Lifespan: 8-15 years
Size (Adult): 6-12 pounds, 15-20 inches
Personality: Affectionate, attention-seeking, friendly
Pet Friendly: Generally does well with other cats and dogs
Vocal: Very vocal
Indoor/Outdoor: Can be either, but indoor is recommended
Intelligence: Highly intelligent and trainable
Siamese cats are probably best known for their telltale markings-those little drops of color on their face, legs, and tail. Along with those looks, Siamese cats also bring a personality that is both affectionate and outgoing. They are also intelligent and willing enough to be trained to do tricks, making them a fun and friendly part of your family.
The Siamese cat is an old breed with its origins in Siam – the former name of Thailand. Their beauty and loyalty made them ideal candidates to guard the King of Siam. They were said to perch on columns surrounding the king and would attack anyone who threatened him.
Siamese didn’t move westward until the 19th century when they were given as gifts by the King of Siam to English noblemen and later on, in the early 1900s, to friends in America. Their show career began in 1871 in England’s Crystal Palace Cat Show, where their unique markings made them sought-after pets. Their popularity increased rapidly after WWII, making them one of the top registered breeds and common in numerous films.
At first, only seal-pointed Siamese, with the traditional dark brown points, were allowed in the show ring. Later on, with the development of new colorings, including lilac, chocolate, flame, and blue, all colors of Siamese were able to be shown.
Siamese cats are long and lean kitties. They have long legs, long bodies, long tails, and even long, triangular-shaped faces with a long nose. They are of medium height, coming in at around 15-20 inches tall at the shoulder. Males tend to be taller than females.
Siamese are also of medium weight. Females usually weigh about 8 pounds or less, and males weigh in at 8-12 pounds. Because of their lean stature, overeating and excessive weight gain can show up very quickly, even causing a pot-bellied look after only one large meal!
The unique pattern of the Siamese cat’s coloring is breathtaking on its own. However, what is even more exquisite is the number of shades that their points can come in. All Siamese kittens are born completely white or cream-colored. As they get older, they develop darker “points” at the head, ears, legs, and tail. Those points can come in as many as 32 accepted colors, giving this breed a wide variation in appearance.
While their looks may be what initially attracts people to Siamese cats, their personality often wins them over. These felines are friendly, affectionate, and don’t like to be left out. They tend to stick by their owner’s sides no matter what the schedule is for the day. Siamese may also be affectionate toward strangers or other animals in or out of your household.
Along with those traits, Siamese are also intelligent. They can be trained to perform tricks, walk on a lead, or even play hide-and-seek. Just because they can be trained doesn’t mean that they will listen. Siamese cats can also be very independent and opinionated, doing what they prefer rather than what you want.
With intelligence also comes athleticism. Siamese are not sedentary cats; they prefer to be active through play and interactive games. They may also cause trouble if left home alone with nothing to do. Investing in puzzle toys or a cat tree may be necessary to keep your Siamese entertained.
Whether your Siamese is performing a trick that you taught them or snuggling under the covers, they will usually be talking. With their constant chatter and need to be around people, it’s no wonder that Siamese cats are very popular pets.
Lifespan and Health
The lifespan of a Siamese is between 8 and 15 years. They will tend to live longer if kept as indoor cats due to the perils of living outdoors.
As with any purebred animal, Siamese are more prone to certain diseases. Proper breeding and regular veterinary care can help prevent some of these diseases, including:
- Respiratory Issues: With an extra-long and wedge-shaped nose comes a propensity for respiratory disease, including sinus infections, chronic congestion, asthma, and bronchitis.
- Dental Issues: All cats, regardless of breed, have the same number of teeth (30). The elongated jaws of a Siamese can create dental troubles due to the placement of the teeth. Regular brushing can help prevent some of these issues.
- Amyloidosis: Amyloidosis is a condition in which proteins called amyloids are deposited outside of cells leading to tissue damage and dysfunction. It is genetic in Siamese cats and can be reduced by careful breeding selection.
- Eye Issues: The brilliant blue of Siamese eyes isn’t without its troubles. Siamese may be genetically prone to crossed eyes, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy, which results in blindness. Again, pre-breeding screenings may help decrease the incidence of some of these diseases.
- Cancer: Every kitty may be subject to cancer, but Siamese tend to be over-represented with certain types of cancer. These include lymphoma, thymoma, and mast cell tumors.
A Siamese cat brings a lot to the table. But they also expect a lot from you in return. Caring for a Siamese cat is going to take an investment of time and energy. Here are things that you’ll need to do to care for your Siamese cat.
Fortunately, you won’t have to spend a lot of time grooming a Siamese. Their short haircoat may be colorful and beautiful, but it doesn’t take a lot of work. Of course, regular brushing will help reduce the amount of shed hair on your carpet, clothes, and couches and will also keep your kitty cleaner. But it isn’t as necessary as with a longer-haired breed.
However, Siamese often see grooming as a form of affection, so regular brushing may be necessary to return the love they give to you. Brushing is also important for skin and hair coat health. It helps to spread the natural skin oils throughout the hair to provide softness and shine.
Regular bathing every couple of weeks can help remove excess dirt, oil, and loose hairs. Be sure not to bathe them too often, or you could end up drying out the skin or causing irritation.
These cats aren’t couch potatoes. They want to get up and move. Be sure to invest in numerous different cat toys to hold their attention, especially when you can’t be at home. You’ll also want some cat furniture on which they can climb and jump.
Interactive toys, such as wand or chase toys, are great because they will get your cat’s heart rate up and allow you to spend time with them all at once. Puzzle toys that release treats are great to keep a Siamese cat’s mind stimulated and not destructive. Also, you may find your Siamese prefers a walk around the block on a lead.
Since Siamese are lean kitties, overfeeding can be an issue. Stick with a high protein diet that uses high-quality ingredients, like whole meats. You’ll need to find the perfect balance of calories to match their energy levels so that your Siamese can maintain a healthy weight. Your veterinarian can help you choose a food that will do this.
With a propensity towards dental disease, regular brushing and dental cleanings may be necessary to keep their mouths healthy.
Regular visits to your veterinarian can help your Siamese lead the longest and happiest life possible. Take your kitty to the vet at least once a year for regular exams and vaccinations. The frequency of visits should increase as your Siamese ages.
Such a variation in coloring brings a wide variation in price. Siamese cats can range in price from a couple hundred dollars to $2,500. Rare colors and pedigree can significantly increase the cost.
You’ll also invest some money into toys and furniture to keep your Siamese entertained. Veterinary care and the cost of food will add to your total care costs.
If you’re looking to purchase a Siamese, be sure to do so from a reputable breeder. These breeders select their animals from lines that are less susceptible to genetic diseases and have performed pre-breeding exams to reduce the risk of illness.
Siamese are popular pets, but many have to be surrendered due to their owner’s inability to keep them anymore or sometimes even because they are so needy and vocal. Also, look for Siamese cats from animal shelters and rescue groups.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.