The Siamese: An Iconic Asian Domestic Cat

The Siamese is an inquisitive and social cat breed. Their winning personalities and striking good looks consistently make them a family favorite.

Jun 20, 2024byKatie Wickliff

the siamese asian domestic cat

If you’re looking for a cat with both an elegant appearance and a lively personality, the Siamese might be the breed for you. The Siamese cat simply loves being the center of attention! These cats adore giving—and receiving—affection, are highly intelligent, and love to play.

Siamese Cats Are Social, Intelligent, and Affectionate

siamese cat on a bed
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Adult Height: 8-10 inches
  • Adult Length: 11-14 inches
  • Adult Weight: 6-14 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 15-20 years
  • Coat Length: short
  • Coat Texture: glossy, smooth
  • Coat Color: seal point, chocolate point, blue point, lilac point
  • Affection Level: high
  • Shedding: yes
  • Origin: Thailand (referred to as “Siam” until 1939)

Physical Characteristics of the Siamese Cat

book page with cat sketch
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Siamese is a small to medium sized cat. Its neck, body, legs, and tail are very long, giving it an elegant appearance. The head and ears are also an elongated, triangular shape. Their eyes are almond shaped and bright blue. The Siamese coloring is very striking, with lighter colors on the body and darker on the extremities. These cats come in four colors:

  • Seal Point: the most recognizable; dark brown extremities and fawn colored body
  • Chocolate Point: light brown extremities and cream-colored body
  • Blue Point: slate or deep blue extremities and bluish-white colored body
  • Lilac Point: pinkish-grey extremities and white colored body

While the Siamese draws admirers by their looks alone, they also make excellent pets for the right people. This dog-like cat breed is incredibly affectionate and devoted, and they need almost constant companionship. These felines adore following their people everywhere and will become unhappy if left alone too long. The Siamese is a great cat for a household where someone is home most of the time.

cat in a field
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Siamese is very active and eager to play, even with other pets and children. This desire for attention, coupled with a high intelligence, makes it easy to teach this breed new tricks. The Siamese also loves playing with toys like rubber balls, feather wands, and laser pointers!

This cat breed is very vocal and will “chat” with their owners all day. The Siamese has a loud and persistent voice, communicating through purrs, trills, and chirps.

Caring for the Siamese Cat: What to Know

man stretching out cat
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Siamese cats are generally healthy, with many living as long as 20 years. However, this breed is prone to certain diseases that affect cats, such as asthma, liver disease, hip dysplasia, and progressive renal atrophy, a degenerative eye disease also found in dogs. Your veterinarian is the best source of support and information if you have specific concerns about your cat.

long haired siamese cat
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Grooming the Siamese cat is very straightforward. These cats have a short coat with a glossy texture, so a weekly brushing will keep their coats in good condition. Cleaning your Siamese cat’s ears weekly is another essential part of grooming. Using a moist cotton ball, gently wipe any visible dirt from the edges of your cat’s ears—never stick anything inside the ear, however. By introducing your cat to the grooming process from a young age, it will become part of their normal routine.

Just like other cats, Siamese thrive on a protein rich, well-balanced diet to avoid feline obesity. They do not usually require special foods, but they can have sensitive stomachs. If this sounds like your Siamese, check with your vet to determine what type of food is best.

History of the Siamese Cat

old pic of cat
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Siamese is one of the oldest breeds of domestic cat. Fourteenth century manuscripts from Siam (now Thailand) are the earliest known recordings of Siamese cats. One specific manuscript, entitled “Cat Book Poems” dates to the year 1350 and depicts a light-colored cat with a black mask, ears, tail, and feet.

In the ancient Kingdom of Siam, owning a Siamese cat was an honor reserved exclusively for the king, members of the royal family, and other nobles. According to legend, these cats were considered sacred and would guard temples throughout the kingdom. They’re one of many pets kept by ancient people.

Black Manx And Royal Siamese Cats
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For many years, Siamese were known for their kinked tails and crossed eyes, and Siamese legend gives a colorful explanation for these features. The royal cats of Siam were responsible for guarding the royal goblet. The felines stared at the goblet intently and wrapped their tails around it. This extreme concentration resulted in the crossed eyes and kinked tails. No matter the true origin of these traits, they are now considered flaws, so breeders have selectively bred the modern cat without the crossed eyes and crooked tails.

Siamese cats lived exclusively in Asia for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. In fact, they did not arrive in the United States until 1879, when a U.S. diplomat in Bangkok gifted one to Lucy Hayes, wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes. Since this introduction, the Siamese cat has grown in popularity, and is arguably the most recognizable cat breed today.

Fun Facts About the Siamese Cat

siamase cat with blue eyes
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

There are so many fun facts to learn about this fun cat breed. Some include:

  • Siamese cats hate being confined and will happily learn to walk on a leash for outdoor exercise.
  • In the 1960s, two Siamese cats living in the Dutch embassy in Russia revealed an espionage plot! The cats started behaving oddly and scratching at a wall. Upon investigation, two dozen microphones were found hidden behind the wall.
  • April 6th is National Siamese Cat Day.
  • Unlike other cats, Siamese have trouble seeing in the dark. Yet, contrary to popular belief, these cats are not colorblind. They simply see a different array of colors than humans.
  • Similar to another cat breed, the Maine Coon, Siamese cats actually like playing in water!
  • Many famous celebrities have owned Siamese cats, including Rod Stewart, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Katie Wickliff
byKatie Wickliff

Katie is a Colorado-based writer, educator, and animal lover who firmly believes life is better with a pet by your side. She currently shares her home with various creatures. In her free time, Katie loves to explore the mountains with her family and their Rough Collie, Story.