History of the Siamese Breed
It is thought that the “jewel of the orient,” the Siamese Cat, originated in the Kingdom of Siam. Although shrouded in legend and mystery for hundreds of years, the history of the breed is documented in both literature and art dating back to ancient manuscripts believed to be 500 years old.
Their sleek lines, blue eyes peering from exotic wedge-shaped heads, striking color contrast, and short silky coats made them living art.
Revered and protected within temple walls for centuries, the Siamese only became known to the western world in the late 19th century.
With the gift of a breeding pair in 1884, by the royal family of Siam to the British ambassador, the breed became known outside the borders of what is now known as Thailand.
The progeny of these two cats, Pho and Mila, were shown at London’s Crystal Palace in 1885. With their seal brown points and pale fawn bodies, they created a sensation and out-shown all of their competitors. Due to their instant popularity in the cat fancy, many others were imported, leading to the founding of the original Siamese Cat Club in England by 1900.
Siamese in the USA
The first Siamese cat most likely arrived in America as a gift from the American Counsel in Bangkok to Mrs. Lucy Webb Hayes, wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes. After a long trip wia streamship and train, she arrived at the White House in January, 1879. Named “Siam, she soon became a much admired favorite. This ancient breed, perhaps the oldest of all pedigreed cats, is able to communicate like no other. The Siamese voice is legendary, and they do like to talk!
Mrs. Robert Locke, owner of the first registered Siamese cats in America, founded the Beresford Cat Club in 1899, serving as its first president. The breed was first exhibited at the Chicago show in 1902. By 1909 The Siamese Cat Society of America had been established, approving a written breed standard to assist those interested in the participation of the Siamese Fancy. The breed standard has been revised over time, recently amended in 2015.
The Siamese Breed Standard
Siamese Breed Standard (click to download)
The seal point is the best known variety, and was the color of the earliest examples of the breed. With their seal brown points and pale fawn bodies, these beauties were a stunning study in color contrast.
The second color to gain recognition in 1934 was the blue point. The blue point body is a pale bluish white with slate blue points.
The chocolate point was recognized next. With their creamy white body color and milky chocolate point color, they were a wonderful addition to the Siamese color palate.
The lilac point color was the last to be recognized in 1955. With the addition of this ethereal white bodied Siamese, complete with pinkish-grey points, the breed as we know it today had evolved.
1. Diane Arnold, “A History of the Siamese Cat,” 2000
2. Betty White, Breed Article, “The Siamese, CFA Almanac” 2000
3. Dr. Cris Bird of Sarenstone Cattery “Sarenstone Cattery – A Word About Siamese History and Body Type,” 1996 – 2012.
Mrs. Charlee D. C. Abrams, Owner
PO Box 1040
Kauai, Hawaii 96765