This beautiful cat is one of the most popular pets in the world.
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of interesting facts about Siamese cats, a breed with a very distinctive appearance!
1. The breed was derived from an old cat breed from Thailand
The Siamese cat is one of the best-recognized cat breeds in the world. It was derived from the so-called “Whichien Maat” cat or simply “Thai Cat,” the new name of this ancient cat breed.
This also means that its name is derived from its country of origin, Thailand, which used to be called Siam. The country’s name was changed to “Thailand” following a revolution in 1932 in which it became a monarchy.
2. It’s one of the breeds mentioned in old Thai Cat-Book Poems
One of the most fascinating facts about Siamese cats is that they are one of the cats mentioned in ancient Thai literature. This book is called the “Tamra Maew” or the “Cat-Book Poems,” and features illustrations and descriptions of various types of cats.
It’s believed that this book originates from the Siamese Ayutthaya Kingdom which lasted between 1351 and 1767, something that clearly indicates that this cat breed has been popular for a very long time in Thailand.
3. The King of Burma started collecting Thai cats because of a poem
The Ayutthaya Kingdom abruptly ended in the year 1767 after the capital city of Ayutthaya was sacked that year by the Burmese army. The Burmese did, however, secure some copies of the famous book with cat poems.
This book eventually made it all the way to the King of Burma, a man called Hsinbyushin, who started reading about this particular cat breed. This particular poem made a reference to Thai cats being as rare as gold, so he ordered his army to collect as many of them as possible.
This story is still popular in Thailand and explains the magnetic power these wonderful creatures have and why they have become some of the most popular pets in the world today!
4. This breed is divided into two distinctively different categories
The cats back then didn’t look exactly like they do today. That’s why they have been divided into two distinctively different breeds, even though they are closely related.
The International Cat Association (TICA) and the World Cat Federation (WCF) describes both breeds as “Siamese cats” and “Thai Cats.” This distinction is basically between modern Siamese cats and ancient Siamese cats, hence the old breed (Thai cat) is also sometimes referred to as “Old-style Siamese” or “Classic Siamese.”
And yes, Thai cats do have a much rounder head and a more stocky built than the modern version!
5. The first Siamese in the U.S. was sent to the President in 1878
The first Siamese cat that made it to the United States was sent directly to the most important man in the country, U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1878. It was the American Consul in Bangkok named David B. Sickels who sent it as a gift for the First Lady.
This wonderful first cat in the United States adjusted remarkably well and joined a number of other animals at the White House as well, including two dogs, a goat, and a mockingbird.
Unfortunately, the cat that as named “Siam,” became ill just a year after and died in the autumn of 1879.
6. All Siamese in Britain are descendants of 11 originally imported cats
A similar thing happened in Great Britain because it was British Consul-General in Bangkok, Edward Blencowe Gould (1847–1916), who brought back two Thai cats to the UK in 1884. These initial cats sparked the interest of the British because of their remarkable appearance.
Just 2 years later in 1886, 2 more cats with kittens were imported, followed by several more. The initial pool of Siamese cats in Britain consisted of just 11 cats that were imported in the 1880s. It’s believed that all Siamese in the UK can be traced back to these originally imported cats.
7. The breed changed in shape starting halfway through the 20th century
Obviously, all of these originally imported Thai cats and their offspring would now be classified as Thai Cats, the old version. One of the most remarkable facts about Siamese cats is that their appearance didn’t change until the 1950s and 1960s!
It’s then that cat breeders started developing the new Siamese cat which was a lot more slender and long and with a fascinating shape of the head. These cats were preferred in shows and by the 1980s, these were the only Thai cats featured in shows at all.
By then, it was clear that these were these two types of Thai cat had become different sub-breeds and why the distinction was made.
8. There’s a reason why these cats have a distinctive pointed pattern
One of the best-recognizable features of this type of cat is their pointed color pattern which is considerably darker in various parts of their body, including the face, feet, ears, and tail.
The reason is that these cats suffer from a condition called partial albinism which causes a mutation in tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin.
This particular enzyme is heat-sensitive and only becomes active in parts of the skin where the body temperature is cooler (< 33 °C). That’s why the tips of the body of these cats are much darker.
9. The color of these cats changes as they get older
Another one of those fascinating facts about Siamese cats is that they aren’t born with this pointed color pattern. The Siamese kittens are completely white or cream-colored and only develop this pointed pattern as they grow older.
If we say older, we simply mean after a couple of weeks though because 4-week old kittens should already have developed a clear pointed pattern.
10. These are very social and intelligent cats
So are Siamese cats great pets?
Yes, most definitely! These are some of the most social and intelligent cats on the planet, and get along with just about everybody. This even includes many cats’ most common enemy, dogs!
They also love to be around people and can develop a dog-like loyalty to their owner, which is quite fascinating for a cat. They’re also quite talkative and their low-pitched voice has earned them the nickname “Meezer.”
11. The world’s oldest male cat was a Siamese and died at the age of 30
While these are fascinating cats, they do have a tendency to develop more diseases than other cat breeds. Regardless, according to one study in the UK, they have an average lifespan of 14.2 years, which is quite high.
To give some reference, according to the same study, the Maine Coone lived up to 11 years, and the Abyssinian cats only 10 years on average. The average of the most-tested group of crossbreds was 14 years and the winner was the Birman cat which lived 16.1 years!
The oldest cat in recorded history was a Siamese named Scooter from Texas in the United States, a male cat that died at the age of 30!
12. Numerous cat breeds are derived from the Siamese
Have you noticed some other cats with the distinctively darker face in combination with a much paler body? Then chances are high that this is a breed developed from the Siamese cat!
A grand total of 17 recognized breeds are derived from this amazing cat, and some of these are the Bengal, Balinese, Burmese, and the Himalayan cat to name a few!