Siamese cats are a beautiful breed of feline that originated in the ancient kingdom of Siam, which is now known as Thailand. Siamese cats have evolved into many types, differentiated by color, size, and body composition.
The nine types of Siamese cat can be broken down into two major groups which split into smaller variations. The broader two categories are the Traditional Siamese and Modern Siamese. The smaller subcategories are compiled by distinguishing coloration and standards set by the CFA (Cat Fancier’s Association).
If you own a Siamese or are considering adopting, you should know which type of this brilliant and playful feline is best suited for you. We will discuss each of the nine variations and understand the primary difference in each. By the end, you will be a Siamese expert!
The 9 Types of Siamese Cats and What Sets Them Apart
First, I would like to mention that in researching the many types of Siamese, some will argue there are only two types. They’re not wrong as there are two types, but the variations are more so based on color and facial features, rather than stature or personality.
So to say there are two types of Siamese is not a lie. We will merely be going through a more detailed look at all of the official standards of this breed recognized by the CFA.
The two main and more recognized groups are –
- Traditional Siamese: This category can be split up into the subcategories of Applehead, Old-style which are more Thai and potentially cross-eyed, and Classic Siamese.
- Modern Siamese: can be split into Wedgies, Light-colored points, and dark-colored points.
Siamese can be recognized by the ancient style of being cross-eyed with a triangular-shaped head and long tail. The history of the Siamese is incredibly fascinating and includes them ruling beside the royal family.
Given the name Siam, because they originated in the town of Siam, the Thai people revered this feline breed enough to name it after their vast kingdom. Being one of the first domesticated pets in the history of humankind, the feline has been a prized pet that distinguished wealth and high-birth rights.
Dating back to 14th century Thailand, the Traditional Siamese may have been seen cross-eyed at the side of the throne. Their tails are infamous for being crooked unlike the more modern variations of Siamese cats. With longer crooked tails and eyes crossed, they may not have been quite as regular as today’s Siamese, but indeed interesting and respected.
Some of the tasks of a Royal and Traditional Siam would have been to guard the royal treasure. There are myths through their fascinating history which say the Siam would wrap their entire bodies around the treasure and vases, which left the crooked angle in their tails permanently.
They also say this is what left the Traditional Siamese’s eyes crooked, from staring at the treasure with such focus for so long. Your Modern Siamese may not have this issue, but you may find them watching your television and acting strangely present like a human.
These myths show how intelligent and sacred these animals were found to be by the Siam people.
Traditional Siam’s would also be known to take spirits into their bodies after they’ve passed on. The Siamese would be taken to a lush palace and would live out the rest of their days in luxury as the Siam people would believe that to be their beloved lost human soul.
The first recorded history of this breed was between the 1400s and 1500s when they described a slim feline with dark coloring around their tail, feet, and face. They described the Siam’s piercing tanzanite eyes and tall stature.
In the Modern Siamese, many of these qualities remain the same.
Their change developed when Siamese cats were brought over from Europe, around the late 1800s. The first Siamese cat recorded was a gift from a Bangkok General to a British consul’s younger sister. He gifted her two Siamese cats, (which is often done with Siamese to keep them in groups of twos. This is because they require more stimulation than many feline breeds and don’t like to be alone.)
The Consul’s sister adored her two Siamese twins, and this is when the breed took off. Reaching America by the 1900s, the Modern Siamese becomes more recognizable. Even being the beloved pet of Mrs. Rutherford B Hayes (the 19th president’s first lady).
The Modern Siamese is very popularized in modern society, and you may be hearing, “Lady and the Tramp’s” Siamese if you please. This is the version Americans know best. Seen in dozens of movies and known for their athleticism and intelligent, this breed has undoubtedly come a long way.
Now we will discuss the subcategories of each of the two major Siamese variations:
Traditional Siamese: Dating back to more ancient roots, these three variations of Applehead, Classic Siamese, Old-Style are all going to have that more Thai-look to them compared to the Modern subcategories. The major Siam players on the Traditional team are as follows:
- Applehead: The Applehead Siamese is quite a looker with longer fluffy fur than other Siamese cats and a stocky round face. Some Siamese owners note that this type is slightly quieter than other Siamese cats.
