History in the Homeland
The Siamese cat originated from Thailand, formerly known as Siam. These cats were held in such high esteem in their native country that no one except the King and members of the royal family were permitted to own them. They were originally known as Royal points.
Written records reveal that Siamese cats, in their country of origin, were venerated as guardians of the temples. When a person of high rank died, it was usual to select one of these cats to receive the dead person's soul. The cat was then removed from the royal household and sent to one of the temples to spend the rest of its days living a ceremonial life of great luxury, with monks and priests as its servants. These cats were reputed to eat the finest foods from gold plate and to recline on cushions made of the most opulent materials, which had been provided by the departed one's relatives in an attempt to receive good fortune and blessings. Once they became temple cats, they were supposed to have special powers and could intercede for the soul of the dead person.
Years ago features such as crossed eyes and kinked tail were looked on as characteristics of the breed and many legends exist as to their origin.
Rings on tail:
It was said that a Princess of the Royal House of Siam used her cat's tail as a ring-stand while she was bathing. The kink in the tail prevented the rings from falling off and being lost.
Kink and Crossed Eyes; legend of Tien & Chula:
Another legend accounts for both the cross-eyed feature as well as the development of the kink. Once, when all the men of Siam left their homes to defend their kingdom, just two cats - one male Siamese, Tien, and one female Siamese, Chula - remained in order to guard Buddha's golden goblet in the sacred temple. The male cat became pretty restless and, after mating the female Siamese, left her in order to find another priest to look after the temple. The female, apparently, was so overwhelmed by the responsibility of guarding the Buddha's treasure that she never once glanced away from the goblet, wrapping her long tail around its stem to prevent theft in case she should fall asleep. As time passed waiting for Tien to return with a new master, she could no longer stall the birth of her kittens, who all arrived with the physical characteristics that she herself had acquired during her period as watch guard - a kinked tail and crossed eyes. Just occasionally, even today, kittens are born with these features - so the legends are kept alive.
Siamese Gifts out of Thailand
In 1884, Owen Gould brought to England a pair of Siamese cats from Siam as a gift for his sister Lillian. These two cats, Pho and Mia, father and mother, are 1a and 2a in the British Siamese Cat Register, but they have no "pedigree", their particulars are "unknown, imported from Bangkok". The progeny of Pho and Mia, Duen Ngai and Kalahom and Karomata, were exhibited at the Crystal Palace in 1885 and excelled all competitors, but unfortunately died after the show.
Tiam O'Shian IV Between 1884 and the end of the century, a considerable number of Siamese cats were imported into England and are recorded in the British Siamese Cat Registers. Miss Forestier Walker, one of the founder members of the original Siamese Cat Club in England, owned Tiam O'Shian, an ancestor of Tiam O'Shian IV, who was a prizewinner at the the London Crystal Palace Shows of 1900 and 1901.
Mrs. Robert Locke with Calif, Siam, and Bangkok Mrs. Robert Locke founded the Beresford Cat Club in 1899 and was its first president. Mrs. Locke owned the first registered Siamese cats in America, Lockhaven Siam and Sally. Calif and Bangkok were bred from Siam and Sally Ward. It was said that Calif and Siam "carried all before them" at the Chicago show in 1902.
Probably the first Siamese cat in America arrived during the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) as a gift from the American consul in Bangkok to the President's wife, Mrs. Lucy Webb Hayes. Mrs. Hayes was notified that a Siamese cat consigned to her had arrived from Hong Kong on January 3, 1879. It was transported to San Francisco on the steam-powered SS Belgic, with charges prepaid by the consul in Bangkok. The cat had been placed in the charge of the ship's purser until San Francisco and thence was sent by express to Washington. After the cat's safe arrival at the White House, she was named Siam, and soon became a much-admired favorite.
Styles of Siamese
The Old Style Traditional
This is the original cat brought out of Thailand, without any interbreeding for desired traits.
