It all started with 11 cats.
The Siamese cat as we know it today, descends from 11 Siamese cats in England. It all started in 1884 when Owen Gould, British Consul General in Bangkok, brought with him a couple of Siamese cats back home to his sister, Ms Veley. She became one of the pioneers in Siamese breeding.
The following year she showed her Siamese cats at a cat show, and people were amazed. Nobody had seen anything like this before. In 1886 Ms Vyvian and her sister imported two Siamese kittens to England. It didn't take long before there were 11 Siamese cats in England. These 11 cats are the ancestors of our modern Siamese cats.
One of the earliest prefixes is that of Prestwick Cattery Siamese, established in 1919 by the breeder Greta Hindley. She and her husband owned Puteh, who became the ancestress of a line of Siamese that all had exceptionally deep blue eyes. Puteh's daughter, Champion Prestwick Perak, had a head almost shaped the way we are used to today. Greta Hindley described it as ”marten like”. However, most Siamese in those days had not yet developed the super elegant long, slender body and the well defined triangular head. Even so, already that long ago, they had these special features that separate them from all other cats.
American, European and Australian
Tastes differ from culture to culture, and what we like here in Europe, is not necessarily liked elsewhere in the world. This is also true when it comes to cats.
In USA one has bred a super slender, very elegant Siamese, with a much ”tighter” head than we prefer in Europe. The American Siamese also differ in some other aspects, usually they have bigger and more dominant eyes, for instance.
In Europe we prefer the eyes to be a bit smaller, more almond shaped and slanting in a way that follows the wedge shaped head. The head should be distinctively formed like a wedge, the ears should be broad and open at their bases and they are preferred to be placed on the head in such a way that they prolong the line that runs from the chin up towards the lower edge of the ear. The profile is supposed to straight, or slightly arched in a way that reminds one of the old Roman profiles. The European Siamese should have a good, broad top of head, which concludes the image of a perfect triangle where all sides are equally long. As in the States, we Europeans also want our Siamese to be slim, with a body formed like a long tube. And we love a long, whip shaped Siamese tail!
There are many superbly typed Siamese cats in Australia, however, the Australians share much of the American tastes when it comes to the looks of a Siamese. The Australians too like the eyes a bit bigger than we do, and they also allow the ears to be placed higher up on the head than we are used to.
Whats inside the Head?
All these so called standards that say what a Siamese shall look like to be able to win on a cat show, have varied through the years. It is a matter of taste and fashion, like everything else.
To most of us who live together with a Siamese or two, these standards do not count at all. It is what's inside their heads that fascinates us!
Everyone that has experienced what it is like to be trained and loved by a Siamese, will always feel this void in their lives if there is no Siamese there.