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Siamese cat breed profile

These gentle cats are known for singing around their homes.

Whether your cat is a purebred Siamese or a Siamese mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet's personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Siamese cat and want to do some research first — we can help!

These playful felines are known as great family cats because of how gentle they are, and they're easily recognizable due to their unique coat.

The history of Siamese cats

Although the exact history of the Siamese cat is a bit murky, it's believed this cat breed originated in Thailand around the 14th century. According to Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, a veterinary consultant for Fetch, they're one of the oldest cat breeds in the world. At the time, Thailand was known as Siam, which is where most people believe the name Siamese comes from. 

Siamese cats are recognizable by their light-colored bodies with dark ears, paws, face and tail, as well as their bright blue eyes — which sometimes can be crossed due to a genetic condition.

There are two main types of Siamese cats: traditional and modern. The traditional Siamese cat has an apple-shaped head and chubbier body, while the modern Siamese cat is very long and slender with a wedge-shaped head. Balinese cats are often mistaken for long-haired Siamese cats but are actually a breed all their own.

RELATED: American curl cat breed profile

Are Siamese cats hypoallergenic?

There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet, although this breed is usually recommended for those with allergies. They shed minimally, which makes them a possible option for families who have also talked with their doctors about allergy management. 

Pet allergies are usually related to dander, hair, saliva and urine. Dander is the major cause of allergy symptoms — it’s the dead skin cells attached to the fur that is shed from the pet when the hair sheds that sets off allergies. With minimal shedding, the symptoms should also be minimal, although there’s no guarantee. 

What are Siamese cats’ personalities like?

Siamese cats have a reputation for being intelligent, affectionate and gentle. 

“This breed is very social, and they’re often very vocal and can seem like they’re talking to their pet parents,” Dr. Singler says. “They’re very smart and inquisitive. If they’re not given enough mental stimulation or a companion to play with, they may get into trouble.” 

What are common health issues for Siamese cats?

“These cats can be at increased risk for upper respiratory infections, periodontal disease (tartar and gingivitis in the mouth), eye problems like retinal atrophy and glaucoma, heart disease and bladder stones,” Dr. Singler says. “They’ll sometimes be cross-eyed and/or have a kinked tail, but these traits don’t usually cause any problems.”

Not all Siamese cats are born with a kinked tail and crossed eyes, but when a traditional Siamese cat is cross-eyed, it’s because of a genetic condition that actually helps them see straight. 

Adopting a Siamese cat

Are you interested in adopting a Siamese cat, a Siamese cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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