- Average Height: 8 to 10 inches
- Average Weight: 8 to 10 pounds
- Coloring: Most common are seal point, chocolate point, blue point, lilac point, flame point, lynx point.
- Coat Type: Short, thin, silky, smooth
- Average Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
Key Personality Traits:
AffectionateGood with KidsIntelligentPlayfulVocal
With exotic features and a history that dates back to Thai nobility, there’s nothing ordinary about the Siamese cat. There are a lot of pluses to adopting a Siamese. They’re affectionate with their people, are generally a healthy breed, and tend to live for many years. They also have traits (they love to talk!) that might not make them the ideal companion for every home.
With the help of Siamese cat experts, we’ve outlined almost everything you need to know about this breed, so you can make the best decision for your situation.
History and Origin
Breed devotees believe Siamese cats originated in the Southeast Asian country of Siam (now known as Thailand), where they played a prominent role in royal family life and as guardians of Buddhist temples. The evidence lies in a 14th century Thai manuscript called Poems of the Cat (AKA Treatise on Cats) which depicts a variety of Siamese cat breeds, including a traditional Siamese positioned next to its royal family.
The first Siamese to make a debut in the United States was a female named Siam, given by the U.S. Consul in Bangkok to President Rutherford Hayes and his wife in 1879. Sadly, after a long journey from Thailand, Siam died within just a few months after arriving in Washington.
The Siamese was one of the first cat breeds recognized by two major cat registries: the Cat Fanciers’ Association(CFA) in 1906, and The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1979. This breed remained a fan favorite until about a decade ago, when they inexplicably diminished in popularity.
Types of Siamese Cats
The CFA recognizes four Siamese cat colors: seal point, chocolate point, blue point, and lilac point. “Points refer to the coloration of their ears, muzzle, legs, and tail, which are often darker in color than the body,” says Dr. Sasha Gibbons, an associate veterinarian at Just Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut.
Seal Point Siamese: The most common of all Siamese cat colors, it features a cream-colored body with seal (chocolate brown) points that can appear black.
Chocolate Point Siamese: Ivory-colored body with milk chocolate points.
Lilac Point Siamese: Pale to white-colored body with grey-pinkish points.
Blue Point Siamese: Steel grey-colored body with dark grey points.
Other Siamese cat colors, classified as colorpoint shorthair cats, include:
Flame Point Siamese: A Siamese and orange tabby mix. The flame point has a cream-colored body with red-orange points.
Lynx Point Siamese: A Siamese and tabby cat mix that produces a variety of patterned color points including seal lynx, blue lynx, and red lynx.
Interesting to note is that CFA considers colorpoint shorthairs as a distinct breed, while TICA classifies them as Siamese.
Siamese Cat Physical Characteristics
These showstoppers exude an air of elegance and aristocracy, befitting their history as a favorite of nobility. The standard Siamese has a lean, muscular, angular, elongated body with long, slim legs.
Siamese cats generally stand between eight to ten inches tall and weigh between eight to ten pounds. Just like people, however, Siamese cats can vary in shape and size, says Siri Zwemke, founder and director of Siamese Cat Rescue Center based in Locust Dale, Virginia. “Of course we’re not seeing Siamese cats of known heritage. We’re seeing what qualifies under our standards as a Siamese cat, which means they could look Siamese but be part something else,” she explains.
The breed has two types of head shapes, says Dr. Lauren Demos, chief veterinary officer of Pettable.com. “Wedgehead is where they have a very pointy face and appleheads have a rounder face.” They have almond-shaped eyes (unique to this breed) that come in a variety of blue shades.
Coat and Color
The coat of Siamese cats is generally short, smooth, fine, and silky, but can fluctuate. “You can get a nice tight coat with the purebred wedgeheads and a thicker flannel coat with the purebred appleheads, and everything in between,” says Zwemke.
Siamese cats come in different color points, meaning that the ears, muzzle, legs, and tail are typically darker than the body. “The various purebred cat associations differ slightly in the categories, but sealpoint (most common), chocolate point, blue point, lilac point, flame point and lynx point are the terms we most often see,” says Zwemke.
Coat color darkens with time and can differ by environment, says Demos, a board-certified veterinary practitioner in feline practice. “Siamese cats that live in colder climates will be darker or more intensely colored, than counterparts that live in warmer climates.”
Like other cat breeds, Siamese cats reach adulthood and sexual maturity between 18 and 24 months, experts say.
Siamese Cat Lifespan
Siamese are considered a long-lived breed. “Between 15 and 17 years, though I have seen many in the 20s and even one 27-year-old,” says Gibbons.
Siamese Cat Personality
People who know these cats best describe them as vocal, loving, gentle, outgoing, curious, active, and highly intelligent.
A few specifics to know about their personality before considering a Siamese rescue cat.
They are vocal. Siamese cats like to make noise, which some people find annoying, says Demos. “That is probably the one main characteristic that someone thinking about the breed should be aware of before adopting a Siamese cat.”
