The Siamese cat is long and
elegant, with it's distinctive darker 'points', it has always had great
Early Siamese cats tended to
have eye squints and kinked tails, now regarded as serious faults, but with
careful breeding they have been eliminated from the modern cat. Yet, these
characteristics were once so prevalent that fables exist to this day
'explaining' how they were acquired.
It is said that Siamese cats
were once sacred cats, guarding the Buddhist temples. One day, a valuable
goblet went missing and a pair of cats was dispatched to find the stolen
treasure. After a long journey, the goblet was discovered and the female cat
stayed to guard it while her male partner went back to tell the good news.
So worried was she that the goblet might go missing again, that she wound
her tail tightly around its stem and it became permanently kinked. For days
and nights she sat watching over the prized goblet, never letting her eyes
wander away, and by the time her partner returned, her eyes had developed a
squint. Later she produced a litter of kittens - all of which had kinked
tails and squints, because of her vigilance in guarding the lost treasure.
Siamese kittens have always been
highly prized. It was considered an honour for any foreigner to be presented
with one of the Royal Cats of Siam, and it was an offence punishable by
death for one of these cats to be stolen from the Royal Court, let alone be
taken out of Siam. But, westwards they eventually came, and after many
generations of selective breeding are now, along with Persian Longhairs and
Burmese, among the most popular of pedigree varieties.
Siamese were originally a pale
milky colour, with dark seal-coloured points on the paws, face, ears and
tail. They have been known in this form for more than 200 years. In the late
nineteenth century a Blue-point was recorded in the UK, but it is likely
that this recessive colour had been around for some time before this.
Perhaps it was not so highly regarded in Siam, and was 'swept under the
carpet' as the rich Seal-point variety was more highly prized. Over the
years, dedicated breeders have worked hard to produce other colour
variations in Siamese, but their names vary between the UK and North
America. We now have, not only the Seal- and Blue-points, but Chocolate and
Lilac, as well as the Red-, Cream-, and Tabby-points.
Character and Temperament
Siamese cats are typical of the
Oriental group of cats and, like their near relations the Burmese cat, are a
vocal breed with out-going personalities. They are the kind of cat that you
either adore or hate; they can be noisy and demanding and have a real need
to be a part of the family. To aficionados, these are plus points and they
would not wish for the Siamese cat to be any other way. A Siamese does not
like to be left on its own, so for anybody who is out at work all day, and
only wants one cat, this is not the breed to select. If you want a cat that
will give you life-long devotion, however, then the Siamese cat is for you.
Type and Standard of Points
Regardless of coat colour, the
type of the cat should be the same, although standards do vary a little
between those required in the UK by the GCCF and those of the various
American cat fancies.
In general, the Siamese should
be a medium sized cat; long, slim, and elegant, but with definite muscular
feel to it. Despite its fine bone structure it should be sturdy and feel
much heavier than it appears. At the other end of the scale, it should never
be obviously overweight to the point that it feels flabby, although some
neuters can be prone to fat and a careful watch should be kept on their
Looking at the cat face-on, the
head should give the appearance of a triangle, topped by a large, low set,
wide spaced ears, tapering down to a pointed muzzle. In profile, the nose
should be straight without any sign of a break or stop. The jaw should be
firm without being either under or over shot. The eyes should be almond
shaped with the typical Oriental slant giving. Whatever the coat colour, the
eyes should always be of deepest blue. The tail should be long, slender and
tapering to a whip-like end; any kink is considered a serious fault. The
tail should always be in proportion to the length of the cat - a rough
guideline is that it should just reach the tip of the shoulder blade.
The quality, texture and the
restrictive pattern of the coat are what make the Siamese cat different from
other shorthaired cats. The coat should be short, sleek and fine-textured,
with the fur lying close to the body. The coloured points should only be
seen on the mask area of the face, the ears, legs and tail. It is considered
a fault for the cat to be mismarked with light colours in these areas,
especially around the eyes; these are commonly called 'spectacles'. Darker
shading is frowned upon on the otherwise paler parts of the body.
The Siamese cat coat pattern is
restricted to the cooler parts of the body and so, if a cat has had an
operation such as spaying, it is quite likely that the post-operational
shock will cause the coat to temporarily darken in that area. For some
reason, Siamese cats living in warmer climates tend to have paler coats than
those living in cooler regions. The pointed areas should always show a
uniform colour with no barring or stripes, except in the case of
Tabby-points, where rings or stripes are required, and the Torties, which
should show a well mixed coat.
Coat Colour - Seal-point
A pale, even cream colour with
obvious seal points restricted to the face, ears, legs and tail. The nose
leather and paw pads should be a similar rich seal colour.
Coat Colour - Blue-point
Cool, glacier-white is the
preferred body colour, with no sign of a creamy tinge. The points should
shade to a slate-blue, with nose leather and paw pads the same.
Coat Colour - Chocolate-point
The body should be a pale ivory
colour, with points, nose leather and paw pads a pale, milky chocolate
Coat Colour - Lilac-point
Body colour should be a glacial
white, with the points showing a pale, pinkish-grey tinge. The paw pads and
nose leather should be lavender-pink.
Coat Colour - Cream-point
The body should be clear white,
with pale, pinkish-cream points, nose leather and paw pads.
Coat Colour - Tabby-point
These are available in a variety
of colours. The body tone should be as recommended for the solid colours,
with the nose leather and paw pads similar. For the Torties the colours
should be well mixed, the Tabby-point is the only variety of Siamese that
allows for stripes on the pointed areas.
Balinese are, essentially, a
longhaired version of the Siamese, and, in type, they should meet the
standards laid down for Siamese. Their temperament and character are
slightly modified, however, probably due to the introduction of the longhair
gene, so they tend to be slightly quieter and less boisterous. But the main
difference is that, because they have long coats, extra grooming is
This longhaired version was
first seen in a litter of kittens in America. They seemed so glamorous that
is was decided to breed two longhaired Siamese cats together to see if they
bred true, which they did; al the resulting kittens had long coats. The idea
of a Siamese cat with a long, silky coat soon gained popularity, and
breeders were encouraged to continue the breeding programme. By 1963, these
cats were given official recognition in the USA. In the UK, things move more
slowly, and it was not until the early 1980s that Balinese cats were granted
preliminary recognition, with championship status given a few years later.
Balinese are allowed in all the
colour and pattern variations that are accepted for the Siamese.