Modern Siamese cats (also known as show-style) are very beautiful; slim, elegant and graceful. However, there's a great deal of controversy about them, with some people referring to their look as 'alien', or 'unnatural'.
This type of Siamese has a long, slim body, small head, triangular wedge-shaped face, long straight nose, huge ears, and a long slim whip-like tail.
Modern Siamese are show cats. They're very eye-catching, but there's also an air of fragility about them.
So why do some people dislike them so much?
The modern show-style Siamese - graceful and elegant
photo: © Vicvx | Creative Commons
Think of it like this.
When drawing a cartoon, a cartoonist emphasizes those features in a human which stand out as more extreme than the average.
And likewise, cat breeders over the years have bred from cats that they felt possessed the features (body shape, length of legs and tails, size of ears and shape of face) thought to be the most ideal version that they could be of the breed.
These breeders aimed to breed the perfect Siamese cat, and so they emphasized the features that they felt would achieve this.
However, this type of breeding led, over generations, to those features becoming more and more extreme (longer and longer bodies, smaller and smaller heads, ever more triangular faces, larger and larger ears).
The resulting shape was far removed from what Siamese cats originally looked like, and many people, used to the original version, were very unhappy with this new look, which really started to take hold in the 1980s.
To achieve this look a certain amount of in-breeding took place, and this led to the modern type of cat becoming prone to health problems, including kidney failure and cardiomyopathy and other heart problems.
Generally, this breed is very healthy and long-lived, but because of the problems described, some modern Siamese may die early in life, not surviving past five or six.
(This is certainly not true of all cats of this type, many of whom are just as long-lived as their original counterparts, but it has been known to happen.)
Because of this there's been a move by breeders, particularly in the United States, to promote and return to the more moderate, old-fashioned body type that was popular in earlier times.
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Information provided on this website is not intended to replace professional advice. If you have any concerns about your cat's health, please consult a veterinarian.
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