Siamese are recognised as a breed with one of the longest lifespans, which can be between 15 and 20 years for many.
Thailand – formerly known as Siam – gave these cats their name.
The Wichienmaat (Siamese cat) first appears in a collection of ancient manuscripts called the Tamra Maew (The Cat-Book Poems), thought to originate from the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351 to 1767 CE). A number of these manuscripts are now kept in the National Library of Thailand, although some have appeared outside of Thailand and are now in the British Library and National Library of Australia.
The Thai royal family treasured this breed as they believed a Siamese cat would receive their soul when they passed away, and they would spend the rest of their life being cared for by monks and priests in a temple.
Siamese cats were also used to guard the King’s throne, pouncing on anyone who appeared to threaten the King.
Pho and Mia (owned by Owen Gould) were the first Siamese breeding pair that appeared in Europe in the late 1800s.
Siamese cats were named ‘an unnatural, nightmare of a cat’ by a journalist at the first modern cat show in 1871 – they obviously got that wrong!
The Siamese cat became one of the most popular breeds in Europe and North America in the 19th century.
Siamese cats are very sleek in appearance. They are short-haired cats with distinctive blue eyes, dark faces and lower legs, pointy ears and long tails.
They have a range of body/coat colours, the most common being blue, chocolate, lilac point and seal, but they can also have caramel or cinnamon coats.
They come under the category of ‘colour-point cats’ which means that in the cooler parts of their body, the genes for coat colour are switched on. This makes for hair with pigment, hence their coloured coats around their nose, ears, paws and tail.
When they are born, most Siamese cats are completely white and only develop their markings a few weeks after birth.
Their blue eyes mean they may not see as well as other cats in low light.
Legend has it that Siamese cats were tasked with guarding a golden goblet and, as they stared at this goblet so intently, they became cross-eyed. Also, because they wrapped their tails around the goblet for extra protection, their tails became bent. These traits have mostly been bred out.
Siamese are sociable cats and enjoy interacting with their pet parents. They will follow you around the house, are happy to welcome visitors and get along well with other pets.
They are affectionate and intelligent, and their curious nature means that they are easy to train and often enjoy a game of ‘fetch’.
Known for their conversational nature, they have a deep, loud voice and enjoy ‘chatting’ with people.
They are often described as being ‘dog-like’ because of their fondness for playing fetch and their capacity for affection.
Siamese cats thrive on human attention to keep them both physically and mentally fit and love playtime.
Some people say that they should never be left on their own with nothing to play with as they will always find something to keep themselves occupied – which may not always be to your liking!
They enjoy being the centre of attention and do not do well when left alone for long periods. If you have a busy life away from home, it might be wise to get another pet to keep your Siamese company.
Looking after your Siamese Cat
Siamese cats love lots of attention so make sure your daily schedule includes lots of playtime.
As they have a short coat, be sure to provide a warm cosy bed away from draughts.
They tend to need little help grooming, but as they thrive on attention, grooming is a perfect way to share time together, and a chance to check your cat’s skin and coat.
It is a great habit to brush their teeth regularly. Training your cat for brushing while they are a kitten is ideal to help them get used to a good dental routine.
Provide them with plenty of high-up perches around your house, as well as scratching posts.
See a vet regularly and keep their health checks up to date!
Famous Siamese Cats
27. Siamese cats are photogenic and have appeared in a number of movies, including:
- The Incredible Journey – Tao the Siamese cat joined Luath the Labrador Retriever and Bodger the Bull Terrier on their 300-mile journey.
- That Darn Cat! – Co-starring with Hayley Mills, DC helps solve a bank robbery.
- The Secret Lives of Pets 2 – Because of their dog-like behaviour, a Siamese kitten ends up in the puppy class.
- Pets United – Due to a traffic jam, Belle is a Siamese Cat that ends up being left behind by her owner. She develops a crush on Roger, an Australian cattle dog.
- Lady and the Tramp – In this 1955 Disney film, Si and Am are a pair of Siamese cat sisters, who love causing mischief.
- And, last but not least, we have Sunny and Star, who feature in one of our FELIWAY Optimum testimonials.
Famous owners of Siamese cats
28. Many famous faces have enjoyed the company of Siamese cats over the years. Even the White House has had its fair share of admirers of this breed!
- Lucy Hayes – The wife of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, had a Siamese cat called Siam in the White House. Siam was a gift from a US diplomat serving in Bangkok in 1879.
- President Gerald Ford – The 38th U.S. president had a miniature seal point Siamese cat named Shan, who lived with the Fords in their Arlington home before moving with them to the White House.
- President Jimmy Carter – The proud owner of Misty Malarky Ying Yang, a beloved pet Siamese cat who belonged to the Carter family.
Other famous Siamese cat owners include:
- Elizabeth Taylor – Known to have several Siamese cats through the years, Coffee being her first one.
- James Dean – The owner of a Siamese cat named Marcus, who was a gift from Elizabeth Taylor.
- Clarke Gable and Carole Lombard – As newly weds, this pair had two Siamese cats
- Marilyn Monroe – The famous film star would take her Siamese kitten to film sets with her.
- John Lennon – This Beatle developed his love of Siamese cats through his Aunt Mimi who raised him.
- Vivian Leigh – Vivian was gifted New Boy, from her husband Laurence Olivier. She is said to have found Siamese cats ‘intelligent and affectionate’ and considered them a ‘good luck charm’.
- Jane Fonda – Jane was so fond of her Siamese cat that they would often do yoga together.
- Frank Zappa – This groundbreaking musician had a Siamese named Gorgonzola.
- Andy Warhol – Famed for his visual art, Andy’s first cat was a Siamese named Hester.
- Ricky Gervais – British comedian Ricky Gervais had Ollie, who sadly passed away in 2020, aged 17.
- Queen Elizabeth II – Carrying on from their royal roots, a Siamese seal point kitten, Corsham Royal Boy, was presented as a wedding gift to Queen Elizabeth II.
Bonus Facts about Siamese Cats
29. April 6th is National Siamese Cat Day!
30. Other breeds have descended from the Siamese, namely the Balinese, Tonkinese and Havana Brown.
31. In 1970 a Burmese/Siamese cat gave birth to the world's largest litter of kittens – a total of 19!
32. In the 1960s, a pair of Siamese cats living in the Dutch embassy in Moscow started scratching a wall in the Ambassador’s office. Behind that wall were small microphones that the cats could hear! They were credited with revealing an espionage plot.
33. The Siamese cat, Scooter, was the oldest recorded living cat until he passed away in 2016, aged 30.
34. The Siamese cat name translates to Wichienmaat which means ‘moon diamond’. A beautiful name for a beautiful cat.