Skip to comments.The Cat in Ancient Egypt
Posted on 01/31/2003 2:29:42 PM PST by vannrox
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We have had plenty of tabbies, calicos, tuxedos, etc, but have never had Siamese, they are definitely a breed apart!
One thing a lot of American breeders have done is exaggerate the top line of the skull and the length of the muzzle (and the relative size of the ears) as well as the body thinness and length, until you have almost a caricature of a Siamese. (I think that's one of the reasons a lot of folks have gone heavily into the old "apple head" type Siamese, in reaction.) I don't like the old type, but I always bred what I called a moderate and not "extreme" type cat. I did have a nice British strain in my line, through Marge Naples's DiNapoli cattery up in the Northeast, so the cats all have a nice top line and good heads without being extreme. I probably could never have showed a cat to Grand, given the type I was breeding, but I did have a lovely Champion BP male (God rest his soul, he's sleeping under a rhododendron bush in our front yard.)
Another deceptive thing about the "extreme" type Siamese is that they tend to put on a little more weight at 4-5 years of age and settle down just a trifle. The ones you see are always the young show cats - most folks will start campaigning a fine quality cat in the Kitten classes at 7-9 months, then move up to the Championship rings as soon as allowed. If you keep a busy show schedule, the cat will make Champion within the first year and point out to Grand within the next year or so (assuming the cat has the quality to go Grand). By the time the cat is 2 or 3, he or she is retired to breeding, so you never see the older cats in the ring. My older cats look more like cats and less like monkeys!
Of course their decendents (we have two) have never forgotten this ... and remind us daily.
I attended a cat show only once. That is a whole other world, isn't it?
My Champion BP Male was a great-grandchild of her lovely Gr. Ch. DiNapoli Serenade In Blue. She has forgotten more about Siamese than I ever knew, and she's written several delightful books. The books are a trifle dated now, especially the photos, but she knows her cats inside and out. I can highly recommend her "This Is the Siamese Cat" for lots of helpful info about 'measle idiosyncrasies.
I thought about Blue Point for that little boy (I SWEAR it's a boy!) but the points on the legs are low for a BP, and with every BP I've ever had the mask joined the ear points by the time they were 8 months old, and he looks older than that from his shoulder and hip development. The body color also looks too light for a BP. So I would say this is a Choc with Grand potential . . .
sciencediet, I would not let anybody know you have that cat. The more I look at him (or her) the better he (or she) looks!
She is definitely a girl and always has been. I never noticed that about the photo! All I can say is it must be a play of light. My husband took the photo a couple years ago and didn't notice, either. You are making me want to retouch it.
Here's a photo from my lousy digital about a month after she showed up. She took to 22 year-old Minka (a combo Tonk & black cat).
Sam is a chocolate point according to the vet.
You don't think I should look for the breeder? Sam has been here five years and was fixed a very long time ago.
When she was found, we contacted every authority, animal control, the local pet shops and put posters up on telephone poles all over the place. And no one ever claimed her. Where she was found is about a half mile from an old Interstate, so maybe there was an accident. But I don't think any cattery would be unhappy to discover that the lost kitten is alive and happy. Do you?
Most of all, her personality is amazing. She charms everyone she meets and many people have jokingly (I hope) threatened to kidnap her.
Do you (or anybody) have any idea how much a kitten like that would cost with papers?
Why do you think they might want her back if I ever found the cattery? She's spayed and has been with me so long that we are so bonded I feel like a Siamese twin.
She showed up when I was home from a major operation and bedridden for a month. She was about 12-16 weeks old and her hair was so thin you could see her skin. She spent the month in bed with me and policed the visiting nurses, examining everything they brought and making sure they did no harm.
We had her at least a month before I was able to get her to the vet when he guessed her age.
I have seen sealpoints who get very dark, nearly losing their points, but she has stayed pretty white and if you look closely, her ear points at 5 yo are not quite touching (something you or another mentioned here).
Thank you for all your information. This is fascinating and proves I no little about the breed.
Not as rare as lilacs but rarer than seals or blues. Seals are the dominant color, which is why there are so many, then blue is a dilute of seal. Chocolate is the recessive form of seal (so you need two recessive genes to get it) and lilac is the dilute of the recessive so the rarest to get.
