish and long cat - where he is held overhead and stretched out between our hands. That usually suffices till dinner time. If I am busy upstairs he will come up and announce: "Awang." I ask him to say that again. He then transmits the picture of his bowl of chicken and repeats the "awang." He gets his chicken. He does not say chicken, but if I talk in a normal voice, even if he is down the passage "Yindee, do you want some chicken?" He will come up to me, sit down and say "awang."Credit: Sue Visser
So now you know why Siamese cats love to be part of a human family. According to cat communicators, they do not like to be called pets. They do not have owners, like dogs do.
Siamese are not pets, they do not have owners
they are our companions!
Now enjoy a few minutes of entertainment from Yindee. I did nothing but hold the camera.