The Traditional Siamese cat and the Modern Siamese cat are surrounded by some controversy. No, you are not imagining things. Yes, there are two very different versions of the same breed of cat.
This is the Traditional Siamese cat, a smooth-bodied, robust animal with a rounded head, round blue eyes and classic dark points on a creamy body. The cat from classic old movies like "Bell, Book and Candle" and "That Darn Cat".
The traditional Siamese is the cat many of us grew up with, and the only cat you will find in the history of the breed, (and it is a very long history) until the 1960's.
These cats were written about and depicted in art work as early as the 1700's, and then in 1884 a British dignitary visiting Siam, which is now called Thailand, was gifted with one by the Siamese King.
Brought back to England, this cats offspring were shown at the London Crystal Palace cat show in 1885.
Photos still exist today showing the traditional breed with round head and plush body. So what happened, and why are there two types today?
It seems that tastes simply changed, perhaps some politics were involved, but in the show ring, and at the top breeders the Siamese cats entire outward appearance changed quite drastically in a matter of decades.
Out was the apple-head and full-body, in was an elongated, triangular head, oblong eyes and an exaggerated body shape similar to a fashion model. The "modern" Siamese cat.
By the mid 1980's the breed standard had been completely re-written, and, except for color, no Siamese show cats even resembled the cats you see on this page.
The personality of the two versions is still surprisingly the same - this is a loud, busy, demanding, demonstrative and wonderful cat.
Cats with this appearance are still bred by very dedicated breeders, and some are even trying to re-introduce them with a new name, the "Thai" cat. Look for "Traditional" or "Apple-head" Siamese if this is the look you desire.
The Traditional Siamese cat is no longer really recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), the world's largest cat organization, because the breed standard has changed so drastically.
Although this is the style seen in Hollywood classics like "Bell, Book and Candle" and "The Incredible Journey", the Modern Siamese form has taken over the show ring, and some unknowing folks will even argue that the Siamese cat has always looked that way.
Nevertheless, the Traditional Siamese is still the amazing cat it has always been, brash, noisy, demanding of attention, lavish with affection and strikingly, classically beautiful.
The familiar pattern is referred to as "pointed", meaning a lighter colored body of cream to light brown, with darker points of chocolate, seal, lilac, blue and even red, known as "flame".
The coat is short and smooth with limited undercoat, and not much grooming is required. These are robust, medium-sized cats that have few breed-related health issues. Cross-eyes occur occasionally and are sometimes considered lucky.
A very unique personality, the Siamese needs to be experienced to be appreciated, and may ultimately be one of those "love 'em or hate 'em" situations.
Become familiar before taking the plunge with this breed.
Because it is active and demands attention, the Traditional Siamese cat can be a terrific family cat for folks who can give them lots of attention.
They can be charming companions for the right child, and are wonderfully bright and beautiful. -Traditional Siamese Cat Facts
Traditional Siamese kittens are little characters with superior energy. These are "climbing the curtains" type kittens, and kitten-proofing is an absolute necessity.
These babies are quite small and lean, with no meat to soften the blow if they tumble off a banister or refrigerator.
A new Siamese kitten is a riot, and more than one is a downright circus. Having lots of toys around is a good idea, especially the kind that don't require as much human effort, like feathers on sticks, are highly recommended for when you're too pooped to play.
Siamese kittens are born white and develop their coloring over a few days to weeks.
Other than that, the Traditional Siamese kitten looks very much like a miniature adult. They are sleek and graceful at a very young age.
They tend to grow at an average rate and reach mature height at about 6 months, filling out and gaining full size and weight at about one year old.
Because this is a popular cat, breeders of pedigree Traditional Siamese kittens can be found relatively easily, and the price is usually affordable for a pure-bred kitten. Look for "Applehead Siamese".
Head Shape: The head is as wide as it is long, rounded and proportionate to body size. The nose should be neither broad nor pointed, and in proportion with the rest of the head. Medium size ears, slightly rounded at the tip, and broad at the base. Eyes are large, wide and bright blue in color.
Body and Tail: Medium size, well muscled body, longer than tall. Legs are of medium length. Feet should be medium size and round and neat. Five toes in front and four in back. The tail is average in length and shape with an average taper. It should not be whip-like.
Coat: Short in length. Sleek and satiny. Accepted colors are seal, chocolate, brown, lilac, red, tortie or blue Points with a body color of cream, tan, beige, or near white in Blue Pointed cats.
Pattern: Points on the mask, tail, ears and legs with well defined edges. Points should all be of the same shade. No white on body or in the pointed areas.
Overall Appearance: This should be a lean-bodied and medium size cat with a graceful, athletic quality. They should feel rather heavy when lifted and be neither soft nor thin. A beautiful, classic look teamed with an irrepressible personality.