The Siamese has come a long way from its origins in Siam. The cat used to be fairly robust, or cobby, with a round head. Now the cat is lean, almost scrawny, and bat eared, but its intense, sapphire blue eyes and dramatic personality remain. Though the Siamese did come from what is now Thailand, there’s really no evidence that it was raised for the pleasure of the royal court. This legend seems to be something invented to enhance the cat’s attractiveness and exoticness. If anything, the modern Siamese is more British than anything else, for this was where the breed was improved after it was first brought from the Orient. Siamese cats are known and valued for their points, which are darker colors that appear on an otherwise pale colored, short, fine, silky coat. The points are on the face, the ears, the legs and the tail. They're the result of a mutation where the enzyme for color only works around the coolest parts of the cat’s body, with the rest of the animal left in a state of at least semi-albinism. However, unlike other white cats with blue eyes, the Siamese isn’t deaf. But the same mutation that causes their fascinating points also gives them poor night vision. All Siamese kittens are born white and develop their points as they grow up. Older cats become darker all around. The seal point Siamese, with its velvety, dark brown points, is the most popular sort of Siamese. Other points are chocolate, blue point and lilac point. But even if the other attributes of the cat seem a bit awkward, the blue eyes, almond shaped and a little slanted, are simply irresistible. Some people could spend hours gazing into the blue eyes of a Siamese cat, if only the cat would let them. Another unique attribute of the Siamese cat is their voice, which is loud, baby-like and demanding. The Siamese cat is never standoffish and in its devotion and need to be around its human, it’s more like a dog than a cat. Like other cats, they do know when they're being addressed, but unlike most other cats, they seem to understand what’s being said and will talk back! They are utterly intolerant of their people quietly reading a book or a newspaper, and will climb up and lie down on the reading material. Though most cats play, the Siamese is exceptionally playful, and will chase a ball or a catnip stuffed mouse into its dotage. Because of the cat’s elegance of form, it’s been used to improve the breed of other cats, including the Balinese, Javanese, Tonkinese, Burmese Havana Brown and the Ocicat, the cross between an Abyssinian and Siamese that calls to mind the wild ocelot. The Siamese well deserves its place in the hearts of cat lovers everywhere.
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