If you know anything about Siamese, you know they are not quiet. But the Applehead is considered by some to be a bit more peaceful and less vocal than other Siamese.
Appleheads are what we would call, ‘big-boned,’ with distinguishable apple-shaped skulls. Ears may be a bit smaller, and there will be an endearing dip on their nose when viewed from a profile angle. Males can weigh up to 18 pounds, and they will have the usual long legs with athletic forms. Their tails are long but not as long as the other two Traditional Siamese.
· Classic: The traditional style of the Classic Siamese is a bit lighter with longer bodies and tails. Not precisely lean but they will have larger ears and a non-existent nose dip. Like the Applehead and Old-style, they will represent Thai genetics and reflect their historical background in their appearance.
The Classic was recognized by the CFA and International Cat Association in only 2007. Despite being newly considered, by 2009, this variation went from “Preliminary New Breed,” to “Advanced New Breed.”
Classics are called natural athletes. Put your Classic Siamese on a leash and get them to the open wild. Don’t forget your kitty sunblock though as this breed is susceptible to skin-cancer from overexposure to UV rays.
· Old-Style: It is not uncommon for the Old-Style Siamese meow to be mistaken for a baby crying.
Medium-bodied and very athletic in build, the Old-style will have elongated facial structure compared to the Applehead and Classic Siamese. These will perhaps be the most Thai or Oriental with more almond-shaped eyes. This is the type which often has crossed eyes like the Siam people intended for them to be bred. The ears and nose will be larger.
To the International Cat Association and those who participate in National Cat Showcases, this Thai style will be known as TICA or CFF and be in the showcase with the Modern Siamese as well.
Modern Siamese Cats
Now to discuss the variations within the second dominant class of this breed, the Modern Siamese.
This category is filled with the different breeds of Siamese you would most recognize. They will be a bit slimmer, yet all Siamese will weigh between 5-15 pounds.
Modern cats are arguably more white, yet the Siam people wrote about their preference for this breed because of their light coloration being beautiful to them. White was a scared color to the Siam people. The crème color of these felines was an attribute which the Siam discussed largely so this argument on Modern Siam’s is up for debate.
We will discuss varying coloration later on, but the types of Modern Siamese you should know are:
- Wedge Siamese – Often called the Wedgie, endearingly! This type will have the most elongated and extreme form of all the Siamese. Their name comes from the wedge-shaped head, which will be quite triangular. Ears will be set lower on the head and more towards the face compared to the Traditional, which have ears set further back.
Known for having the loudest meows of the Siamese and a lower tone than others, these large babies are more like Bengal tigers or bobcats. The Wedge is a standard in National Cat shows, becoming very popular in the late 1980s.
The breeding in this variation is worth mentioning as there are some issues with breeding this type. They are at increased risk of kidney failure and heart problems developing. If kept on a healthy diet and adequately cared for, the Wedge Siamese should live long and happy lives.
The nose will have no dip and be a bit wider than other Siamese. Eyes will be slightly slanted into their triangular faces, and they are the funniest Siamese to look at. Google a picture and try not to feel warm and fuzzy inside.
The new and modern evolution of the Siamese cats has left a lot of alterations to enter the DNA of the Siamese. Not to freak you out but there are 3-4 variations in each of the next two subcategories! Don’t panic; we’ll review this together.
- Light-Colored Siamese – Can be further broken down into:
- Cream Points – As the name suggests, these are lighter in color and don’t develop as dark of spotting. Beautiful and commonly found but note that the color will darken progressively as they age.
- Lilac Points – This is the light grey colored Siamese that you think of will less brown and bluer tones in their fur. Google images to get a better idea, but you’ll recognize them upon seeing them. Soft tones of pink and warm lilac are in the shades of this variant’s coat.
- Chocolate Point – though you would think this group to be in the dark-colored category, the Chocolate points are a very light shade of brown. Very popular and intelligent, these sweeties will be by your side all day and night.
- Dark-Colored Siamese – Which can be broken down into subcategories of:
- Seal Points – Known as the darkest Siamese cat and yes, they are named after seals! The name comes from the dark coloration of seals which range from dark brown to a brownish-black. Similar to the Chocolate in shading except that the Seal points will be darker hued while the Chocolate will be warmer and lighter-toned.