"Why do you think they might want her back if I ever found the cattery? She's spayed and has been with me so long that we are so bonded I feel like a Siamese twin. "
Because some cat breeders are freaks. Sorry, there just isn't any other way to describe it (unless you want to use the word "nazi") but not all of them are that way and legally, I think they would have a very hard time trying to get back after all these years so you might be safe.
"She showed up when I was home from a major operation and bedridden for a month. She was about 12-16 weeks old and her hair was so thin you could see her skin. She spent the month in bed with me and policed the visiting nurses, examining everything they brought and making sure they did no harm."
Oh, poor kitty! Looks like you did a wonderful job with her. She looks just beautiful.
"I have seen sealpoints who get very dark, nearly losing their points, but she has stayed pretty white and if you look closely, her ear points at 5 yo are not quite touching (something you or another mentioned here)."
Chocolates are supposed to stay white, as are lilacs though some shading is allowed with age and truth is some of those colors shade pretty young anyway. Coat color on Siamese is heat dependent. If your cat was kept in a cold environment, you would notice her coat darken a lot more. That it is still pretty white at 5 years is a hallmark of good breeding in chocolates, one reason why I think her breeder specialized in them.
"Thank you for all your information. This is fascinating and proves I no little about the breed."
Siamese are one of the easiest breeds to learn about in part because they've been around for a very long time and their genetics are very simple if you stick with the four original colors - one reason I prefer breeding them, I would hate to sort out tabbies and ticking and who's masking what...
I'm really just teasing about the breeder, some of 'em are really funny about "their" cats - they never really let them go. I used to take my champion back to "visit" his "birth family" - he was a son of Hatcher Granville's oldest tom (Sonnenhof's Apache of Barba) and was always glad to see him. He would call on all his cousins and uncles and aunts - he made best friends with Hatcher's "boss neuter" Kinkajou (they looked a lot alike) and they would "walk the rounds" around the house, shoulder to shoulder, making sure that all the kittens and queens were behaving themselves.
I'll bet what happened is that somebody bought a breeder's kitten and then couldn't put up with the Siamese voice or the Siamese personality, and rather than return the kit just dumped it by the side of the road. You might take a head shot, front and side (like a mug shot) and circulate it to local breeders seeing if they recognize her. There is a strong family resemblance in most breeders' bloodlines - I could have picked any of MY kittens out of a lineup! :-D
I'm going to take your advice and not try to find the breeder. When I ran into you and AnAmericanMother and realized you knew a lot it, got my hopes up that the mystery could be solved. Sam amazes and makes me laugh every day and I could never let her go. She's got me wrapped around her little finger to the point my vacations aren't as long as they used to be.
My husband's theory, and he's sticking with it, is that someone dump them. Maybe the pair were a gift and the giftee didn't want them. I heard the animal control officer who kept the male, said the boy was a sealpoint.
One thing that concerns me is her appetite. She has caused us to keep an impeccably clean kitchen because anything that's edible is fair game for her - she's like a dog that way - except that she'll dive into the garbage disposal - you walk into the kitchen and see a long skinny tail sticking straight up from the sink. LOL!
My current cats are sort of a grab-bag. The little Lilac whose picture is back up this thread is descended from Maloja's Mr. B, Maloja's Billy Budd (I LOVE the Maloja look - majestic blue points!), the Taikablu BP line, and a whole crowd of Brock'Ann Lilacs. Her grouchy great-uncle the Blue Point is also a Maloja cat on his sire's side, his dam was a delightful BP lady but had Ophir and Thaibok in her background - NOT good for temperament! (I personally witnessed Thaibok Teriyaki take a large chunk out of a judge in the ring next to me!) He also has Fan-T-Cee and Quire Gal-X-C back of him. My "middle cat" the neurotic Siamese was purchased at a show when I fell in love with her dam. She was bred by Catananda, mostly Singa and Bel Canto on her sire's side, and Chanthara on her dam's. She is afraid of children but she loves our dog (go figure!) I think she was traumatized when my kids were toddlers . . . :-(
Went to your website and LOVE your kitties! The blue point girl at 11 mos. is the spitting image of my middle girl, she is now 12, my big male is 14, and the little Lilac is 2 and running the others ragged.
Bob is a murderer.
