Originally from Thailand, Siamese (formerly Siam) cats could only form part of royal and noble families. Their role was to be spiritual guardians to deceased family members. When someone important died, a cat from their household was chosen to receive and house their soul. The lucky feline spent the rest of its life in luxury, pampered and cared for by temple priests.
Here are some more fun and interesting facts about Siamese cats.
Fact 1: Thailand has a far better name for them than we do
In Thailand Siamese cats are known by the rather poetic name of Moon Diamonds
Fact 2: They weren’t an instant hit in the West
Hard to believe given their present popularity, but when first arriving in England in the 1800’s, the breed was described as “an unnatural nightmare kind of cat” when shown to the public at London’s Crystal Palace. Of course, these beauties soon became a hit.
Siamese cats are very intelligent and can be taught to fetch, walk on a harness and do simple tricks. Some ancient manuscripts from Thailand even refer to watch cats – cats trained to alert their families when intruders entered the home.
Fact 4: Nothing is simply black or white
Kittens are born as purely white, while a seal-point Siamese is genetically actually supposed to be black. Confused? We’ll try to explain: Siamese kittens are born white with markings developing around four weeks of age. A heat-sensitive gene causes the colouring to develop on the cooler parts of the body, which is the result of a partial albinism gene. A seal-point is genetically a black cat. The point pattern comes about from a mutation of the gene that gives cats their colour. This mutated gene restricts the amount of pigment showing in the coat… except at the coldest areas of the body – the face, nose, paws and tail.
Fact 5: Siamese cats will be part of the family for a long and happy time
On average, the Siamese cat is one of the breeds with the longest lifespans. It is not uncommon for this breed to reach the age of 20.
Giving a home to a Siamese cat is a long-term commitment. If you are able and willing to provide the love and attention these kitties need, please approach a reputable adoption agency first.
Caro Robson is the owner and manager of Student.co, a pet sitting company operating across Gauteng. The daughter of a vet, she grew up surrounded by animals and now dedicates herself to providing the best at-home pet care possible.
“StudentCo has a strict selection policy – and even stricter rules. Our sitters take care of all your home and pet care needs as per your unique, specific instructions. Visit our website for detailed sitte