Welcome to February's Meezer Musings!
Back in 2016 (which, given everything that's happened since then, seems like a lifetime ago) I carried out a survey of Meezer Musings' readers, asking questions about their cats' ages, health, behavior, and many other aspects of life with Siamese cats.
I received a huge response - much larger than I was expecting - so I wasn't able to reply individually to those who took part. Nor was I able at that time to give the survey my full attention, although over the years since then I've aimed to answer many of the questions raised, either here in Meezer Musings or on other pages of the website.
I came across the survey again recently. One of the questions I asked in it was "What is your biggest frustration about living with Siamese cats?"
There were many thoughtful replies, both serious and humorous. They fell broadly into four categories, one of which could be loosely termed "I have no frustrations, but I wish I could have more cats"!
The other categories were health, personality issues and behavior. You'll find more about all of these further down the page, where I've highlighted the most prevalent concerns.
If you have a cat with any of the issues mentioned, you can be sure you're not alone. Over the coming months I'll be working on articles to cover more of the points raised, but first ...
In this Valentine month, Henri Pelletier of Gotier Siamese, who has been breeding Siamese cats in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for many years, sent me this charming photo of himself with his ten-month-old kitten Pharaoh seeking a kiss.
Those of you who know Henri, or have received a kitten from him in the past, may like to know that he'll be re-locating from Florida up to Northern Vermont in mid-March to care for a very sick family member. Our very best wishes go out to Henri at this difficult time.
Last month I asked for your help in finding a long-lost children's book for reader Clare, and I'm truly delighted that thanks to your efforts we were able to provide Clare with an answer!
The book in question was I Am From Siam, written by Tatiana Balkoff-Drowne, illustrated by Helen Meredith and published by Pantheon Books in 1961.
It featured two kittens called Aat and Kla (whose mother's name was Fa Ying) and is about "two Siamese kittens [who] come from Thailand to Brooklyn, bringing with them memories of their own country and a very special skill that helps them to fit into their new home".
Many thanks to those who responded, and especially to Gayle in the USA who provided the correct details. I forwarded these to Clare who was then able to find and order a second-hand copy of the book.
In our search for I Am From Siam, another reader, Milly in Australia, suggested a book called I Am Fa-Ying by Maud Linker, published in 1960.
While this wasn't the book Clare was looking for, it did give rise to a little mystery, as the book title was both similar to I Am From Siam and contained the same cats' name, despite being by a different author. Very curious!
Before we leave the book search, I thought I'd tell you that our investigations unearthed one of my own childhood favorites, Pushti, by Kathleen Nixon.
I can now remember very little about it, but the book was written in 1956 and was followed in 1959 by Poo and Pushti, in which Siamese kitten Pushti joins forces with Dachshund puppy Pindipoo.
Siamese cats were extremely popular in the 1950s and 60s (and may even have reached the peak of their popularity at that time) so it's not surprising that these and similar books were written then.
The books, like Siamese cats themselves, found their way into our hearts.
On that note, let's move on to our survey ...
The heading above was just one of the replies I received to my "what is your biggest frustration about living with Siamese cats?" question, and other people answered along similar lines ...
And many more!
On the downside, readers' frustrations mostly concerned health, personality or behavior, with health concerns listed below. From the least to the most serious, these were the challenges most often quoted by respondents when listing their frustrations.
Note, though, that these were only the issues listed under 'frustrations', as there was a separate question about health that brought back a much wider range of issues.
Siamese cats, as any Siamese cat owner knows, are BIG personalities. It's one of the reasons we love them. So it was quite surprising to find 'big personalities' listed as a frustration.
If you're new to Siamese cats and their ways, though, these issues may be frustrating to deal with (and of course not all the issues below apply to all Siamese cats!)
There's some overlap, of course, between personality and behavior. But these were the issues I felt related more to behavior than inherent personality.
One or two other concerns didn't fit neatly into the categories above.
The first, mentioned by several people, was about Siamese cats' reputation as 'mean' cats. This was started, I'm sure, by the 1955 movie of Lady and the Tramp. Siamese cats are rarely, if ever mean - and if they are, it's most probable that they didn't receive appropriate socialization as kittens, or were mistreated somewhere along the line.
Others mentioned the very deep real sense of loss experienced when Siamese cats die. Of course, this is experienced by all pet owners, but Siamese cats usually develop such deep bonds with their owners that they are very often thought of as family members, and mourned as such.
I'll leave the last word to one reader who wrote ...
"I have kept Siamese since 1973 and they bring joy, happiness, endless entertainment and I would not be without a Siamese or two in my life. They are very special."
February, always a short month, seems to have gone by in a flash!
I hope to be returning to many of the issues raised above in the course of the next year or so. I'll be back at the end of March when I hope to be able to tell you more about some of the things I'll be working on.
Have a wonderful month in the meantime!
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