The Siamese was one of the first recognized breeds of Oriental cats. Siamese cats are believed to hail from Southeast Asia and are said to descend from the sacred temple cats of Siam, which is now known as Thailand. In their ‘home country’ of Thailand, Siamese cats are called ‘Wichien-matt’ which means Moon Diamond. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Siamese cats became one of the most popular breeds in North America and throughout Europe.
All Siamese cats have a cream-colored base coat with colored points—the points show up on their ears, paws, tails, lower legs and noses and in males, on their scrota. Siamese kittens are born a pure cream or white color at birth but develop their points in the first few months of life. By the time a Siamese kitten is about four weeks old, their point should be distinguishable. Siamese cats points darken with age.
The most typical point of Siamese cat is a Seal Point—an extremely dark brown, nearly black point. However, some Siamese are born with a cool grey tone to their points, known as a Blue Point, which is genetically a ‘diluted’ Seal Point Siamese. Chocolate points are a lighter brown and are genetically a variation of a Seal Point. Lilac Point Siamese cats have pale, warm gray points which seem to have a hint of purple to them and are genetically a ‘diluted’ Chocolate Point. Outcrosses with other breeds of cats have led to other points in the Siamese line, including Red Point, which have a burnt orange-red coloring to their points, a Tortoise-shell Point, which has a creamy orange splotchy effect in their points and a Lynx (tabby) Point.
A Siamese cat has almond shaped eyes that are a bright blue. Their coats are short and flat-lying. The ‘original’ breed of Siamese, the ones that hailed from Thailand, had kinks in the ends of their tail, which is said to be to keep the queen’s rings from falling off the cat’s tail while she bathed. However, the kinked tails have been considered a flaw and breeders have eradicated the trait, although the street cats in Thailand still have the kinked-end tail. Many of the earlier Siamese also had crossed eyes, a compensation for their abnormal uncrossed wiring of the optic chiasm. However, crossed eyes are also seen as a flaw and have been eradicated through selective breeding.
Siamese have a temperament like no other cat. They are very intelligent and affectionate. Siamese cats are known for being ‘extroverts’ primarily for their love of being near people. The Siamese is very vocal cat that has a loud, low-pitched meow. Siamese love human companionship and often bond to a single person closely. However, Siamese can get a huge attitude when they are feeling left out, unloved or if they aren’t getting enough attention. The typical Siamese cat will become very vocal and ‘snotty’ when their master is around to voice their displeasure.
Siamese cats are beautiful creatures, however there is a lot of discrepancy when it comes to the breed. Many people who are not familiar with the breed get duped into thinking they are getting a Siamese cat when in fact they are getting a mixed breed cat. Siamese cats, in the traditional sense, have a very long, wedge shaped face. Some of the inter breeding done with other breeds has caused ‘apple heads’, a term for Siamese cats with blunter heads that are not as pointy or wedge-shaped. While some apple heads’ genealogy can be linked back to single Siamese cats on both maternal and paternal sides, it is suggested that the blood ‘muddied’ somewhere along the lineage.
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