Where Do Siamese Cats Come From?

October 4th, 2018

The Siamese cat is thought to have originated from Siam (present day Thailand). It is believed that the cats were sacred and were used as guards of ancient temples. They were exclusive to the Royalty of Siam. It is said that the Royal cat of Siam is a product of a mating between the “Egyptian cat” and “wild cat” of Siam.

There are many legends surrounding Siamese cats and the Royal Family, explaining how the cat became cross eyed with a kinked tail. One such legend tells a story of a Siamese temple cat who went in search for a missing royal goblet with his wife. Once the goblet was found, the male went to alarm the King whilst the female stayed to protect it. She was so scared of losing it that she wrapped her tail around the base tightly and stared at until her eyes crossed and her tail kinked.

Another story states that there was once a Siamese Princess who was afraid of loosing her jewelry whilst bathing in a river one day. Her dear cat kinked his tail for her so that she could place them on the tail safely. Since then, all Siamese cats were born with this kink in order to guard princesses’ rings.

It is however recorded that, in 1884 the departing British Consul-General Gould was given a Siamese cat by the Siamese king as a farewell gift. It was considered a great honour as the cat came from those bred in the palace by the royal family. The cats caught the attention of the public as nothing like they had ever seen before. There was a famous quote from the time describing them as an “unnatural nightmare of a cat”. But that did not stop them becoming one of the favourite cats of the British cat fanciers. By 1902 England founded its first Siamese cat fancier’s club.

It is believed that the first Siamese cat appeared Australia between 1890 and 1903. Between 1950-1960, the Siamese grew in popularity. Breeders and cat show judges began to favour the more slender look. This caused generations of selective breeding, changing their body shape entirely, to long, thin bodies. Unfortunately, the cat organisations changed their interpretation of the official breed standards to favour this.

In the late 80s, traditional pure Siamese made a comeback amongst breeders and fans of the older shaped Siamese. In order to preserve the old, healthy genetics they promoted the traditional breed. Unfortunately, there were very little pure Siamese seal point breeders that stayed true to the breed throughout the many decades. The popularity of the Siamese led to mixed-breed cats that may have few or no Siamese ancestry in them.

In 1959, in New South Wales a non-profit organisation was formed called “The Siamese Cat Society of NSW”. This consisted of dedicated breeders aiming to keep the breed pure.

 

 

The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petplan.

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