1950s Siamese Cat

This is a picture of a Siamese cat that is going around the internet. I have to jump on the bandwagon and discuss it my way. It is almost certainly in the public domain.

1950s Siamese cat and woman

1950s Siamese cat and woman

So what is worth discussing about this Siamese cat picture? Being a person who knows a bit about cats I find it interesting.

Firstly, I don’t know for sure the date of the photograph. I know nothing about the photograph other than what I can see. I want to keep it that way so I haven’t researched the picture.

I have guessed the 1950s. I may be wrong. The woman looks kind to me and she no doubt likes cats and I would say that the Siamese cat that she is holding lives with her. My guess, too, is that the woman is an American. That is based on my preconceptions about the appearance of the American woman! Someone will tell me that the photo was taken in England in the 1960s!

The important thing about the picture is not the person but the cat. This may be a show cat; a purebred Siamese cat. It doesn’t really matter. The Siamese cat you see was the only sort of Siamese cat, more or less, that you would see in the 1950s: a standard seal point cat of regular proportions. What would now be classified as an ‘old-style’ or traditional Siamese cat. This is a Siamese cat that looks pretty much the same as the Siamese cats that were first imported from Thailand in the late 1800s.

The 1950s and before was a simple, uncomplicated world for the Siamese cat aficionado. There was one sort of Siamese cat. I long for that world to return. The big changes in the appearance of the Siamese cat took place in the latter half of the 20th century.

The Siamese cat in the picture is also quite dark. The light parts of the body are darker than usual. This may partly be due to the photography and partly due to the age of the cat. Older Siamese cats might have darker fur in the non-pointed areas. This is due to poorer blood circulation. Siamese fur color is due to heat sensitive cells in the skin. Where the skin is cooler the fur is darker. Normally the center parts of a cat’s body are warmer as they are nearer the heart. If the circulation is poor the skin may be cooler leading to slightly darker fur in the center – non-extremities – of the cat.

This cat has his claws too. I don’t ever recall seeing reference to claws in cat association breed standards (the document that says what a certain breed should look like). Can a breeder declaw their show cat and avoid being penalised at a cat show? I have no idea. Can someone assist on that?


Comments

1950s Siamese Cat — 2 Comments

  1. The cat is so adorable! A great pix. I will have to share the old family cat pix I have. One is from the mid-60’s, the others from the mid 70’s.

    On the picture itself. I have studied family photographs a bit for family history purposes (I’m LDS aka Mormon… Mormons love genealogy.) Older color pictures taken by a professional photographer have historical been touched up with a bit of paint of some sort. I can see my mum and dads portraits from about 1956. Both photos have been touched up with paint. I don’t believe they ever touched up black and white/sepia photographs. This one doesn’t look to be touched up to me. The clarity is quite good. Look at the woman. You can see her skin and some of the details of the cat. I used to get a photography magazine when I was a kid (I love to learn about most anything) and I seem to recall that Kodak improved film quality sometime in the mid 1940’s. There is a photograph taken by who knows who of my mother and her close friend when mom was 13 sitting at their school desk. This would of been 1946 and the non-touched up picture was of a very high quality. So… (call me mister windbag) I think the pix, based on quality, could be anywhere from 1945-1955? Wait, there’s more…

    The woman does seem to be an easy going american and she looks to he someone of some means. The thing that makes me think it’s the 1950’s is that during WWII people didn’t smile with their whole beings like she is. This was also an expense that would be considered frivolous during wartime, right? I think it’s posed and I think, based on her countenance, dress and hairstyle between 1950-1956.

    That was fun.

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