Siamese cats are among the most popular cat breeds in the world. It is believed that, they have their origin in Thailand, where they were treated as sacred temple cats. At that time, Thailand was known by the name 'Siam'; and these cats were one of the native breeds called Wichien-maat, which means 'moon diamond'. The name 'Siamese' is derived from the place of their origin - Siam.
History of Siamese Cats
The history of these cats can be traced back to the seventeenth century, as there is mention of this breed in the 'Cat-Book' poems (believed to be written during the 1700s) of Thailand. There is no information regarding the origin of these cats. Till the 1800s, this cat breed was confined to the country of Thailand. The American Consul in Bangkok gifted a Siamese cat to the then U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878, and this cat is believed to be the first of its kind in America. In 1884, the British Consul General in Bangkok, Edward Blencowe Gould brought a breeding pair of Siamese cats to the United Kingdom, as a gift for his sister.
These cats fetched many admirers in both countries, which resulted in the import of this breed in large numbers to the United States and the United Kingdom. These cats formed the base breeding pool for the further generations. Over the years, many people across the world, adopted these cats; and selective breeding resulted in two types of Siamese cats - the modern 'show-style' Siamese, and the 'traditional' Siamese.
A modern Siamese cat has a sleek muscular body with long slender legs and a triangular-shaped head. Its deep blue eyes are almond-shaped and slanted. It has a thin snout, a long and thin neck, and large, pointed ears. The hair is short and soft, and these cats are characterized by the pointed color scheme. This color scheme is due to the mutation in an enzyme called tyrosinase, which results in darker colors in the cooler parts of the body. The Siamese cats have a dark color on the face, ears, toes, and tail. Even though, Siamese kittens are cream or white-colored at birth, they develop dark points within a few months. They become darker as they grow, and those living in cold climates are much darker than their counterparts.
Originally, the color of their coat included dark brown with black points (seal point), cool gray points (blue point), chocolate points, and lilac points. Later, many color combinations and patterns were introduced through different breeding programs. The original breed of Siamese cats were cross-eyed and they had kinked tails. These features were eliminated through selective breeding.
The traditional Siamese, also known as classic or old style; retains the looks of the original breed, which was imported from Siam, during the last half of the nineteenth century. These cats have round heads, muscular and compact bodies, round cheeks, short snouts, and high ears. They have brilliant blue eyes, which are almond-shaped, and are medium to large in size. The characteristic feature of Siamese cats is the striking contrast between the points and the body color.
Behavior and Lifespan
Siamese cats are highly intelligent, and are loved for their playful and affectionate nature. These cats are very sociable, need human company and demand attention. They are attached to their owners, and do not get adapted to new environment and strangers easily. They have a loud voice, which is similar to the cries of a human baby. These cats have a good lifespan, as compared to other cat breeds. They have a life expectancy of up to 20 years.
A Siamese cat is a perfect choice for any cat lover. You too can become the proud owner of this loyal and affectionate cat.