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Getting to know the Siamese cat

The Siamese is among the most well-recognized and beloved of all cat breeds. Gregarious and vocal, intelligent and affectionate, Siamese cats have been prized in Europe and North America since the 19th century. If you enjoy a cat that thinks it’s more human than feline, the Siamese might be the ideal breed for you.

History of the Siamese Cat

The Siamese cat is one of the most popular of the Asian cat breeds. (Other Asian cat breeds include the Himalayan, Bengal, and Burmese). The first reference to the breed appears in the literature of (what is today) Thailand, sometime between 1350 and 1750 AD. The first documented Siamese cat to reach the US—and cleverly named “Siam”—was a gift from the American consul in Bangkok to then President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878.

Siamese Cat Characteristics

Siamese are medium-sized cats, typically weighing between 7 and 12 pounds. Although there is significant variation in coloring, most have cream or tan fur (sometimes veering toward a smoky gray) on their torsos, with darker “points” at the ears, mask, legs and tail. The most common variants (from lightest to darkest) are the lilac-point, blue-point, seal-point, and chocolate-point Siamese. They can vary widely in build, from lithe jumpers to plump cuddlers. Siamese have an average life span of between 10 and 12.5 years, slightly below the average for other cat breeds.

Breed Personality

Siamese cats are known for their intelligence and their chatty personality. They’re not afraid to let you know what they want and can even get a little demanding about it—but they’re also affectionate and bond well with people. Siamese are generally sturdy and genial enough to handle the boisterous affection of children and will simply retreat to a favorite hiding place if they feel over-stimulated. Siamese cats are intelligent and are natural problem solvers, so you may want to keep a good supply of cat toys on hand to avoid any destructive self-entertainment—especially if you’re regularly away from home throughout the day.

Caring for a Siamese Cat

Unlike their cousin the Himalayan, the Siamese are a short-haired breed that requires little more than a regular brushing to maintain a healthy coat. They aren’t heavy shedders, so if you’re concerned about an overabundance of cat fur on rugs, furniture or drapes, the Siamese might be a good choice for you. While Siamese are not typically associated with any severe genetic or health problems, pure-breed cats tend to have more health problems than mixed breeds, so regular visits to the vet are recommended.

Is the Siamese Cat Right for You?

If you are looking for an elegant, smart, vocal, and affectionate “people cat”, you may want to consider the Siamese. They make great family companions and aren’t above playfulness, both with children and other pets. Among purebreds, the Siamese cat is low-maintenance, with few health problems and simple grooming needs.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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