- Blue Points – These dark-colored Siamese will be recognized by a slightly blue-steal shade of grey. With piercing blue eyes, these grayish-blue angels can be spotted from a mile away. Very unique compared to any other cat, you’ll know it’s a Blue Point when you see it.
- Red Point – the last variation we’ll cover is the Red Point which has dark umber, crimson and orange shades to its fur. It is said that their blue eyes were the gates to heaven to some spiritual people. Very unusual coloration and a type of Siamese you won’t often see.
Siamese Cat Coloration Variations
Now that we’ve covered the main categories of the nine variations, it should be noted that there are a few other variations of the Siamese as well.
The differences are recognized between these Classic and Thai styles (known by the International Cat Association for showmanship as TCA and TICA). The coloration distinguishers include seal point, blue point, chocolate point, and lilac point. Classics of any other color that these four may not be recognized by the Traditional Cat Association.
Variants can also occur between Tabby Point and Tortie point.
These can absolutely include the nine types we’ve covered up above, but these are just two more ways to describe them.
The Tabby point will be similar to other tabby cats, with a stripy pattern in their fur. The Tortie is named after the tortoise shell and may have reddish spots with more circular patterns in their fur.
To clarify further, a chocolate point could be a tabby point. And a Blue Seal Siamese could still be a Tortie Point. They are simply further variations and descriptors of fur patterns common in the Siamese breed.
Alternatively, the ICA (International Cat Association) states that the color types recognized are tabby points, cream points, silver tabby points, red points, smoke points, and parti-color points. Many groups and variations which are not recognized by other associations at all.
Albino is recently becoming a recognized shade but is not very common in Siamese as their colors change after birth.
What Affects Siamese’s Fur Coloration
Fascinatingly, it’s not solely genetics which accounts for these evolutions in the Siamese’s appearance.
It’s actually quite scientific and related to an enzyme that the Siamese have which many other felines do not. Siamese cats actually all come out of the womb completely white! They begin a soft crème color, and the dark spots evolve over the first month or two of their lives.
This is all related to a pigment in their skin which would keep them this crème color permanently… If – we lived in a world that had a climate over 100 degrees. The mother’s womb is between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit which keeps this enzyme from darkening the fur.
Once the newborn reaches that cooler temperature, their coat immediately begins to change. It may not be visible until their about a month old, but then different brown spots will emerge around their face, toes, and tail.
This is when you’ll have a greater understanding (if you didn’t already) of what kind of Siamese you have based on coloration. Such as, a chocolate Siamese, Lilac Siamese, Blue-point, or many others which we will discuss more in-depth below.
Types of Siamese and Their Personalities
All Siamese will have the same loving and playful personality. They are known to jump up on high ledges and have the strongest leaper legs. Known for their cleanliness and lack of having to groom them, you’ll love only having to brush these babies about once a week.
Wonderful as family pets, many reviewers say that it works perfectly for their family. The Siamese are not well-suited to a family that is never home. They get lonely and honestly depressed. Siamese cats require affection and a lot of attention. They won’t be your quiet window cat; they want to be next to you day and night as your partner in crime.
They work well for families as there’s usually someone for the Siamese to spend time with. Someone commented that their young children would put bonnets and shoes on the Siamese to play with it and the Siamese was always very calm and patient with children.
Very known to be social butterflies, any Siamese variation is known to stir up mischief, turn on your television if you’re not home, chase the dogs around, and play fetch with a toy. Odd creatures indeed but undeniably endearing.
Any variation of Siamese whether it’s the chocolate point, old-style, Thai or modern, they will be endlessly curious! Other things that may happen when you leave the house could be faucets turned on, doors that were closed may magically be opened, opening cabinets in your kitchen, and food could be knocked over if not properly stored in a high spot.
Any Siamese cat will find trouble where peace lies. Their passion for people is their strongest personality characteristic, and they will love you to the end. If you want a partner in crime that will be by your side through a little trouble, the Siamese is your guy.
