Sunday, August 29, 2010

Legends of the Siamese Cat

Black Manx and Royal Siamese
Artist: W. Luker Jr.

I have a Siamese cat who thinks the universe revolves around him. His persnickety and superior attitude must be fed by an inherent cat knowledge about the history and legends of his ancestors.

The Cat Back
Artist: Hu Chan

Many years ago in Siam (Thailand), the Siamese cat was a very exclusive feline. Being reserved for the king and royal family, no common sorts such as ourselves could own one. When a royal died, a household Siamese was selected to capture and contain the dearly departed's soul. Don't think anything bad happened to the cat. It wasn't sacrificed, or buried with the dead, but instead lived a life of luxury with the monks and priests of the local temple. There, the lucky Siamese ate all the best food from gold plates, and slept on the softest of silk cushions. These luxuries were provided by relatives of the deceased in a desperate bid for good fortune and special blessings. The selected cat was believed to possess rare powers of intercession for the soul of the departed. When the king himself died, his Siamese representative attended the new king's coronation, so the former king could be present at the royal event and festivities. 

In Thailand, Siamese cats are called "Wichien-maat," a name that means Moon Diamond.

Some Siamese have crossed eyes and kinks in their tail. I once had a Siamese with crossed eyes. Though her peculiarity didn't bother HER, I could never tell which direction she was looking. When I thought she was aiming for my lap, she was aiming for the curtains instead. Here is a legend that explains why Siamese cats have crossed eyes and kinked tails. 


A long time ago, a terrible war was fought by Siam to defend its kingdom. Since all Siam's men were sent to battle, Buddha's golden goblet was left unprotected. Two Siamese were chosen to preserve the goblet in the sacred temple. The male cat was named Tein, and the female Chula. All went well until Tein became uneasy and left (after mating with Chula) to find a new priest capable of caring for the goblet. Poor Chula, now expecting kittens, never took her eyes off the sacred goblet. As a safeguard against sleep, Chula nervously wrapped her long tail around the goblet's stem to foil thieves. When the kittens were born, they amazingly received Chula's physical quirks she developed as a watchcat. They had crossed eyes and tail kinks. So if you possess a Siamese with crossed eyes, or a kinked tail, remember Chula and her brave protection of Buddha's sacred goblet.

Asian Silver Jade Ring

Here's a second story about the Siamese and its kinked tail. Once, a princess of the Royal House of Siam used her cat's tail as a ring stand when taking a bath. The cat, not wishing to loose the ring, obligingly developed a kinked tail to safeguard the special object for "his" princess.

Cat Eye
Photographer: Justin Scarpetti

Whether or not your Siamese has crossed eyes, or a kinked tail, treat him well, they're very interesting cats with a long and royal history. No wonder they're persnickety and superior! They're also very sweet.


Since finishing this post yesterday, I realized I left a very entertaining legend out. It's the legend of the first Siamese.  

Noah's Ark

The story of Noah is known far and wide. After Noah built his ark, he filled it with animals two by two. It began to rain. It rained and rained and rained with no end in sight. The animals in the ark became very bored and searched for something to do. The monkey, spotting the pretty lioness, immediately fell in love. Wooing occurred and soon, tiny Siamese kittens were born. They had the cleverness and agility of the monkey, and the courage of the lioness. Come to think of it, my Siamese is a bit like a monkey himself! 


  1. Yep, and so are Manx of which I have 3. Used to show them and I saw very beautiful and refined Siamese at the shows. You left out their vocal capabilities. I am sure there must be a legend about that.

  2. Strangely, I haven't found any legends about the Siamese voice. There must be at least one legend since they're so famous for their voices. I just can't find it.

    You must have had fun showing your cats. I could never show Madison. He'd tackle and beat the judge.

  3. I love my siamese boy - he's so affectionate and fun, incredibly beautiful and he talk to me continually - he obeys commands such as sit and up (for the stool) but cries if I leave him by himself - he's such an important part of our lives .....Casper

  4. I just finished reading your article, and really enjoyed it, thank you. You can see some fun cat books at where you can also hear the cat stories for the same price as a paperback book, and they are fun to listen to.

  5. Lovely page, and awesome information about the Siamese. I had a Siamese that was such a special being. He definitely had the "royal attitude", yet also possessed the sweetest soul I have ever come across. I felt a strong spiritual connection with him that has continued since his unfortunate and untimely death. I am forever a fan of Siamese cats. I will be traveling to Thailand within the next couple of months, and I am looking forward to meeting Thai cats throughout my journey. I feel that cats can be such great spiritual teachers, and we can learn from their "zen-ness" and grace, and their ability to live fully in the present moment. Thank you for the Siamese information, this is a great page!

  6. I LOVE my new Siamese Kitten CHITA! Named after Broadway Legend Chita Rivera. She talks a lot however.