Siamese

The pointed cat known in the West as "Siamese", recognized for its distinctive markings, is one of several breeds of cats from Siam described and illustrated in manuscripts called "Tamra Maew" (Cat Poems), estimated to have been written from the 14th to 18th century.

Description

The original Siamese imports were, like their descendants in Thailand today, medium-sized, rather long-bodied, muscular, graceful cats with moderately wedge-shaped heads and ears that were comparatively large but in proportion to the size of the head. The cats ranged from rather substantial to rather slender but were not extreme in either way.

In the 1950s - 1960s, as the Siamese was increasing in popularity, many breeders and cat show judges began to favor the more slender look. As a result of generations of selective breeding, they created increasingly long, fine-boned, narrow-headed cats; eventually the modern show Siamese was bred to be extremely elongated, with lean, tubular bodies, long, slender legs, a very long, very thin tail that tapers gradually into a point and long, wedge-shaped heads topped by extremely large, wide-set ears. The minority of breeders who stayed with the original style found that their cats were no longer competitive in the show ring.

Temperament

Siamese are usually very affectionate and intelligent cats, renowned for their social nature. Many enjoy being with people and are sometimes described as "extroverts". Often they bond strongly to a single person.

The Siamese cat is sometimes less active at night than most cats, possibly because their blue eyes lack a tapetum lucidum, a structure which amplifies dim light in the eyes of other cats. The mutation in the tyrosinase also results in abnormal neurological connections between the eye and the brain. Unlike many other blue-eyed white cats, Siamese cats do not have reduced hearing ability.