Kitty Kat Korner - Siamese Cats - June 11
by Heddie Leger
There are so many things to consider when deciding to add a furry member to your life and/or family unit. While dogs traditionally have been called Man’s Best Friend; cats have been referred to as the “purr-fect” companion. Most people who have not owned a cat do not realize they have unique personalities and come in a variety of sizes, colors and energy levels. Not all cats are independent and aloof and most are incredibly capable of bonding with their owners in a creative manner. The cat is the master of creativity and contrary to common belief, cats can be trained.
Chip’s Kitty Kat Korner is going to introduce you to the Siamese Cat this month, but first there are a few things to consider before launching into your search. Very important to consider is whether you want a kitten or older more mature cat. Kittens, while more entertaining, are very inquisitive and can get into everything. Are you prepared to “kitten-proof” your home? This would include removing or securing valuables, removing plants that are toxic to pets, and closely monitoring your kitten’s living space removing items such as paperclips, safety pins, securing electrical wiring and making sure medications are safely and securely stored in cabinets out of reach. No matter the age, cats are curious and mischievous by nature; removing items that can cause potential problems will help ensure a safe and happy relationship with your cat or kitten.
History of the Siamese
The history of the Siamese is rich and varied. It is believed that the first specimens of the Siamese breed were introduced to America in the year 1879 as a gift from the American consul in Bangkok to the president’s wife, furthermore "The Siamese Cat Society of America" was founded in 1909 and was the first to approve standards for the Siamese breed. The breed is believed to have originated in Siam.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association, the foremost recognized cat registry in the United States, recognizes only the four original colorations as Siamese: seal point, blue point, chocolate point, and lilac point. Oriental cats with colorpoints in colors or patterns aside from these four are considered Colorpoint Shorthairs in the American cat fancy. Coat coloration is appealing to humans. Siamese cats are less active at night than most cats, possibly because their blue eyes lack a structure in their eyes which amplifies dim light in the eyes of other cats. Like blue-eyed white cats, they may also have reduced hearing ability. These traits contribute to the Siamese being more dependent on humans for survival.
Most Popular Breed
Siamese cats became of the most popular breeds in North America in the twentieth century. They are known to be long-lived. It is not uncommon for them to live twenty years or more. When looking for a Siamese the potential owner will be well pleased in knowing the traditional traits of the breed. The Siamese is generally an affectionate and intelligent cat, known for its social nature. They are often described as “extroverts” and enjoy being with people. They are extremely vocal, with a loud, low-pitched voice. Their voice has been compared to the cries of a human baby. They are very persistent and demand attention. They usually get on well with other cats, but they also have a great need for human companionship. They often bond strongly to a single person. Siamese cats are typically active and playful, even as adults.
Rich with Legends
The History of the Siamese is rich with legends — The Legend of the Kinked Tail.
The Siamese “Kinked Tail” is now viewed as a ‘fault’ with modern day breeders. However, it should be noted that in the early shows it was mandatory for a Siamese to have a kink in its tail to be considered a true Siamese. Over time this trait fell from favor and was bred out of the breed as much as possible. However, the kinked tail is so imbedded in the genetics that it still appears occasionally in some lines more than others. Since it does not affect the cat's health in any way, many breeders have become tolerant of this trait as long as the kink cannot be seen and can only be felt by running the fingers down the length of the tail. Whether desirable or not, the kinked tail is part of the history of the Siamese as indicated by these legends.
• It is said that there was once a Siamese Princess who was frightened of losing her rings while she bathed in a stream. Looking around for somewhere convenient to place her jewelry, she noticed that her favorite cat had crooked his tail for her benefit. Ever since that time all Siamese cats have been born with a tiny kink at the end of their tails to hold the Princess’ rings.
• A young cat took his wife into the jungle to search for a royal goblet that was missing from one of the Siamese temples. Upon finding the treasure, they decided that the female should remain in the jungle to guard it while the male went back to the city to inform the priest of their discovery. So the little cat took up her position among the leaves and tangled foliage, her tail twisted around the stem of the goblet to make quite sure that no one would try to take it away. Four nights later her husband returned to find he was the father of five sweet little kittens. But, in spite of her new responsibility, the loyal mother cat had not forgotten her earlier trust. Indeed, so conscientious had she been in her protection of the goblet that a permanent kink had developed in the end of her tail. What was more, all five kittens had a similar kink in their tails!
Join us next month and learn more about Chip’s Kitty-Cat Corner friends.
Heddie is a Certified Humane Educator. She is recipient of the 2011 Excellence Award from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is a Community Training Partner for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the local Kansas City Area Representative for the Animals and Society Institute. Her compassion for animals extends to all species. You can reach her at the PawZone In-Home PetSitting www.thepawzone.com and The DogSpot Training Center.