Chocolates are the next-to-rarest color of the four "REAL" colors (there are all sorts of ugly weird ones like Tortie-Point - looks like the cat got left out in the rain). The Seal is dominant, the Blue is a recessive, so a Seal may carry a Blue gene but a Blue will not carry a Seal gene. To complicate matters there is a separate recessive "dilute" factor which will turn a Seal into a Chocolate or a Blue into a Lilac. A Lilac is Blue + dilute (two recessives) and when bred to another Lilac will always give you nothing but Lilacs. Seals may carry both the blue and dilute factors, Blues may carry the dilute factor, and Chocolates may carry the Blue factor since they are a "Seal dilute". (Boy - I bet that doesn't make much sense. Even to me.)
The colors are controlled by heat - the pigment is heat-sensitive and will "burn out". My middle cat for reasons best known to herself likes to sleep with the right side of her face pressed against one of the hot air registers - so she has a little grid pattern in her mask on that side. It looks REALLY weird, but she's happy and she's not shown, so who cares? The big guy sleeps in the bathtub in hot weather, so his sides are VERY dark!
If I knew the answer to THAT question, I would have Cat of the Year all the time . . . ;-)
The show quality cat more nearly meets the Breed Standard that is published by the CFA: CFA Siamese Standard
The pet quality cat is one that the breeder would not want to breed from - it usually has some significant deviation from the standard and so would not improve the breed. I would say that the most common things you will see are a steep "break" or stop in the profile at the eyes (a Siamese ought to have as near a smooth line from between the ears to the tip of the nose as possible), a short or thick or kinked tail, undersized ears, or big feet. Muddy or uneven coloring and pale washed out eye color are two other things that will send a cat to the vet to be neutered or spayed.
So long as your kitty is very active, don't worry about her eating. If she's bounding around the house like a lunatic, she's burning all those calories as fast as she can consume them. If her eyes are clear and bright, her coat is shiny and not "staring" - rough and uneven with spiky patches, and she remains active and has good muscle tone, don't worry. That's just her body type, and if you are used to your standard Domestic Shorthair barn cat that probably has a significant amount of heavyweight longhair blood, she's going to look skinny to you. If she seems to be LOSING weight, loses the gloss on her coat, or anything like that, ask the vet to check her out. You also might consider that an active Siamese may need a premium food to get enough quality calories. I now feed mine Pinnacle, which is a sort of kitty natural health food diet, but when I was showing they all ate Science Diet and Iams dry food, supplemented with thawed frozen horsemeat and liquid vitamins.
LOL! There are pet stores that will happily sell to you a nice sheepskin bed with a pressure sensitive heating pad thermostat controlled for optimum kitty temperature! My cats shove each other out of the way to sleep in it! Of course, they also have a cat tree, a cat hammock in a sunny window, the top shelves of the closet, the bathtub, the kitchen sink (middle cat likes to sleep there), or the middle of whatever book I'm reading . . .
Our girl is Oklahoma bred and comes from older lines, In Lieu (which was right here in Tulsa) Chosen - another OK cattery, Nor-Bob and some others. Consequently she's not as typey as todays show cats and her kits retain some of the classic look. But, she makes up for it by instilling a wonderful, people loving temperment on the more extreme type our boys bring.
This is the father of the blue girl (and all the kits on that page) He is from australia out of Tweema lines
I don't think I've ever heard of Taikablu or Brock'Ann, but I've heard Fan-T-Cee inbred out the wazoo and had some health issues to show for it.
I sort of understand your genetics lesson and hope I won't forget it - no, I'm going to paste it into Notepad and read it a few more times.
Okay, so if I heated up the cat, she might lighten up? Do people who show theirs have techniques, like putting sweaters on them?
Teriyaki was an incredibly beautiful cat, that's why everybody kept buying his kittens even though he was mean as a snake. I spent several two day shows in the same show hall with him, and you could tell when he was mad, he let the whole room know it! He always won big . . . if he didn't get sent down for attacking the judge.
