The Siamese breed is an ancient one, first imported into England from Siam (modern day Thailand) in the late 19th century. The breed is the oldest natural breed (not created by man but occurring naturally) recognized in the cat fancy today. In their homeland, Siamese cats were owned by royalty and the breeding of such cats was under royal protection. Some accounts state that in these times one must have been royalty to own a Siamese. Whether that is true or not, it is evident that Siamese cats themselves believe they are royalty and entitled to all the benefits thereof.
Imported into the US shortly after England in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Siamese was accepted as a breed with CFA's establishment in 1906. The first Siamese to win best in show did so in 1907. The breed was well on its way to becoming an established and well loved member of the cat fancy. At first, only seal point was an allowed and recognized color but blue point won recognition in 1934, the chocolate point in 1952 and the lilac point in 1955.
Around World War II, the breed's popularity rose considerably and the cat-owning public fell in love with the breed, demanding these wonderful creatures as pets. As with many other breeds, this popularity caused unscrupulous people to rush to fill the demand for the breed as pets. It is during this time that heavier boned, rounded bodied cats with pale blue eyes started showing up and were identified as Siamese.
Many people today call these rounder bodied cats "traditional" Siamese, but that is simply not the case. In very early books and reports of the day, Siamese as new imports to England were described as "unnatural nightmare kind of cats", smaller than usual for the day, with large, pronounced ears, triangular faces and long, lean bodies. The earliest standards, as early as 1889, all matched this with such language used as "graceful, slight and long bodied, rather long and pointed heads, large ears". This certainly does not sound like the rounder bodied, heavier boned cats that are today referred to as "traditional" or "apple headed" Siamese.
Today, the CFA standard says "the ideal Siamese is a medium sized, svelte, refined cat with long, tapering lines, very lithe but muscular." This brief forestatement from the standard embodies the physical structure of a Siamese cat. They are refined and elegant, with an althete's muscularity more along the lines of a dancer than a football player. When someone new to the breed picks up a Siamese bred to the CFA standard, they are amazed at the solid muscularity of the breed. They seem slight at first glance, some even call them skinny, but upon handling it is apparent that they are anything but!
The standard calls for a lovely wedge shaped head with a flat profile, offset by strikingly large ears which continue the lines of the wedge. The eyes, neither protruding nor recessed, should be almond shaped in a deep vivid blue and should be set slightly slanted towards the nose, following the lines of the wedge. The standard notes that the eyes should not be crossed.
A medium sized, long, tubular body with a combination of fine bones and firm muscles describes the perfect Siamese according to the standard. The hips should not be wider than the shoulders and the hind legs should be higher than the front. The Siamese's coat is described as tight to the body, fine textured and glossy. It should look like it is painted on and should not be fluffy. The tail should be whip like and long. A visible tail kink is a disqualification.
Four Accepted Colors
There are four colors of Siamese accepted and recognized within CFA. They are seal point, chocolate point, blue point and lilac point. They are described below.
Seal Point - The standard calls for a body color of cream to an even pale fawn, gradually shading lighter on the belly. Their points will be a deep, dark brown, almost black. Seal point Siamese body color will generally darken with age, but there should still be contrast between body and point color. Their paw pads and nose leather should match their points.
Chocolate Point - A chocolate point Siamese will have a warm ivory colored body with no shading. Their point color should be a rich chocolate brown color and their noses and paw pads should be cinnamon pink.
Blue Point - A blue point Siamese will have a bluish white body with subtle shading which gradually lightens towards the belly. Their points will be a deep blue. Like the seal point, a blue point Siamese will darken to an extent as they grow older, but there should always be contrast between the coat and point color. Their nose leather and paw pads should be slate colored.
Lilac Point - A lilac point Siamese will have a glacial white coat with absolutely no shading. Their point color will be a frosty grey with pinkish undertones. The nose and paw pads will be lavender pink.
Personality (Siamese as Pets)
Siamese are one of the most social and extroverted breeds in the cat world. They are super affectionate and loving with their owners, preferring to be with them whenever possible. Because of this, they are not generally as independent as other cat breeds and may not do well as only cats in a house with 2 full time working adults. They can be very needy. Siamese love nothing more than to be right where their owners are, on their laps, next to them on the couch, cuddled under the covers in bed at night.
Siamese cats are like velcro, stuck fast to their loved ones. However, Siamese are not always as welcoming of strangers. Some can be outgoing and friendly towards visitors, but many do not prefer anyone other than their family members, so don't expect a Siamese to meet strangers at the door. Some will, but some won't.
Besides being affectionate, Siamese are intelligent, bright, lively, playful and talktavive. They can be very demanding as well and many Siamese have a very distinctive voice, low pitched and throaty, sounding somewhat like a baby's cry. If you do not like demanding cats who have a lot to say, then you should reconsider a Siamese addition to your family.
If you want a loving, affectionate, intelligent companion who requires regular stimulation and playtime as well as lots of cuddling, then a Siamese might be for you. If you can provide a house with another cat (or dog), or a house where someone is home a good portion of the day, then this might be the breed for you.