What to Know About a Siamese Cat

Medically Reviewed by Vanesa Farmer, DVM on April 18, 2024
12 min read

The Siamese is a cat breed native to Thailand. Today, it's considered one of the most popular breeds in North America and Europe. People have always been fascinated by them due to their unique look and highly intelligent nature. They're the classic "people cat," for they love to interact with their owners, sleep next to them, and climb on their lap.

If you're looking for a loyal and sociable cat who would always stay by your side, the Siamese may be the right breed for you.

Siamese cats go back hundreds of years. They originated in Siam (now called Thailand), which also gives them their name. According to legend, these cats were used to guard Buddhist temples and were considered very sacred. The fact that they were so highly prized is also proven by their native Thai name, wichien-maat, which means "moon diamond" in English.

They first appeared in the U.S. when the American consul in Bangkok, David Sickels, gifted a Siamese cat to President Rutherford B. Hayes and First Lady Lucy Hayes via a letter in 1878. When the cat named Siam arrived in 1879, she became the pet of their daughter Fanny. Almost 100 years later, more First families had Siamese cats as pets. President Gerald Ford's daughter Susan brought a male Siamese named Shan to the White House in 1974. President Jimmy Carter's daughter Amy also had a male Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang when her father took office in 1977.

In 1884, Edward Blencowe Gould, the British consul-general in Bangkok at that time, brought a pair of Siamese cats to London after he received them from the king of Siam. Soon, everybody in the city came to know about them and wished to own one of these exotic cats.

However, it was only after a Siamese cat won a champion title in 1898 that the breed was developed at a rapid pace. Within a decade, in 1906, the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) officially recognized them as an independent breed.

Over the years, Siamese cats have been featured in animated movies and TV shows and are today considered one of the most popular cat breeds.

Physical characteristics

Siamese cats are medium-sized and take about a year to reach their full size. They have a lithe, muscular body that supports a distinct wedge-shaped head and a long, slender neck. However, the feature that might most likely catch your attention would be their slanted, deep blue, almond-shaped eyes.

Siamese cats have a short, soft coat that lies close to their body. You can find them in various colors. These cats have dark color patterns on the cooler areas of their body, including their face, ears, legs, feet, and tails. This color pattern — commonly known as points — is considered the most important characteristic of Siamese cats.

When it comes to the size of Siamese cats, males are generally larger and heavier than females. The weight of male cats ranges from 10 to 15 pounds, and females stay in the range of 8-12 pounds. The length of this breed doesn't exceed 24 inches, so it's sometimes said that well-bred Siamese cats generally feel heavier than they appear.

Siamese cat personality

Most breeders describe the personality of Siamese cats as highly social, extroverted, and outgoing. They show immense loyalty and, like dogs, form strong bonds with humans. As their owner, you might find them constantly following you around and demanding your attention.

Siamese cats are notoriously vocal and noisy. Due to their loud, low-pitched voice, they're often fondly called "meezers." Many owners report how these cats keep "talking" with them as if they share a common language and, at times, even scold them if they think they're being ignored.

Siamese cats can be distinguished by their body shape.

Classic Siamese. Also called traditional Siamese, old-style Siamese, and the "Thai" breed, these cats look like the original Siamese cats from Thailand (formerly Siam). They are short-haired and moderate in build. Traditional Siamese are also called "applehead" Siamese due to their head being round like an apple.

Modern Siamese. The modern Siamese grew in popularity in the mid-20th century due to breeding that resulted in extreme features. This type is also called "wedgehead" due to their triangular faces. They have large, pointy ears and slender bodies.

In terms of their fur coats, Siamese cats are all born white or cream-colored, but they develop their colorful "points" a few weeks after birth. The typical color on their extremities is dark brown and called "seal point." Other types of Siamese cats based on fur color include:

Chocolate point Siamese. These cats have a creamy white body, and their legs, tail, ears, and mask are milk chocolate.

Blue point Siamese. They have a bluish-white body with slate-blue extremities.

Lilac point Siamese. They have white bodies with pinkish-gray points that appear lilac in color.

Lynx point Siamese. This type has lynx/tabby (striped) points on its body, regardless of color.

