|HISTORY: Though treasured by royalty and the political elite for centuries, the origins of the Siamese cat remain a mystery. Some people believe it is a descendant of an Oriental wildcat. Others theorize that the King of Siam bred a prized, pure white cat with a common temple cat to achieve the breed's trademark coloration. Still others surmise that centuries-old genetic mutations are responsible for the breed's distinct physical characteristics. Even the idea that the breed originated in Siam (now Thailand) is not certain. What is known, however, is that Siamese cats first arrived in England in 1871 and had reached the United States by 1900. They were recognized as a breed in the States in 1901 and the Siamese Society of America was formed in 1909.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Siamese cats may be the world's most recognizable breed. They are medium-sized with deep blue eyes and a unique thin, tapered, and kinked tail. Their most distinguished feature, however, is their coat pattern. The majority of the Siamese's body is light colored. But pointing, or a darker coat pattern, covers the muzzle, legs, and tail. Traditionally, Siamese cats are divided into two groups: traditional or extreme. The rare traditional Siamese boasts a rounder head and a body with heavier form. By contrast, the extreme Siamese has a wedge shaped head and a very slender, elongated body. The coat of both forms is short and glossy. The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) only recognizes the seal point, chocolate point, blue point, and lilac point coat colors. However, Siamese cats often exhibit other non-recognized colors, such as cinnamon point, fawn point, and cream point.
TEMPERAMENT: Siamese cats are highly intelligent and full of energy and life. As such, the breed is extremely playful and demanding of attention. Many will even follow their owner from room to room and finagle their way into being the center of attention no matter the situation. They are known talkers. In fact, Siamese cats are considered one of the most vocal cats. Overall, this breed is very dependent of their owners and can show visible signs of grief if left alone too often.
PREFERENCES: The playful, intelligent disposition of the Siamese requires constant stimulation and attention. Therefore, they do best in active homes with their own selection of suitable feline toys, cat scratchers, and cat furniture on which they can climb and play. The breed is generally tolerant of dogs, other pets, and children; however, they are often leery of strangers.
BEST FEATURE: The breed's loyalty and love of attention makes them an ideal feline friend for true cat lovers. Most relish play with their owners as opposed to lounging alone away from activity. In addition, their short, glossy coat requires minimal grooming and care when compared to much longer haired breeds. Despite their sometimes snooty - and erroneous - depiction in Hollywood, Siamese cats can be a wonderful addition to the right family. They also have a fairly long life expectancy of over 15 years when kept in good health.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO OWNERS: The Siamese is not for the timid. Their energy and need for attention can quickly become overbearing for the unprepared cat owner. To appease their energy level, they need an assortment of interactive cat toys and a high-quality feline diet. However, for the prepared and willing cat enthusiast, the challenges of having a Siamese as a companion is often met with the unparalleled reward of their loyalty and affection.