5 Things to Know About Siamese Cats


1. Key Characteristics

  • Weight: Males, 9–15 pounds; females, 6–12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 15–20 years and sometimes beyond

This breed may be the world’s most recognizable cat.

Aside from becoming unforgettable in the classic Lady and the Tramp film, these cats are unmistakeable with their light coats and dark extremities. Siamese are unique cats, with their long and angular elegance and coat coloration.

The main coat of the cat is light, and the facial area mask and extremities are dark; this pattern is known as “seal point” coloration. Other colors include chocolate, blue and lilac seal points; and sometimes cinnamon, fawn and cream have been recognized.

The cat’s muscular body features a long, wedge-shaped head; long legs, neck and tail; large ears and almond-shaped blue eyes.

2. Where They Came From

While the origin of the Siamese cat is still considered a mystery, a manuscript dating between 1350 and 1700 AD discovered in ancient Siam (now Thailand) called the Cat Book Poems described a pale cat with a dark facial mask and dark feet, ears and tail. The Siam, later called the Siamese, was revered by royals and rumored to be sacred.

Siamese cats were exported and quickly became popular in countries around the world. The breed was first seen in Europe in 1871 at a cat show in London and later appeared in the United States in 1879 as a gift to the wife of President Hayes.

The Siamese Cat Club was formed in 1901 in the United Kingdom, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognized the breed in 1906. The Siamese breed is considered one of the original pedigreed cat breeds.

Siamese are considered to be an ancient cat breed. By: Dmitry Maslov (Top: Iakov Filimonov)

3. How Friendly Are They?

Siamese cats crave attention and affection from their humans and like to stay close by particularly one family member. They are intelligent and inquisitive cats that have such striking voices and body movements that they are referred to as the most talkative cat breed.

Great with children and other pets, Siamese cats can be demanding and leery of strangers. Many people have said that their Siamese cats greet strangers at the door and perform a sort of approval process before the visitors enter the home.

This is an active cat who needs stimulation or lots of toys to keep occupied. Siamese cats are people-oriented and do not like being left alone for extended periods of time. If you work long hours, consider getting 2 Siamese cats so they can entertain each other when you’re gone. Rest assured they will fill you in on the day’s events when you arrive home.

4. Is This the Right Cat for You?

Exercise Needs

MEDIUM: Siamese cats are active and muscular, and they do not have any specific exercise needs. They do like to play fetch, so stock up on cat toys and have some fun.

Grooming Needs

LOW: This cat breed has a short, silky coat that requires minimum maintenance. Brush the coat once per week and be sure to clean the ears and teeth, and trim the nails regularly.

Health Problems

MEDIUM: While this cat breed is considered to be healthy with no notable genetic diseases, there are some problems common for Siamese cats:

  • Respiratory problems (chronic bronchial disease)
  • Crossed eyes
  • Kinked tail
  • Bladder stones
  • Eye problems (glaucoma and retinal atrophy)
  • Heart problems
  • Cancer

As with any cat, be sure to feed a high-quality diet and have annual exams performed by your veterinarian to keep your cat in optimum health.

To get an idea of how talkative these cats are, check out this video of Sweet Pea the Siamese and her human having a conversation: 

5. Where to Adopt One

If you consider getting a Siamese, please check adoption resources — even purebred cats can end up in shelters and rescues. Try Petful’s adoption page. (Select the “Cats” tab.)

Additional Resources

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