Are you a cat lover?
Then chances are you've encountered the elegant Siamese cat. With their striking blue eyes and distinct color points, they're hard to overlook!
Siamese cats hold a cherished spot in the world of feline admiration, often landing them in the top ten lists of the most popular cat breeds.
But their fame goes beyond just looks.
Ever heard a cat 'talk'? If you've met a Siamese, you likely have.
This breed earns its reputation for being vocal and sociable, as they actively form strong bonds with their human companions.
In this article, we dive into the fascinating world of Siamese cats, revealing secrets about their history, genetics, and even their place in ancient Thai culture.
You may think you know the Siamese cat, but there's so much more to this breed than meets the eye. Let's dive in!
Siamese Cats: Breed Description
The Evolution of Siamese Cats: From Ancient Siam to Modern Shows
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.
The Continuation of Tradition: The Apple-Face Siamese
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.
The Unmistakable Coat: Understanding the Colorpoint Pattern
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.
The Science of Colorpoint: A Genetic Explanation
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 at normal body temperature.
Thus, pigment (melanin) is produced only in cooler body parts, such as the tail, paws, ears, and tip of the face.
From Birth to Maturation: The Emergence of the Colorpoint Pattern
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.
The Meezers: Personality Traits of Siamese Cats
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.
Siamese Cats: Breed History
All colorpoint cats, the ones whose extremities are a different, darker color, can trace their roots back to Thailand, once known as Siam.
The first recorded encounter with such a cat is in an ancient Thai poem. This poem described a distinctive cat with a pale body contrasted by a dark tail, ears, feet, and lower face.
This unusual breed quickly caught the attention of Western visitors, leading to the christening of this unique feline as the "Siamese cat".
The Siamese Cat's Arrival In The Western World
As we neared the end of the 19th century, Siamese cats began their grand voyage to the West.
They captured the interest and admiration of cat enthusiasts when they were imported into the UK and the US.
By the dawn of the 20th century, Siamese cat clubs emerged on both sides of the Atlantic, initiating dedicated breeding programs.
The Siamese Cats: Icons of the Cat Fancy World
The Siamese cat, with its unmistakable appearance, rapidly gained popularity. It's one of the few breeds that can be instantly recognized, even by those not deeply involved in the world of cat fancy.
According to the Cat Fanciers Association's registries, the Siamese breed consistently ranks among the top ten most popular cat breeds.
The Siamese's appeal extends back to some of the earliest cat shows on record, both in the UK and the US.
The Sacred Siamese: Lore and Legend in Thai Culture
Siamese cats' place in Thai culture extends far beyond their physical charm.
Though no one has substantiated these tales yet, lore portrays the Siamese cat as a sacred figure in Thai society.
Royal families exclusively kept these cats or confined them within the sacred temples. A captivating legend portrays Siamese cats as vessels of reincarnation.
According to this narrative, when a royal family member passed away, they entombed their favorite Siamese cat with them.
With specially designed escape routes for the cat, people believed that once the feline left the tomb, it reincarnated the soul of the deceased.
Considering A Siamese: Is This Talkative Feline The Right Fit For You?
Are you contemplating welcoming a Siamese cat into your life?
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!
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