Best Siamese Cat Breed Guide – History, Health and Care
We Siamese are an ancient breed. We actually existed much like this in nature. Over the years, yes we have had breeders breed us to certain standards, but for the most part we are a natural breed–that is we evolved this way and were not crossed from other breeds.
Siamese Cat History
The stunning contrast of our fur colors, our rich blue eyes and distinctive personality has made us a hit with cat fanciers. We have since been bred. The CFA standard Siamese has a lovely wedge shaped head, almond shaped eyes and a sleek tubular body. Other Siamese cat lovers have bred a heavier set cat, called an Applehead. Many believe the Applehead is the ‘original’ Siamese, but no one really knows for sure.
While I am certain that the Siamese was created first and then other creatures after and no doubt Bastet in Egypt was a Siamese, no one is actually certain where we originated. It is believed to be from Southeast Asia, probably Thailand (which use dto be Siam–hence the name). One of the earliest recordings of the Siamese cat appeared in the Cat Book of Poems which was written in Siam between 1350 and 1700. Humans, it seems, are not very precise when it comes to Siamese cats!
The first Siamese cats were introduced in Britain in 1884 by a Mr. Gould as a gift for his sister. He imported the two cats from Bangkok and they are the first two Siamese registered in Britain. Many other Siamese were imported into this country during the final years of the century. All cats imported at this time came from Bangkok and so the modern cat as it is known today, is from ancient Siam.
It is likely that the first Siamese cats came to the United States under the Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.
We Siamese have continued to be wildly popular as you humans seem to love cats who ignore you and scorn you from time to time. Lady and the Tramp Siamese notwithstanding, we are actually very loving, caring creatures who worm our way intothe hearts and minds of our humans. Once you’ve had a Siamese, there’s no going back.
Siamese Cat Health and Care
Siamese cats are pretty easy to care for. We love our food, our playtime and our attention. What else is there? If you can devote 24/7 to our needs and wants, you should have no problem.
Siamese cats do tend to be a long lived breed. It’s one reason my owner chose me. Like all purebreds, we do have some genetic quirks that can cause us some problems. For many years the kinked tail was a problem and in the breed standard, it is still considered a fault for a show cat. However, it is unlikely that this would cause a problem for a pet quality cat. Crossed eyes are the same way. Siamese cats do tend to have bad teeth. We also tend towards cardiac problems, however as a long-lived cat, this could be expected.
Current veterinary medicine says that we Siamese tend to begin kidney failure younger than many other cats. However, we tend to handle it far better than most other cats. In other words, our kidneys may show signs of failure at younger ages, meaning we need to have our diet managed a bit more carefully, but it does not progress at the rate it can in other breeds of cats.
An issue that my owner has had with both me and Simone (the other Siamese) is that Siamese cats vomit easily. We do tend to have sensitive tummies. Also at issue is the shape of our face. When we eat and are hungry, the narrow front of our face that would normally be used for tearing our food is not as effective as that of a cat with a wider jaw. When we are hungry and eating quickly, our food will often go straight back and down our throat without any chewing. It then hits the stomach, combines with the waters there and expands and we feel too full and regurgitate the extra food. Cats don’t mind vomiting the way humans do. So I don’t see the problem. I can eat it again later, unless someone has the idea they need to clean it up first.
However, as you get to know your Siamese cat, it is important to take any symptom to your veterinarian to have it checked out. Vomiting can be a sign of a serious disease and certainly even the most ravenous of Siamese cats (me) only vomits this way one or twice a week. Any other symptoms combined with vomiting suggest that a veterinarian be called immediately!
Siamese Cat Care
Siamese should be vaccinated per your veterinarian’s recommendations. They should also have an annual exam when your veterinarian can check their eyes, ears, tummy and teeth. They will listen to the heart and lungs and then make any recommendations for feeding or medication based on what is seen. Expect that you will be doing a fair number of teeth cleanings, particularly if you have a wedgie headed Siamese like me. Remember how much you love us, okay?
Common cat problems that your Siamese may encounter are upper respiratory infections and bladder infections. Upper respiratory infections are fairly common and cats may start to sneeze more regularly. We may also go off our food. If cats can’t smell food, we won’t eat it. We also don’t do well metabolically if we aren’t eating for any amount of time. If your cat isn’t eating, this could be a serious problem and they need to see a veterinarian immediately.
Bladder infections can be life threatening to male cats. If a cat is straining or crying in the litter box (or elsewhere) call the vet. Male cats can get crystals which block their ability to urinate. If this is not relieved, their bladder can burst and they will die. This is very painful. Female cats can also get infections but typically they are more uncomfortable than lifethreatening. Changes in litter box habits can be a sign of infection as can blood in the urine, crying in the litter box or frequent visits. Always have a doctor check your cat any time something changes in the litter box!
With proper care and living a safe indoor cat life, many Siamese cats can live to be twenty or twenty-five.
Personally, I hate the veterinarian. She stinks. She should smell only like me. However, my human finds this an important part of being a good cat-owning human and I guess I’ll have to take that as a sign of her devotion. My human and I prefer a veterinarian who treats only cats. There are many good veterinarians who treat both cats and dogs, but my human has found that the cats only vets seem to understand the personality quirks of the Siamese a bit better than the generalist. As an added bonus, there are no barking dogs to stress me out when I go in. While I am not afraid of dogs, I’d rather not meet them in a strange place.