Siamese Cats

The Siamese breed is extremely popular, and is one of the few breeds that are instantly recognized by cat lovers, even those who are not affiliated with the world of cat fancy. According to the Cats Fanciers Association’s registries, the Siamese breed is one of the top ten most popular cat breeds. Siamese cats were shown in some of the earliest cat shows on record, both in the UK and the US.

Note: We may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page.

Breed Description

If you come across a pedigreed Siamese in a cat show, it’s very different looking from its historic ancestors in ancient Siam (Thailand). This is the result of intensive breeding programs which throughout the Twentieth century, worked towards creating a very specific look. Modern Siamese cats have svelte elongated bodies and wedge-shaped heads to match, complete with slanted eyes and large ears. They share this form with Oriental Cats, a breed developed from the Siamese, in the attempt to retain body

shape and temperament, while allowing for different coat colors and patterns.

Some breeders objected to the creation of what they considered to be an “extreme” form. They continued to breed cats that had a traditional body and head shape. These are sometimes known as Traditional Siamese or Apple-Face Siamese. The large cat associations do not register them as Siamese cats. In 2009 The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized these cats as a new/old breed and named it Thai. Breeders of these cats import cats from Thailand and aim at preserving these Thai cats traditional looks.

All Siamese cats share one coat pattern. They are all “colorpoint”, meaning their tail, paws, ears and face are darker than the rest of their bodies. Their eyes are always deep vivid blue. The most common shade for the points is called “Seal”, a type of deep dark brown. The Cat Fanciers Association recognizes three other possible colors: chocolate, blue and lilac. The International Cat Association (TICA) allows for more variation in color, including color patches and tabby markings in the points. They do require a clear marking of points and a contrast between the overall color and that of the points.

Biologically, these markings are created in a unique way. All colorpoint cats carry a genetic mutation in an enzyme involved in the production of the pigment melanin. The mutation causes the enzyme to become heat-sensitive, so that it fails in normal body temperature. Thus, pigment (melanin) is produced only in cooler body parts, such as the tail, paws, ears and tip of the face.

Siamese kittens are born pale all over, in effect a form of albinos, because their entire body was kept inside the warmth of the Momma cat’s womb. Only as they mature and new hairs are formed in their coat, does the colorpoint pattern begin to show.

This breed boasts a special personality too. Siamese cats, affectionately known as Meezers, are famous for their talkative social nature. They are generally active and curious and often bond with one person in particular.

Breed History

All colorpoint cats originated from Thailand (formerly known as Siam). The earliest record of such a cat is found in a Thai poem describing several types of cats, one of them pale-colored with dark tail, ears, feet and lower face. To the foreigners visiting from the west, this type of cat stood out in the crowd and thus became known as “the Siamese cat”. Towards the end of the 19th century, Siamese cats were imported to the UK and the US. In the UK they were shown in the world’s first cat show, held at the crystal palace. By the early years of the Twentieth century, Siamese cat clubs were established on both sides of the Atlantic, and breeding programs were put in motion.

Siamese lore, while unsubstantiated so far, suggests that these cats were sacred in Thai culture. They were supposed to be kept by royals only, or in temples. One tale claims that Siamese cats were considered to be vessels of reincarnation. According to that particular legend, when a member of the Royal Family died, its body would have been entombed with its favorite Siamese cat. The tomb had convenient escape routes (convenient for a cat, at least) and once the cat made it out, it was believed that the dead person’s soul had been reincarnated in that cat.

Special Concerns

The genetic mutation in charge of the colorpoint pattern can also effect the connections between the eye and the brain. When that happens, you get a cross-eyed Siamese cat, a look that used to be fairly common in the past. Ethical selective breeding has pretty much eradicated this feature from today’s breeding stock.

Is a Siamese for you?

