The Siamese Cat

The Siamese is one of the most popular domestic cat breeds across the world. Their distinctive head shape, striking eyes & slender body make them easily recognisable. They are thought to be one of the oldest existing breeds of cat and to have come from Thailand (formerly Siam). The Siamese was much revered and for a time, only the Siamese Royal Family were allowed to have them. Their history in Siam can be dated back to the 1400’s. They were known as Moon Diamonds in Siam and thought to be able to ward away evil spirits. When the breed travelled to the West is unknown exactly, however, In 1880 the King of Siam gave two pairs of Siamese cats to the English consul-general in Bangkok, and he brought them back to England.

Siamese cats are very vocal and some owners remark on how their cat talks to them. This is usually a sign that they want something, and they will often keep on until you have worked out what that is. Some can be very loud and cry a bit like a baby, others have a harsher squeaky voice. They are intelligent, and very much enjoy human companionship. They are very affectionate cats and form a close bond with their human family. They are tolerant of children and make good lap cats for the elderly. A bit like Ragdolls they will often follow the owner around as their little shadow. They will also try to be the centre of attention and their ‘talking’ makes sure they are hard to ignore. They are sometimes described as the most dog like of the cat breeds or that they think they are human.

They are very intelligent cats and can be trained to do tricks, but watch out though as they will learn how to open doors and latches to sate their inquisitive nature. They do well in cat agility competitions and love challenges. They tend to be exaggerated in all they do, eg. If in a good mood they will give a huge amount of love and affection, but if in a bad mood, then its best to give them space. They are very energetic and love climbing and jumping. They can often be found on the tallest things in any room and spending time playing with them is a good idea to keep them out of mischief.

The breed has two common boy shapes known as the Traditional (applehead) Siamese and the Extreme (wedgehead) Siamese. The wedgehead is the most distinctive with its angular face and long, slender lean body. The neck & tail are more elongated and the wedge shaped head is smooth with large ears. The eyes are slanted and piercing. The Traditional Siamese has a much rounder body and face and is usually heavier than its counterpart. The bright blue eyes however are still a prominent feature, though not slanted.

All Siamese cats have a creamy coloured coat with coloured areas known as points. The colouring is from a genetic mutation in the coat colour. The points come in a number of colours, these being known as chocolate, seal, blue, lilac, cinnamon,fawn, red, apricot and caramel. The coloured points are usually the face, ears, feet & tail.
The Siamese will usually live to the age of 15 or more with 20 not being uncommon. Kidney disease, otherwise known as Chronic Renal Failure is a common cause of death in elderly Siamese cats. They are prone to a few medical conditions, these being…

Heart conditions:

Dilated cardiomyopathy- affecting the heart muscle and causing heart failure

Skin conditions:

Allergic skin disease including flea and food allergies
Vitiligo- loss of pigment from the skin
Psychogenic hair loss and tail sucker- believed to be stress related

Gastrointestinal Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease that causes diarrhoea. Often occurs as part of a condition called “triaditis” which includes inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis and hepatitis
Small intestinal tumours called adenocarcinoma
Portosystemic shunts- where an abnormal blood vessel develops in the liver

Musculoskeletal conditions

Hip dysplasia- rare in cats generally
Congenital myasthenia gravis

Tumours including

Skin tumours such as mast cell tumours
Nasal cavity tumours
Insulinoma- tumours of the pancreas
Mammary tumours

Eye problems:

Corneal sequestrum
Retinal degeneration

Respiratory conditions

Feline asthma