Let's talk Siamese Cats

With their sleek, sassy looks, and almost regal-like bearing, the Siamese is often regarded as one of the most archetypal and beautiful breeds of cat. And yet, in their temperament, the Siamese is almost more dog-like. Affectionate, sociable and playful, they form strong attachments to their owners and enjoy being with children and other pets. They also have their own favourite toys and never tire of games – even fetch!

Official name: Siamese

Other names: Royal Cat of Siam

Origins: Thailand

Black and white portrait of a Siamese looking at the camera
 Hair length

Low

 Family Pet*
High
 Shedding level  Low  Cohabitation with other pets High
Grooming needs   Can stay alone*

 Energy Level* Medium  Environment (indoor/outdoor) Medium
 Vocal tendencies High

 

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.
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Illustration of standing Siamese cat
Male
29 - 31 cm Height
4 - 7 kg Weight
Female
27 - 31 cm Height
3 - 5 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 4 months
 Puppy age  4 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 12 years
 Senior age  From 12 years

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Get to know the Siamese

All you need to know about the breed

As the old expression goes, “nobody owns a cat”. But, if they did, it would probably be a Siamese.

Definitely one of the friendlier feline breeds, they revel in being with people and can often bond strongly with a single person. They also thrive on attention and interaction. In fact, in some ways, the Siamese cat temperament is more like that of a dog.

Once known as the Royal Cat of Siam, the Siamese breed has always been closely associated with Thailand, although their precise origins remain somewhat shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that they were brought over to the West in the late 19th century to a mixed reception – as no one had ever seen their like before – but that they soon became popular pets.

Not for nothing were they named the ‘Royal’ Cat of Siam. With their long, graceful body, and extended neck, they wouldn’t look out of place on the Egyptian tomb of a pharaoh. They also have slender legs, an elegant head and striking almond-shaped eyes that are a deep blue colour.

Easy to take care of, their coat is short and smooth, accentuating their lithe, muscular bodies. There are also several types of Siamese cat colours, ranging from tabby and tortoiseshell to smoke, silver and fawn.

Highly intelligent, the Siamese cat has personality in spades. They’ll be interested in everything that you’re doing and often follow their owners like a shadow. They are also surprisingly ‘chatty’ animals and will try to communicate with you in their own unique way – sounding quite unlike any other cat.

A regular fixture in popular culture, the Siamese has been depicted in paintings and books for centuries. On our screens, they have also featured in several Walt Disney films including Lady and the Tramp (1955), The Incredible Journey (1963), That Darn Cat (1965) and Aristocats (1970). More recently, one of the most popular Pokémon species was based on a Siamese cat.

White Siamese cat perched on a wooden sideboard

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2 facts about Siamese cats

1. A perfect symmetry

With their elegant, angular bodies, the Siamese cat is often thought to look almost other-worldly. But did you know that if you measure from the tip of the nose to each tip of the ear, their face also forms a perfect triangle?

2. Two is company

Given their sociable nature, Siamese cats don’t do well if left alone. So, for human owners who may need to be out during the day, it’s generally recommended to consider having a second Siamese. That way, they can keep each other company.

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History of the breed

Dating back many centuries, the first known reference to the Siamese breed occurs in a collection of ancient manuscripts from the historic Ayutthaya Kingdom in Siam – what is now modern-day Thailand. Entitled ‘The Treatise on Cats’, these fascinating documents are thought to have been created from the 14th century onwards.

It wasn’t until the 1800’s, however, that the Siamese found its way to the West. Originally known as the Royal Cat of Siam, they received something of a mixed reaction here initially, as no one had seen anything like them before. In fact, in 1871, when three were shown at London’s Crystal Palace Show, they were given a decidedly lukewarm reception.

However, it wasn’t long before the Siamese breed took off, going on to become a very fashionable pet. The first standard was established in the UK in 1892 and they were soon in demand on both sides of the pond.

Today, there are actually two types of Siamese cat. The reason for this is that, due to selective breeding, there developed two sub-breeds of Siamese: the modern ‘Show-style’, which is more elongated and slender in the body and has a different-shaped head, and the ‘Traditional’ Siamese.

