|Thai cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick|
Thai cats are Classic Siamese cats. Well, in my opinion they are. The Messybeast author says that the classic Siamese is the Modern Siamese; this is wrong I am sure. The word "classic" conjures up authentic or old, the opposite to modern. Before I proceed let me say that my views as stated here might seem provocative or downright incorrect by some people in the cat fancy, particularly the people who produced the Thai cat! But this site is not written in the style of an encyclopedia. I don't regurgitate the "facts", I give my views on what I have decided is the truth. It is extremely factual but facts are often modified by opinion even in encyclopedias. I'd like people who disagree to tell me by leaving a comment if they can spare a moment.
Update 19-5-09: I am pleased to have received some information on this breed from Dr. Cris Bird, President PREOSSIA; chair of Thai breed, TICA. I have added her comments below.
Update 29-12-09: I am also pleased to hear from Mary Alexander of Blue-Gem Siamese. Please see below.
The Thai cat is a new/old cat breed. This new breed is a reflection of the drift back to the way things were in the Siamese cat world until about the middle of the 1900s (about 1960 to be more precise).
The Thai cat can also be called the Classic Siamese cat or even the Traditional Siamese cat. A Traditional Siamese cat breeder, Victoria (of the Thai Legend Cattery) in Russia says this:
"My cattery is registered in WCF (World Cats Federation). In this association the Traditional Siamese (apple-head) are named Thai cats..."This is an example of one of her cats:
Above:As can be seen this is a traditional Siamese cat but called a Thai Cat in Russia and other countries that register their cats through the Word Cat Federation. This highlights the complications with the Thai cats. It would have been better if all cat associations and cat fancy people had stuck with "Traditional Siamese" to refer to old style Siamese cats. What am I talking about? It's actually all spelled out in a long article on Siamese cat history.
In summary, when the Siamese cat was imported from Siam (Thailand) in the late 1800s (1884) this cat, rare as it then was at that time, was simply a normal looking cat with a pointed coat. In fact, the face and body were quite rounded, not at all long or "foreign" in type ("foreign" in the cat fancy means slender and "type" means appearance and shape). In the mid 1900s the cat fancy (cat breeders) decided to "refine" the appearance.
This meant making the cat more delicate and elongated, rather peculiar looking in fact and not at all natural in appearance. A bit like an over done face lift. By the end of the 1900s and in to the 21st century the appearance of a once normal domestic cat had changed out of all recognition to a cat breed referred to as the Modern Siamese cat. The cat breed was still called the Siamese cat, however.
|Thai cats photo copyright Helmi Flick|
What happened is that there is now a range of appearances from the contemporary (Modern ) through (via) the Classic to the Traditional (more rounded head and face). There is no definition of a Classic Siamese or a Traditional Siamese as far as I am aware (except for the new breed standard for Thai cats) but Thai cats are probably closest to the mid range Siamese cat or Classic Siamese cat. It is a great day for traditionalists. And it is apparent that things are changing as Helmi Flick, one of the worlds best cat photographers is now being asked to photograph Thai cats. Until recently she would rarely meet the traditional looking Siamese at cat shows for the above reasons.
|Thai cats - Rock - photo copyright Helmi Flick|
- "Traditional Siamese" and "Classic Siamese" are not official breed names.
- The breed should not be referred to as "Classic" or "Traditional" Siamese. The only correct names are "Thai" (recognized by TICA and WCF) and "Old-Style Siamese" (semi-officially recognized by GCCF and the OSSC in the U.K. at www.oldstylesiamese.co.uk, as well as by PREOSSIA in the U.S. www.oldstylesiamese.com). My response: I am pleased to make the correction but as I said I am simply presenting my argument as I see it. The terms Classic and Traditional are widely used in the cat fancy generally.
- Cristy also says, "be sure to use only photos [of the breed] obtained by people who show the breed in TICA, WCF, and GCCF. Photos from breeders who don't show are often of non-authentic cats. There are a lot of cats being sold as "applehead Siamese" that are not authentic. The non-authentic cats typically have fluffier coats, stocker bodies, and heads like a British Shorthair or American Shorthair." Thanks for that enlightening information.
I think it's important for people to see what a beautiful modified wedge Siamese should look like. These kittens...are sired by my Bacchus, who's grandfather was a recent import from Thailand. Bacchus grandsire was brought into this country by Dr. Cris Bird. She and a few others, like me, are working to preserve these genetic linage's, and promote a healthy well balanced Siamese cat. The kittens photo's are taken at 5 weeks old. All seal points, Thai. Or what some people also call a Classic style Siamese.
Photo above: copyright by Blue-Gem Mary...Thank you very much for sharing your experience and expertise with us. Update 26th January 2011 All the above relates to the USA market. In the UK the Thai cat exists as a group that started as just the Korat. The Thai is two naturally appearing variations (despite what anyone may claim) in the Korat. They are the (a) Thai Lilac a lilac self cat with green eyes and (b) Thai Blue Point Blue pointed cat
This is classic breed standard speak for pretty much a normal cat head shape only the standard goes on to say that the head should be longer than wide but not in an extreme way. The reference to "extreme" is a reference in my opinion to the extremely narrow Modern Siamese cat head. As expected the description of the head shape is in so many words saying that it should be somewhere in between the Traditional and the Modern (my interpretation).
The acceptance of Thai cats by TICA (but not notably the CFA) is for me (this is my view only) a quiet admission that cat breeders got the breeding of the Siamese cat wrong and bred too far from the conventional Siamese appearance with resultant health and frankly appearance problems. People just found the Modern Siamese less attractive than the good old fashioned Siamese cat. Although TICA wouldn't agree to this assessment.
They have maintained recognition of the Modern Siamese (or what is referred to as the Siamese cat). The TICA "general description" section of the breed standard states that Thai cats should resemble the original indigenous pointed cats of Siam (now Thailand). In my view the original pointed cats of Siam were in fact more cobby and rounded than even the Thai so I am not sure that TICA have got this right. The Siamese cat history page on this website bears out what I say. TICA stress again in this section that this cat must not be extreme.
TICA reinforce this by saying that Thai cats are really a recognition of the breeders who stayed loyal to the traditional Siamese cat. As to the body it should be "slightly to moderately long". In other words more normal but not stocky or in any way cobby. This is well demonstrated in the photographs of Helmi Flick. As expected cross-eyed Thai cats will be disqualified in competition. This is a recognized defect (Siamese cat health problem) of the Siamese and can be found in the Himalayan too.
- TICA breed standard