Flame point Siamese. Also called red point Siamese, it is a rare Siamese breed with orange coats and pink points that give them a flamelike look.

Black Siamese cat. Some people may refer to a Siamese's dark brown seal point coloring as black, but Siamese cats won't be completely black. Other parts of the Siamese breed group, such as the Oriental Shorthair or Oriental Longhair, have the distinctive body shape of Siamese cats but may have all-black fur.

Other Siamese cat types

Persian Siamese cat. This crossbreed of the Persian and Siamese cat first documented in the 1930s and later expanded in the 1950s, is today called the Himalayan breed. They were created in the hopes of having a new breed with Persian hair length and quality and Siamese colors. Himalayans are less active than typical Siamese but more active than Persians.

Long-haired Siamese cat. Also called Balinese, this breed originated in the U.S. but is named after dancers on the island of Bali. Its fur is light with a shaggy undercoat.

Hairless Siamese cat. There isn't a hairless kind of Siamese cat, but the Sphynx breed could be mistaken for them because of their large, pointed ears and social personality.

Siamese cat grooming

Like other shorthair cat breeds, Siamese are known to take care of their coats by themselves. Brushing their coat once a week should be enough to remove loose hair and lower the risk of hairballs — a small collection of hair formed in the stomach of animals who accidentally ingest hair while grooming themselves.

As these cats are prone to dental problems, start brushing their teeth daily from the time they're kittens. Also, make sure to trim their claws every 10-14 days.


Siamese cats are a spirited and energetic breed. You need to engage them in various physical and mental activities to keep them happy and healthy. Structures such as a cat tree can give them a way to climb, jump, and run, which will help keep them in shape.

To keep their agile mind active, you can have your Siamese play different kinds of teaser toys and puzzle toys. Doing so might also help lower their risk of cognitive dysfunction.

As their owner, you should keep in mind that these cats get bored very easily. If you don't keep them entertained, they might claw at your furniture, climb your curtains, or indulge in other destructive activities to relieve their excess energy.

Training Siamese cats

Siamese cats learn things easily, thanks to their smart and curious nature, but they are also mischievous, which can make it hard for you to train them. For example, if they feel you aren't noticing them, they might start knocking off objects from your table to get your attention.

Begin house training and obedience training while they're still kittens. Just like you may do with a dog, you can use commands to teach your Siamese to sit and come when called. Training them this way will keep them from forming negative behaviors and will also help you bond with them.

You can train your cat to do fun tricks or fetch a toy using clicker training. Clicker training is a positive reinforcement technique in which you use a clicker to tell your cat that they have behaved well. Then, you follow it with a reward, which motivates them to do the right thing again in the future.

Siamese cat food

Make sure your Siamese always has access to clean, fresh water. If they don't have enough water, add wet food to their diet to provide them with enough fluids. If you also wish to give them dry or canned food, discuss with your veterinarian what kind will suit them best.

If your pet likes to overeat, avoid free-feeding them. Also, limit their meals to two times a day and get rid of any uneaten food to help them maintain a healthy weight.

You may need to provide them with a different diet as they get older. You can talk to your vet to understand which food will best suit their age and nutritional needs.

Medical care

Siamese cats are prone to bacterial and viral infections such as panleukopenia, rabies, feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), and other upper respiratory infections. Your vet can suggest some "core" vaccines -- specific to each of these conditions -- to prevent such infections.

These cats can also become infested with bugs such as fleas, ticks, ear mites, and worms such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms. You can check for these parasites by getting your Siamese tested regularly and reducing their risk with preventative medications.

Many of the deaths in this breed occur due to mammary tumors. Besides this serious health issue, some genetic conditions are commonly seen in Siamese cats, which include:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a congenital heart defect that can cause the heart muscles of your cat to thicken abnormally, weakening their heart and eventually leading to heart failure.

Amyloidosis. In this condition, amyloid protein deposits build up in your pet's organs, such as the liver and kidneys. While mild cases lead to high blood pressure in cats, tissue damage and organ failure also occur in more severe cases.

Hip dysplasia. This painful condition can lead to lameness and limping in your pet. It occurs when the ball and socket joints of their hip fail to develop normally.

