The Siamese cat is an undeniably beautiful breed. For that reason, it has remained one of the most popular cats to buy and bring into a home. In addition to their blue eyed, elegant looks, they are also fantastic at building bonds with their owners and becoming a lifelong friend. Owners of Siamese cats often boast that their cat often partakes in long conversations with them as Siamese cats have been observed and touted as one of the most talkative breeds out there. They love company for this reason so are well suited for a home where someone is there a great deal of the time. In terms of looks, they are medium size and pretty athletic which shows through in their toned, muscular bodies.
History of the Siamese Cat
The Siamese is perhaps one of the most well known and recognisable breeds of domestic cat on the planet. This is partly due to the fact that they are an incredibly old breed and have been around for a long time – so much so that even non cat lovers will know what this breed looks like.
They originally hailed from Thailand which was once known as Siam – hence their name. When local to the country, they were often seen as religiously important and a sacred species so were often used in the Buddhist temples there. Monks would put them on guard to protect their place of worship from any bad spirits. It was during this time that the Siamese breed became highly sought after. In fact, if someone received one of the cats or kittens it was a great honour owing to how sacred they were perceived to be. Their level of notoriety was so great that if a Siamese was stolen from the Royal household, the perpetrator could be sentenced to death, if caught.
They arrived in the West in the late 1800s and became fashionable in aristocratic circles in Britain in particular. The colour way that was most popular to import was one that saw the Siamese with cream bodies and brown markings. However, from this point in time and location, local cat breeders went on to develop the Siamese. This meant that they were mixed with other breeds. At one point, many Siamese had cross eyes, though this issue has now largely been weeded out. At the time however, it gave them even more notoriety and many a fairy tale was told about them as a consequence.
They are popular world over now despite being one of the needier breeds out there. For, though needy, they are incredible companions that are much loved due to their love of talking in addition to their beautiful looks and markings.
Quick Facts About the Siamese cat
- The Siamese is one of the oldest breeds of cat on the planet
One of the earliest recordings of a Siamese cat was in an ancient Thai manuscript that is entitled Tamra Maew. When translated, this title means The Cat Book Poems. It is within this that the author talks of a dark pointed cats – or rather the markings on a Siamese. The manuscript was made at some point between the 14th and 18th century so the Siamese are a very old breed indeed.
- A Siamese cat almost made it into the Guiness Book Of Records
While a Siamese cat may have made it into the Guiness Book of Records, it did not do so in the most glorified way possible. Indeed, Katy, a Siamese that came from Russia, was once the world’s fattest cat given that at her largest she weighed a massive 50 pounds. To put this into perspective, that is roughly the weight of a 6 year old child and an average Siamese should actually weigh about 11 to 15 pounds for a male, and 8 to 12 pounds for a female.
The reason that Katy got so big was that she had been given hormones to stop her from being able to have kittens. The reason that she never made it into the Book of Records was because the judging board did not want to encourage people to fatten up their cats all in the name of a record. It would have been deemed as animal cruelty so they wanted to desist people from doing it.
- Siamese cats once uncovered spies.
Back in the 60s, two Siamese cats lived in the Dutch Embassy in Moscow. They were sleeping in the ambassador’s study but woke suddenly and both started scratching at the walls. The ambassador, Henri Helb found this behaviour unusual for the kittens and so consequently deduced that they had both heard something that was inaudible to the human ear.
He started an investigation into what the noise could have been and it was soon found that his study had been covered with several tiny microphones to listen in on diplomatic conversations held in his office. As opposed to revealing that they had uncovered the microphones, Helb took a different tack and instead would complain about problems that were troubling the Dutch Embassy. This included packages that had been held up in customs as well as repairs at the embassy that were delayed for some curious reason.
Remarkably, any problems that they complained about were often solved within a day or two.
- James Dean had a Siamese cat
The handsome Hollywood actor once owned a Siamese cat. In fact, it was given to him by the great Elizabeth Taylor who he had met when they were filming the movie Giant in which they both starred. Dean gave his cat the name Marcus which was the name of a favoured uncle of his.
It is thought that Dean gave his new cat an unusual diet that was recommended to him by Elizabeth Taylor herself. It largely consisted of Karo syrup, evaporated milk and egg yolks – all mixed together in a specific ratio with distilled water.
