4 Characteristics of a Purebred Siamese Cat

Siamese cats

Siamese cat lovers, this one is for you! Ever wondered what makes the Siamese so unique?  Every cat breed has unique characteristics that make them lovable pets, and Siamese is no exception.

Whether you’re looking to adopt a Siamese cat or are already a proud owner of one, knowing the traits of a purebred will help you understand your pet more.

This article will take you through the Siamese breed’s special characteristics. 

4 characteristics of a Purebred Siamese Cat

These characteristics are unique to Siamese cats and makes them so easy to recognize once you know what to look for:

  1. They have blue eyes
  2. Their bodies have dark color points
  3. Siamese cats love companionship
  4. They are very vocal
Here are more characteristics of a Siamese cat to consider.

1. They Have Blue Eyes 

While it’s common for cats to have blue eyes, all Siamese cats possess striking blue eyes. This shade of blue ranges from light to dark and is a special feature of this type of feline. 

You may have heard that cats with blue eyes and white fur are prone to hereditary deafness. However, this isn’t true for Siamese cats.

The breed’s blue eyes are part of their genetic makeup. Although, as with any purebred, Siamese cats do have specific health issues that are related to their breed, they are not at risk for hereditary complications.

The blue eyes are because of the Himalayan gene, which has alleles that cause a type of albinism.But wait, Siamese felines are not completely pale or white. So how can they have albinism? 

Unlike conventional albinos devoid of pigment, Siamese breeds are special because they have temperature-sensitive albinism.

This means that their base color lacks pigmentation but can develop a darker hue when exposed to lower temperatures. 

Albinism affects not only the fur and skin of a cat but also its eyes. The blue eyes of a Siamese come about because the layers of their irises do not have pigment. 

siamese cat sitting on white fence
Piercing blue eyes is one of the Siamese characteristics.

Albinism and Siamese Eyes

So, how does albinism cause the Siamese cat’s eyes to be the color of the sky? 

A cat’s iris comprises two membranes: the epithelium and the stroma. The epithelium shows up as dark spots on irises. The stroma is the membrane responsible for eye color. 

The stroma contains melanin and collagen, which can vary in concentration depending on the eye color. However, albino cats do not have melanin, and their eyes do not naturally possess blue pigment. 

So, where does the blue hue of a Siamese cat’s eyes come from?

A Siamese cat’s eye color is the way it is because their stroma does not contain any melanin or collagen. The blue color can be explained using a physics phenomenon called the Tyndall effect.

Because the stroma is clear of pigment, light easily enters the iris and scatters all around, creating a blue hue. 

So basically, a Siamese cat’s eyes are blue because: 

  • Siamese cats are a kind of albino breed. 
  • They have no melanin in their stroma (part of their iris). 
  • Our human eyes perceive them as blue.

2. Their Bodies Have Dark Color Points 

Siamese cats have distinctive dark pointed coats. You will notice the darker points on their face, paws, tail, and ears. These color points are a trademark of the breed because of their temperature-sensitive albinism. 

This coloration, also called acromelanism, is a hypopigmentation pattern that appears around the extremes of a Siamese feline. It is also known as the Himalayan coat color or the Siamese pattern. 

Siamese is a natural breed — their albinism is a genetic mutation and does not involve human intervention.

You can tell if your Siamese is purebred if you know how to tell where the cat’s color points are. If you have a cat with similar point markings on their coats, they may have some Siamese ancestry. 

Currently, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) only recognizes four Siamese colors in their breed standard. Here’s a table comparing the unique characteristics of these colors:

attentive siamese cat resting on boardwalk near sea
Their colorpoints are an unmistakable characteristic of Siamese cats.
Siamese Color Body ColorPointsNose leather and paw padsEyes
Seal pointFawn-to-cream body. The color gets lighter around the chest and stomach.Seal brownSeal brownDeep blue
Chocolate pointAll-ivoryMilk-chocolateCinnamon-pinkDeep blue
BluepointBluish white. Gently changes to white around the stomach and chest.Deep blueSlate-coloredDeep blue
Lilac pointGlacial whiteFrosty grey lightly punctuated with a pinkish tone.Lavender pinkDeep blue
Characteristics of Siamese varations (colorpoints)

According to the CFA’s guidelines, only the above colors occur naturally in purebred Siamese felines.

That’s not to say that other colors and patterns don’t exist. The likes of red/flame, cinnamon, tortie, and lynx exist, but they result from hybridization involving Siamese. 

In our article here, we have a look at the most common Siamese colors and variations, including the more exotic that are not recognized by the CFA.

Explaining the Color Gene

The Siamese’s unique pointed coat is due to the recessive albino spectrum of colors. These cats are not entirely albino — they possess a modifier gene, aka the Himalayan Gene, that inhibits pigment production above a specific temperature. 

Researchers found that the enzyme responsible for melanin production, tyrosinase, is mutated in Siamese cats. When temperature increases, tyrosinase activity decreases, resulting in the lighter fur that Siamese cats have on sections of their bodies.     

So when parts of the cat are warm, the albino switch activates, and pigment stops flowing to that area. A Siamese’s extremities (i.e., ears, face, limbs, and tail) are dark because there’s less heat flowing to those areas. The torso and neck are generally warmer than the rest of the body.

Siamese can only produce pigment below normal body temperature 一 around 100°F to 102.5°F (37.8°C to 39.2°C). If you get a pair of socks onto a Siamese, their pointed paws will morph into a lighter color because of the warmth.

