Siamese Cat: Breed Profile, Characteristics & Care

Appearance, Personality, History, Care, & Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Chocolate Point Siamese Cat

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The Siamese is a medium-sized, svelte, and refined-looking cat with long, tapering lines and strikingly blue eyes. Perhaps the most notable characteristic of the Siamese cat, though, is its "points," which are darker color patterns on the ears, face (mask), tail, legs, and feet. Siamese cats, fondly known as "meezers," are popular among people who want a sociable cat that loves to "talk." Officially recognized by the Cat Fancier's Association in 1906, the Siamese is one of the original breeds of pedigreed cats.

Breed Overview

Other Names: Meezer

Personality: Sociable, friendly, vocal

Weight: Up to 14 pounds

Length: Up to 24 inches

Coat Length: Short hair

Coat Colors: Seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac

Coat Patterns: Colorpoint

Eye Color: Blue

Lifespan: Up to 12 years

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Thailand

Siamese Cat Characteristics

Siamese cats are anything but reserved around humans. They bond to humans much like dogs do and will follow their owners around the house, seeking attention. With highly social personalities. Siamese cats want constant interaction and will get depressed if you leave them alone for long. As such, they are best in a household where their owners are home more of the day or there are other pets for company.

Siamese cats are notoriously vocal with loud, deep voices. They love to "chat" as if they share a common language with humans, and they will also chide their owners if they feel they are being ignored. Although they demand attention, Siamese cats have even-keeled temperaments, so they blend well into families with children and other pets.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Vocalize High
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Siamese Cat

Siamese cats come from Thailand. In 1880, the king of Siam gave two pairs of Siamese cats to the English consul-general in Bangkok who brought them home to London where they became the talk of the town. Their popularity escalated as people sought to own one of these beautiful "Oriental" cats. The first Siamese to win a champion title was Wankee in 1898, and the breed developed rapidly thereafter.

Whether Siamese breeders followed the judges in official Siamese show rings or vice-versa, is not clear, but the Siamese cat gradually attained a slimmer look with a more wedge-shaped head. This modern breed of Siamese more closely resembles depictions of the original Egyptian cats.

In 1987, a group of Siamese breeders, distressed with the extreme changes in the appearance of the modern breed and concerned with potential health problems, banded together to form the Traditional and Classic Cat International registry. One of the goals of the organization was to "bring back and maintain the 'Old Style' look of each breed."

People are often confused about the terms "traditional" and "classic" as it refers to Siamese cats. The founder of The Traditional Siamese Cat Association, Sheelagh Le Cocq, explains that the classic Siamese is sort of a cross between the traditional and modern versions without the extremes of either. She describes the classical stage of Siamese breeding as occurring between 1945 and 1970.

Famous depictions of Siamese cats in popular modern culture can be found in the Disney animated movie, Lady and the Tramp, which featured two Siamese cats (Si and Am). A Siamese was also the title star of the television series, That Darn Cat!

Siamese Cat Care

Exercise

Siamese like to climb and should have a cat tree or other structure to give them this outlet. They also like puzzle toys and teaser toys to chase. You do not want this cat to get bored when you are away from home, or you may return to find it has been up to some curtain-climbing or other mischief for entertainment.

Siamese cats are active, intelligent, and curious, which makes them relatively trainable cats. One of the easiest ways to train cats is with a clicker. Siamese cats can be clicker-trained to fetch toys as well as other fun tricks.

Shedding

The Siamese cat has a short coat that needs only standard care. Give your cat a good brushing weekly to remove loose hair and reduce the risk of hairballs.

Grooming

Your indoor cat's claws may need regular trimming every 10 to 14 days, and you can also provide a scratching post to save your upholstery and woodwork.

Pay attention to dental hygiene as well. Starting your cat with regular tooth brushing at an early age will make the procedure easier and help your cat's teeth stay healthy.

Common Health Problems

The most prevalent health concern for Siamese cats is an eye condition. Cross-eyed Siamese were common decades ago; the same gene that gave them colored points also resulted in faulty vision wiring in the brain. The tendency for crossed eyes was mostly bred out, but it still means that Siamese have less-acute vision than other cats, so they are more vulnerable to being hit by vehicles when outside after dark.

The other health problems that affect this breed include:

  • Respiratory disease: Siamese cats with wedge-shaped heads are more predisposed to respiratory problems, including asthma and bronchial disease
  • Amyloidosis: a liver or kidney problem caused by an abnormal protein that is deposited in the body's organs
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: a congenital heart defect that can lead to heart failure

You should provide all of the usual domestic cat immunizations, preventative veterinary treatments, and check-ups.

Cats live longer if they are indoor-only cats. This prevents exposure to infections from other animals and the environment as well as injuries from fights and accidents. A securely-fenced yard might keep out predators, but a Siamese is likely to scale any fence and escape.

Appearance

The Siamese is a medium-sized cat that reaches its full size within about a year. Its build is lithe and muscular, and its eyes are strikingly blue.

The Siamese's short, soft coat can range in color from seal or chocolate to blue or lilac, with darker color patterns on the ears, face (mask), tail, legs, and feet. This distinctive point pattern comes from recessive genes that cause the production of melanin (dark pigment) only in cooler areas of the skin.

Diet and Nutrition

Dry cat food can help keep a cat's teeth and gums healthy, while wet food provides fluids for cats that may not drink enough water. Be sure to provide fresh, clean water so your cat has easy access.

While many cats moderate what they eat naturally, some will overeat if they have free access to food. If you see your cat gaining weight, you may want to provide two meals a day and take away any uneaten portions.

Your cat may need a modified diet with advancing age. Discuss your cat's nutritional needs with your veterinarian. Avoiding obesity is the best way to allow your cat to live to a healthy older age.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Siamese Cat

You may be able to find a purebred Siamese cat through a breeder in your area, but if you would rather adopt from a rescue organization, check out:

Siamese Cat Overview

Siamese cats are almost dog-like in their tendency to bond and communicate with humans. They are very social and love interaction with people and other pets, making them a great choice for busy households. Siamese are also a very vocal breed—a trait that some people adore and others don't like at all. These cats love "talking" and hearing their humans talk back.

Pros
  • Strongly bonds to its human family

  • Distinctive, exotic look with blue, almond-shaped eyes

  • Should get along with other cats or cat-friendly dogs and children

Cons
  • Predisposed to eye problems and can have poor eyesight

  • Can get depressed if left alone for long periods of time

  • Gets bored easily, needs constant enrichment and activity

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

Otherwise, check out all of our other cat breed profiles.

FAQ
  • Are Siamese cats friendly?

    Siamese cats are very friendly and love interacting with people, including playtime and lively "chats" with their loud voices.

  • Can Siamese cats see well?

    Cross-eyed Siamese cats are rare these days, but those that remain cannot see very well. Even those cats with uncrossed eyes may have difficulty seeing perfectly.

  • Can Siamese cats be left alone?

    Since Siamese cats are very social, they do not like being alone and may get very depressed if left for longer than a few hours at a time. Additional pets can help keep a Siamese company.

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