Cat legends - Siamese cats, kinked tails and other stories

Where did the Siamese cat come from? Among other Siamese cat legends there's an enchanting story that whimsically speculates on this!

The lion and the monkey

Ape (similar in color to a Siamese cat?)

Did the Siamese cat originate from this ...
photo: © iStockphoto | Eric Isselée

This story was first told by George Cansdale (who was once the Superintendent of London Zoo, so he must have known a thing or two about animals) in 'Animals and Man'.

I read the story in Sally Franklin's 'The Complete Siamese'. It takes place after Noah had selected two of each of the animals for his Ark.

During the long weeks of the voyage, while waiting for the waters to subside, many of the animals got bored, and a liaison took place between an ape and a lioness.

Young lion (similar in shape to a Siamese cat?)

... and this?
photo: © iStockphoto | Eric Isselée

This mating resulted in the arrival of the first Siamese cat, said to have "the attributes of an ape and the bravery of a lion".

Of all the Siamese cat legends and stories, this is one I would love to believe!

My own cat has the mischievous nature of a monkey, and definitely the bravery of a lion - he's been known to chase foxes twice his size!

While you're considering this, here are some other popular Siamese legends.

Of kinked tails and crossed eyes

Several Siamese cat legends try to imagine how the breed might have got the kinked tails and crossed eyes that it's become known for.

These characteristics are seen as faults nowadays and have largely been bred out of Siamese genes, so you don't come across them as often as you used to, but the stories are still fun!

And there are still some Siamese cats with crossed eyes and kinked tails around.

The golden goblet

Once upon a time in the ancient kingdom of Siam (so the story goes) there came a period of war when all the men of the realm went off to defend their country.

They left behind a male and a female Siamese cat to guard a sacred golden goblet that had once been used by the Buddha.

After a romantic few days, doing as cats do when left to their own devices, the male, bored of his guard duties, wandered off to look for further pleasures.

The female, now pregnant, was left alone to guard the goblet. Overwhelmed with this responsibility, she wrapped her tail around the goblet's stem and fixed her eyes so that she wouldn't lose sight of it.

She waited and stared, stared and waited, and hoped that the men would return before her kittens were due.

With all that staring, her eyes developed a squint and her tail became permanently bent from holding on to the goblet stem.

The men didn't return, and eventually, of course, the kittens could wait no longer. They were finally born …

… and all of them had inherited her crossed eyes and kinked tail!

And to this very day, there are still some Siamese cats born with crossed eyes and kinked tails.

Another of the Siamese cat legends tells the story of ...

The princess and the ring stand

Once upon a time (it starts as all good legends do!) in the ancient kingdom of Siam …

… there was a Princess of the Royal Household who loved to swim.

Each day, she would make her way to her favorite bathing pool accompanied by her faithful feline companion. Each day, she would take off her rings, and, for safekeeping, place them over her cat's tail.

The cat would bend its tail to stop the rings from falling off, and gradually, over many years, the tail developed a permanent kink.

And to this very day, there are still some Siamese cats born with kinked tails!



Where to next? You might also enjoy these:


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Or go to:

Top of Siamese Cat Legends

Siamese Cat History

Life with Siamese Cats Home Page


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