Considered to be one of the most elegant cat-breeds the world has ever known, the Siamese cat is a mystical-looking animal that will captivate any onlooker. While their vibrant blue eyes and blooming points of color highlight centuries of breeding expertise, many Siamese cats harbor an apparent defect—crossed eyes. So, why do Siamese cats have crossed eyes?
Siamese cats have crossed eyes because of Strabismus. This condition causes the eyes to not line up with each other, and is a genetic condition. The center of the retina is shifted for both eyes, causing them to naturally not see straight. While not all Siamese cross their eyes, the ones that do cross them intentionally. The presence of the albino gene in Siamese cats causes some of them to only see straight when their eyes are crossed.
If Siamese cats are bred with such care, then why do some of them still harbor such a noticeable defect? Crossed-eyes hasn’t always been a feature that breeders have worked to eliminate. It is said that Siamese breeders select against cross-eyed offspring; while this is true, the Siamese kitten’s genetic outcome is somewhat out of their control. There is always a chance, however slight, that a kitten could be born cross-eyed.
Why Are Some Siamese Cats Cross-Eyed While Others Aren’t?
Siamese kittens who are not cross-eyed are fortunate to not showcase the repercussions of massive breeding. While most breeders select against the cross-eyed defect by breeding carefully, this imperfection can’t be entirely avoided.
Siamese cats are all partially albino. They are born white and develop unique patches of color at their feet, nose, and tail over time.
Contrary to what many believe, not all white cats are albino. When specific genotypes of the albino gene are present, cats are at a higher risk for visual complications, among other issues.
The Siamese cat’s genetic flaw in their eye structure stems from the genetic disruption of neurological wiring. This disruption is the abnormal crossing of vision fibers within the cat’s central nervous system.
To compensate for this abnormal crossing, many Siamese cats cross their eyes to see normally. This can be seen in Traditional and Thai Siamese cats rather than the Modern Siamese, as the defect has been more carefully eliminated in the Modern Siamese variety.
Should I Be Worried If My Siamese Is Cross-Eyed?
Looking at a Siamese cat with crossed eyes, you often can’t help but feel a little sorry for them. I, for one, couldn’t help but wonder if they’re in pain or neurologically impaired. After all, when I cross my eyes, I’m left with a headache.
Don’t be worried if the cat you own, or the cat you’d like to adopt, has crossed eyes. It doesn’t hurt, nor does it significantly impact their quality of life if they live primarily indoors.
Crossed eyes sometimes yield poor depth perception and limited peripheral vision in cats. However, as I’ve seen before, both among friends and in YouTube videos, Siamese cats with crossed eyes are still very agile, active, and playful.
Siamese cats who must cross their eyes in order to see aren’t uncomfortable from doing so. On the contrary, it feels perfectly natural to them. They can still chase their furry friends, play with toys, and climb to high surfaces safely.
If you’re worried about your cross-eyed Siamese being unable to navigate your home as safely as you’d like, make sure your living space has plenty of room for your cat to run around and climb.
Place soft blankets, carpet, or pillows around areas where your cat could fall or slip. While cats are known for having nine lives and always landing on their feet, accidents happen; both of my cats have gotten scratches and bumps on their heads during play.
About the Siamese Breed
A Siamese cat’s crossed eyes do not make them any less astounding! This unique feature makes the Siamese cat even more loveable.
There’s no doubt that the Siamese breed is gorgeous. They are all long and skinny, featuring a sleek coat with unique colorings such as seal point, blue point, lynx point, and purple point. Their almond-shaped blue eyes are hypnotizing.
So, if you’re worried about a Siamese’ crossed eyes detracting from their overall appearance—don’t be.
Cross-eyed Siamese cats are also just as playful and interactive as Siamese cats who don’t harbor this defect. They are incredibly bright, having the highest intellect of any domestic cat breed. They possess many of the qualities that individuals look for in a dog while being significantly easier to care for.
A properly-socialized Siamese cat will likely be the friendliest cat you ever come across, cross-eyed or not.
Luckily, this genetic defect is not a defect; instead, it’s an adorable characteristic that is generally admired. Some prospective cat owners seek out cross-eyed Siamese because not only because they’re very endearing, but also as they are picturesque of the traditional Siamese cat. Cross-eyed Siamese cats make fun and playful companions; they almost always live healthy lives.
Siamese Cat History And Crossed Eyes
To understand and appreciate the cross-eyed defect, cat owners must be familiar with the extensive history of the Siamese.
Being the oldest domestic feline, Siamese cats are thought to be the father of all house cats. Interestingly, many cat breeds are a descendant of the Siamese.
The Siamese cat originated in Thailand, then known as Siam, in the 14th century. As they were bred from the sacred cats of Siam, Siamese cats were originally only owned by Buddhist monks and royal families. Almost all of these Siamese cats had crossed eyes.
However, at the turn of the 18th century, Thai aristocrats began gifting Siamese cats to visiting European dignitaries. Thanks to this trend, Siamese cats are common throughout North America, Europe, and Asia today.
In the 1960s, breeders became tired of the traditional Siamese appearance. Swiftly, they developed the Modern Siamese cat; this Siamese has a wedge-shaped face, large ears, a lankier body, and usually, straight-staring eyes.
Given their extensive breeding history, Siamese cats are bound to harbor genetic mishaps such as crossed eyes or a kicked tail. Both of these defects are considered a charming trademark of the Traditional breed.
When these defects occur, they should be appreciated instead of criticized, as they do not take away from the value of the treasured Siamese. They lend historical beauty.
Cross-eyed Siamese cats cross their eyes in order for their brain to receive a clear image of the world around them.
It’s puzzling that our modern society sees this quality as an imperfection instead of a valued feature. Thai royalty saw the Siamese cat’s crossed eyes as something to be cherished and were careful not to eliminate this characteristic from the Siamese breed.
Much of our society, not exempting cat owners, is obsessed with appearance. This goes for both the appearance of themselves, their friends, their material possessions, and even their pets.
It is a problem that many individuals see a cross-eyed Siamese as lesser, or even imperfect, to their straight-seeing counterparts.
This close-minded manner of viewing appearance—in that a beautiful pet reflects the value of its owner—most definitely bleeds over into other aspects of the human experience. Honestly, it seems to perpetuate the bad idea of unattainable beauty norms.
A cat’s crossed eyes shouldn’t mean that the cat is an imperfection. It doesn’t mean its owner has bad judgment or lesser taste, either.
Crossed eyes are a feature to be amazed by; any owner who owns a cross-eyed Siamese can confirm that they would never wish for a straight-seeing cat. If you’re a prospective cross-eyed Siamese cat owner, don’t question your decision much further. A cross-eyed Siamese is so worth it.