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Siamese Cat History — 20 Comments

  1. I prefer the modern show Siamese, as that is the type we raised when I was a kid. The so-called traditional Siamese seen today was created during WWII when breeders would breed their cats to anything just to save bloodlines. The faults could be bred out later. The so-called traditional Siamese is wrong; it looks like a moggie with a Siamese paint job.

  2. Our family has had a Siamese cat in our home for at least 55 years.We love the creatures. We have found that they will go to considerable length to protect their owners, if they feel the person is in danger.They can be vicious.They are smart and learn easily,.
    Our present cat is named Dodi, is a huge chocolate point, supposedly registered stock. He is nine years old and healthy and happy.

    • Hi Esther. Dodi sounds like a great cat. 55 years is a long time. It is long enough to have witnessed the change in shape of the Siamese cat. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It was very cool to read about the transformation, but I’ve gotta say, I’m liking what the siamese have become 🙂 I don’t think either type is inherently inferior or superior to the other, so it’s more just a matter of personal taste.

    My little siamese is as extreme as they come. She’s super skinny, on tall stilt legs with a narrow pointed face that reads ‘weasel’ more than it does cat. And let’s not forget the goblin ears! I do think she’s weaker than my other cat (as in my other kitty wins every wrestling match), but she’s still muscular, fast, and furiously hyper. And to be fair, my other cat has 5 pounds on her, and looks like a giant brick wrapped in fur. It’s like a supermodel trying to wrestle down a WWF fighter!

    Anyway, I don’t think people should be hating on the modern siamese so much. They’re lovely cats, and my own kitty is in super health. I’ve gone down her pedigree for eight generations, and only found one instance of inbreeding (way way down, one cat’s name pops up twice). Yes, she looks like a rat mated with a weasel, but she’s far too busy commandeering laps and wrestling with my other cat to care. So come on, ease up on the negativity 🙂 There’s room in the world for all sorts of cats.

    • Hi Emma, my philosophy is respect other people’s views and live and let live. However, the modern Siamese is the cat breed, with the Persian, that has the most genetic illnesses of all the breeds. I have to conclude that this is due to overbreeding and a compromised immune system and so on. Also the Modern Siamese does not look like a domestic cat. Breeding should respect the normal appearance of the cat because nature made that appearance over millions of years of evolution. It is as good as it can be and people breeding cats should respect nature more.

      • Thanks a lot for the link! That was actually a bit depressing reading about the poor siamese. It made me think a lot about that BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed. They should do a sequel for cats.

        However (and I’m just playing devil’s advocate here), I did see a line that read “There are a wide range of types (conformations) of this cat breed….I don’t know to which conformation the list refers. Perhaps it simply refers to the Siamese cat generally not making a distinction”. So from what I’ve read in the article, it does not specifically condemn the modern siamese. Though, from what I read in your article, it does seem like the siamese went through a radical change very quickly, so there was probably a ton of inbreeding early on to fix in the traits. With that in mind, they probably *were* referring to modern siamese. But that is just logical conjecture, not solid fact.

        I still don’t think the modern siamese should be condemned. There are hundreds of thousands of siamese out there, so there is every opportunity for responsible breeds to increase genetic variety and improve the breed in general. That said, I’m not a breeder, so that’s probably easier said than done.

        What I was really referring to when I said ‘ease up on the negativity’ was your comment above. It seemed to be a complaint about the cosmetics, not about the health or happiness of the cats.
        (“I also hate the modern Siamese cat with a rat-like face. Whatever were the cat breeders thinking about when they created that?!”)

        As for “the Modern Siamese does not look like a domestic cat. Breeding should respect the normal appearance of the cat because nature made that appearance over millions of years of evolution”, I really do think that’s more personal opinion than anything else. After all, my own kitty looks like both a rat AND a weasel, and nature has made wide use of both of those physical appearances 😛
        As well, her body type is very much like a cheetah, and her ears are like those of a serval (two more natural cats). It’s logical to think that if some african wild cats had become isolated and evolved further, specializing for speed in the hot, hot desert, it might have developed into something similar to a siamese. Long, light body, with large ears to dispel heat, and a long nose to provide more room for cooling air. A bit like the Indian wolf.

        Besides, Nature herself has churned out some pretty odd looking cats…..just look at the Pallas Cat! It makes my own kitty look positively normal 🙂

        Anyway, sorry about the text wall! I guess I’m a bit overburdened with opinions.

        • I like to see you express your opinions. It is good. You are thinking.

          I still disagree. For example, you refer to the Pallas cat looking a bit odd but nature produced that appearance because it helps the cat to survive in cold inhospitable conditions. The anatomy functions better.

          The Siamese cat appearance has no connection with increased efficiency in respect of survival – i.e. function – the modern Siamese is bred to look like that because breeders think it looks interesting. There are no other considerations not even health.

          This is why it is a poor breeding policy. It is almost a case of Torture Breeding.

          I can’t find the quotes you refer to early on in your comment. I don’t think I made them.

          • Oh no, the first quote was from the article you linked to, not this article above. Sorry for the confusion, I should have been more clear :S I wasn’t trying to imply that you made that quote.
            The second quote was indeed one you made, and it was in a reply to Mary-Sue on March 29, 2013 at 4:29 am. It’s one of the comments below this article.

