The instantly recognizable Siamese cat is a popular breed in the U.S., and there are good reasons for it – they are smart, affectionate, and strikingly beautiful. The silver-grey coat and the prominent blue eyes make the Siamese cat look mysterious. But there is a lot more to this creature than its striking looks.
Let’s get to know some interesting facts about these sophisticated-looking Siamese cats.
1. Siamese Cats Have a Long and Rich History
Did you know that Siamese cats are one of the oldest domesticated cats in the world? The breed was originated in Thailand in the 14th century and was known as Siam.
For hundreds of years that followed, the Siamese cats were treasured by royal families in Thailand because of their unique and strikingly beautiful appearances. In fact, it was a myth among the members of these royal families that their pet Siamese cat would receive their soul when they die. And the dead person could spend the rest of his long life living as a cat in a temple where they get pampered by monks and priests.
But there is more to it. The Siamese also made it to ancient manuscripts written between 1350 and 1750. The Cat Book of Poems described the Siamese cats as a slim cat with a pale body and dark-coloured ears, feet and tail.
While the Siamese cats were domesticated in the 14th century, they didn’t make up their way to the U.S. until the 19th century. In 1879, the Asian royalty made its debut by taking up dwelling in the White House. The first Siamese cat to arrive in U.S. was gifted to the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, Lucy Hayes. The cat was presented by the U.S. Consul, David Stickles which then spent the rest of its days in the Presidential company and eventually found its way among the common citizens.
So the Siamese cats have a rich history that the new generation might not be aware of.
2. The Unique Siamese Traits
If you look at the traditional Siamese cats from the past, you will notice that most of the cats had crossed eyes and kinked tails. Although these unique physical traits resulted from genetics, the legends had an alternate explanation that’s quite interesting.
According to the legend, a group of this breed of cat was assigned a special task of guarding the royal, golden goblet. While the Siamese cats were on the job, they wrapped their tails so tightly around the goblet that their tails became permanently kinked. Moreover, they were so focused on their task that they stared at the goblet endlessly, causing their eyes to cross.
While you may still find so cross-eyed and kinked tailed Siamese cats today, cat fanciers selectively bred out these traits so the cats can appear more appealing to people.
Moreover, the original Siamese cats were rounder and bulkier. They had a round face and a heavier body, but again due to selective breeding, the 20th-century cat fanciers bred a leaner cat with a triangular face. Most Siamese cats you find today are the more modern Wedge head Siamese cats, but you can still find a few traditional Siamese.
3. Siamese Cats are a Social and Talkative Breed
Are you looking for a pet that can offer you some great company? The Siamese cats won’t disappoint you. The Siamese cat is a human-loving breed that bonds closely with people. And it’s because of this reason that the Siamese cats love to follow their pet-parents around the house. Moreover, they are keen observers, and they take quite a lot of interest in whatever their owner is doing. Furthermore, a Siamese cat would rather prefer to spend time with their own than playing outdoor.
The Siamese cats are not only affectionate towards their owners, but they are equally friendly towards other people, including children and strangers. They also enjoy the company of other cats. Their loving nature is one of the main reasons why the Siamese cats are more prone to depression when left alone for too long. Since these cats have a strong desire to interact with others, it is always best to adopt them in pairs, so they have company.
And the Siamese cats are not just social. They are extremely talkative as well. While they take a keen interest in what is happening around them, they also distinctly vocalize their observations. Moreover, they are also quite vocal about their demands. If your Siamese cat would want something, it won’t be shy about letting the owner know about it.
Still don’t believe that the breed is talkative?
Keep a check on your Siamese’s “meezer.”
4. The Siamese Coat is Affected by the Temperature
As surprising as it may seem, the color of the Siamese cat’s coat is not only affected by the genes but is also influenced by the temperature.
The Siamese cats’ coats can be adiverse range of colors and is determined by several sets of genes. Modifier genes influence the patterns of the coats. The Siamese cats have a distinct modifier gene that hindersthe development of pigment in the fur resulting in the grey silver coat.
But, the unique aspect of this modifier gene is that it can only affect the cat’s fur between 100 and 102.5 degrees. Once the temperature of the cat’s body falls below approximately 100oF, the gene for coat color is turned on giving a pigment to the fur. And you might have noticed that the Siamese cats have color around their nose, ears, paws and tail. That’s because these are the cooler parts of its body.
You might have also noticed that the Siamese cats are born completely white. And they develop their markings a few weeks following their birth. Again, that’s because the womb is warm, so the modifier gene does not give color to the fur. After birth, when the kitten is exposed to a cooler environment for a few weeks, you will start to notice the darker color on faces, tails, and paws.
5. Siamese Cats Have Difficulty Seeing in the Dark
The striking blue eyes are one of the most prominent features of a Siamese cat, but did you know that the blue-eyed Siamese have trouble distinguishing details when in the dark. The color pigment that causes their blue eyes may also be the culprit behind their weaker night vision.
Another interesting fact related to the eye color of your Siamese cat is that you will notice a change in the blue color when your cat is in different environment. Again that’s due to the temperature-sensitive modifier gene that causes albinism in Siamese cats.
6. Siamese Cats Have the Longest Life Expectancy
Among all the domestic breeds of cats, the Siamese cat has one of the longest life expectancies. An average indoor Siamese cat, can live up to 20 years. However, as they age, they are more prone to developing various health conditions. Thus, the pet owners need to be vigilant and keep a close check on their health condition as the Siamese cats age.
7. Siamese Cats Have Remained Popular Throughout History for Several Reasons
Apart from their unique physical feature and desirable personality traits, the Siamese cats have remained popular throughout history for several reasons.
A Siamese Cat in Oxfordshire, U.K., once gave birth to 19 Kittens. While an average Siamese female can typically have four to six kittens, this Siamese cat gave birth to 19 kittens on 7 August 1970. The cat made its way to the Guinness World Records and is still the world’s largest domestic cat litter.
Moreover, a Siamese cat has also managed to be the world’s fattest cat. In 2003, a five-year-old Katy from Russia ballooned up to 50 pounds, making it the fattest cat in the world.
And that’s not it. The Siamese cats have shined on the silver screen as well. In 1965, a film named That Darn Cat was released, and a Siamese cat was the movie’s real star.
While the Siamese cats are most famous for their unique looks and amicable personality, there is a lot more of these cats that meets the eye. A Siamese cat has a rich history, and throughout the years, it has remained popular for some odd and mysterious reasons. But regardless, it is a friendly and social cat that makes a fantastic pet. If you enjoy the company and are willing to give a lot of time, love and attention to your pet, then a Siamese cat is a perfect choice for you.