The "Modern" Siamese:
The Siamese of today is medium sized, svelte, refined with long tapering lines, very lithe but muscular. The most striking characteristic of the Siamese cat is its "points," which are darker color patterns on the ears, face (mask), tail, legs, and feet. Colors allowed in the CFA Breed Standard are seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac.
History of the Siamese
In 1880 the King of Siam gave two pairs of Siamese cats to the English consul-general in Bangkok, and he brought them home to England, where they created a sensation.
Their popularity zoomed rapidly, as people sought to own one of these beautiful "oriental" cats. The first Siamese to win his Champion title was Wankee, in 1898, and the breed developed rapidly thereafter.
Whether Siamese breeders followed the judges in official Siamese show rings or vice-versa, is not clear, but for one reason or another, the Siamese cat gradually attained a slimmer look, with a more wedge-shaped head. This "modern" breed of Siamese more closely resembled the original Egyptian cats, as history depicts them.
Return of the Traditional Siamese
In 1987, a group of Siamese breeders, distressed with the extreme changes in the appearance of the modern breed, and concerned with potential health problems, banded together to form the Traditional and Classic Cat International, with one of their goals being, "To bring back and maintain the 'Old Style' look of each breed."
The "Classic" Siamese
People are often confused about the terms "Traditional" and "Classic," with reference to Siamese Cats.
Sheelagh Le Cocq explains that the Classic Siamese is sort of a cross between the Traditional and Modern versions, without the extremes of either. She describes the "Age of the Classic" as being between 1945 and 1970, and shows photos of classic Siamese Champions during that period on her web site.
Don't Forget the Siamese in the Movies
Siamese cats have always been popular in the movies, both the cartoon and the live versions. Has anyone reading this never heard the song, "We Are Siamese if You Please?" (We are Siamese if You Don't Please.) I can visualize those two svelte cats in my minds' eye as I hum the chorus. Here are some Siamese cats in movies I found through some research:
Si & Am, as seen in Lady & the Tramp
Available at Amazon
"The Cats: A pair of born troublemakers, the Siamese duo Si and Am constantly try to drop Lady in the sticky stuff, eventually getting her muzzled over a perceived fight. What a pair of rotters."
Siamese Chocolate Point Cat
As Seen In: That Darn Cat! (1965 - 1997)
Available at Amazon
The Cat: A Siamese tomcat who ends up as a secret agent for the FBI, helping them to foil the exploits of a gang of bank robbers. They would’ve gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for that darn cat…
Cats, the Musical
Although it wasn't created as a movie, Cats, the Musical deserves a special mention as a cat movie, with the cats, played by human actors, dancers, and singers. I truthfully don't know if there are any Siamese cats in the cast, but I wouldn't be surprised if, as a stretch of the imagination, one or two could be found.
"Cats" opened at The Winter Garden on October 7, 1982, and on September 10, 2000, after 7,485 shows and a run of nearly 18 years, the show closed - a Broadway record. For the first time ever, an Andrew Lloyd Webber show has been specially filmed and made available as a commemorative edition on video.
Available at Amazon
Although the breed standard has changed significantly over the years, Siamese, fondly known as "Meezers," remain high in popularity for people looking for a pedigreed pet. Whether it be Classic, Traditional, or Modern, hundreds of thousands of cat lovers say, "Make mine Siamese, if you please."
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