Frequently Asked QuestionsAre Traditional Siamese friendly with
Yes. They love people, and most will go right up to strangers and demand to be petted. They have the
somewhat perverse nature of most cats, so are sometimes most attracted to people who either don't like cats or are allergic
How are they with children?
They are good family pets, and are very indulgent of small children
- they will tolerate liberties (not to be confused with ill-treatment) >from them that they will not take from adults.
When they've had enough, they simply make themselves unavailable. Most of them learn to sheathe their claws when playing with
people, and it is rare to be scratched.
Are they good with seniors?
With their mellow temperament they are very good with seniors
- they are marvelous companions and lap cats.
How are they with other pets?
When introduced at an early age, they will usually become friends
with dogs or other animals. An adult cat who is already used to dogs is a wonderful "teacher" for puppies entering the home
as a pet.
How many cats should I have?
Single cats in a household do fine, though they can get lonely
if left alone during the day, and will therefore demand more of your attention in the evenings. Two cats, especially if they
are close in age, become good friends and are often found sleeping or playing together and grooming each other. But they still
crave human attention, too.
Are they intelligent?
They are very intelligent - which does not necessarily mean that they
are easy to train. Each cat has a different personality - some, if you tell them "No" once, will desist from the activity
forever, while those with the more mischievous natures, though they know it's forbidden, will merely wait until you're not
around, and then do it anyway. :-) Many Traditional Siamese are quite adept at teaching humans the game of fetch or other
tricks. Some cats will readily learn to walk on a harness and leash. These behaviors are far more successful if introduced
at an early age.
Do they scratch furniture?
Not usually - it's very easy to train them to use a scratching
post, and most breeders do this. In general, they prefer a nice carpet or sisal-covered scratching post to your favorite sofa.
Are they noisy?
One of the traits a Siamese cat is known for is its voice. They can be extremely
loud, and sometimes it sounds like your cat is in absolute torment, when in fact he's just trying to make a point. It's not
uncommon for people on the other end of the phone to ask if there is a baby crying.
Traditionals tend to be less vocal than the modern cats - though some have the harsh "you're killing
me" voice, others have a rather quiet meow. Some are non-stop talkers, while others don't talk unless they have something
important to say. The voice and conversational style is apparent from kittenhood, so you'll know what you're getting into.
Do they have any bad habits?
When there are no people around, they like to be up high, and
can often be found on the top of bookcases, refrigerators, or curio cabinets. If you can't find your cat, look up. It's probably
best to keep any breakables off of high shelves.
Some Siamese cats engage in a practice that denizens of rec.pets.cats have dubbed "smurgling", wherein
the cat holds a piece of material, usually a blanket or sweater (but sometimes human skin), in its paws and kneads it, while
happily sucking and/or drooling on it. The eyes are often glazed over, and the cat is usually purring loudly. This is not
a serious disorder. ( :-) for the humor-impaired.)
What are points?
Points refer to the face, ears, tail, and paws - the term is generally used
in combination with color. "Seal Point" means the cat has seal colored (dark brown) points, while a "Blue Point" has blue
Will a male or a female make a better pet?
Sex of the cat makes no difference as long as
they are neutered/ spayed.
Are they outdoor cats?
No, no, no, no. Almost all breeders will sell kittens with a contract
stating that they be indoor-only cats, permitted outdoors only on a leash. Too many outdoor cats end up as traffic fatalities,
or are severely injured by other animals. Breeders are very concerned with the welfare of the kittens they produce, and usually
take great pains to insure that the kittens are going to good homes where they will be well cared for. Since most of these
kittens have never been outside, they never miss it.
What health problems are they prone to?
Crossed eyes still crop up occasionally within the
breed. Though undesirable, this is not a problem for the cat, and does not affect its behavior or longevity.
Kinked tails also show up occasionally, but this is merely a cosmetic fault.
Other than that, there are no known defects that are specific to the Traditional Siamese. As in most
purebred animals, there are some genetic problems that creep in from time to time, but responsible breeders work very hard
at keeping their lines as healthy as possible. Things to watch for in any cat, purebred or not, include umbilical hernias,
heart murmurs, and kidney disease.
How big do they get?
In size, they are about what you think of when you think of an average-sized
generic cat. Males weigh from 11-15 pounds, and females 8-12.
What's the difference between Traditional Siamese and modern Siamese?
To be honest, the main
difference is largely individual preference. Some people adore the new look, while others hate it.
