Siamese Breed Photo

Siamese

Siamese cats are social, affectionate, clever animals who make loving and loyal pets. Described as being "dog-like," these kitties mesh well into most families.
By Hilary Braaksma and Claudia Guthrie
Updated March 15, 2021
Siamese
Coat Length
Pattern
Other Traits
Temperament

Siamese

height
  • 8—10 inches
weight
  • 6—14 pounds
life span
  • 15—20 years
good with
  • children
  • seniors
  • dogs
  • families
temperament
  • sociable
  • affectionate
  • neurotic
  • bold
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • infrequent
playfulness
  • high
activity level
  • active
vocalness
  • howler
coat length
  • short
colors
  • chocolate / brown / sable
  • cinnamon
  • lavender / silver
  • fawn
  • blue / gray
  • black / ebony
  • cream / beige / tan
  • lilac
  • white
patterns
  • color point
other traits
  • hypoallergenic
  • easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • friendly toward humans
  • highly territorial
  • high potential for weight gain
  • good for first-time pet owners
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good lap cat
  • tolerates being picked up

The Siamese cat is a bright, intelligent feline with a handsome appearance and charming personality who can't help but draw admirers wherever he goes. These cats are known for being rather "dog-like," and love attention—human affection is one thing this breed can't get enough of.

Siamese kittens typically cost anywhere between $250–$1,000 and are a fairly popular breed. In 2018, the Siamese was the 13th most registered cat breed with the Cat Fanciers' Association. With their affectionate (and chatty!) personalities, it's easy to see why they're so beloved.

Appearance

Siamese cats have a lean, lengthy frame with slim but muscular bodies. His long, thin limbs and tails, coupled with a high-contrast colorpoint pattern, make him instantly recognizable. His colorpoint coats give the illusion of mystery, with darkened masquerade-like fur near the face, ears, legs, and tail.

siamese cat sitting on couch
The dog-like Siamese is often described as a "Velcro kitty." He loves his humans deeply, and will always want to be by their side—if not in their lap!
| Credit: Daria Chichkareva / Shutterstock

Because of their genetics, this breed will always have piercing blue eyes (which can sometimes be a little cross-eyed) that adds to their striking, elegant appearance. And because of their short, light coat that doesn't shed much, Siamese cats can be a good fit for allergy sufferers.

Though you might picture a Siamese as cream with dark colorpoints, there are actually four color combinations these kitties can be: seal point (the typical fawn or cream body with dark seal colorpoint), chocolate point (ivory body with dark brown colorpoint), blue point (light silver bodies to a dark, grayish-blue colorpoint ), and lilac point (light cream bodies with a pinkish-gray colorpoint). They're all so beautiful, you might be tempted to adopt one of each!

Temperament

The Siamese cat's personality is friendly, affectionate, outgoing, and social. This beautiful breed is also one of the most intelligent around. The Siamese is loving and trusting with humans, and he thrives with lots of positive human interaction. He's also deeply sensitive and will take any harsh words to heart. As with any pet, use positive reinforcement when training him to use the litter box or teaching him your couch is not a scratching toy.

Kirsten Kranz, director of Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue, says many Siamese are "Velcro kitties," whose love for their owners is so intense they'll often stick to their side, following them from room to room in pursuit of pets and snuggles.

Pair of siamese kittens
Siamese cats are incredibly social, so adopting a pair will help make sure your kittens stay loved and entertained.
| Credit: Suphattra Phonsen / EyeEm / Getty

Because they love their humans so much, it's a given these cats love to cuddle and be held. And although they need space to do their own thing at times, to a Siamese "doing your own thing" usually means hanging out a few feet away, rather than right on top of you.

Siamese cats also have a reputation as being conversationalists, meowing loudly to their owners. Though, as every cat is an individual, not every one is chatty. "Siamese can be very vocal, but it's not the majority of them," Kranz says. "Those that are will talk your ear off, [and are] maybe 25 percent of [the breed]. The rest are either moderately talkative, or not talkative at all."

A Siamese might dub one member of the household "his person," and form a bond tighter with them than anyone else. A prime example of this: The relationship Patti Randall (played by Hayley Mills) has with D.C. the Siamese in Disney's 1965 movie That Darn Cat! But as long as everyone gives him lots of loving, this breed will cuddle up with any family member. 

Movie poster for That Darn Cat by Walt Disney
Disney's 1965 film follows the misadventures of D.C. the Siamese cat.
| Credit: LMPC / Getty

Living Needs

These cats, especially Siamese kittens, have a surprising amount of energy in such little furry bodies. "This is a breed that will need a lot of interaction and mental stimulation to be healthy," Kranz says. "These are not couch potato cats."