If you consider adopting a purebred Siamese, make sure you provide her with a safe yet stimulating environment, and enough company during the day. As with all pedigreed cats, you will need to keep your Siamese indoors-only (this is usually a clause in the sales contract of every registered breeder), so make sure your home is fully suited for an active, intelligent and inquisitive feline. We suggest you visit our Breeders Forum on the site and ask questions before you buy or adopt a Siamese. Owned by a Meezer? Share your experience and any special tips you may have in a comment to this article!

Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!

9 comments on “Siamese Cats

Sammoore97 February 22, 2018
I have a siemies had her since she was 9 weeks old i rescude her off the streets foynd out she had no mom so i took her in and took her to the vet shes healthy and i love her she is preganant but shes my companion and she chose me as i chose her. If u ever heard of a familear shes mine and if i ever lost her i would cry we have a strong uniqe bond. She is very smart.
raysmyheart May 23, 2017
Speedy is a Siamese and calico mix. Her vet says she is a calico point Siamese. She has very blue eyes and Siamese ears, tail, and forehead. Her face and legs are spotted with colors of black, white and apricot. She is very quiet, however, even when she wants something! I do see her eyes "cross" at times. She is sweet in temperament. Since she and I have been together, I am in love with everything Siamese! I loved learning about the tale of Siamese cats being vessels of reincarnation.
shelly3 January 18, 2017
This is Shelly, she is 3 years old. The past few weeks and months, she has been throwing up, usually two times at a time. She drinks a lot of water, I have been told that dry food will demand water, Ok. We changed food as the first food was small in size and she ate whole, we changed to a larger food, but she chewed, when the water got to it, it was to much and she threw up. Then we changed to wet food, now she throws up and there are fur balls in it. Down side, last two times on our WHITE bed spread. HELP !
acura June 24, 2015
my cat went missing May 28th 2015 In Ocean View Big Island lady that sold him to me said hes a Marbled Siamese .a friend mine said hes just a tabby I am going have hard time finding him .well I will not because I know what I am looking for but others I think will have hard time 
mazie January 23, 2015
My Suzie is a Siamese, Tabby point mix. Her personality, crystal blue eyes and extremely vocal nature, (a chatty Cathy) are very characteristic of the Siamese. Her coloring is so beautiful with the black striped tabby face, legs and tail. She is extremely smart and territorial. I call her the queen diva, alpha cat, hands down. lol. She even is "the boss" over the 2 male cats I have.
wolflady5 June 24, 2014
My kitty is white with one blue eye and one gold eye, but her head and body shape are that of a Siamese. My husband rescued her from behind a wall, actually we rescued another cat at a different time from the same place. He is gorgeous. He has a color I have never seen on a kitty kind of a tan-grey with ice blue eyes. My question though is there such a thing as a white Siamese cat?
Anne April 11, 2014
I did and it was lovely to see the pictures - thank you! The first couple of paragraphs under "Breed Description" explain how the extreme form of today's show Siamese came to be.
peachybkk April 11, 2014
I'm from Thailand. I always wonder why Siamese cat pictures I saw in US book always for a problem with cross eye and got a long weird face . I used to have 2 siamese cat with normal bright eyes and mostly siamese in Thai( we call Vichienmas ) don't have the eyes problem and got apple shape fine face.   Try google " วิเชียรมาศ "  (copy my Thai keyword and paste in search box),check the image result you will see the different.
judith1949 June 24, 2013
I have a rare breed cat that I just adopted. She is a Snowshoe Siamese. Here are some pictures of her. She is called a Snowshoe, due to her white paws. She also has a white ruff. She has blue eyes, that do not show up in the pictures. She is lovely. She is four years old and we changed her name to Annabelle. She just did not look like a "Priss" to us! She is a big girl. I would guess her to weigh over 15 lbs. She is trying to adjust to our home and three very small dogs who weigh 2 1/2, 4 1/2, and 5 lbs. full grown. The two smallest ignore her. The 5 lb. Yorkie wants to bark at her and chase her, if she comes out of her room that is baby gated at present. So it is an adjustment process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *