Siamese Cat: Breed Profile, Characteristics, and Care Guide
| Updated: May 13, 2023
In This Article
Siamese cats are one of the world’s most popular and recognizable breeds. They are known for their striking appearance, vocal personality, and loyal devotion to their owners. But how much do you really know about these fascinating felines? Here are some facts and features that make Siamese cats stand out from the crowd.
Up to 14 pounds
Up to 24 inches
Seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac
Affectionate, social, intelligent, and vocal
Good with Kids
Good with Pets
The Origin of Siamese Cats
Siamese cats originated in Thailand, formerly known as Siam, where they were revered as sacred animals and kept by royalty and Buddhist monks. The breed was first described in the affectionately named Cat-Book Poems, the ancient Tamra Maew manuscripts dating back to the 14th century. These poems depict different types of cats, including the pointed cat, the ancestor of the modern Siamese.
The Siamese royal family introduced the Siamese cat to the Western world in the late 19th century when they were given as gifts to European diplomats and visitors. The first Siamese cat to arrive in England was a male cat, Pho, who was presented to Edward Blencowe Gould, the British consul-general in Bangkok, in 1884. Pho’s son, Duen Ngai, was later given to Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Alexandra of Wales.
The first Siamese cat to arrive in the United States was a female named Siam, who was sent by the American consul in Bangkok to President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife Lucy in 1878. Sadly, Siam died shortly after her arrival, but her legacy sparked an interest in the breed among American cat lovers.
The first major association to recognize the Siamese was the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1906. However, they only recognize four colors; seal point, chocolate point, lilac point, and blue point. Since then, all major cat fancier associations have recognized the Siamese cat. Many of them allow for more color points than the CFA does.
Appearance and Characteristics of Siamese Cats
There are two main types of Siamese cats: traditional Siamese and modern Siamese. Traditional Siamese, also known as the Thai or the old-style Siamese, has a more rounded head, a muscular body, and a moderate coat length. The modern Siamese, also known as the show-style Siamese, has a more elongated head, a slender body, and a short coat length.
The traditional Siamese is closer to the original appearance of the breed, as depicted in the Tamra Maew poems. The modern Siamese results from selective breeding that started in the mid-20th century to emphasize specific features such as the wedge-shaped head and the large ears.
Both Siamese types share the same pointed pattern, meaning that their ears, legs and tail, feet, and face are darker than their body. This is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the enzyme that produces pigment in the fur. The enzyme is more active at lower temperatures. Hence, the cat’s extremities are darker than the warmer parts of the body.
The pointed pattern comes in a variety of colors, such as seal (dark brown), blue (gray), chocolate (light brown), lilac (pinkish-gray), red (orange), cream (off-white), fawn (beige), cinnamon (reddish-brown), and tortie (a mix of red and black). The body color can range from white to cream to beige, depending on the point color.
Siamese Eye Color
Did you know that every Siamese cat has stunning blue eyes? That’s because they carry a special gene that makes them different from other cats. This gene is called the Himalayan gene, which is an interesting type of temperature-sensitive albinism. It gives them a lighter color on their body and a darker color on their ears, face, tail, and feet, all the places further away from the core body temperature.
But that’s not all. This gene also stops them from having any color in their eyes, which makes them look like sparkling blue jewels. The blue color is the strongest because it has the shortest wavelength distance and bounces off more than any other color. That’s why we see it so clearly. If you see a cat resembling a Siamese with different eye colors, it means they are not pure Siamese and have another breed in their family tree.
Another interesting thing about their eyes is that many traditional Siamese appears cross-eyed. This is caused by the Himalayan gene as well. It does not impair their vision; instead, it is said that they have to cross their eyes to see straight. When their eyes are “crossed,” their retinas line up like a normal cat’s. For better or worse, this was considered an undesirable trait and was mostly bred out of the modern Siamese.
Siamese Cat Personality
Siamese cats are not only beautiful but also highly intelligent. They are very curious and playful and love to explore their surroundings. They can learn tricks such as fetching, opening doors, turning lights on/off, and walking on a leash. They are also very vocal and communicate with their owners with various sounds and tones. Some people describe their voice as loud and raspy, while others find it melodious and musical.
Siamese cats are very affectionate and social and crave attention from their owners. They will follow you around the house and demand to be involved in everything you do. They will also greet you at the door when you come home and snuggle with you on the couch or bed. They are not shy with strangers and will often welcome guests with enthusiasm.
Siamese cats are unsuitable for people away from home for long periods or prefer quiet and independent cats. They can become bored and lonely if left alone too much. They may develop behavioral problems such as scratching furniture, chewing wires, or spraying urine. They may also suffer from separation anxiety and depression if they feel neglected or abandoned.
Siamese cats do well with other pets and children if they are raised around them from an early age.
They are very intelligent and can learn tricks and commands easily.
They are very affectionate and loyal to their owners and enjoy cuddling and playing.
They have a distinctive appearance and a beautiful coat that comes in different colors and patterns.
They are very vocal and can be noisy and demanding at times.
They are prone to some health issues such as dental problems, respiratory infections, and amyloidosis.
They need a lot of attention and stimulation and can become bored and destructive if left alone for too long.
Common Health Issues In Siamese Cats
Siamese cats are generally healthy and can live up to 20 years or more with proper care. However, they are also prone to some health issues that may affect their quality of life. Some of these issues are hereditary, meaning they are passed down from the parents to the offspring. Others are environmental, meaning they are caused by factors such as diet, stress, or exposure to toxins.
Some of the common health issues this breed may face are:
Pica: This is a condition where the cat eats non-food items such as wool, plastic, or rubber. This can be a sign of boredom, stress, or nutritional deficiency. It can also lead to intestinal blockage, poisoning, or dental problems. To prevent pica, provide your Siamese cat with plenty of toys, mental stimulation, and a balanced diet. If your cat ingests something inappropriate, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Asthma: This is a respiratory disorder where the airways become inflamed and narrow, making it hard for the cat to breathe. It can be triggered by allergens such as dust, pollen, or smoke. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and panting. Treatment may include medication, inhalers, or oxygen therapy. To reduce the risk of asthma, keep your home clean and free of potential irritants.
Amyloidosis: This is a disease where a protein called amyloid accumulates in the organs, such as the kidneys and liver, causing them to fail. It is more common in older Siamese cats and has no cure. Symptoms include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst and urination. Treatment may include supportive care such as fluids, diet, and medication.
Cancer: Siamese cats are more susceptible to certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and thymoma. These cancers affect the immune system, the skin, and the chest cavity, respectively. Symptoms vary depending on the type and location of the tumor. Still, they may include lumps, swelling, weight loss, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, or bleeding. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
Eye problems: Siamese cats have beautiful piercing blue eyes that can be prone to some issues, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, and cataracts. PRA is a genetic condition that causes the retina to degenerate over time, leading to blindness. Glaucoma is when the pressure inside the eye increases, causing pain and vision loss. Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye that impair vision. Treatment may include medication, surgery, or eye drops.
These are some health issues that Siamese cats may face, but not all, or any, will affect every cat. The best way to keep your cat healthy is to provide regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, parasite prevention, dental care, grooming, and a nutritious diet. You should also monitor your cat for any signs of illness or injury and seek veterinary attention if you notice anything unusual.
Care For Your Siamese Cat
Siamese cats are not super high-maintenance but still require a little special attention to keep them happy and healthy. Here are some tips on how to care for your precious kitty.
Feed your Siamese cat high-quality food: Siamese cats need a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates to maintain their lean and muscular body. Choose a food specially formulated for cats with animal-based proteins as the main ingredient. Avoid foods that have grains, fillers, or artificial colors and flavors. You can feed your Siamese cat dry, wet, or a combination of both. Dry food is more economical and can help prevent dental problems. In contrast, wet food provides more moisture and can help prevent urinary problems. Follow the feeding instructions on the label and adjust the amount according to your cat’s age, weight, and activity level. Do not overfeed your Siamese cat, as they are prone to obesity and related health issues.
Brush your Siamese cat’s fur once a week: Siamese cats have short, glossy coats that do not shed much. However, they still benefit from regular brushing to remove loose hair and dirt and distribute natural oils. Use a soft-bristled brush or a rubber grooming glove and gently stroke your cat’s fur in the direction of growth. This will also help you bond with your cat and check for skin problems or parasites.
Wash your Siamese cat every 8 to 13 weeks: Siamese cats are usually clean and do not need frequent bathing. However, you may want to wash your cat occasionally to remove any dirt or odor that may accumulate on their coat. Use a mild shampoo designed for cats and rinse well with warm water. Dry your cat with a towel or a hairdryer on a low setting. Avoid getting water or shampoo in your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, or mouth.
Trim your Siamese cat’s nails and provide a scratching post: Siamese cats have sharp claws that must be trimmed regularly to prevent them from growing too long and causing injury or damage. Use a pair of nail clippers designed for cats and cut off the tip of each nail, avoiding the pink part that contains blood vessels and nerves. If you are unsure how to do this, ask your vet or groomer to show you how. You should also provide your cat with a scratching post or pad to allow them to sharpen their claws and mark their territory. This will also help prevent them from scratching your furniture or carpets.
Maintain a clean litter box: Siamese cats are very particular about their hygiene and will refuse to use a dirty litter box. You should scoop out the waste from the litter box at least once a day and change the litter completely every week. You should also wash the litter box with mild soap and water every month. Place the litter box in a quiet and accessible location away from food and water bowls. You may need more than one litter box if you have multiple cats or a large house.
Fun Facts About Siamese Cats
Siamese cats are beautiful and intelligent and full of fun and charm. They have a rich history and a unique personality that make them stand out from other cat breeds. Here are some fun facts about Siamese cats that will make you love them even more.
Siamese cats are one of the oldest cat breeds in the world: Siamese cats can trace their origins back to ancient Siam or present-day Thailand, where they were revered as sacred animals and kept by royalty and monks. The breed was first described in the Tamra Maew manuscripts, which date back to the 14th century and depict different types of cats, including the pointed cat.
Siamese cats have a unique gene that affects their coat color: Siamese cats have a genetic mutation that affects the enzyme that produces pigment in their fur. The enzyme is more active at lower temperatures, so the cat’s ears, tail, feet, and face are darker than the body. This is why Siamese kittens are born white and develop their markings as they grow older and are exposed to colder environments.
Siamese cats are very vocal and expressive: They are known for their loud and raspy voice, which they use to communicate with their owners and express their feelings. They can make various sounds and tones, from meows and purrs to yowls and hisses. Some people find their voice annoying, while others find it musical and charming.
Siamese cats are highly intelligent and playful: They are curious and adventurous and love exploring their surroundings. They can learn tricks like fetching, opening doors, turning lights on/off, and walking on a leash. They are also very social and enjoy playing with other pets and children. They need a lot of mental stimulation and physical activity to keep them happy and healthy.
Siamese cats have been featured in many movies and books: Siamese cats have a star quality that has made them popular in various media. Some of the most famous Siamese cats include Pyewacket from the movie Bell, Book and Candle (1958), DC from That Darn Cat! (1965), Tao from The Incredible Journey (1963), Sagwa from the animated TV series Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (2001), and the mischievous duo Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp (1955).
The Name of Siamese Cats
Siamese cats deserve names that reflect their unique appearance and personality. Whether you want to choose a name that honors their Thai origin, coat color, eye color, or something else, you have plenty of options to consider. Here are some ideas for Siamese cat names that you might like.
Siamese cats come from Thailand, formerly known as Siam, so you may want to give them a name that reflects their heritage. You can choose a Thai word, a Thai name, or a Thai place with a special meaning for you or your cat. Some examples are:
Suda: means “good” or “happy” in Thai.
Mali: means “jasmine” in Thai.
Kai: means “chicken” in Thai
NongYao: means “young lady” in Thai
Bangkok: the capital city of Thailand
Phuket: a popular island destination in Thailand
Chai: means “tea” in Thai.
