One breed of cat that is highly distinctive and instantly recognisable to most people, whether they like cats or not, is the Siamese cat, an oriental breed that is native to Thailand. The Siamese cat is in fact one of the most ancient breeds of cat, and many of today’s modern pedigree breeds have the Siamese to thank in part for their ancestry and formation.
The Siamese is also one of the most popular pedigree cat breeds within the UK, and many cat lovers aspire to owning one of these beautiful, distinctive and often very vocal feline stunners!
When we think of the Siamese cat in general, we picture a cat that is lithe, angular, and has a very distinctive pointed and triangular-shaped face, and this is certainly true for most Siamese cats that meet the breed standard today. However, there is another variant of the Siamese cat that shares many of the traits of the standard type but also has some significant differences, and this is known as the applehead Siamese, or traditional Siamese cat.
In this article, we will look at the applehead Siamese cat in more detail, and explain the history and differences between the applehead and the modern standard Siamese cat. Read on to learn more!
The cats that we today think of as the applehead Siamese were historically the original cats of Siam’s Royal Family, who valued them highly and bestowed them as gifts to friends, relatives and other state leaders. Recorded documentation proves that the Siamese cat has a history going back to at least 1350AD, and quite probably a lot further.
The Siamese cat was considered to have great wisdom and mystical powers, and when a member of the Royal Family was dying, a Siamese cat was specially selected to receive their soul upon their death. Said cat would then live in luxury for the remainder of its life, being treated as royalty and waited on hand and foot by temple priests and monks, something that modern cats have never forgotten!
The applehead Siamese cat was first exported to the West during the 19th century, where they soon become highly popular and in demand as pets, thanks to their distinctive appearance and personalities, and also association with high status.
The applehead Siamese’s appearance is that of the traditional, ancient Siamese cat, and bears much more similarity to the ancient cats of Thailand than to today’s modern show standard Siamese cats.
The modern Siamese cat appearance that we are all familiar with; that being lithe, slender, and angular with large ears and a triangular head, is actually a variant that we have bred within the last couple of centuries here in the West, and not the typical natural appearance of the original Siamese breed.
Show standard Siamese cats adhere to this outline of their appearance, and the applehead appearance is not considered to be desirable for show-quality cats, and they are highly unlikely to rank well within breed shows.
While the applehead Siamese can be found in the same colour variants as the modern Siamese, their shape and build is very different. The applehead tends to be slightly larger and more stocky than the modern Siamese, and their heads are rounder and less pronouncedly pointed, hence the “applehead” name.
While the applehead is not considered to be of show standard in mainstream Siamese showing circles, this variant of the breed is popular in its own right, and in some areas, “traditional” breed shows may be held to showcase the applehead Siamese cat’s distinctive look and style.
This very much depends on the provenance and ancestry of the breed line, but providing that the parent cats were pedigree Siamese cats with papers, their offspring will also be classed as pedigree Siamese. Modern Siamese breeders seeking to produce desirable show quality cats are unlikely to breed from cats that have the applehead appearance, and so there are less of them around than there are of standard, modern Siamese cats.
However, a significant number of breeders and cat owners find the applehead variant desirable, due to both the look that the cat attains, and the fact that it is closer to the historical and natural norm of the breed. Breeders who deliberately breed applehead Siamese cats will trade on this as a positive selling point, rather than viewing it as a negative trait.
In some cases, breeders or hobbyists may seek to produce kittens with a more rounded face like the applehead by outcrossing pedigree modern Siamese cats with domestic cats or other breeds that have a more founded face, and while these cats will retain many of the appearance and temperament traits of the Siamese cat, they will not attain pedigree status due to their mixed bloodlines.