While many believe that the Siamese cat has roots in Egypt, there is no evidence for this. Those that believe this often site the appearance of the modern-day Siamese cat and how it resembles the cats depicted in Egyptian art. However, they’re missing the fact that the appearance of the modern day Siamese has been modified through breeding. In other words, true ancestors of the present-day Siamese had rounder heads than those shown in ancient Egyptian art, as well as a different body structure. The current triangular shaped head of the modern Siamese, along with it’s lithe body is only due to the efforts of modern day breeders. nothing more. The reason that you may see the Siamese listed as a cat from ancient Egypt is due to the fact that they were most likely imported from Siam vs. originating from Egypt.
Everything You Need to Know
Now that we’ve got the ancient Egypt origin theory out of the way, it’s time to dig into what we do know–what we’ve evidence for. So far, it’s believed that the origin of the Siamese cat occurred somewhere in ancient Thailand, or Siam. Researchers have located manuscripts from Siam authors which may help to shed some much needed light on the true origin of the Siamese cat.
One of the manuscripts was titled, “Cat Book Poems”. This ancient manuscript was completed in 1350. Inside the manuscript, researchers found images of cats whose color pattern was that of the present day Siamese. Here, each cat had a pale beige coat. In contrast, their face, tail, ears and legs were darker in color giving it the coloration of a current day Seal Point Siamese. From what we know so far, these drawings found in ancient Siam are the first depictions of the Siamese cat.
What was/is a Wichianmat Landrace, and What has it to do with Siamese Cat History?
Additional evidence is provided by the existence of the Wichianmat Landrace. The Wichianmat Landrace is considered by many to be the true ancestor of todays Siamese cat. This breed is thought to have originated in ancient China, finding its way to Siam via trade between the two countries. This ancient breed had the classic Siamese coloration. However, it differed significantly with regards to body type. The Wichianmat Landrace’s body was stocky in comparison to todays Siamese cat. Also, the Wichianmat Landraces head was round, better known as an apple head as opposed to today’s triangular shaped head.
In fact, we can still see the breed today! That’s right.The Wichianmat Landrace is still around, still enjoying the love and care poured onto it by its owners, only it goes by the name of the Thai cat. As you can see by the preceding image, the Thai cats appearance does resemble the Siamese with subtle differences in body conformation and head shape.
The Royal Cats of Siam
Further evidence backing Siam as their place of origin can be found in records dating from the 1600. These records not only validate the theory of Siam as the origin of the modern day Siamese cat, but also tell us how these cats were treated. The ancestor of today’s Siamese cats were not considered as vermin or strays. On the contrary, it’s been found that only the royal folk or the wealthy could claim ownership of these loyal and lovely felines.
For you see, the ancient Siamese was seen as a cat with special spiritual powers. They were considered spiritual guardians of both palaces and religious temples. Not only that, they feasted on the rodents they killed, which helped to keep these areas clean and disease free.
Did you know that it was common practice to include Siamese cats in the funeral process of their owners? That’s right. In ancient Siam, when a royal or noble passed away, a cat from their household was selected for a special position. This chosen Siamese cat was to play host to the dearly departed’s spirit. The chosen cat was then given a home of its own where it would live out the rest of its days.with it’s every need fulfilled by the priests of the Temple.
How do the Ancient Legends of Siam Help Prove that the Siamese Cat Originated in Siam?
Further evidence for the Siamese cat originating in Siam can also be gleaned from several ancient legends. Today, breeders work to eliminate the kinked tail and cross-eyed traits which have always been associated with the modern day Siamese. These traits can be found in ancient Legends featuring the Siamese cat.
For instance, there exists an ancient legend of Siam which tells the tale of how the Siamese cat attained its infamous kinked tail. In this legend, Siamese cats were used to hold the rings of royal princesses while they bathed. As a result of decades of performing this duty, their tails became permanently kinked.
Another example of a legend which provides evidence that today’s Siamese originated in Siam involves their crossed eyes. In this legend, two Siamese cats were given the task to find a special, royal goblet. They searched high and low for this royal goblet. Once the pair found this most important artifact, they made an agreement where one cat would return to the king, and the other would stay and guard it. The Siamese cat who agreed to guard the royal goblet became so dedicated to watching the goblet, that its eyes became crossed due to the constant watching. Not only that, but as an extra precaution, it wrapped it’s tail around the stem of the royal goblet to ensure it stayed put. As a result, Siamese cats from that day forth would have crossed eyes and kinked tails!
As previously stated, there are some Siamese cat enthusiasts which site the ancient art of Egypt as proof that the Siamese can originated in Egypt. However, it’s the opinion of this article that the evidence points to Siam, or current day Thailand, as the origin of today’s Siamese cat. The evidence includes:
- Images from the 1350 manuscript the “Cat Poem Book
- Ancient legends centering on modern day Siamese cats cross-eyed and kinked tail traits
- The resemblance of today’s Siamese to the ancient Wichianmat Landrace or Thai cat
There you have it, a short and concise history of the origin of the intelligent, loyal and loving Siamese cat.