This is a page about Old Style Siamese cats.
Many of today’s pedigree Siamese cats look very different from their ancestors; Siamese cats were first imported into Britain towards the end of the 19th century, from Siam (now known as Thailand), where they have lived, in a broadly similar form, for thousands of years. The modern “show style” Siamese is a slimmer, lighter-boned animal, which has a narrower pointed face, and very large ears. This marked change in appearance results from many generations of deliberate selective breeding.
Over the years, as this process of breeding for a particular type developed, a number of breeders became more and more concerned that the original features of the Siamese from Thailand were gradually being lost to this “new” look. As a consequence, there are now breeders, all over the world, who are committed to preserving the traditional, Old Style, look of the Siamese. This shows itself in a sturdier frame, not so slight, whilst maintaining the triangular head shape. They have retained their elegant, and beautifully svelte appearance. The lovely blue eyes are also a feature of these cats. This is the type of Siamese cat that was featured in several films during the 1940’s and 1950’s. This is how most people still remember them.
The description “Old Style Siamese” is used by a number of those breeders, who are dedicated to retaining the earlier form and character of the breed. The World Cat Federation in Europe granted Championship status to this older form of Siamese in 1990. The official breed name was changed to Thai, to differentiate the Old Style from the more recent show style Siamese. Subsequently, this new name was adopted by TICA (The International Cat Association), which recognised the importance of “…preserving the native pointed cat of Thailand in as close to its original form as possible…” and promoted the breed to its full Championship status in 2010.
Whether called Old Style Siamese or Thai, this is the type of Siamese cat that was bred in Britain during the first half of the 20th century, and is very similar in form to the Wichienmaat cat, still bred in Thailand.
The history of the Old Style Siamese cats can be found on the website of the Old Style Siamese Cat Club. They have a very interesting history, and used to be temple cats. There certainly is a kind of “knowing” about them. They will usually be sensitive to your mood, and they make wonderful companions. These cats have a temperament similar to that of a dog. For example, we always know when we have visitors, long before we see or hear them. Ears pricked, body brought to its full height, and very alert, warning us that someone is coming! Your Siamese will often accompany you to hang the washing out, or just to go out into the garden. They like to be where you are. They will either sit on your lap, or at least want to curl up close to you. They will find the best place to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the cosiest place to be in the Winter. So an Old Style Siamese is definitely “a very particular type of cat”!
Page revised 14 August 2017 by David Cutting