The reverse is true, too: If you were to shave off some fur, your Siamese would grow a darker patch of fur on that area because it has been exposed to cold.

When Siamese kittens are first born, they have no point markings on their bodies. This is because they are warm all-around in their mother’s womb. Eventually, they develop pointed coloring and typically grow a full point coat by the time they reach the one-year mark. 

Suggested reading: How to Tell What Color Your Siamese Kitten Will Be?

3. Siamese Cats Love Companionship 

Siamese cats love to be around their owners and other cat companions. They do not enjoy being alone and can get depressed for too long when left to their devices.

If you plan to get a Siamese but travel for work a lot, this trait will be something to keep in mind. 

These cats are very affectionate. In turn, they will also crave your attention. Siamese cats are also one of the friendliest cat breeds, so they get along well with guests and other cats. 

These cats love companionship so much that they will follow you as you complete your daily routine.

You may see them on your heels as you clean the house, constantly meowing to let you know they are beside you. As soon as you sit down, you may find your Siamese in your lap, ready to receive some pets. 

Siamese cats are very active and love to play.

If you reciprocate a Siamese’s affections, they will remain loyal and loving towards you. They have also been known to pick favorites if their main caregiver isn’t around. 

It is common for Siamese cats to be adopted together with another cat, possibly one of their siblings. Having a cat companion for a Siamese helps them with loneliness if their human isn’t around. 

Siamese cats do very well with kids and other pets in the household.

However, being one of the more clingy cat breeds makes Siamese particularly prone to separation anxiety syndrome. Separation anxiety causes several destructive behaviors, including:

  • Shredding
  • Excessive meowing
  • Litter box amnesia

Creating a routine or keeping a Siamese occupied effectively prevents this behavior.

Suggested reading: Is it OK to Only Have One Siamese Cat? 

Keeping the Siamese Cat Occupied

Sometimes, it is impossible to be around your Siamese 24/7, no matter how much we want to be. When this happens, you can find ways to keep your Siamese cat occupied to help with their clinginess. 

These felines are brimming with energy, so they are always ready to play. The trouble comes in when they don’t get to expend that energy.

They can get skittish and destructive when bored. Siamese cats are highly intelligent, so you must find things that can stimulate and engage their minds well.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your Siamese cat occupied while you’re busy: 

  • Use cardboard boxes to construct a maze for your cat to play in. 
  • Place some treats in a cardboard box and let your Siamese fish them out with its paws.
  • Let the cat have a clear window view to look out of — they can spend hours gazing out of the window if things are happening outside. 
  • Buy toys your Siamese can play catch with, such as fishing rods, string, or a mouse toy.
  • Get your cat a scratching post. 

You can also play with your pet to foster the bond between both of you.  Here are some ideas for you to play with a Siamese cat: 

  • Teach them new tricks. 
  • Enjoy cuddling sessions with them. 
  • Give them belly rubs and pets. 
  • Play fetch using a small ball of yarn or soft toy. 

The key to keeping a Siamese cat happy is to keep them amused and feeling loved as much as possible. 

4. They Are Very Vocal

If you have met a Siamese cat before, you probably know that they meow a lot. Siamese are well known for being vocal creatures. they will always try to interact with their owners using different kinds of meows, hence the nickname “meezers.”

Unlike most other cats, they have a low-pitched meow that sounds similar to a baby’s cry. Their persistent meowing can sometimes be a bit annoying, but it is their way of telling you what they want. 

Siamese cats love to talk and to follow you around.

Being vocal goes hand in hand with their sociable personalities. The Siamese are very communicative — they want to talk to you about everything and anything.

If you listen to them regularly, you will notice that their meows sound different because they are trying to communicate different things. 

Although humans don’t speak cat, that doesn’t stop a Siamese from telling you their opinions and how they are feeling. Here are some reasons a Siamese cat could be meowing:  

  • They want your attention. 
  • They are demanding food or treats. 
  • They feel sick. 
  • They are feeling anxious, bored, or stressed.
  • They are trying to tell you something about their surroundings.

Given how much this cat loves to interact with you, some have said that Siamese are almost dog-like cats. 

What To Do When a Siamese Is Meowing Excessively

As extroverted cats, the Siamese breed has no problem being talkative. However, this means they tend to meow your ears off. What can you do if your Siamese is meowing too much and too often? 

When this happens, it is either because there is something they want or something isn’t going right in their lives. You can try doing the following to see if it solves a Siamese’s frequent vocalizations:  

  • Check your cat for injury or illness and bring it to the vet if needed. 
  • Plan a routine to play with your cat — 15-20 minutes of play time twice a day will help them alleviate boredom and give them the attention they need. 
  • If you have just adopted a Siamese, it might be feeling stressed from the new environment, so give it time to adjust. 
  • Older cats may need medication to address excessive meowing due to cognitive dysfunction. 
  • Have a feeding schedule and stick to it. 
  • Clean the litter box and other spaces the cat frequents.

Suggested reading: What to do If Your Siamese Cats Does Not Meow?

Our Final Thoughts on Characteristics of a Siamese Cat

Siamese cats are quite easy to recognize, even for the untrained eye. They are affectionate, cuddly, vocal, and smart. In the looks department, they are blessed as well with their beautiful blue eyes and color points.

On the other hand, they are not for everyone. Siamese cats need lots of attention and can be considered high maintenance cats. Have a look at our article below to discover what it’s like to have a Siamese cat as part of your family.

What Is It Like To Own A Siamese Cat

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