My current boy with Thaibok behind him is not aggressive, but he IS a grouch if things don't go his way. What he will do that will startle somebody who isn't used to it -- if I am not paying him sufficient attention in the morning while getting dressed he will follow me around complaining loudly, and if I don't stop and pet him and scratch his ears he sits up on his hind legs and BITES me on the knee! Not hard enough to leave marks, but QUITE hard enough to get your attention! ("I TOLD you I wanted to speak with you!") He also will leap into my arms and onto my shoulder, and drape himself around my neck like a fur piece. For fourteen he is still very active and frisky, especially when egged on by the young Lilac. She will tag him, almost yell, "You're It!" and take off down the hall like a maniac. He comes lumbering along behind like a herd of elephants, but the other day he got excited enough that when she jumped from the back of a chair to the top of a bureau through a door onto a closet shelf 6 feet off the ground, he was right behind her and squashed her into the wall at the back of the closet! (I'm surprised he didn't have a heart attack from the sudden exertion.)
She loves Bench & Field kibble and Fancy Feast, spaghetti sauce, rice, pizza. There isn't much she won't hunt down and inhale. She looks skinny and people guess she's 4 or 5 pounds when she weighs over 7 and is solid.
When I first took her to the vet I asked him if she was nuts and when he finished laughing, he gave me a brief explanation of the breed, but it continues to astound.
I always kept my kittens a good long time, to make sure they had sufficient body fat to weather the adjustment to a new household (a lot of kittens will get a mild illness when adjusting to new food, water, germ pool, etc.) Since Siamese are so thin, they don't have much fat reserve in case of illness.
I never thought about a jacket or sweater because my cats had good clear body color in their younger (showing) years, but a warm jacket would probably lighten the body up -- of course, any Siamese worth her salt would have that jacket OFF and SHREDDED within ten minutes! Here's a funny story though:
This Siamese cat, raised in a cold environment in Moscow in the late 20s, developed a relatively dark coat. An area on his shoulder was shaved, and the cat wore a warm jacket while the fur was growing back. When the shaved hair grew back in, it was white, the same color as the cat's belly, due to the increased temperature under the jacket. This was not due to scarring, as the hair grew in normally colored later.
Don't know much about Australian cats - the only imports I ever had dealings with were Laurentide and Doneraile, both English lines which are back of the Sand'n'Seas cats in my Rich-Hat lines.
If you go back far enough through the pedigrees, my kits have all sorts of famous old-time cats back of them. The gene pool was a lot more restricted in those days! :-D
That article on the white spotting gene in What Makes a Cat Siamese is a keeper. Fascinating about points and the temperature factor, mainly because sometimes I feel sorry for her looking for the warmest places. It's not cold in here, she just likes maximum heat. Our other cats are two longhaired black cats and a gray tabby, so we say Sam is trying to get a tan. Maybe I'll see if I can find a leg warmer and see how she reacts.
I am an old Boolean search expert, I used the first LEXIS/NEXIS stand-alone terminal in Atlanta GA (back in 1980 - when LEXIS was brand new) and have been searching databases for a living ever since! It's kind of a knack to put the words together in a way that locates the stuff you're looking for.
I used to take my old knitted dance leg warmers, cut them to length, put four holes in them, and "dress" my parents' extremely tolerant Lilac Point Siamese back in the 60s. She was a Blue Iris cat, owned by Mrs. R.J. Snelling of Decatur, GA, by Madali Mai Devotion of Blue Iris out of Blue Iris Bliss. Elo-Yse, Jen-Kins and Ventura breeding. She lived to be 22 years old and was quite a character. Just as a joke/present for my parents, I took her litter registration certificate and had her registered in C.F.A. at the age of 18. The folks at Headquarters were highly amused, and we corresponded for awhile and sent photos back and forth. She was sort of an "apple head" even with her very exalted breeding, because the Lilac gene pool was extremely limited in the 60s. At that time they were breeding for even color on the points and nose leather and clarity of body color (even at her death she still had the "glacial white" body color called for in the standard) at the expense of type.
We almost lost Finny (the Blue boy) about four years ago to a mysterious virus and low grade fever. We wound up having to administer subcutaneous fluids at home once a day. My daughter would hold him on the kitchen counter while I popped the needle in to the slack of his flanks on each side. He stood perfectly still, but he would take my daughter's hand in his teeth, very gently, and look around at me as if to say, "Now don't make any sudden moves, and nobody will get hurt!" He never did chomp down on her, but I was VERY careful! (my daughter was steady as a rock, she'll make a good vet some day if she decides to go that route.)