THAI cat and SIAMESE cats have the same roots. The Thai cat is the traditional and original Siamese cat.
The appearance of Siamese cats was described for the first time in the world's oldest book about cats called "Poems of the Cat", published in 1330, currently owned by the National Library in Bangkok.
Pointed cats with fascinating blue eyes and dark points at the tail, paws and ears were shown as pets sitting next to the royal family.
The first reference of a Siamese cat in the province of Pensa was published in a travel report of Peter Simon Pallas, a German natural scientist, geographer and discoverer written while his journey to Southern Federal District and Siberia from 1793 to 1794. The description is very precise and well watched for that time.
“The shape and mostly the quality and colour of the hair of these cats showed something extraordinary. They are medium sized, with little thinner legs than ordinary cats, also the head seems to be a little lengthened against the muzzle. The tail corresponds to three head length. The colour is all over the monochrome light hazel brown of martens, slightly more blackish at the back, especially at the male cat, slightly paler below. The throat is even paler and the female cat has a white spot at the throat. The blackness of the muzzle spreads until the eyes and runs with a peak against the forehead. Ears, paws and tail are completely black. The hair is like the one of the martens, less bristly than this of other cats and the woolly is also off whitish. The hair of the tail is spread slightly featherily (2)."
The SMUD KHOI OF CATS (circa 1868-1910)
The eighth picture in the SMUD KHOI "Diamond - Siamese" "The upper part of the mouth, the tail, all four feet, and the ears, these eight places are black The eyes are reddish-gold in colour the cat called Wichianmaad has white fur."
With changes due to trading during the Far East Colonial Wars and the industrial revolution on the different continents, the Siamese cat spread worldwide. As a precious gift from diplomats and merchants the cat appeared first in upper class households and even in the homes of the royal families.
In July 1871 two Siamese cats from Southeast Asia were shown by Mr. Maxwell at the first cat show in the Crystal Palace in London. In 1884 the British Vice-Consul, the brother of Mrs Velez, brought two Siamese cats to England. The male cat was called Pho and the female cat was called Mia. The are the first Cats known by their names which left Siam and later on had a litter. DUEN NGAI, child of 'Pho' x 'Mia', was born 1885 .
At the very first cat exhibition in 1871 in the Crystal Palace in London, Siamese cats from South-East Asia were shown. Contemporary records describe the following:
“Among the rarer specimens were two Siamese cats, which are said to be the first of the kind, ever brought to this country. The pair, shown by Mr. Maxwell, are singular and elegant, in their smooth skins and ears tipped in ebony, and blue eyes with red pupils.”
These originally imported Siames cats were, just like today's descendants in Thailand, of medium size, muscular, graceful cats with a moderately wedge-shaped head with long ears in proportion to the head size. These cats were never extreme in their appearance.
Soon after Mr. Gould brought the Siamese cats to Britain, they became instantly popular because of distinctive marks, cleverness and dog-like behavior. Some rude comments were heard too, such as „an unnatural nightmare of a cat” but, fortunately, most people were impressed.
British illustrator Harrison Weir, who is known as the father of cat fancy, in his book „Our Cats and All About Them“ from 1889 wrote:
„Among the beautiful varieties of the domestic cat brought into notice by the cat shows, none deserves more attention than The Royal Cat of Siam”.
In their early days in Britain, all cats coming out of Thailand were called “Siamese”, regardless of color. Two types of those cats were the most prominent. The cream colored body with sharp defined points and notable blue eyes was called “Royal Cat of Siam” or “Palace cat”, reflecting the legend that they were kept only in royal palace.
And the other type was called “Temple Cat”, also known as “Chocolate Cat of Siam”, with deep brown body and hardly visible points. The Siamese Cat Club was encouraging breeders to distinct breeding of Royal cat and the Chocolate cat of Siam. Photos and illustrations from the first decades of Royal Siamese Cats reveal that they were more robust and had more rounded, wedge-shaped heads than today’s show-style Siamese. This early Siamese were variable in appearance.
In 1892 the first standard for this breed was decided for the Royal Cat of Siam in the U.K. Wankee, born 1895 in Hong Kong, became the first UK Siamese champion in 1898.
Already at that time a distinction was made between a round head type ("apple face") similar to today's Thai cats, and the type with an elongated face ("marten face") lighter in color.
The latter type is now the basis for the modern Siamese breeds. The new Siamese breeding standards are: extremely elongated body, strikingly long wedge-shaped head with a super thin whip tail resulting in very extravagant cats which have been awarded at many exhibitions.
