"Bili Taj of Farpoint"
Copyright (c) Laura Gilbreath
It is no wonder that so much confusion exists. As one of the oldest domestic cat types, the Siamese has also contributed significantly to the development of many modern breeds. Siamese bloodstock was used in the formation of the Balinese, Burmese, Tonkinese, Himalayan, Javanese and several other breeds.
Unlike many of its fancifully-named descendants, the Siamese really did originate in Siam, modern Thailand. The cat is described in texts hundreds of years old, and many tales and legends linger in which the cat was a central figure. Though Thailand was never a British colony, the breed somehow made it to England in the 1800s, and was shown at London's Crystal Palace in 1871. The verdict at that show: the Siamese was a complete failure.
The judges of that era entirely failed to appreciate the qualities that would soon make the Siamese one of the world's most beloved and popular breeds. It's stunning blue eyes, distinctive pointed coloration, lithe frame and quirky, chatty personality clashed with the 19th Century's idea of the perfect cat... but since then millions of cat lovers have come around to the Siamese point of view.
Today there are two separate types of Siamese. The "Traditional" version is the best known, the prototypical Siamese cat. Yet the "Modern" or "Extreme" type has taken over the show arena, virtually squeezing out the "Applehead" traditional. This version of the Siamese features a highly elongated body style, thinner head and larger ears, which many breeders believe was the "original" look of the breed. It is impossible to say with certainty which body style really is the oldest, but suffice to say that the proponents of each of the Siamese types hold to their own, firm convictions.
The two body styles share just about every other trait, including coloration and general temperament. The Siamese coat is always short-haired and comes in several different colors, including seal-point, chocolate-point, blue-point, lilac-point, cream-point, flame, tortoiseshell and lynx-point. Seal-point is the coloration most associated with the breed. However, Siamese kittens are born pure white; their distinctive and gorgeous coloration coming in after a few weeks.
The Siamese personality is almost as legendary as its physical beauty. One of the most "talkative" of cat breeds, the Siamese is never shy about vocalizing its needs, desires or emotional state at any given time. The breed's somewhat raspy voice can be unnerving to some, but is music to the Siamese-lover's ears. It is a cat that needs, indeed demands, attention and affection. Though rarely hyper, the Siamese is very smart and will get into mischief if not properly supervised. Unless specifically reserved for breeding, it is critical that the Siamese be spayed or neutered, otherwise this somewhat over-sexed breed may cause a mess and a commotion.
The Siamese bonds very tightly to its human companions, often following dutifully from room to room. It wants and needs to be an active member of the family, and cannot be expected to sit quietly in the background. This is not a breed to choose if the keepers are not totally committed to interacting with their cat quite often.
Both types of Siamese can be acquired by reputable breeders. Like most pure-bred cats, the price ranges from $200 to around $500, depending upon a variety of factors. Purchase of Siamese kittens from pet shops is not recommended.
For the feline enthusiast who wants the full "cat experience", there can be no doubt that a pure-bred Siamese can fit the bill.
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