Black and white portrait of a Siamese cat taken from the side

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Siamese cats

1. Head

A wedge-shaped head sits on a long, graceful neck

2. Face

Ears are large and pointed and they have almond-shaped, bright blue eyes

3. Body

Body is long and tubular with slender legs, dainty, oval paws and a long whip-like tail

4. Coat

Short and sleek coat ranges from tabby and tortoiseshell through to smoke, silver or fawn in colour

5. Colouring

Regardless of colouring, can often have darker points on their ears, face, paws and tail

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Siamese
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Siamese cats don't have the best night-time vision

While they may have some of the most striking eyes of any cat, with their piercing blue gaze, they lack a physiological feature that amplifies low light. Many early Siamese cats were actually cross-eyed, which helped to compensate for the problem, but the trait was seen as a fault. As a result, it was largely eliminated through selective breeding. It’s worth knowing all this as their poorer eyesight can make the Siamese more at risk to night-time dangers such as traffic. On the plus side, unlike some other blue-eyed animals, their hearing is unaffected in any way.

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Antoher common problem in the Siamese is dental issues

These can include conditions such as gingivitis – inflammation of the gums – which can potentially lead on to periodontal disease. Siamese cats can also be predisposed to a condition that the scientists call ‘FORL’ (feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion). This is the progressive disappearance of the tooth at the level of the neck. While some cats don’t display any signs, others salivate or show difficulty in chewing. To confirm the diagnosis, intraoral radiographs are needed. In any event, regular dental check-ups are recommended for your Siamese. They should also have their teeth brushed daily – or as often as you can manage.

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They can also be susceptible to some specific complaints

Siamese cats have a higher risk of developing a condition called ‘cholangiohepatitis syndrome’. This is an inflammation of the bile duct often caused by a bacterial infection either in situ or nearby in another organ. Anatomically, this duct shares its intestinal connection with three organs (the pancreas, liver and small intestine), so when one goes wrong, they can all get into trouble. The Siamese also has a breed predilection for a condition called ‘amyloidosis’. This is a deposition of insoluble ‘fibrillar’ protein in various organs and tissues that interferes with their normal function. The kidneys and liver are the main affected locations. So, if your Siamese seems off-colour in any way, it’s best to go straight to your vet.

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Caring for your Siamese

Grooming, training and exercise tips

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One of the other great things about the Siamese breed is that they are very low-maintenance in terms of grooming. All they really need is a quick run-through with a comb once a week to remove any dead hair. The Siamese cat also sheds very little compared to some other breeds. As they are also clean animals, too, they rarely need to be bathed either – though it’s recommended that they have a professional grooming session twice a year. Also, remember to give their ears a check for any signs of infection and to brush their teeth daily, if you can manage, or at least two or three times a week.

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A highly intelligent breed of cat, the Siamese learns super-fast and will quickly settle into life in your home. However, as they thrive on interaction and form strong bonds with their owners, they do require a certain amount of time investment. In short, this is a breed best-suited to someone looking for a companion animal – especially as one of the Siamese behaviour traits is that they enjoy playing games. As they can also suffer from separation anxiety, it’s recommended that you get a pair if you’re likely to be out a lot. That way, they can keep each other company – and hopefully out of any mischief. But, on the whole, Siamese behaviour problems are minimal.

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Quite an energetic cat, the Siamese is also a fairly determined climber. As such, they will benefit from having a good-quality, sturdy cat tree to help keep them occupied. That way, you will hopefully be able to avoid them climbing up your curtains (if you have curtains!). Among the other characteristics of a Siamese cat, they also thrive on playing games. So that can be another handy way to keep them active – both physically and mentally. A range of cat toys will help keep them busy – and they even enjoy a game of fetch. Another way to ensure they get enough exercise is to adopt the aforementioned solution of having a second Siamese (that really can’t be said enough) as they will also enjoy chasing each other.

All about Siamese cats

Yes, absolutely – that is one of the main Siamese behaviour traits. In fact, they make excellent companions all-round. However, due to their activity level and intelligence, the Siamese can occasionally get into mischief if left alone. So, they will do best with an owner who wants to spend time with their cat.

One of the longer-lived breeds, Siamese cats live up to around 12 to 15 years on average. However, some can reach 20 years old – and even beyond. So, in short, the life expectancy of a Siamese cat is fairly high.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/