The more round head, traditional type was nearly forgotten, but some breeders, who did not agree with the new extremely slim line, continued breeding this type in secret.
In Russia the professional breeding of the new Siamese cat only started in the 1980s. Therefore the traditional type was preserved since there was not enough time to breed the new extreme type.
"About 25 years ago an exchange of cats with the eastern countries started and it was discussed, that the Siamese cat dating back to the 1970s looked Thai-like. Afterwards the Siamese cats became more and more elongated and slimmer. Especially the heads became very slim with an elongated profile. The ears became larger and the body was very slim and high-legged. Before all of these features were more rounded. A lot of interested parties did not like this new Siamese type and because of this reason a few people in the USA and Germany got together and started to breed the old traditional Siamese type or even tried to back-breed to achieve the old traditional Siamese type. This was indeed very difficult. It was later a lot easier once cats could be imported from Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries. " (1)
Until the end of the 1980s Russia had a sufficient breeding inventory of old-style Siamese cats.
At cat exhibitions in Moscow and Leningrad during the years 1987-1988 these "Siamese" cats were shown in the novice class under the breed name "old Siamese cat". In 1989 the Moscow cat club "Feliz" and the St. Petersburg cat club "Kotofey" joined WCF and invited the WCF president A. Hackmann to visit the exhibitions.
In 1989, after a call by the German journal "Ein Herz für Tiere", German breeders founded a community called "Siam old-style", with the goal to achieve acceptance of the traditional Siamese type. To reach acceptance a request was made through A. Hackmann by the cat association Deutsche Edelkatze e.v. at the WCF.
"After sufficient breeding material was accumulated from different areas and groups had been formed, we called this cat - which in USA was called "traditional Siamese cat" - (upon my suggestion) Thai cat. One knew that Thai = Siamese. It is a new breed, even though it corresponds to the old standard, therefore we needed a new standard. Multiple suggestions were made. At the end, based on suggestions from Dr. Rosemarie Wolff (FIFe), suggestions from the USA and based on the cats shown in Europe, a European standard was developed. At that time enough generations were available to present them at the World Cat Federation and to get them accepted. And then an excellent process started, since suddenly in Europe a lot of Thai cats existed. Unfortunately some have not followed the breeding guidelines. In order to obtain the Thai breed, they did not go for the available Eastern pool (where for a long time nothing else was added, and therefore the breed was maintained with the old standards), but instead crossed the cats with e.g. British breeds or others. This was for sure the wrong way. There also have been direct imports from Thailand. The breeders who invested time and effort to maintain the pure breed, deserve thanks for their hard work. Especially since the Thai cat is now a success story. It is one of the most popular cat breeds for the young and the old." (1)
In 1991 the WCF passed new standards for the traditional Siamese cat, which ever since was called THAI. Since then this more rounded type of cat is bred as its own race widely accepted by different associations and organizations such as WCF, EGCA, WACC, LOOF, TICA and more recently it is preliminarily recognized by FIFe.
Submission of the proposal of THAI recognition in the TICA by Carola Hopfe on behalf of the members of the ITC. The official presentation of the THAI took place from 30.8.-1.9.2006 on the occasion of the TICA Annual in Hannover, Germany, among other things by members of the ITC.
Official Presentation of THAI in February 2014 in Italy (Cernobbio) at FIFe – with some Cats of ITC members.
Thus, the application for the recognition of the THAI was submitted to the FIFe.
At the Annual General Meeting in May 2014, FIFe decided to provisionally recognize of THAI for the next five years.
1990 Recognition as new breed im WCF
(World Cat Federation)
2002 Recognition as new breed in LOOF
(Livre Officiel des Origines Félines)
2004 Recognition as new breed in EGCA e.V.
(European Group Cat Association)
2007 The Thai has reached the first recognition level
in TICA (The International Cat Association)
8.2.2014 Italy: Official Thai Presentation in FIFe as new breed (Fédération Internationale Féline)
31.5.2014 General Assembly of FIFe in Riga: Voting procedure on the admission of Thai in Fife
since 2015 Provisional recognition status of THAI in FIFe begins
(1) Memories of Anneliese Hackmann : many thanks to Svetlana Lalovic, president of the Club Le petit WCF, Belgrade, Serbia who made these notes available to us.
History of Thai:
First Cat Show in London:
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