As far as personalities go, in general, Traditional Siamese tend to be a bit more laid-back than their
modern counterparts. But individuals will vary, and you will find very lively Traditionals and mellow moderns. Either type
can be a delightful pet.
Why do Traditional and modern Siamese look so different?
Why don't you see Traditionals at cat shows?
The Traditional Siamese does not conform to
the breed standards for Siamese cats in most of the cat associations (with the exception of the Traditional Cat Association
(TCA) which wrote its standards specifically for the Traditional Siamese). As such, they are unable to compete with modern
Siamese cats. Though theoretically there is nothing in the show rules that prohibits a registered cat from competing in its
breed class, in practice, very few people attempt to show them as Siamese. They are sometimes shown in the "Household Pet"
class, where breed is not a factor.
HistoryThe Siamese is considered by many to be a "natural" breed -
one that developed without the intervention of man. Pictures of seal-point Siamese cats appear in the manuscript "Cat-Book
Poems", written in Siam (now Thailand) sometime between 1350 and 1700.
There are a great many legends regarding the origin of the breed - especially the crossed eyes and
kinked tails. According to some of the legends, the Siamese cat guarded Buddhist temples and was considered sacred - and was
only kept by priests and royalty.
The first Siamese cats appeared in the West in the mid-to-late 1800s. Though initially described as
"an unnatural, nightmare kind of cat", they quickly became popular with fanciers, even though these early cats were delicate
and subject to health problems. These first cats had crossed eyes and kinked tails, characteristics which are now considered
faults, and have almost completely disappeared as a result of careful breeding. Photographs from the late 1880s of some of
the first cats to be imported from Siam show the thick, round heads and solid, muscular bodies that distinguish the Traditional
Siamese from today's show Siamese.
(left)Tiam O'Shian IV, circa 1900
seal point male
(right)Yesterday's Old Fashioned Samurai, seal point male
TCA 1995 Best Cat
As the Siamese breed has developed over the years, some breeders have preferred the rounder look, while
others have preferred a slender look with a wedge-shaped head. During the 1950s and 1960s, the differences became even more
pronounced: show breeders developed an extremely slender cat with a very long, triangular head, almond-shaped eyes, and flaring
ears. This look caught on with show-oriented Siamese breeders and with judges. Other breeders, who did not like the new look,
continued to breed the larger, round-headed cats. These "Traditional" breeders found that their cats were no longer competitive
in the show ring and stopped showing. A great many also stopped registering their cats, though they continued their breeding
programs with their existing purebred Siamese stock.
Today, Traditional Siamese cats are somewhat rare, though they seem to be making a comeback, as the
breed is popular with pet buyers.
It should be pointed out that Traditional Siamese are purebred cats, descended from the original
cats imported from Siam. A pointed cat that you find in the shelter, though it may look Siamese, is probably not a Traditional
Siamese cat. Enough purebred Siamese cats have interbred with domestic cats over the years that the gene which creates the
pointing pattern is found in a large number of cats, and some may look Siamese when in fact they have very little Siamese
blood in them.
The "pointing" gene creates the distinct color pattern that distinguishes the Siamese breed. This
gene is recessive: two pointed parents will always produce pointed kittens.
The Siamese kitten is pure white at birth - the gene that produces the "points" on the face, paws,
and tail is heat sensitive, and the point color gradually develops on the cooler parts of the body. In some breeding lines,
and in warmer climates, the point color may not fully develop until the cat is over a year old.
Older cats have a darker body color than young cats and kittens, though there is still a marked contrast
between the body color and the point color.
The Seal Point Siamese is genetically a black cat, but the pointing gene causes the color to manifest
almost exclusively on the points. As the cat matures, the creamy body color will usually give way to a light shade of the
point color, particularly with seal and blue points. (For this reason, seal and blue point Siamese have relatively short careers
as show cats - it's rare to see one at a cat show over the age of 2. Chocolate and lilac points don't darken as quickly and
can be shown longer.)
The recognized colors are: Seal Point, Blue Point, Chocolate Point, and Lilac Point. The Red Point
is not an accepted Traditional Siamese color, though it is an accepted Siamese color in some cat organizations.
Here I'll list topics to make this page easier to navigate (scan).
Please remember that this page gives purely basic kitten care advice. The best place by
far to obtain all that you need to know about caring for your kitten, is your veterinarian.
By all means read good kitten
care books but you can do no better than to take your little pet on regular visits to your veterinarian.