History & Overview
Of all the cats that you might select from, the Siamese is what one would term the quintessential cat: this elegant, lithe feline has been the subject of many myths and legends throughout the ages, and it remains among the most popular breeds of cat.
No one knows for sure when the Siamese type, which in cats is termed “foreign”, came into being. Various theories suggest that these foreign breeds arose as a result of crossing the original Egyptian cats and wild cats native to Eastern countries. Some experts believe that they are the result of a mutation through which all present-day breeds have arisen.
The Siamese is the ultimate feline extrovert. Its characteristics are so different from the average cat’s that it is often described as being almost dog-like. This is a very affectionate breed that displays its moods more obviously than most other breeds. It has a wide range of sounds and is extremely intelligent.
Cats are not animals that take kindly to lead training, but the Siamese accept lead training better than most felines. The breed is very vocal and will respond well to those who do not mind its constant talking.
The Siamese is the opposite of Persian in just about all of its features. If you want a quiet, sedate feline, then get a Persian; if you want a cat that lets you know it’s around the Siamese is the one for you.
The unusual aspect of the Siamese patterns is that is thermosensitive which means the density of the color is affected by the ambient temperature the cat lives in. Higher temperature causes the pigment to lighten. When a Siamese kitten is born, the pattern is not obvious and begins to show itself after a few days. Another aspect of the Siamese pattern called gene modifiers can influence the density of the pigment and can be selected by the breeder.
The original Siamese had a dark brown face and ears and dark brown on the legs and tail. This contrasted against a lighter colored body. The brown coloration was termed seal point. With time, a lighter colored brown was developed called chocolate point. It was created by a gene that diluted the seal color. A blue point was also developed, and with the added dilution gene created, the lilac point emerged, also called as frost. These became the four classic Siamese colors and were derived without going outside of the Siamese breed.
As time passed by, Siamese were crossed with other breeds in order to introduce further colors, such as red and its dilution, cream. The emergence of many variations resulting in many arguments created two situations. In Great Britain, the additional colors were accepted as being color varieties of the Siamese. In the USA, The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) only accepts four basic colors (seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac). All others are a separate breed called the Colorpoint Shorthair.
Breeders vary in the age they judge a kitten ready for a new home. An important consideration is obviously if the new owners have experience of cats generally and kittens in particular. While an eight-week-old baby is quite delightful, it is better from a health standpoint that the kitten remains with its mother until it is 10 or more weeks of age. Some breeders will not part with a kitten until it is 16 weeks of age.