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A Photo Tribute to the Siamese: One of the Oldest Cat Breeds

When people think of breeds, the Siamese usually comes to mind first. There's a reason for that.

Liz Acosta  |  Mar 27th 2013

One of the oldest recognized cat breeds in the world, the Siamese cat, originated in what is now known as Thailand and what was then known as Siam (hence Siamese).

The distinctly colored cats were given as royal gifts, which is how the breed made its way from Asia to Europe in 1884, when a British consul-general brought a breeding pair of Siamese home to his sister. In 1878, a Siamese cat arrived in the United States as a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes (which may have started the tradition of presidential Siamese).

As the cats gained popularity, breeders took interest in their features, refining them to different points, so that a wide variety of Siamese exist today.

Despite how many shapes Siamese have taken (they’re known as Traditional Siamese, Old Style Siamese, Classic Siamese, and Appleheads) they all have a reputation for being extremely vocal cats who will let you know what’s on their minds. They’re known for being outgoing cats, who might behave more like canines than felines.

Their distinct markings are a result of partial albinism — all Siamese are born pure white, and then gradually develop their dark points. Blue eyes are also characteristic of Siamese, though sometimes the cats are cross-eyed.

Do you have a Siamese cat at home? Is your Siamese as talkative as the breed’s reputation? Let us know in the comments!

Speaking of cat breeds, how do you feel about naked cats? And we’re sure you know about breed-specific legislation for dogs, but did you know it exists for cats too? No matter which breed of cat you’ve got, they’re all just like us.