One of the first distinctly recognised Oriental cat breeds is the Siamese cat. Although the name suggests that it is from Siam (now called Thailand), the exact origins of this cat is unknown. It is believed that the cat is from South East Asia, and may have descended from a sacred temple cat. In Thailand, they are one of the ‘native’ breeds which is called Wichien-maat (Diamond Gold). It is now one of the most popular cat breeds in North America and Europe.
A pampered Siamese cat
The Siamese cat was popular with the Siamese people. In the 1700’s, a illustrated manuscript called Tamra Maew (Cat Poems) was written. It was reported that the British Consul-General in Bangkok, Edward Blencowe Gould, brought a breeding pair of cats called Mia and Pho as a gift for his sister. Gould’s sister, Lilian Jane Veley then went on to co-found the Siamese Cat Club in 1901. In addition, the US President, Rutherford B. Hayes, also received a similar gift from the American Consul in Bangkok in 1878.
In 1995, Pho and Mia produced 3 Siamese kittens. These kittens and their parents were on show at London’s Crystal Palace Show. Their unique appearance and distinct behaviour left a huge impression. Unfortunately, all 3 kittens died soon after their show for unknown reasons.
The standard modern Siamese cat is elegant and slim. It is stylish, flexible, and has a well muscled body. Its head is triangular, and has a thin snout. Their eyes are almond-shaped, while its ears are thin and large. Its fur is short, soft, and fine. The Siamese cat is known for its pointed colour scheme. It has this pointed colour scheme because it partly albino. This is due to an enzyme involved in melanin production called tyrosinase, which is heat sensitive. This will result in dark colouration in the coolest parts of the cat’s body, such as the face. In fact, when a Siamese kitten is born, it is all white.
Many Siamese cats in Thailand actually had a kink in their tails. Over the years, this has been bred out as it was considered to be a flaw. However, you can still see this kink in many Thai street cats. Another characteristic that has been bred out is the fact that they were cross-eyed. Siamese cats were cross-eyed because of their abnormal uncrossed wiring which produces the albino allele that produces their colour pattern.
Siamese cats are social cats, known for their intelligence and love. They are cats with an extrovert personality, although some are very sensitive or nervous. Unlike many cats, they have a great need for human companionship, and will bond strongly with a single person. These generally do not like strangers or other cats in their environment. In fact, these cats are playful and active, and are thought to have more dog-like personalities.