Categories: Cat BreedsSiamese

How Good Is Your Siamese Cat’s Appearance?

How good is your Siamese cat in terms of that all important appearance? A cat’s appearance is very important to many purebred cat owners. It certainly is to the breeder who sold the cat. Personality is a factor too but this page addresses appearance.

You like the appearance of the Siamese cat and their character: loyal and talkative. Okay, but how good is your Siamese cat compared to what the experts demand in their standard? Perhaps what I should say is how good is the breeder from whom bought the cat because it is they who should ensure that what they arrange to be created is high quality when measured against the breed standard.

As the modern Siamese cat is the de facto standard today, in a picture below, I have picked out some key standards against which you can measure your cat. The full standard is online as I am sure you know.

The modern Siamese is incredibly slender for a domestic cat; some believe overly slender. My personal feeling is that the Siamese breed standard has driven cat breeders to create ever more slender and elongated cats but we have thankfully reached the limit of slenderness!

I’d say that this is the way cat association breed standards work. Breeders selectively breed to the very limit and a bit beyond the limit of the standard, sometimes, to ensure that their cat certainly meets the breed standard and wins at cat shows.

Multiply this mentality across many Siamese cat breeders and throughout many cat shows, over many years, and you end up with the breeders breeding beyond the standard, meaning more extreme than stated in the standard.

But, that said, here is the breed standard set against two classic Siamese show cats – photographed by Helmi Flick (please respect her copyright) – in a picture with the key below the picture.

1. Ears – Strikingly large. This applies to the modern Siamese. This feature of over-sized ears is exclusive the contemporary Siamese and not the other varieties of this cat breed.

2. Head – The wedge (I think they mean triagular shape) starts at the nose and flares out in straight lines to the tips of the ears forming a triangle…..

3. Skull – flat in profile, long straight line is seen from the top of the head to the tip of the nose. This is rather extreme. All cats naturally have a ‘break’ in the line at the nose but the standard states: a continuation of the forehead with no break.

4. Eyes – almond shaped.

5. Body – long and svelte (slender and elegant – Siamese breeders are keen on elegance as it was the reason for modifying the shape – see the evolution/history).

6. Paws – dainty, small and oval.

7. Coat – short, fine textured and glossy.

8. Legs – long and slim.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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    • Yes, Jo's Siamese are modern but not extreme modern. They are in between modern and old-style I think. I bet there aren't many pet Siamese with a flat line in profile from forehead to end of nose. It reminds me of the Persian which has to have everything on the face in vertical alignment!

  • In the UK, breeders choose which of their kittens they think should be bred from and those ones will be registered on the GCCF's "active" list. All others should not be bred from as their off-spring would not better the breed. Nor can anyone register kittens with the GCCF unless both parents are on the "active" list.

    Unfortunately because kittens in the UK aren't traditionally spayed or neutered until they're 6 months old, this meant that some kitten buyers simply weren't bothering to get that done. Instead they bred from their kittens as soon as they were old enough. These are your BYB who sell their kittens "cheap" because they don't have paperwork to prove their pedigree.

    Reassuringly, UK breeders are aware of the problem and many now try to neuter/spay all kittens before they are sent home with their new owners. I came across one breeder who stated that if her vet was away and she was unable to neuter kittens beforehand, owners would be given a neutering certificate (bearing the kitten's microchip number) to be certified and stamped by their own vet. Upon receipt of stamped neutering certificate, she then verifies this with the vet herself. Anyone who does not return this certificate by the time the kitten is 6 month old, receives notification from her solictor that she is taking back possession of the kitten. I was very impressed with her stance. Someone who clearly cares very much that her beloved kittens are not used as breeding machines by unscrupulous people.

  • I've been researching a specific breed lately, so my comments are based on my findings.

    I believe that most legitimate breeders (whether they show their cats or not) will always keep back kittens which show the most potential. Sometimes kittens have the makings of a future winner on the show bench. Others may be slightly mismarked, but have the ideal physique, head shape etc., and this means they have the potential to produce fantastic looking offspring. These kittens are either kept by the breeders themselves or offered for sale to another cattery registered with the same breed club.

    Unless someone specifically requests a "show" quality kitten (in which case the price will be higher) most pedigrees sold are of "pet" quality. This doesn't make them inferior, it just means they would not do well in the competetive world of cat shows. Many breeders are honest and uprfront about this. Some state it very clearly on their web sites that their kittens are sold as pets only and not to be shown.

    It's a very small minority of pedigrees who actually meet all of the "ideal" standards. This is why some cats continue to win everything for several years in a row. Retired breeding or show cats are sometimes offered for sale to the public.

    • Yes, I completely agree. Breeders do sell breeding cats to breeders and these are show quality and sometimes you have "pet owners" who like to show their cat at shows. I guess they bought the cat as a top quality example of the breed at a premium price. I remember seeing some of these cats are US cat shows. Sometimes the owner employs a handler for the show.

      I remember talking to Martin Stucki about this and he used to deal with people who tried to con him into selling a cat as a pet but they had the intention to breed from the cat. I think there is a bit of unethical behavior in the cat fancy as there is in any field of endeavour.

      • Your friend is right. There are some very unethical breeders out there who cheat constantly. They have a reputation for buying cats as pets and 'hanging papers' on those cats that do not even closely relate to them. When confronted, they lie and claim that others are jealous of their 'success.' These are usually the larger breeders who've been around for a long time and know how to get away with it. The smaller breeders or newbies generally wouldn't dream of such a thing as they wouldn't see the benefit of doing so. I have had a number of larger more established breeders who tried to get some of my cats. I've said no because I know they will hang papers on them that don't belong and throw me under the bus, call me a liar and so on. They hate me and go on and on trying to ruin my reputation because I refuse to play by their unethical 'standards.' I have caught them emailing me pretending to be pet buyers just to get information from me and then 'complain.' These are frivolous 'complaints.' So now I've made it a mandatory policy that whenever someone wants information about my cats, prices and so on, I MUST have a full name, city/state and phone number or I will ignore their emails.

        • Thanks Lisa for your useful information. Much appreciated. I remember Martyn Stucki who ran A1 Savannahs in Oklahoma saying much the same thing. There is some unethical behavior in cat breeding it seems to me. They want to make fast buck and not do it properly.

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