Along with the Persian, the Siamese is one of the oldest and most famous cat breeds. It originates from Southeast Asia, specifically from Siam, which nowadays belongs to Thailand, where it was worshipped as a temple cat. Towards the end of the 19th century, the first Siamese cats came to Britain and were bred there as pedigree cats. In 1882, the first breed standard for the Siamese was established. Breeding began all over the world not much later.
Siamese cats are medium-sized with a slim body with long legs and narrow paws. An adult female cat weighs between 3 to 4kg, whilst males weigh between 4 to 5kg. The wedge-shaped head is elongated by broad-based upright ears. Another typical feature of the Siamese are the deep blue, almond-shaped eyes with a slightly slanted form. Siamese cats are partially albino, meaning that they produce a low quantity of the pigment melanin. This results in the Siamese's classic seal-point colouring, i.e. genetically black colouring on the limbs altered to dark brown by the Siamese gene (cs). The colouring of the dark areas doesn't emerge straight away, but instead a few weeks after the birth. The rest of the fur is white to cream in colour, short with little undercoat and close to the cat's body.
Siamese cats are sometimes jokingly labelled the dogs of the feline world. This name comes from them being very affectionate and easy to train to a certain extent. However, they only learn as much as they wish to. Anyone who tries to use violence to teach a Siamese will soon be on the sharp end of its claws. Their intelligence and good nature make them perfect family cats. Siamese cats are very sociable and have a strong need for communication and a distinct voice. If they aren't happy with something, they will loudly make this known, which is why Siamese cats are also considered extremely assertive. Nevertheless, they are very people-focused and love cuddling with their owners. These clever cats soon get bored if they are left alone for too long. Should you choose to keep your cat in an apartment, you should give it sufficient opportunities for activity, such as intelligence games. As well, Siamese cats behave very sociably and can easily be kept as a pair. They can keep each other busy for hours and help each other with grooming. It's also possible to take Siamese cats for walks on a lead, though you're best off getting them used to this when they are still kittens and practicing a few times at home before you take them outside. Siamese cats can live to be at least 14 years old if kept in a species-appropriate manner.
Grooming and housing
Grooming a Siamese cat is very easy, because the short fur hardly requires any attention. Brush it occasionally to remove loose hairs. Since Siamese cats hardly have any undercoat, they don't feel at ease in cold, wet environments. Make sure that the temperature of your home isn't too low. Furthermore, it's important to thoroughly dry off your Siamese if it gets wet when it arrives home from spending time outdoors. These warmth-loving felines will definitely seek out a spot close to the radiator or other warm parts of your home. A heated bed would go down very well. You should definitely not expose Siamese cats to draughts.
Siamese cats are very sociable, which is why it makes sense to keep them with at least one feline companion. You will have less work to do if you keep two Siamese cats, because they lovingly groom one another. They are also very people-focused, therefore you should factor in enough time for playing and cuddling. You should add some scratching props to your home to ensure that the active Siamese can well and truly let off steam. A multi-level scratching post should be part of this, since cats like lying in high spots. If it is a possibility for you, you should give the Siamese outdoor access to ensure sufficient exercise and activity. Alternatively, you can set up a balcony secured for cats. As previously mentioned, Siamese cats can also be taken out on a lead and harness. However, you should get your cat used to the lead as early as possible and practise this before the first outing to avoid nasty surprises alfresco.
Siamese cats aren't very demanding when it comes to nutrition. High-quality wet or dry food with a high quantity of meat can form the foundation of their diet. Check the composition of ready-made food to make sure it contains no preservatives, flavour enhancers or such. There is no generic answer when it comes to the right quantity of food for your Siamese. Many different factors such as age or state of health influence feline nutrition. Furthermore, it's important for you to always offer your Siamese sufficient fresh water. You shouldn't offer milk, because cats are lactose-intolerant and can at times develop severe digestion problems. Special cat milk is easily digestible for them and can occasionally be offered as a tasty treat.
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Potential Health Problems
Siamese cats are often affected by hereditary diseases triggered by the breeding process, including progressive retinal atrophy, also known as a retinal injury, which can lead to blindness in the worst cases. There are also cardiac diseases, as well as metabolic disorders and cancer (such as tumours on the teats). Internal misalignment, known as “strabismus convergens” is no rarity amongst Siamese cats, as well as trembling of the eyes (nystagmus). It is assumed that the cause of the melanin deficiency can be traced back to partial albinism. It's important for you to regularly talk to your vet in order to take appropriate measures at an early stage.
Siamese cats are sexually mature at the age of four to six months. The gestation period is between 63-69 days and the litter ranges from four to six kittens in size. The kittens are initially born with light fur and the points only start to merge after around two days. The kittens should stay with their mother for at least 12 weeks. Breeders should definitely take this into account, since kittens learn social behaviour and other important things from their mother during this time. Before you choose a breeder, you should get a picture of the animals and their environment. Ideally schedule an appointment with the breeder in order to take a look at the cats beforehand. They should be vaccinated, dewormed and living in a species-appropriate environment. Don't shy away from asking for important paperwork like the family tree! You should steer clear of breeders who offer pedigree cats without paperwork. They are mostly trying to save money in order to be able to offer their cats at a cheap price. However, this means that they mostly also save on important examinations and high-quality food. It's also important for there to be a certain gap between litters. You should stay away from breeders focused on quantity over quality with no consideration for the wellbeing of their cats.