Its unique looks and personality make this intelligent and extroverted breed one of the most recognizable cats.
The history of the Siamese includes more myths and legends than hard facts, and the true tale of this “Royal Cat of Siam” is now lost in time. It is certainly thought to be a very old breed; a cat with dark points is pictured in The Cat Book Poems, a manuscript produced in Siam (now Thailand) that possibly dates back to the 14th century.
The first Siamese cats definitely known in the West appeared at cat shows in London during the 1870s, and in that same decade a cat was sent from Bangkok to the US as a gift for President Rutherford B. Hayes’s wife.
In the breed’s early years of development, on both sides of the Atlantic, all Siamese cats were seal points, and it was not until the 1930s that new colors—blue, chocolate, and lilac—were introduced, and later others were added. The appearance of the Siamese has also changed in other ways over the years.
Traits such as crossed eyes and a kinked tail, which were once common in the Siamese, have been bred out and are now seen as faults in terms of show standards. More controversially, modern breeding has taken the elongated body and narrow head of the Siamese to extremes, producing an ultra-lean and angular look. With a supersized ego and a loud voice that it uses to demand attention, the Siamese is the most extroverted of all cats.
This highly intelligent breed is full of fun and energy and makes a wonderful family pet, as ready to give affection as to receive it.
Before about the 1970s, the Siamese had the typical appearance of most shorthaired cats, with a rounded head and moderately sturdy body (as shown in a champion Siamese from the 1900s, below).
Then, breeders began to develop a dramatic new image, and the Siamese changed almost beyond recognition. With the breed standard altered to reflect the exaggerated outline now preferred, old-style Siamese can no longer hold their own in the show ring against their modern counterparts. However, they are still bred by enthusiasts who prefer the traditional look.
Origin: Thailand (Siam), 14th century
Breed registries: CFA, FIFe, GCCF, TICA
Weight range: 6–12 lb (2.5–5.5 kg)
Colors and patterns: All solid colors in pointed patterns.