Mee: means “noodle” in Thai
Siamese cats have a distinctive pointed pattern, which means their ears, tail, feet, and face are darker than their body. The pointed pattern comes in various colors: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, and more. You can choose a name that matches or contrasts with your cat’s coat color. Some examples are:
Shadow: a good name for a dark-colored cat
Luna: a good name for a light-colored cat
Cinnamon: a good name for a brown or red cat
Sapphire: a good name for a blue cat
Lavender: a good name for a lilac cat
Cream: a good name for a cream cat
Smokey: a good name for a gray cat
Ginger: a good name for an orange cat
Siamese cats have beautiful, striking, and expressive blue eyes. You can choose a name that highlights or complements your cat’s eye color. Some examples are:
Bluey: a cute name for a blue-eyed cat
Sky: a name that evokes the color of the sky
Indigo: a name that refers to a deep blue color
Crystal: a name that suggests clarity and sparkle
Azure: a name that means “sky blue” in French
Ocean: a name that conjures up the image of the sea
Misty: a name that implies softness and mystery
Iris: a name that means “rainbow” in Greek
Siamese cats are intelligent, playful, vocal, and affectionate. Their strong personalities and unique quirks make them stand out from other cats. You can choose a name that captures your cat’s character or behavior. Some examples are:
Ninja: a name for a stealthy and agile cat
Chatter: a name for a talkative and noisy cat
Hero: a name for a brave and adventurous cat
Sweetie: a name for a loving and cuddly cat
Dash: a name for a fast and energetic cat
Zinnia: a name for a cheerful and bright cat
Loki: a name for a mischievous and clever cat
Duchess: a name for an elegant and regal cat
Where To Buy A Siamese Cat
Siamese cats are a popular and desirable breed many people want to own. As such, the cost of a Siamese cat depends on several factors, such as the type, color, pedigree, age, and cat demand.
Generally, a purebred Siamese kitten costs between $400 and $1000 from reputable breeders. You should be prepared to pay up to $1500 or more for a Siamese cat of show championship quality. The price may also vary depending on the region and season. You may find cheaper Siamese cats from shelters or rescues, where the adoption fee ranges from $15 to $200. However, these cats may not be purebred, have papers or health guarantees, and may have unknown backgrounds or health issues.
Siamese cats are not very rare, being such a popular breed, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a kitten. However, certain types and/or colors of Siamese cats may be harder to find than others. For example, the traditional Siamese is less common than the modern Siamese, also known as the show-style Siamese.
Siamese cats are a wonderful breed that will enrich your life with their beauty, intelligence, and charm. They have a rich history and a unique personality that make them stand out from other cats. Consider adopting a Siamese cat if you want a loyal, playful, and vocal companion. However, you should also be prepared to provide proper care, attention, and stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. And, of course, you should also give them a name that suits them perfectly to a T. We hope this article has helped you learn more about the ancient Siamese cats and given you some ideas for Siamese cat names. Thank you for reading, and happy catting!
More Cat Breeds
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A: No, Siamese cats are not truly hypoallergenic. They still produce the protein Fel d1 that causes allergies in some people. However, they may shed less than other cats and have less effect on mild allergy sufferers.
Q: How much are Siamese cats?
A: The cost of a Siamese cat can vary from $250 to $2,500, depending on factors such as age, color, pedigree, and location. Kittens and cats with common colors tend to be cheaper, while adult cats and those with rarer pedigrees or championship statuses tend to be more expensive.
Q: How long do Siamese cats live?
A: The average lifespan of a Siamese cat is around 16 years. However, some Siamese cats can live well past 20 and even reach 30 years of age. The lifespan of a Siamese cat may vary based on its gender, health, diet, and vet care.
Q: Are Siamese cats mean?
A: No, Siamese cats are not mean. They are very sociable, friendly, and vocal cats that love to interact with their owners and other pets. They may sometimes be demanding and noisy, but they are not aggressive or malicious.
Q: Do Siamese cats shed?
A: Yes, Siamese cats do shed, but not as much as other breeds. Their fur is short and silky, and they go through two molts per year. A good daily combing and regular vacuuming can help reduce shedding.
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