The profile of the old-style Siamese is a more medium-size Siamese in bone structure. The shape of the head is more of an oval tilted vertically. The old-style Siamese has a slightly elongated face compared to the applehead. It is also slightly more athletic in built than then the applehead Siamese . The coats of all three types of Siamese cats are short and dense, yet soft and "springy" to touch. The old-style Siamese nose profile has as a less pronounced dip than the traditional applehead as seen below.
The Traditional Apple Head
The profile of the applehead Siamese is a more stocky, big-boned and heavier build of the three Siamese cats. It is also larger in bone structure. The given term, "applehead" is due to its head that resembles the shape of an apple, very round. The applehead's nose profile has an obvious dip that can be seen when the head is turned on its side. The word "dip" is what breeders are referring to when describing a break in the nose. Additionally, the applehead typically has shorter and smaller ears.
The Traditional Classic
The profile of the classic Siamese is a more elegant athletic muscular shaped body and is just as healthy as the applehead Siamese and the old-style Siamese. Lighter on their feet than the two mentioned above, the classic Siamese yet again has a slightly more elongated shape to its head then the applehead Siamese and old-style Siamese, but is not extreme in any way. It also has a slightly more elongated body, legs and tail. Their ears are larger and higher situated on the head than the two mentioned above. It is still part of the three groups of Siamese cats that originated from Siam. The old-style Siamese and classic Siamese possess the original body types that came from Siam. These cats have been known to live well into their teens. The classic Siamese nose profile has as almost no dip that can be seen when the head is turn on its side.
The Wedge Show Style
The wedge Siamese is far more elongated and more extreme in body type than the traditional. The name "wedge" derives from the wedge-shaped head, like a triangle, very sharp and pointed. The wedge Siamese head is delineated by an absolutely straight profile and aligned chin. From the Tip of its nose and through to the corner extending to the two accented large ears that complete the wedge like shaped head. The eyes are a more slanted, almond-like shape and set one eye width between the eyes. The rest of the body is longer, thinner, tubular and svelte looking. The wedge Siamese nose profile has no dip that can be seen when the head is turn on its side. Its nose is also a lot wider than the above three groups of Siamese. Like the wedge Siamese, the Thai (old-style) Siamese is now shown at TICA and CFF Cat Shows.
Siamese come in many different colors. They are born white, and like a Dalmation puppy gains spots as it matures, the Siamese gains pigment. The pigmented areas on a Siamese is called "points". The original points found in Thailand were Seal, blue, and red. Now there is lilac, tabby, chocolate, tortie, and lynx points. Here are a few examples:
Chocolate - Lilac :thumb59857579:
Seal - Blue :thumb80773376:
Red - Tortie :thumb29537824:
There are also other breeds such as the Himalayan, Burmese, Balinese, Tonkinese, Oriental color-point Shorthair,etc. that have been derrived from the Siamese. Any cat that has Blue eyes has Siamese in them. That trait is specific to the Siamese, and at one point, no other cat in the world had blue eyes except for the cat of Siam.
First of all, the stereotype that these cats are mean is downright FALSE. The FALSE of All FALSES. Any cat can be "mean" if it is abused. If the Siamese is not abused then they are one of the best cats you could possibly own, and their personality is even more beautiful then their outside appearance.
Siamese cats are very intelligent and social. They love to talk to you and meow loudly. Unlike most other breeds, Siamese cats can be taught to walk on a leash and play simple fetching games. In their eagerness to please, they often resemble dogs more than cats in their temperament. Siamese cats bond very strongly to their people and do not do well when left alone for long periods of time. Some Siamese cats will attach themselves very strongly to one person, but makes a great family cat.
Siamese in Art
The Siamese has long been admired for it's beauty and grace. Certainly a fantastic subject for art. Here is a feature of some beautiful Siamese art from the Traditional, Digital, Photography, and Anthro Galleries.
If you have any questions, feel free to give this proud Siamese owner a holler I'll be around
Works Cited /References
The Cat Fanciers Association
siameseroyalty.com/ (my breeder)