- A Siamese cat once gave birth to almost 20 kittens
Usually, it is common for a Siamese to give birth to around four to six babies. However, the Guiness Book of Records has a Siamese down as giving birth to the largest litter ever – seen at 19 kittens big. Sadly, four of these were still born.
Things You Should Know About Siamese Cats
The following key attributes of a Siamese are essential to know if you are thinking about buying one as a household pet. This way, would be owners will know whether the Siamese is the right cat for them. For whilst they are beautiful and fantastic companions, they are not without their quirks that owners should be aware of to ensure that this is the right fit for everybody involved – the cat and potential owner included.
A Siamese will live to a good age with an expectancy starting at 15 years and going right up to 20. This is fairly common, especially if properly cared for by being given the food and attention needed.
They do suffer from a number of hereditary conditions and diseases which is worth knowing before buying one:
- Certain intestinal tumours
- Niemann-Pick disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Systemic amyloidosis
- Mediastinal lymphoma
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – breeders should have stud cats DNA tested
- Mucopolysaccharidosis – breeders should have stud cats tested
- Gangliosidosis (GM1) – breeders should have stud cats tested
As with all cats, when you buy from a breeder, the best course of action to take is to follow the feeding schedule that the breeder had for the litter. This way, your new kitten will be saved from any stomach issues that can be caused by sudden changes to their diets.
However, these schedules are not always possible to fit in with our own daily routines, so if you do need to change it, try to do so slowly and gradually. Do consult the breeder or your vet if you are unsure of anything.
Siamese cats of any age, but, in particular, older cats, need to be given a nutritionally balanced diet that supports their bodily functions to maintain their general health and wellbeing. A cat can easily put on weight if their energy levels are not matched by the amount of food they are given so owners need to keep an eye out for any gradual weight gain. Obese cats are prone to health conditions in the future that can otherwise be prevented.
Like other breeds, the Siamese needs access to clean, fresh water at all times.
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Siamese cats do not have any special requirements over other cat breeds. They simply need good quality cat food, a regular groom and love. This way their health and well being should shine through in their fantastic sleek fur coats.
Keeping a Siamese cat’s coat takes a little work but they are otherwise a fairly low maintenance breed for one that looks so elegant. They need a brush every week coupled with being wiped down with a soft leather like chamois which will keep their coats fantastically shiny. What helps in this weekly chore, however, is that they love to be groomed especially as it means spending time with their owners. They will need to be brushed more regularly when they are molting which is generally in the early Spring and Autumn.
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Whilst grooming them, it’s a good idea and perfect opportunity to check their ears. Many cats, and the Siamese is no exception, suffer from a build up of dead skin cells and wax in their ears which can go on to cause infections that sometimes are so painful they need veterinary care. By keeping an eye on their ears, you’ll stop this before infections get to that level.
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The Siamese is no different to many breeds in their love of routine. This has an impact on when you feed them, but also small things like not moving the furniture around can really help keep their anxiety and stress levels down.
Their love of talking means that they will quickly tell their owners when they are happy or down in the dumps. They are definitely happiest when their owners are home and are known to be a demanding breed owing the fact that they do not like to be left alone. Those who do leave the house on a regular basis for long periods of time should look at another breed as it will cause a Siamese undue stress. When around people, they are extremely gregarious and are often happy if there is another cat around, particularly one that they have grown up with.
They are an intelligent breed that sometimes have an inexhaustible amount of energy. Owners will need to keep them entertained by playing with them or leaving out lots of toys, especially if you intend to keep them indoors.
In short, the Siamese is happy when it is being showered with love and attention.
The Siamese Cat Breed: The Bottom Line
Anyone intending to buy a Siamese cat will find that they will be bringing a loving and affectionate cat into their home who will fast become a wonderful companion. This companionship does come at a price however. Siamese are dreadful cats to leave alone and will whine until they have been reunited with their owner. In some respects, like grooming and feeding, they are extremely low maintenance, but in terms of the energy levels and temperament, they are definitely best suited to a household that can cope with their demands.
However, most Siamese owners would never consider buying another breed.
- Siamese, Vetstreet
- Siamese Cats Are Temperature-Sensitive Albinos, a.k.a. Walking Heat Maps, Catster
- Why Siamese cats have become scarce in South Africa, Business Insider