The Siamese cat is one of the oldest recognised breeds of Oriental cat, originating from Thailand (formerly known as Siam). They are one of the most popular breeds of pedigree cat within the Western world today, the UK included. It is certainly fair to say that the Siamese cat is a cat like no other, and they have very defined and distinctive personalities. They really are not like any other breed of cat in terms of the relationships they form with people and how they view the world, something that the prospective Siamese cat owner is often surprised by.
It is sometimes said that Siamese cats are more like dogs than most other breeds of cats, or even like human children! They are certainly rather more high maintenance and demanding than the average moggy, and the first-time Siamese cat owner in the making should make sure that they fully understand and welcome these differences before looking into ownership.
The Siamese is considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds of cat, and they can often even be trained to walk on the lead, play fetch and do tricks! They are quick to pick up new skills, always on the lookout for something interesting to do, and are often prolific and highly successful hunters when allowed to go outside! Their high intelligence levels make them in many ways easier to communicate with than other cats, but it also provides the additional challenge of making sure that your cat is receiving enough stimulation, and does not get bored or start behaving in a destructive manner.
The Siamese cat has a reputation for being cold and aloof, which may have come about due to their dignified and “knowing” appearance, but is very rarely the case! The Siamese cat is actually very loyal, and bonds closely with its family. As a general rule these cats love people, most specifically the people that they live with. They will often form strong bonds with their primary caregiver particularly, and may even be jealous of other pets or even people in the household of they take attention away from them! They will, however, often bond closely with another pet, particularly if this is also a Siamese cat, and keeping two together can go a long way towards making sure that the cats are happy. The Siamese usually wants to be wherever you are, and will follow you around the house or garden and naturally choose to be in the same room as you most of the time (even if that room is the bathroom...) and, out of choice, sleep in your bedroom.
If there is one aspect of the Siamese cat that is even more famous than their unique appearance, it is their meow. Their call certainly doesn’t sound like the meow of other cats, and is more piercing, louder, and can better be described as a cry than a meow. It has a much wider range of tones and inflections than a standard meow that almost seem to make up a basic language. Just as parents can often tell why their baby is crying depending on the type of noise they are making, so too can the owner of the Siamese cat come to translate their cat’s own unique sounds over time. In fact, the voice of the Siamese cat is often said to sound like that of a human baby, and these cats are very chatty and not afraid to make a lot of noise to make their feelings known! However, they tend to dislike excessive noise in general, unless they are the ones making it!
Siamese cats are inquisitive and interested in the world around them, are often enjoy a range of games and activities. They are generally keen to play interactively with their owners, such as by chasing balls or feathers, and also often enjoy puzzle games, such as following a ball around a track or manipulating a toy to cause it to decant a treat. Siamese cats are generally very keen to go outside when this is permitted, and will often commandeer a large area as their outside territory, often travelling further from home than other cats will over the course of their day.
It is important to make sure that your Siamese cat is not bored or failing to receive enough stimulation, as they will make their own entertainment when this is the case, often in inappropriate ways. Additionally, failing to provide enough stimulation for the Siamese cat can lead to clinginess or acting out when left or not being made the centre of attention.
Keeping a Siamese cat is not for everyone, and if your attention is likely to be split between your cat and young children, a busy work life or a demanding dog, you might find that the formula doesn’t work for you. However this is by no means a hard and fast rule, and Siamese cats each have very distinctive personalities, and there is no hard and fast rule across the breed!
Siamese cats do require a lot more attention from their people than most other cats, so you should be sure that you are able to provide this and spend enough time interacting with your cat before picking a Siamese. The happy, well-balanced Siamese is a loving, loyal and endlessly rewarding pet, and while these cats certainly aren’t for everyone, the vast majority of Siamese cat owners would never consider owning a different type of cat again!