Friday, June 29, 2007

A little bit of Siamese History

For many generations the Royal cats of Siam where jealously guarded by the King of Siam at his Palace in Bangkok. It is probably owing to this confinement of the 'Palace' cats that there is little known of their true origins. The original Palace or Temple cats of Siam were said to be dark-colored with yellow eyes. Sometime in the past centuries either one or several mutations occured which caused the distinguishing 'Points' and Blue eyes that make the Siamese so distinctive. Sadly there are no records of who was responsible for encouraging and breeding this mutation, for without this person or group of persons, the Siamese breed may never have come into existence.

While the true origins of the Siamese may always be conjecture, we do know when the breed first began to appear outside of Siam, or Thailand as it is called now. In 1884, a pair of Siamese cats were brought to Britain by Mr. Owen Gould, then the British Consul-General in Bangkok. This pair was given to Mr. Owens sister, Mrs. Veley who went on to cofound the Siamese Cat Club in 1901, and were shown at the Crystal Palace in 1885. During 1886, another pair of Siamese cats and two kittens were imported by a Mrs. Vyvyan and her sister into Britain. These cats along with several others brought into Britain in the following years comprised the base breeding pool for the Siamese breed. Therefore, all modern Siamese, especially those in the US, can trace their lineage back to these original Siamese brought into Britain during this time. This has been estimated to be at most only eleven cats!

4 comments:

Skeezix the Cat said...

Yer gonna give Mao a big hed. He's walkin' arownd saying, "I'm the KING!" and he sez I'm his minyun. What's a minyun?

The Meezer Gang said...

This just proves what we, Meezers, have known all along! We are supposed to be treated as royalty, and nothing less is acceptable!

meeyauw said...

Years ago I studied cat genetics a tiny little bit. Now that I have Buddy I wish I had paid more attention. I am interested in how the Siamese gene can dominate a domestic housecat gene so that kids like Buddy are "half-Siamese". I would've assumed the blue eyes and points would disappear upon mixing with less regal stock! Fascinating.

Fritzamus Maximus said...

One of my Feeders is Thai. I think that makes me a Siamese cat! She said it's not the same... sigh. I guess I'm just a farmcat.