Siamese cat breed information and advice
Siamese cats are an ancient Oriental/Asian breed. They are believed to have originated from Thailand, which was previously known as Siam. The breed appeared in the UK in the 19th century and is one of the most popular breeds today. An elegant, graceful cat with long legs, they’re very talkative and won’t fail to charm you.
This breed guide covers everything you need to know about the Siamese, from temperament to health problems.
Siamese cat facts
£350 to over £500 for a kitten
males 3-5kg; females < 3kg
regular grooming required
outgoing and affectionate
an energetic breed so lots of exercise needed
Siamese cat insurance
Keeping your Siamese cat fit and healthy will be a priority for you, which is why it’s a good idea to take out cat insurance. Siamese cats can suffer from a range of inherited health issues and pet insurance can help cover the cost of unexpected vet bills. Cats can become ill at any age, so it’s always best to take out pet insurance when they’re a kitten.
Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance
Sainsbury’s Bank Siamese insurance can be taken out as soon as your cat is 8 weeks old, right up until their 10th birthday. And once you have cover in place, we’ll insure your Siamese cat for their entire life - as long as you renew your policy year after year. Giving you one less thing to think about.
How to care for a Siamese cat
Siamese cats don’t need any special care apart from regular grooming. As with most pets, they should have a balanced diet and lots of exercise. It’s also a good idea to check for any gum disease while cleaning their teeth.
Feeding and nutrition
Your breeder should give you a feeding schedule. It’s best to keep to this routine as Siamese cats don’t like changes. Try to feed them the same food to avoid an upset tummy. If you want to change their food, do so gradually. Feed mature cats a good quality cat food. And always follow the amount suggested on the packaging so that they don’t become overweight.
Siamese cats have a short and close-lying coat. A weekly brush or comb will take care of their smooth and glossy coat. They’ll shed more in spring and autumn and you’ll need to brush them more often.
They have almond-shaped, bright blue eyes. The colour of the fur on their ears, tail and feet are a different colour to the body. This darker colour blends into the lighter colour of the body. This is called ‘pointing’.
The original cats had classic seal-brown points on cream bodies. But today body colours of black, grey and white with point colours including chocolate, blue and lilac are also seen.
Siamese cats are energetic and playful. They can be kept as indoor or outdoor cats, but if kept indoors, they will need lots of toys to keep them stimulated and out of mischief. Providing scratching posts will protect your furniture. They are athletic and agile and will enjoy having a perch so they can climb and look down from their vantage point. Siamese cats also love a cosy hiding place to curl up and have a nap.
These elegant cats are intelligent and will quickly pick up things like toilet training. Try to get your pet used to a litter box as soon as you bring them home. They’ll enjoy games such as playing ‘fetch’. With time, patience and positive reinforcement it’s also possible to train them to walk on a lead.
Temperament and behaviour
Siamese cats like a routine so try to feed them at the same time every day. They love human attention and will often follow you around the house. They’re very talkative and will let you know if they are happy or not. They’re affectionate cats and will enjoy sitting on your lap and having a cuddle. Siamese cats are also very active and inquisitive, so life will never be dull.
This breed has a high hunting and chasing instinct, so Siamese cats are likely to bring in ‘presents’ from outside on a regular basis.
Common health problems
Siamese cats can be susceptible to a few inherited health problems in addition to the normal conditions associated with ageing. They may also be more prone to certain types of cancer. To help cover the costs of these treatments, it’s advisable to take Siamese cat insurance.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
This eye disease can lead to loss of vision and blindness. It is an inherited condition in Siamese cats and affected cats should not be used for breeding. It’s caused by a gene mutation so unfortunately it can’t be treated. However a genetic test is available, so always check with your breeder.
This condition is inherited and results in liver problems. It can affect Siamese cats between 1 and 5 years old. There are few treatment options available and the condition can lead to fatal liver failure. It is important not to breed cats with this condition.
Siamese cats are prone to asthma or allergic bronchitis. The airways narrow and affected cats will have difficulty breathing. Most cats will respond to treatments including medication and bronchodilators to control any coughing and wheezing.
Storage diseases such as Niemann-Pick disease, mucopolysaccharidosis and gangliosidosis (GM1) have been seen in this breed. A specific enzyme deficiency due to a genetic defect causes chronic, progressive neurological signs in affected cats. A genetic test is available, but there is no treatment and affected cats shouldn’t be allowed to breed.
How long to Siamese cats live?
Siamese cats are considered a long-living breed. The lifespan is between 15 and 20 years if they’re well looked after.
Are Siamese cats born cross-eyed?
In the past Siamese kittens were born cross-eyed. This was due to a mutation in the connections between the eye and the brain. To compensate for this, the cats became cross-eyed. This condition has now been bred out of the breed. The original breed also had a kinked tail which has also now been bred out.
When do Siamese cats stop changing colour?
Siamese kittens are born white, then change colour and develop their distinctive markings when they are a few weeks old. Their coat colour is determined not only by their genes, but by the temperature of their surroundings.
Siamese cats have a gene that inhibits pigment in their fur resulting in albinism, but this only affects the fur above a certain temperature. As the mother’s womb is warm, the gene is not switched on at birth but once the temperature drops, these genes are turned back on. As the extremities are cooler than the rest of the body, this is where most of the pigment is deposited, giving the characteristic ‘pointing’ seen in this breed.
Where do Siamese cats come from?
Siamese cats are descended from one of the cat varieties native to Thailand, formerly known as Siam. They were imported into the UK in the 1800s. The breed was known as the "Royal Cat of Siam" as it had been reported that they had previously been kept by Siamese royalty.
Is a Siamese cat right for you?
Siamese cats make great family pets and are good around small children. However, it’s wise to make sure young children are always supervised and not left alone with any pet.
These cats love attention and can be demanding. They don’t like to be left alone for too long, so consider getting another Siamese cat, ideally a sibling, for company. They also get on well with cat-friendly dogs. But don’t forget that they tend to have lots of energy and need to be kept entertained.
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