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Siamese Cat Breed Profile

Siamese catProbably the most recognisable of all cat breeds, the Siamese is an ancient breed of cat with a colourful history and many legends surrounding it.

One legend is that Siamese cats guarded the Buddhist temples & were considered sacred. According to Sally Franklin in her book The Complete Siamese Cat, when a high ranking person died, a Siamese was chosen to receive the dead person's soul. The cat was removed from the royal household & sent to one of the temples to spend the rest of it's days living a ceremonial life of great luxury, with monks & priests as it's servants. [2]

The history of the Siamese isn't entirely known although there are plenty of theories as to it's origins.

  • Sydney W. France in his book 'Siamese Cats' claims that the Hon. Russell Gordon gave his considered opinion that the Siamese cat was a cross between the Sacred Cat of Burma & the Annamite cat introduced into the religiously sealed & guarded Burmese Temples, and which were imported into Siam when the Cambodian Empire of Kymer fell to the attacks of the Siamese.
  • German explorer & zoologist Peter Simon Pallas shows a picture of a cat with a Siamese coat pattern which was said to be the progeny of a black cat & had a chestnut-brown body colour, black at the back & paler along the sides & belly, with a black streak running along & surrounding the eyes. [1] This cat was seen in the area of the Caspian Sea.

What we do know is that in 1884 Mr. Edward Blencowe Gould an Acting Vice-Consul at Bangkok obtained a breeding pair of Siamese cats called Pho & Mia. It is said that  King Chulalongkorn gave them to him although this story does attract some scepticism. What is known that two Siamese cats arrived in England from Bangkok by Mr Gould as a present to his sister, Mrs. Lilian Veley. Pho & Mia are recorded as 1a & 2a in the Siamese Cat Register. Mrs. Veley went on to co-found the Siamese Cat Club in 1901.

The following year, Mrs Vyvyan & her sister of Dover imported two Siamese cats. Mrs. Vyvyan  writes to Harrison Weir 'The original pair were sent from Bangkok, and it is believed that they came from the King's Palace, where alone the breed are said to be kept pure. At any rate, they were procured as a great favour, after much delay & great difficulty, and since that time no others have been attainable by the same person. We were in China when they reached us, and the following year, 1886, we brought the father, mother & a pair of kittens to England.'

During the next few years more Siamese were imported into Britain, and are the foundation cats of the Siamese we know & love now.

Temperament of the Siamese Cat:

The Siamese is an extremely intelligent breed of cat. They are the most talkative of cat breeds & enjoy giving their human companions a running commentary. Their voice is rather unique, it is deep & loud.

Siamese are often described as 'dog like' in that they often enjoy to play fetch, but they are also extremely incredibly affectionate & bond closely to their humans. They love to be the centre of attention.

Siamese cats need to be with their human companions almost constantly, they do not do well on their own. They can form close bonds with one particular member of the household at the exclusion of others.

Appearance of the Siamese Cat:

Siamese catThe Siamese coat pattern is striking. The face, paws, ears & tail (points) have a darker colouring, the body is light in colour. The coat should be short, fine & silky to the touch.

The ears are large, eyes are a stunning blue & almond shaped.

The Siamese is an elegant animal with a long, muscular &  tubular body, long neck.  The legs are long & slender with small, oval feet. The hind legs are longer than the front legs. The tail is long, thin & whip like.

Colours of the Siamese Cat:

The original & most commonly known colours are seal, blue, chocolate & lilac. Different cat associations accept different colours, which include red (also known as flame), cream, fawn, caramel, apricot, cinnamon. These colours may also come in tabby (also known as lynx) & tortie point.

The Cat Fancy Association in America only accepts seal, blue, chocolate & lilac in Siamese, other colours are considered to be Colorpoint Shorthairs.

Suitable for:

The Siamese cat thrives on attention & needs to be a part of the family. If you are out for long periods during the day it is strongly urged you have two cats to keep each other company. This is especially true with Siamese cats.

Watch two talkative Siamese cats here.

Also see:

Siamese cat breeders   Oriental breed profile   Cat Breeds