Siamese - About the Breed
The breed standard of the modern Siamese calls for an elongated, tubular, and muscular body and a triangular head, forming a perfect triangle from the tip of the nose to each tip of the ear. The eyes are almond-shaped and light blue, while the ears are large, wide-based, and positioned more towards the side of the head. The breed has a long neck, a slender tail, and fur that is short, glossy, fine, and adheres to the body with no undercoat. Its pointed color scheme and blue eyes distinguish it from the closely related Oriental Shorthair. The modern Siamese shares the pointed color pattern with the Thai, or traditional Siamese, but they differ in head and body type.
The pointed pattern is a form of partial albinism, resulting from a mutation in tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin production. The mutated tyrosinase enzyme is heat-sensitive; it fails to work at normal body temperatures, but becomes active in cooler (< 33 °C) areas of the skin. This results in dark colouration in the coolest parts of the cat's body, including the extremities and the face, which is cooled by the passage of air through the sinuses. All Siamese kittens, although pure cream or white at birth, develop visible points in the first few months of life in colder parts of their body. By the time a kitten is four weeks old, the points should be sufficiently clearly distinguishable to recognise which colour they are. Siamese cats tend to darken with age, and generally, adult Siamese living in warm climates have lighter coats than those in cool climates. Originally the vast majority of Siamese had seal (extremely dark brown, almost black) points, but occasionally Siamese were born with "blue" (a cool grey) points, genetically a dilution of seal point; chocolate (lighter brown) points, a genetic variation of seal point; or lilac (pale warm gray) points, genetically a diluted chocolate. These colours were at first considered "inferior" seal points, and were not qualified for showing or breeding. All of these shades were eventually accepted by the breed associations, and became more common through breeding programmes specifically aimed at producing these colours. Later, outcrosses with other breeds developed Siamese-mix cats with points in other cat colours and patterns, including Red and Cream point, lynx (tabby) point, and tortoise-shell ("tortie") point.
In the United Kingdom, all pointed Siamese-style cats are considered part of the Siamese breed. In the United States, a major cat registry, the Cat Fanciers' Association, considers only the four original fur colors as Siamese: seal point, blue point, chocolate point, and lilac point. Oriental Shorthair cats with color points in colors or patterns aside from these four are considered color point Short hairs in that registry. The World Cat Federation has also adopted this classification, treating the color point Short hair as a distinct breed.
Many Siamese cats from Thailand had a kink in their tails, but over the years this trait has been considered a flaw. Breeders have largely eradicated it, but the kinked tail persists among street cats in Thailand.
Siamese are usually very affectionate and intelligent cats, renowned for their social nature. Many enjoy being with people and are sometimes described as "extroverts". Often they bond strongly to a single person. Some Siamese are extremely vocal, with a loud, low-pitched voice—known as "Meezer", from which they get one of their nicknames—that has been compared to the cries of a human baby, and persistent in demanding attention. These cats are typically active and playful, even as adults, and are often described as more dog-like in behavior than other cats.
Sound "Meezer" of a Siamese cat.
Siamese cats, due to their desire to be near people or other cats, occasionally suffer from depression or separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time, and it is for this reason that Siamese cats are often bought in pairs so that they can keep each other company.
Oriental - About the Breed
The Oriental Shorthair is a member of the Siamese family of breeds, and can be found in various solid colors, and patterns such as smoke, shaded, parti-color/tortoiseshell, tabby and bicolor (any of the above, with white). Not all variants are acceptable to all organizations that recognize the breed.
Conforming Oriental Shorthairs, like any of the Siamese type, have almond-shaped eyes and a wedge-shaped head with large ears. Their bodies are typically "sleek" but muscular.
The long-haired version of the breed, the Oriental Longhair (recognized since 1995 by CFA), simply carries a pair of the recessive long hair genes.
Foreign White - About the Breed
The foreign white cat is a blue-eyed, all-white Siamese without any point colour on tail, face, paws or ears.
It was in 1960 that people in England had the idea to breed a Siamese which would be completely white. Due to the blue eyes and white cats combination, a solution had to be found to prevent deafness of the kittens.
In 1962 Pat Turner, a famous cat geneticist, started to mate a white British shorthair cat to a Siamese with the darkest blue eyes, the seal-point. Out of this programm the modern foreign white cat was developed, which is today accepted by all breeding associations.
Foreign Whites are extremely attractive and always an “eye-catcher”, the breed is still rare.