The Siamese's exceptional intelligence means you'll need to shower them with affection so they don't feel neglected. Adopting a pair of Siamese cats, or bringing home a Siamese and another breed, will go a long way to making sure he stays entertained—nobody can resist a 24/7 playmate!

But even if they have other feline friends to bat crinkly toys around with, these people-oriented pets can't handle being left to their own devices for long. The Siamese thrives in a home where people spend a lot of time, and going long periods without human interaction can leave these kitties depressed and anxious. If you happen to leave your Siamese to his own devices a few hours too long, don't be surprised to come home and find vases knocked over and toilet paper rolls shredded.

Siamese kitten stares intently at pink rubber ball
A Siamese kitten's favorite time is playtime! Stock up on interactive toys to keep him engaged, and schedule daily one-on-one play as well.
| Credit: Romas Vysniauskas / Adobe Stock

"Siamese are very dog-like in that they crave interaction and play with their humans," says Nicole Goudey-Rigger, owner and CEO of Pets a Go Go in Stamford, Conn.

Count on your Siamese to be a constant companion, sharing everything with you from sleeping arrangements to bathroom time. He'll be like a little, furry, vocal shadow, following you from room to room and asking "whatcha doing?" and "can I have a treat?"

Along with their emotional sensitivity, this breed is also sensitive to some physical elements—especially to cold. Be sure to provide them lots of cuddles, warmth, and maybe even a little sweater if you live in a cold climate.

Kranz says Siamese cats—especially males, who tend to be more "dog-like"—make great family cats. "Most, when integrated slowly and carefully with other pets and respectful children, do very well," she says. "Each cat is an individual and should be treated as such." 

Women with 50s hairdo holds siamese cat on shoulder
Credit: Sunset Boulevard / Getty

Care

Because of their short, nonshedding coat, these cats don't need a ton of grooming. In fact, weekly combing, regular ear cleaning, and nail trimming are all a typical Siamese cat requires. But feel free to brush your kitty's coat just for fun—after all, he loves to be doted on.

While he might be low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, you need to make sure you provide him with ample opportunity for play and movement. Stock up on interactive cat toys, cat trees, and other fun gifts. Pencil in daily play time as well.

Siamese cat lays on blue comforter
Siamese cats can be one of four color combinations, but will always have striking blue eyes.
| Credit: Laura Drake / EyeEm / Getty

Because of their big brains, Siamese cats are easy to train. Though that doesn't necessarily mean they can be taught to do anything—with their intelligence comes a serious side of willfullness. They want to please you, but they prefer to do it their way, when they want to.

Feed your Siamese high-quality cat food and monitor food intake to help prevent obesity, which they are prone to. Check in with your veterinarian to know how much and how often you should be feeding your individual cat.

Health

Siamese cats are generally healthy pets and have an impressive lifespan of 15–20 years, and some even live past that.

The Siamese cat's greatest health risks include amyloidosis (disease of the liver), asthma, dental disease (make sure to keep a close eye on your cat's teeth), and several kinds of cancer. Reputable Siamese breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it's important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. Some health problems can go undetected until later in your cat's life.

Take care of your Siamese cat's health and wellbeing by scheduling regular visits to the vet.

Siamese cat laying on a bed of straw
Siamese cat crouches in grass
Left: Siamese cats are known for being chatty. When they're around their owners, they're usually asking "when's dinner?" and "can I have pats?" | Credit: Kacy Kizer / Getty Images
Right: Siamese cats are generally healthy pets, and can live to be 15–20 years old. | Credit: illustrez-vous / Adobe Stock

History

Siamese cats are considered one of the oldest existing Asian cat breeds, according to the National Siamese Cat Club. They originated in Thailand (formerly Siam) and were highly prized by royalty. When they were imported to England in the late 19th century, they took these "Royal Cats of Siam" took the country by storm, where they appeared in catalogues and were coveted by the wealthy.

The Siamese has only continued to grow in popularity since then, and is consistently ranked as one of the most popular cat breeds in the U.S.

Photo of girl with glasses holding a tan cat
Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Fun Facts

  • Famous Siamese cat owners include James Dean, President Rutherford B. Hayes, Marilyn Monroe, President Jimmy Carter, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, and John Lennon.
  • Siamese cats have been used to create other cat breeds, including Himalayan, Burmese, and Tonkinese.
  • Long-haired Siamese are actually considered their own breed: the Balinese.