            You’re right, I’ve definitely got a lot of opinions x) And I completely agree about the persian. I think they’ve gone too far, and I hate seeing a cat that can’t breathe properly. But with the siamese, I don’t think the confirmation itself affects the health (the inbreeding it took to get to this confirmation is a different matter).

            As for the pallas cat etc., I was just being a bit cheeky 🙂 I know that the reason for the modern siamese’s appearance is aesthetics, not function. But there are plenty of less functional breeds out there (ex. long furred breeds that require tons of grooming).

            My orange moggie, for instance, is very fluffy and very lazy. He’s incredibly cute now, but when I found him on the street, he was just days away from starvation. His fur was extremely matted, and it was pulling painfully at his skin. My siamese would outperform him in the wild, no question.

            Responsible breeders (such as the one I bought my kitten from) breed for health and happiness as well as appearance. In fact, health and happiness come first!
            It’s irresponsible breeders who give purebred cats a bad name.

              • I think that Emma was very polite and clearly has a point, I’m not into inbreeding at all, but every breed has been inbred, otherwise they wouldn’t be considered as breeds in the first place.

                I don’t know why you should diss the modern siamese, as with responsible breeders they are as healthy as any other breed or moggies. Of course you don’t have to like the look, but it’s the same attitude as breeding only for looks, to hate only for looks. Health is another issue, of course. I wouldn’t support irresponsible breeding in any way, luckily the situation in Finland is pretty good. I don’t know if you have different breeding standards where you are from, but here are some statistics from Finland and Sweden:

                http://www.itapu.fi/prcat/statsVastaukset.php?nls=en

                One of the researchers especially mentioned (not in that text, though) that siamese cats have a good situation in spite that they are an old breed (you can find more problems the more you can look back, but they turned out to be a healthy breed (in Finland and Sweden) as the oriental shorthair and other sister breeds, did too).

                It seems that luckily the “fashion” of breeding the ears as big as possible and set as low as possible has “gone out of fashion”. Usually to achieve that look and especially to exaggerate it, you need a lot of line breeding.

                In Finland oriental and siamese usually look more like the moderate version than the modern version mentioned here (if you scroll down a bit):

                Sorry for any mistakes, my English is no near perfect.

                • I don’t know why you should diss the modern siamese, as with responsible breeders they are as healthy as any other breed or moggies

                  Thanks Minea. The point is that no domestic cat should look like the American modern Siamese as it is so unnatural. Secondly, the modern Siamese has a huge list of genetic diseases, the most of all cat breeds. Thirdly the only reason why the cat looks like it does (rat-like) is because someone in the cat fancy decided it looked more refined and then between the show judges and breeders they couldn’t stop making it more refined until it looked ridiculous. Humans don’t know when to stop.

                  What is wrong with the original Siamese? A normal and beautiful cat.

                  https://pictures-of-cats.org/siamese-cat-health-problems.html

                  I am sure Finland is better than America for the Siamese. American breeders like to breed to extreme where possible. The Burmese is a health problem and so is the flat-faced modern Persian. There are too many purebred cats with genetic diseases that are in addition to those present in moggies.

                  Thanks for commenting. Appreciated.

              • Thanks, and yes, I’ve read about the health problems. It seems that it’s far worse in your country than here… I agree that the most extreme is not something you should breed, not if there are health problems and a lot of inbreeding needed (and usually it is needed to achieve the most extreme look).

                To me there’s nothing wrong with the traditional or original Siamese (or moggies for the matter), I like all the types, expect for the most extreme. To me the cats look unhealthy (and again, not all modern Siamese look unhealthy to me, but some definitely do).

                I agree compeletely, humans don’t know when to stop and many don’t care about health at all. Still there are many responsible breeders of the modern Siamese (at least in Finland).

                Yeah, it’s sad that many breeds have so many genetic disorders, I myself am all for outcrossing and expanding the genepool and dream of breeding one day, we’ll see. I’d like to improve many breeds, it would be great if for example the flat nose of te Persians would be banned, it would be easy to fix the problem with outcrossing.

  4. My late grandmother had an “apple head” siamese back in the 1950s that I remember very well, with the loud voice! About 1/3 smaller than her other average-sized grey cat, the little Siamese female had a somewhat shorter tail with a visible kink at the tip, and small limbs and ears. She was an excellent mouser and often caught several in a night, though Grandma didn’t let her out for fear that she’d be taken by a great-horned owl.

    To me that is the only ‘real’ siamese cat, or Thailand cat if you prefer. The name doesn’t matter but the type does. I dislike those long skinny limbs and pointed heads. They just don’t look right to me!

    • Mary-Sue, your late grandmother had an original Siamese even down to the kinked tail. I wish the cat breeders had left the Siamese alone and even kept the kinked tail. Many original Siamese cats in Thailand had kinked or short tails. It is part of the true Siamese cat anatomy. I also hate the modern Siamese cat with a rat-like face. Whatever were the cat breeders thinking about when they created that?!

  5. After reading your article I could not agree with you more. The breeding programme that has created the modern Siamese has gone too far. Personally I find the modern Siamese unattractive. I have a traditional Siamese (or Thai as the CFA refer to it)and quite frankly would not have any other.

    I would like to send you a picture of my Siamese but could not find a way to post the photo.

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