What makes Siamese a wonderful option as a pet is if you’re considering getting a dog but can’t be home enough to let the dog out. Siamese like all cats is much more independent than dogs as you don’t need to change their litter except every few days. Quite a smaller commitment than the four to five bathroom outings your pup may require.
They’ll be just as loyal, and some owners say their Siamese greets them at the door before their dogs do.
Whether you get a Traditional or Modern style Siamese, they will undoubtedly have that same loving Siamese personality that owners adore.
What Siamese Owners Say
If you’re considering adopting a Siamese pet, it’s best to hear what other cat owners think of this amusing breed. Some of the thoughts under adoption forums and Siamese owner discussions include:
- “I have two Siamese; both are Appleheads. They are so beautiful and have that Siamese attitude that you either love or hate. I love them both so much!”
- “Just adopted two seal points from the local SCPA and adore ‘em to bits! They have completely taken over our lives with affection and energy. Even the dogs step aside when they’re around. We know who runs the house.”
- “They are so chatty with many different voices. That infamous meezer roar sounds more like an old lady who smoked for 50 years. They also have a sweet chirp in their purr and other sweet voices. But if they’re mad at life or you, they’ll be the first to let you know about it!”
- “Loved taking my Siamese for walks and it would climb on my shoulder as we hiked. The smartest pet I’ve ever had and even gave my pups a run for their money.”
- “If it’s too loud, it’s probably Siamese.”
The raving reviews on this breed truly put a smile on your face. If you’re unsure of what type of Siamese would be best for you, check out the forums to gain a better understanding of what those who spend every day with this breed feel about them.
Health Issues in Wedge Siamese
To pick up on the notes of the Wedge Siamese’s health, they certainly do appear to have more health issues than any other Siamese. They are best in show, and the standard in National Cat showcases due to their unique facial structure and tall posture.
But due to the triangular shape of their heads, they are also prone to dental issues. This is on top of the respiratory and heart issues I mentioned in their specific section.
It is believed these issues are due to breeding them in modern society to be a bit too far from the modern Siamese. Closer to a bobcat or African feline face, these Wedge-heads sadly have a lot of issues that are worth mentioning if you are an owner or looking to be.
It is a delicate issue with their dental hygiene, and they will need their owners to brush their teeth at least once a month. Some argue this should be done every day, but once a week or month is better than nothing at all.
To help them with these dental issues, you can:
- Get feline toothpaste.
- Use comforting tones and let them know it’s okay. If you’re panicked, they will be.
- Start with letting them smell the paste and put it on your finger the first few cleanings.
- Spread it across their gums and hit the tongue/ side of the mouth.
- Don’t force the toothbrush on them if they’re terrified. Use a gauze, finger, or paper towel.
- Offer them a treat afterward, so they relate the experience to something positive like a reward.
Their teeth don’t grow well because of their large head, so this is an issue which no amount of toothpaste will assist. But you can at least take preventative measure against common gum diseases in Siamese.
Their life expectancy can be lower due to these issues, some only five to six years old. Breeders are working to rectify the issues and seek out the origin of their causes. It is thought that it’s the same genetic issues that used to result in crossed eyes and kinked tails. But work is being done to help these creatures live to their fullest potential and happiest life possible
If these health issues overwhelm you, opt for a more usual style of Siamese. The Siamese are known for living long lives and being the most athletic and outdoor-loving. These health issues are no more common in most of the Siamese than in any other cat.
The Wedge Head’s health issues are to be noted so an owner can take preventive measures.
Final Tips on All Siamese
It is hard to find a Siamese owner who doesn’t say they’re smitten with these kittens.
If you’re planning to adopt, I want to urge you to go to your local shelter and not to a breeder. They don’t need your money as badly as that shelter needs your help. More importantly, that animal, Siamese or not, will be put to sleep if it can’t find a loving home in time. Spread this message as it’s so important to all of those fur-babies looking for a good home. It will also save you thousands paying a breeder that may not be healthily breeding them.
Being the oldest with a rich history and vibrant genetic makeup, these dog-like cats are sure to charm you. If you’re a nature lover, get a pet-friendly backpack with airholes to take them for a walk in the forest. They’ll probably prefer being on a leash at your side though. Careful to keep an eye on them but the outdoor time will prove to you what a unique specimen the Siamese truly is.