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The Siamese is one of the first distinctly recognised breeds of Oriental cat in the world. Like many breeds of animals, the exact origin of the Siamese is unknown, but it is believed to be from Southeast Asia, and is said to be the descendant from the sacred temple cats of Siam (now known as Thailand) and were labelled "sacred" by the priests. It is said that the Royal cat of Siam is a product of a mating between the "Egyptian cat" and "wild cat" of Siam.

There was a book published under the White Lotus press - Bangkok in 1998, called The Legend of Siamese Cats, by Martin R Clutterbuck which brings the ancient Siam love of cats to the modern world. This book was a landmark in publications on cats and was also the first time that discovered old Thai manuscripts of the Tamra Maew (cat poems) were compiled into one publication. Clutterbuck holds a degree in Thai Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. His studies indicate that the age of the Tamra Maew (the cat poem manuscripts) date back to between 100 and 200 years old. However, further research shows that these old ancient Thai manuscripts were copied by hand and passed down from generation to generation, which means they may date back much older than those 100-200 years.

The Tamra Maew manuscripts do however seem to fit the time frame of the cats from Siam,

as legend would have it these original Siamese cats were closely guarded in order to keep the breed pure. So highly was the Siamese cat regarded that their ownership is said to have been restricted to only members of the Royal family. Anyone attempting to steal these precious felines was put to death.

There are many fables, legends, and stories from yesteryear regarding the peculiarities of the breed of the siamese, one such fable is that each member of the Siamese Royal Family had his or her own cat, as the Royal Princesses would bath they would place their rings over the tails of their Siamese and tie a knot in order to stop their rings from falling off and from then their descendants would have kinked tails. Another fable was that two sacred cats of the Temple were left to guard the Temple's great treasures. Whilst the male cat went in search of a new priest to take over the Temple the female cat curled her tail around a most valuable and prized vase and protected and gazed over this vase for many weeks, upon the return of the male cat and their new priest the female finally let go of the precious vase and her tail became kinked and her eyes crossed! Their new litter presented each kitten with kinked tails and crossed eyes due to pre-natal anxiety.

The breed was first seen outside their Asian home in 1884, when King Rama V of Siam presented to the departing British Consul-General of Bangkok Mr Owen Gould a pair of breeding Siamese cats called Pho and Mia. This was a great honour, as at one time it was forbidden to export Siamese cats from Siam. Upon returning to Britain Mr Owen Gould gave these striking cats as a gift to his sister, Lilian Jane Veley (who went on to be co-founder of the Siamese Cat Club in Britain in 1901, it was interesting to note at this time that this club recognised only two class types - seal point and chocolate point, by 1950 at the Champion All Breeds Show, 32 classes were provided for Siamese Cats). Just one year later after the arrival of Pho and Mia in Britain, they produced three kittens. These three offspring Duen Ngai, Kalohom, and Khromata, and their parents were exhibited and won ribbons at the 1885 cat show at the 17th Crystal Palace Cat Show in London, shortly after the show, the kittens died, but there is no documented evidence as to the reason why.

As the story goes, publicity of these Siamese cats made a huge impression because

of their unique appearance and distinct fun-loving, intelligent, loyal, and dog-like behaviour.


The following year another pair (with kittens) were imported, these Siamese imports were longer and less "cobby" in body type, their head shape was less round with a more wedge-shaped muzzle and larger ears.


It is believed that the first Siamese cat appeared in both America and Australia between 1890 and 1903.

In the 1950s - 1970s, the Siamese was increasing in popularity, but sadly as the decades passed many breeders and cat show judges began to favour the more slender look. As a result of generations of selective breeding, the new look resulted in increasingly long, fine-boned, narrow-headed cats; eventually the favoured modern show Siamese was bred to be extremely elongated, with thin, tubular bodies, long, slender legs, a very long, very thin tail that tapers gradually into a point and long, narrow, wedge-shaped heads topped by extremely large, wide-set ears. The major cat organisations/judges shamefully altered language and/or interpretation of their official breed standards to favour this newer streamlined type of Siamese, and with great sorrow the now minority breeder of the pure lines who meticulously stayed with the original style found that their cats were unable to be competitive in the show ring.

In the late 1980s, due to much-renewed interest and popularity of the traditional pure siamese, breeders and fans of the older style of Siamese organised, in order to preserve old, genetically healthy lines from extinction, decided to educate the public about the breed's history and provide information on where people could buy kittens of the more pure traditional type. This was done through the Siamese Cat Society of New South Wales which was formed in 1959.

Unfortunately, even today, there are only a handful of the pure siamese seal point breeders that stayed true to the breed throughout the many decades. The original Siamese imports were, like their Thai descendants, medium-sized, rather long-bodied, muscular, graceful cats with moderately wedge-shaped heads and ears that were comparatively large but in proportion to the size of the head. The cats ranged from rather substantial to rather slender but were not extreme in either way.

There are several different names used for the original siamese cat, including "Traditional Siamese", "Old Style Siamese", "Classic siamese" and “AppleHeads” which is said to be a derogatory exaggerated nickname initiated by the modern-type Siamese breeders.

The popularity of the siamese has led to mixed-breed cats that may have little or no Siamese ancestry in them at all and are being sold as "Traditional Siamese" to the uninformed buyer.

The Siamese Cat Society of New South Wales is a non-profit organisation consisting of a group of dedicated breeders who are passionate about keeping the breed pure with only the four colours. Valda is the longest-standing Member and has sat on the Board for over fifty years.

The Breeding and Management of The Siamese Cat book - Published by F M Williams and Co. 1950
Siamese cat book - Published by TFH Publications 1967


by Martin Clutterbuck

First edition 1998


Reign: 1/10/1868 – 23/10/1910

Considered one of the greatest Kings of Siam

believed to be the three kittens of Pho and Mia - Duen Ngai, Kalohom and Khromata


CCCA Champion, Double Grand Champion

photo taken 1988


One of Valda's Siamese Seal Point litters​

of today.

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