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a very distinctive, and distinguished, breed


This very distinctive-looking cat has a triangular-shaped face, with tall ears set on the head to be a continuation of this triangle. The outstanding feature of the head is the pair of deep blue almond eyes which are set at a slant. The nose is long and straight, the legs are long and slender, and the tail is long and tapers to a point.

Coloration is this cat's other distinguishing feature. The color of the fur on the ears, tail, and feet are a contrasting color than that of the body, and this darker color gradually blends into the lighter color of the body. This contrast is called color restriction, or, more commonly, pointing. The face also shows a mask of the same deeper point color. The mask covers the face, surrounds the eyes and covers the whisker pads. The mask is smaller in a kitten and gradually increases as she grows. Seal point, creamy white body with almost black points, is the most common color. Other point colors include blue, chocolate brown, pinkish gray, red, cream, fawn, and cinnamon.

According to legend, Siamese cats were valued by the King of Siam for their exquisite beauty, as well as for their guardian ability. Siamese would be perched on tall columns around the throne of the king. If anyone threatened the king, the cats would jump down from the pillars onto the individual. Between the size of the Siamese, their strength, and their ability to jump down from a height, they would knock the person to the floor. If need be, they would scratch at the face of the person.

Whether or not the legend is true, there is little doubt that the Siamese is descended from the sacred temple cats in Siam. It is a natural breed, meaning its original pointed pattern and distinctive looks are the result of natural genetic mutations (as opposed to selective breeding). The breed has contributed to the creation of many other breeds, including the Balinese, Oriental, the Himalayan division of the Persian, the Tonkinese, and the Havana Brown.

The Siamese made its European debut at the world's first organized cat show, at the Crystal Palace in London, England, in 1871, where it was publicized as the Royal Cat of Siam. The first Siamese to come to the United States was a gift from the U.S. consul in Bangkok to Lucy Hayes, wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1878(9). The Siamese was one of the first breeds registered by the Cat Fanciers' Association upon its formation in 1906.

The Siamese not only enjoys being around humans, it demands their attention. If you are used to cats that tend toward stand-offishness then the Siamese is not for you, as this cat craves human contact and attention. If you must leave him for any length of time (for,say, work or school), make sure he has plenty of brain-stimulating challenges, or a play mate, or you may come home to find that he has shredded every roll of toilet paper he could find, turned on faucets, and/or found things to play with that you may or may not have wanted disturbed. A very curious cat, the Siamese will follow its owner everywhere he goes and will try to involve himself in everything that he's doing. This very intelligent cat can be trained to walk on a leash, play fetch, and perform tricks, but only if those tricks result in extra love from the humans. Because Siamese cats crave attention, it is one of the best breeds for large, busy households, including ones with cat-friendly dogs and children.

Cat Fanciers' Association
Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.

Rutherford B. Hayes

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The Robinson Library >> Agriculture >> Animal Culture >> Cats

This page was last updated on 11/28/2017.