Siamese Cat Health Problems

The Siamese cat is one of the oldest breeds of cat; it came to the West in 1880, when the King of Siam gave two pairs of these oriental cats to his British consul-general. In the past, Siamese cats were considered delicate and prone to many health problems. Today's Siamese cats are much more hardy, though they continue to remain vulnerable to certain conditions. Here's what you should know about the Siamese breed and it's health problems.

The History of the Siamese Breed

The Siamese breed originated in Siam, which is now known as Thailand. Siamese cats appeared in England in 1880, when the British consul-general to Siam received a gift of two pairs of the cats from the King of Siam. The Siamese breed became hugely popular right away, and soon Siamese cats were winning Champion breed titles.

Characteristics of the Siamese Breed

Today, the Siamese breed is slender and limber, with long, tapering lines. Originally, however, the breed was more stocky, with a more rounded head.

Siamese cats have pale fur that darkens into "points" at the face and ears, legs, tail and feet. Breeders recognize four traditional colors for a Siamese cat: blue, lilac, seal and chocolate. Siamese cats may also have red, cream and tabby points.

Caring for Your Siamese Cat

Brushing your Siamese cat could harm the color and texture of his coat. Finger brush your Siamese cat with wet hands to remove loose hairs from his fur.

Siamese cats are very affectionate and get attached to their owners. You shouldn't get a Siamese cat unless you have plenty of time to spend with it. Siamese cats love to play, and are very active; they're also very vocal.

Health Problems Associated with the Siamese Breed

Siamese cats can be more sensitive to anesthesia than other breeds, which can make surgical procedures more dangerous. They're prone to respiratory infections, especially when young. Siamese cats are also prone to agenesis of the upper eyelid, a condition in which the upper eyelid fails to develop in the womb. 

Siamese cats are prone to central nervous system diseases, and may succumb to the feline obsessive compulsive disorder psychogenic alopecia, in which they groom themselves so excessively that it causes hair loss. This condition can be the result of chronic stress, or the result of psychological trauma. It's usually treated with a combination of antidepressants and stress management.

Siamese cats are also prone to feline hyperesthesia syndrome, another condition possibly related to stress. Feline hyperesthesia syndrome causes oversensitivity of the skin and can result in bizarre and even aggressive behaviors.

Cardiomyopathy, or feline heart disease, is present in this breed, though not very common.

Siamese cats are prone to vestibular disease, a hereditary condition that affects the nerves of the ear. Vestibular disease causes loss of balance, head tilting, disorientation, dizziness, eye drift and falling. Most cases of vestibular disease resolve spontaneously within a few weeks. Your vet can prescribe medication to treat any nausea your cat might experience due to motion sickness.