Why are Siamese Cats Cross-Eyed?

Siamese Cats

Siamese cats have unique features that distinguish them from other cat breeds. We have two types of Siamese cats; the traditional breed and the modern breed, achieved through continuous and selective breeding. The traditional breed is mostly found in Thailand, and they are known to have crossed blue eyes and kinked tails. This article will mostly focus on the modern breed and analyze some possible reasons why they have crossed eyes.

Siamese cats are believed to be the oldest domesticated cat breed. According to Siamese of Day, research from Thai manuscripts shows that these cats can be traced to as early as the 14th century. They are also believed to originate from Thailand. As mentioned earlier, we have two Siamese cats; the modern Siamese cat and the traditional Thai cat. We only have blue-eye Siamese cats found in most parts of the world.

With frequent selective breeding and line breeding have contributed to reducing the number of Siamese cats. This factor has also resulted in the rarity of the cross-eye variation. Cross-eye is a condition also known as bilateral medial strabismus. It is found in the genes of Siamese cats, but selective breeding tends to interfere with that gene. If you want to spot a cross eye Siamese cat, you will mostly find it in Thailand.

Reasons why Siamese cats have cross-eye

There are a few reasons which have been suggested as to why Siamese cats have cross eyes. The genetic makeup, and structure of the eye are some of the most common reasons. We are going to look at some of these reasons in detail.

The mythical reason

If we have to know why Siamese cats have cross eyes, we can’t forget the story of the royal goblet. There is a myth that tries to explain why Siamese cats are cross-eyed. The myth suggests that Siamese cats were tasked to protect the golden royal goblet in ancient times. They were given this particular task because of their enigmatic look. This was such a precious task, so the cats ensured that the precious goblet was well guarded. It is said that they developed cross eyes from closely watching the goblet day and night. This also made them develop a kinked tail shape. As much as it sounds absurd, we can’t completely discard this reason because, who knows, maybe our feline friends developed cross eyes from doing a crucial job.

The genetic reason

The second reason suggests that Siamese cats feature albino genes in their genetic makeup, which give them the cross-eye condition. To understand this reason, we have to understand the unique characteristics of the albinism gene. When Siamese cats are born, they are white, but they develop faded white fur and darker spots as they grow. The white fur is believed to be caused by albinism genes, and the spots by modifier genes. The color of the spots may range from black and grey to brown. The color depends on the temperature of the skin. Body parts with the lowest temperatures, such as paws, neck, and face, are where the albino genes are concentrated, making them have cross-eyes.

The scientific reason

Scientific studies show that the gene responsible for the color of the fur also controls the optic nerves. Cats have forward-pointing eyes like humans. The eyes take two sides of an image and merge it for the brain to process. According to Epic Pet Club, in normal cats, the retina is usually the opposite of the iris, creating a 20/20 vision. The albino genes found in Siamese cats interfere with the optic nerve pathway, disrupting the full binocular vision process. This condition is known as strabismus. It makes the right retina slightly move to the left and vice versa. The albino gene is believed to cause this abnormality in the retina.

Other suggested reasons

It is common for Siamese cats to have cross-eyes. However, if you have a Siamese cat that develops this condition later, it could be because of other reasons besides the ones we have discussed. Genetic factors do not cause horizontal strabismus that comes at a later stage. One of the possible reasons outlined is prolonged optical trauma. Other reasons are nerve damage which occurs during pregnancy. A virus could also cause the condition. These reasons are not caused by inherited genes and need close examination. If your cat develops strabismus later, please take it to the veterinarian for review.

Why some Siamese cats don’t have cross-eyes

It is rare to spot a modern Siamese cat with cross-eyes. Cross-eyed Siamese cats are only common in Thailand. Recently, many breeders have engaged in selective and continuous breeding to produce Siamese cats with normal eyes. According to Daily Paws, the Cat Fancier Association is also conducting a campaign to encourage breeders to produce normal-eyed Siamese cats. This has made it difficult to come across a modern Siamese cross-eyed cat.

Should I be worried if my cat has Siamese eyes?

If your Siamese cat gives birth to a kitten with Siamese eyes, it is normal, and there is no cause for alarm. The cross-eye is caused by albino genes, as we have already discussed. However, it must be looked at if your cat develops this condition later. Take your cat to the veterinarian, who will be able to advise you on the best cause of action to take.

Conclusion

Cross-eyes are a common trait in Siamese cats. The existence of albino genes in Siamese cats is the main cause of cross-eyes. Siamese cats in Thailand have the cross-eye variation, but it is less common in the west because of cross-breeding and line-breeding. If you want to own a cross-eyed Siamese cat, you can visit any animal shelter and follow the adoption procedures. Strabismus is found in Siamese cats and should not be seen as a disability. You only need to love your cat and treat it normally if it has this condition. If the condition comes later, take your cat to the vet.

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