They can be stubborn. Because Siamese are incredibly smart, they can sometimes be stubborn, says Gibbons.
They are inquisitive. This means they can get into trouble if not supervised, says Zwemke. “So they are not good choices for someone who is gone a lot.”
They are active. Siamese cats are considered an active breed when compared to breeds like Ragdolls or Persians, but not as active as Bengals, says Gibbons.
They’re people-oriented. Siamese cats often bond strongly with people in the household, says Demos. Given their docile nature, they generally do well with other pets and children.
Siamese Cat Care Guide
Diet and Nutrition
Siamese cats generally don’t have specific dietary requirements or restrictions, says Gibbons. “Many have higher metabolisms which may require less caloric restriction than many other breeds, but this is not always the case.”
They are prone to kidney disease, however. “So a higher water content diet, such as canned food, may be helpful in slowing down the progression of any renal insufficiency,” adds Gibbons.
Exercise and Activity
Since Siamese cats have high metabolisms, they don’t need a lot of exercise, says Gibbons. “But they are a very intelligent breed and they do need a lot of stimulation to keep them entertained.”
Some options for toys include cat kicker fish toys, cat scratching posts, and puzzle and food toys.
Siamese cats are very low key in terms of coat maintenance, says Gibbons. “They do not usually require professional grooming assistance, and often you can get away with the occasional brush here and there.”
Siamese Cat Health Issues
While generally a healthy breed, Siamese are prone to several health issues.
Kidney Disease: The most common kidney disease in Siamese cats is chronic renal insufficiency, a progressive age-related kidney abnormality that ultimately results in kidney failure, says Gibbons.
Periodontal Disease: Signs include tartar accumulation, gingivitis, tooth decay, or a combination of these, and often requires professional dental work, says Gibbons.
Hepatic Amyloidosis: A liver disease that can result in lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite, or even sudden death.
Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome: Although it primarily affects Burmese cats, this disease is sometimes seen in Siamese. Common signs include excessive licking and chewing, and pawing at the mouth.
Interesting Siamese Cat Facts
The Siamese has historically held a regular spot on CFA’s “Top Breed” lists, but the breed has been trending down in popularity over the past decade.
Siam (President Hayes’s cat) wasn’t the only Siamese to grace the White House. President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan had Shan; and Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Any had Misty Malarky Ying Yang.
Marilyn Monroe, Michael Landon, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean each shared their homes with a Siamese.
They’ve been featured on the big screen, most notably as a pair of Siamese twins named Si and Am in the 1955 animated film Lady and the Tramp; and as D.C. in the 1965 film “That Darn Cat!”
Siamese Cat Adoption Tips
Finding a Siamese cat at an animal shelter is more difficult than it was two decades ago, says Zemke. She attributes this to rescues and shelters being better at matching animals to homes.
“There is more help and more solutions out there to some of the behavior issues common with all cats so I think more cats are staying in the home,” she says.
But there are rescue groups that specialize in adopting out Siamese cats to potential pet parents.
Siamese Cat Rescue Center: Zwemke’s organization is a coalition of rescues in Virginia, California, and Colorado that works to find homes for Siamese cats throughout the country.
Austin Siamese Rescue: This foster group rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes Siamese cats (and other related breeds like Himalayans, Ragdolls, and Snowshoes) in the central Texas area.
Another option aside from local animal shelters and reputable breeders are multiple-breed cat rescues. A couple to check out:
Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue: Foster care system based in the Midwest states, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, eastern Iowa, and southern Michigan.
Tree House Humane Society: Cat rescue based in Chicago.
Siamese Cat FAQs
If you want to bring a Siamese cat into your home, it’s important to learn everything you can about the breed. That’s why we answered some of the most frequently asked questions about Siamese cats to help make your decision a little bit easier.
Are Siamese Cats Hypoallergenic?
No, they’re not. “But not every person is allergic to the same allergens in cats, and some cats may have more or less of an allergen,” says Demos.
How Long Do Siamese Cats Live?
Siamese cats usually live 15-20 years, but this is just an average. Factors like diet, obesity, genetics, and illness can impact these numbers.
Are Siamese Cats Mean?
Quite the opposite, actually. They’re loving, docile, and affectionate. “They can be vocal and demanding and this can be off-putting to some,” says Zwemke.
Where Are Siamese Cats From?
Siamese cats originate from Siam, the Southeast Asian country we now call Thailand.
How Big Do Siamese Cats Get?
On average, Siamese cats weigh 8 to 10 pounds, but some can get up to 15 pounds.
Do Siamese Cats Like Water?
No, Siamese cats don’t like to swim or play in water.
Pictures of Siamese Cats
With their big blue eyes and interesting coloring, Siamese cats are graceful creatures and we love to look at. If you’re searching for pictures of Siamese cats, this gallery will give you your fix of the best of the breed.
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