In an effort to better understand the various breeds of cat, we asked our resident feline expert, who also happens to be a cat, to sit down and interview members from each faction. Below is Fancy's interview with Sam, a representative of the Siamese breed.
Fancy: Hello, Sam! Thank you for taking time out of your busy play schedule to talk with us today.
Sam: Anytime! I really love to talk.
Fancy: Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Siamese breed?
Sam: Oh, we have a glorious history. Some people believe that the Siamese are descendants of ancient Egyptian cats, due to the size and shape of mummified cats found there. The first documented Siamese-type cats came from Siam, which is Thailand now, in the 1600's. Only the high-born could own us and we wandered temple and palace grounds as we liked. When a noble died, it was believed that their soul passed into a nearby Siamese cat. We were "buried" in temples with our nobles, but there was an easy escape route for us. When we emerged from the burial chamber, it was believed that the noble's soul could ascend as well. We first came to the US in the mid-1880s, when visiting royalty gave one of us to the president's wife, Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes. Our breed has been the starting-point for many other breeds, including the Tonkinese and the Ocicat. In other words, we are and always have been very special.
Fancy: Sam, you have a very striking look about you. Can you tell me some of the main physical characteristics of Siamese cats?
Sam: It is quite easy to recognize one of us once you know what to look for. We have bright blue eyes and we're all length: long legs, long bodies, and long heads. Our hind legs are a bit longer than our front legs, and some of us have a kinked tail. We all have darker areas of fur that are called points. They are on our ears, faces, tails, and feet. Our color variation is named for the colors of our points, and we come in seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac. Pure Siamese cats have crossed with other short-haired breeds, creating new color points that range from red and apricot to caramel, cinnamon, and cream. We are the epitome of feline beauty.
Fancy: How big do Siamese cats get?
Sam: We are generally a delicate breed, with our females between six and eight pounds and males averaging around ten.
Fancy: I believe that Siamese cats have certain specific personality characteristics. Can you describe those for us?
Sam: Oh, we Siamese have the best personalities you could hope for. We are extremely boisterous and athletic. Because we are so highly intelligent, we are quite trainable as far as cats go. We are one cat breed that does not mind being taught to do things that dogs like to do, such as walk on a leash or play fetch. We are extremely affectionate, loveable, and playful, and we require a great deal of social time and attention from our humans. We have a tendency to bond thoroughly with one person and can sometimes be a bit possessive of them. We may show jealousy when our human plays with other pets or humans in our home. It's important to spend a lot of one-on-one time with us. Our best trait, in my opinion, is our chattiness. Siamese cats are extremely vocal, and we like to go through the day with our humans by chatting away about everything under the sun. When humans talk to us, we listen and respond. We love living with humans and we are fantastic pets. But if you are looking for a quiet, calm lap cat, you are not looking for a Siamese. We are true companions, not quiet observers. If we are left alone for too long, we will find ways to entertain ourselves, including opening and crawling into cupboards, climbing furniture, wiggling into any small hiding place available, and generally creating our own fun.
Fancy: Yes, I've heard that you Siamese can be a bit mischievous! On a sadder note, it's my understanding that there are some health concerns that are more common in certain cat breeds than others. Are there any health concerns like that in Siamese cats?
Sam: We are more likely to get respiratory diseases because of the shape of our heads and sinus cavities. We also get something called amyloidosis more commonly. That's the build-up of a certain protein called amyloid that happens in the livers of some Siamese cats, and it causes liver failure. We also have a greater chance of developing stomatitis, which is a painful gum condition that humans think is autoimmune in nature.
Fancy: Are there any special care requirements for Siamese cats?
Sam: We are quite easy to take care of. We need daily brushing of our fur. Brushing our teeth and using oral cleansers from the time we are kittens may help us avoid developing the stomatitis that I told you about.
Fancy: Sam, thanks for talking to us about your breed today. What are your plans for the rest of the day?
Sam: I'll have to tell my human all about this interview experience. Then I'll probably try and talk her into a lively game of "catch the bird" with my wand toy. Then I'll do some climbing on my cat scratching post followed by a round of "crazy cat." That means I'll run around the house in a fit of high energy. Then I'll look for my mouse toys and see if I can bat them further than I did yesterday, then . . .
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