The Siamese, (if you please) are very wonderful cats.
Their history is a little sketchy as no one knows the exact place of their origin.
It is believed that they came from Southeast Asia and are descendents of the scared temple cats of Siam (Thailand.)
The Siamese cat that you may remember from your childhood is not the Siamese cat that is bred today.
Today’s Siamese cat almost looks like it landed here from outer space.
It is longer, slimmer and has an angular pointed face and large ears.
The traditional Siamese (known as the applehead) had a round head, almond-shaped blue eyes and was of fairly sturdy build.
Let’s go back in history for a bit and trace the origin of the Siamese from whence it became known to the western world up to modern times.
Back in the late 1700’s a gentleman by the name of Mr. Pallas found some engravings that pictured a Siamese cat in southern Russia, but it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that anything could be documented.
In 1884 a British-Consul-General was given Siamese cat by the Siamese king as a parting gift.
This was considered a great gift as the cat had been bred in the royal palace.
The Siamese cats at that time had kinks in their tails, which is a story I will tell you later.
The Consul-General took the cat to England and it had kittens, which the then retired Consul-General gave to his sister, Mrs. Lillian Velvey.
She entered the kittens in the 17th Crystal Palace Cat Show on October 1885. The cats were so extraordinary, that they were photographed and quickly became a favorite breed.
In 1902 England formed the first Siamese cat fancier’s club.
No one is certain when the first Siamese arrived here in the United States, but in April 1909 the first Siamese Cat Society of America was formed.
In the 1950’s and 60’s the Siamese cat was one of the most popular breeds around.
These wondrous cats appeared in many movies such as Bell, Book and Candle, That Darn Cat and Lady and the Tramp.
While the Siamese breed was gaining popularity here and in Great Britain very few people were breeding them in Siam (Thailand.)
In the early 1960’s breeders were becoming bored with the “traditional Siamese” and decided to change the conformation of the breed to the longer, slimmer, more exotic cat we see today.
This change caused a great deal of unhappiness among the breeders of the more traditional cats.
By 1986, the original Siamese cat was no longer shown in cat shows.
Many breeders stopped raising them and it seemed the original Siamese cat was doomed.
However, there fortunately were some diehard breeders that preferred the original cat and as a result several organizations were formed for the preservation of the breed.
The organizations put on shows and gave prizes and today the future of the traditional Siamese cat is quite secure.
The traditional Siamese cat makes a wonderful pet.
This cat loves human company. It is very affectionate, has an almost a “dog-like” intelligence and is very social.
Siamese cats are known “talkers” and will carry on a conversation with you.
They get along with other cats, though they more than likely will be the dominant one.
Siamese are active and playful and seem to be quieter at night than other cats.
This may be due to the fact that blue eyed cats do not have the night vision other cats have.
All Siamese kittens are born either white or cream and will develop color on the “cooler parts’ of their body as they get older.
The resulting color pattern is due to a mutation in an enzyme that is heat sensitive. This mutation does not work on parts of the body that are warm, but colors the body parts that are cooler.
By the time a Siamese kitten is 4 weeks old, it is possible to see what color the points are going to be.
The Original Siamese were almost dark brown to black, but with breeding and genetic changes the colors have changed, as breeders have developed a Siamese-mix that offers different choices.
The Cat Fanciers Association only accepts the four original Siamese colors (dark brown, blue, chocolate and lilac points.)
The original Siamese had tails with “kinks” in them, this has since been bred out of the breed.
There are several stories of how the Siamese cat originally got the kink in its tail and my favorite one is:
Once upon a time at one of the Siamese temples a beautiful royal goblet was missing. In an effort to help in the search, a young cat and his wife went into the jungle to search on their own.
As luck would have it, they found the royal goblet, but had no way to carry it back to the temple. A decision was made by the couple that the young wife would stay and guard the goblet while her husband went back to the temple to tell the priest.
The little cat made herself a nest and wrapped her tail around the stem of the goblet to keep it safe.
When her husband and the priest returned four days later, they not only found the cat with her tail still wrapped around the goblet, but they also found five beautiful kittens. The royal cat was so conscientious about the safety of the goblet that as a reminder of her loyalty, a permanent kink developed in the end of her tail and believe it or not, all five kittens had one, too.
And that is the end of my tale.
As the popularity of the “traditional” Siamese grows and it finds its way back into the main show ring maybe, just maybe the “kink” will come back, too.