Asthma. Siamese cats -- particularly those with wedge-shaped heads -- are more prone to asthma. Cats with this condition have inflamed and narrow lungs and nasal passages. If your pet coughs continuously and has difficulty breathing, it could be a sign that they're developing asthma. In that case, take your pet to the veterinarian, who can diagnose your cat’s condition using chest radiographs.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Cats with PRA usually have poor vision quality and, in extreme cases, blindness. This condition is caused by a group of genetic disorders that result in the loss or wasting of the cells in your pet's retina -- the innermost light-sensitive layer of the eye.

Siamese cat lifespan

The average lifespan of Siamese cats is around 10-12.5 years. Some may live for as long as 15 years. Research shows that spayed or neutered cats (cats whose reproductive organs have been removed) lived longer than intact cats.

Siamese cats make great family pets. Due to their gentle, playful nature and friendly personality, they get along well with kids, as well as other pets. However, some people don't like them for their highly vocal nature and noisy habits. If you prefer a quiet cat breed, then the Siamese may not be right for you.

These cats crave constant interaction and human companionship. If left alone for a long time, they tend to develop depression. You should think twice before getting them if you work all day and don't have other pets to give them company. It's for this reason that many people get two Siamese cats as pets.

An important thing to keep in mind is that most cats of this breed have faulty vision wiring in their brain. This means that compared to other cat breeds, their vision at night is less sharp and clear. Always keep an eye on them when they're playing outside, even if it's within a securely fenced yard. With their playful nature, they might escape. If it's dark outside, they might be unable to see clearly and may get hit by a vehicle.

Keep scratching posts in your house, as these cats love scratching against surfaces. These cat scratcher products may also help increase the life of your woodwork and upholstery.

Siamese cats are not hypoallergenic. If you're allergic to cats, you should think before getting a Siamese as a pet. Even though they shed very lightly, the proteins in their saliva and urine could cause an allergy.


You can adopt a Siamese kitten or cat from animal shelters and rescue organizations. If you have enough experience with them, you can adopt one with special medical and behavioral needs.

Before adopting the cat, you can meet them at the adoption center. With the help of the shelter or rescue group team, you can learn more about the cat and see if you're a good fit. You may need to bring along other pets and family members living with you to introduce them to the cat and see how they get along with one another.

After you agree to get the cat, you may have to sign a contract, which can include terms such as taking the cat to a veterinarian within 14 days of adopting them and accepting to care for them as long as they are alive. The cat will be sterilized, vaccinated, spayed or neutered (the removal of reproductive organs), and microchipped before you can take them home.

Siamese cat rescue

You can adopt a Siamese cat, mixed-breed or purebred, that has been abandoned and has no home from Siamese rescue groups. Before you adopt a Siamese cat, choose a rescue group or shelter that knows the breed well and tries to understand how you live, including whether you live with family members and pets. They can use this information to find the most suitable addition to your family and lifestyle.

Siamese cat breeders

You can also buy purebred Siamese cats from reputable breeders. The breeder should know the cats well enough to match you with the best fit for your family and lifestyle. You can find a breeder listing from websites such as The International Cat Association and consider breeders with memberships with reputable cat organizations such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

Siamese cat price

Adopting a Siamese cat may cost between $30 and $300. This fee covers the medical cost of preparing the cat for adoption and the cat’s adoption guide. Depending on the age and breed, you can buy a Siamese cat for $600-$2,500.

The Siamese cat is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world. They're active, very friendly, and have a stunning look. If you want to adopt one, contact a rescue group or animal shelter. Once you get a Siamese cat, you can always expect to have them in your space, as they love to be with people. They can be independent when it comes to grooming but are also prone to infections. Get them as many essential vaccines as possible and go for regular checkups with your veterinarian.

Are Siamese cats very cuddly?

Yes, Siamese cats are very cuddly and may also enjoy climbing on you.

Are Siamese cats expensive?

Yes, they can be expensive. But you can adopt them for a fraction of the price.

Are Siamese cats good pets?

Yes, Siamese cats are great companions and can be a vibrant addition to your home. These cats have a lot of energy and like attention, so it's important to consider your family's lifestyle when deciding to adopt a Siamese cat as a pet.