The Way We Were:
Excerpts from the 1959 CFA Yearbook, Part 9

Ristokat Himalayans & Persians

Photos copyrighted by the individual photographers
Article copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Copying or redistribution of this article is strictly prohibited
without the express written permission of

History of the Siamese, Part 1
by Carlon Boren



"Grace of the Panther, Intelligence of the Elephant, Affection of the Lovebird, Beauty of the Fawn, Softness of Down, Swiftness of Light." Thus was the Siamese Cat so fashioned one of the Oriental Gods, as the legend goes upon being petitioned by a feminine favorite. The origin of the Siamese Cat is lost in antiquity. They are believed to have come from Khorat, the province of Northeastern Siam.

The Siamese is named for the land of its origin. According to legend, they were first seen in the temples of Siam, being sometimes referred to as the "Sacred Siamese", and they were kept as pets and "Watch-Cats" to warn the priests of intruders.

Rather vague records tell us Siamese cats first reached England in 1894, and the following year they made their initial public appearance at a show held in the Crystal Palace in London. Legend has it that when the departing British Consul-General went to pay his farewell call on the King of Siam, he was given a pair of Siamese cats to take home to England. And so Mr. Owen Gould is credited with the importation of England's first Siamese cats. In Frances Simpson's "The Book of the Cat", published in 1903, she states that the first cat show held in the Crystal Palace was in 1871. There were some unusual Short-hair cats at this show, but, we must assume, there were none exhibited that had the true Siamese pattern. She further states in her book that "Miss Forestier Walker and her sister, Mrs. Vyvyan, were amongst the first to introduce Siamese Cats into England, and they always owned a direct descendant from the first and famous 'Tiam-O-Shian'. A pair from the Palace were given to Mrs. Vyvyan and myself in 1884-5. Among the earliest importers of the Siamese were Sir Robert Herbert, Lady Dorothy Nevill, the Rev. S. Baring-Gould and Mrs. Cunliffe Lee." It is interesting to note that Frances Simpson calls attention to two distinct varieties. (1) The royal Cat of Siam, cream colored in body, with sharply defined markings on head, ears, legs, feet, and tail; eyes a decided blue and (2) Chocolate cats that are deep brown in color, showing hardly any markings, and blue eyes.

It is from these early imports that most of today's Siamese cats are descended. The popularity of the Siamese Cat has grown fantastically, until today, it is the most popular and fascinating short-hair cat.

In America the records of early Siamese cats are even more vague and uncertain than the English ones. There is no authenticated record as to who was the first Siamese Cat owner in America, much less as to which Siamese cat was first to arrive. There have been many claims to such ownership and to such a cat, but none have been conclusively verified.

Harold Basset, writing in The Cat Review, July 1909, states that Mme. Blanche Arral of Grantwood, N.J., brought the first Siamese cat to America, after visiting Siam on a concert tour. Mme. Arral writes in The Cat Journal, in 1911, that the first Siamese cat ever seen by her was in 1902 while on tour in Siam.

Writing in Colliers, April 20, 1946, Nina Wilcox Putman, in her article, "The Warrior Cats", points up the importation of a pair of Siamese cats to the United States by Commander Hovey-King, U.S. Naval Officer.

Frances Simpson goes to say, "In America the Fancy has gone ahead in a wonderful way. It was in 1895 that the first cat show of general interest was held at Madison Square Garden, New York. There had previously been some private attempts to have exhibitions of Cats in connection with poultry and pigeon shows. In 1896 an American Cat Club was organized, which did some good work. Then Chicago started a Cat Club in January, 1899, and this was followed by a most successful enterprise on the part of Mrs. Clinton Locke, who founded the Beresford Cat Club, called after Lady Marcus Beresford of England."

Mr. Charles A. Kenny, the Editor and Publisher of Cats Magazine from 1945 to 1951, gives 1890 as the date of arrival of the first Siamese in America.

In Volume 1 of the Beresford Cat Club Book, published in 1900, gives a list of entries from July 1899 to July 1900. Two Siamese cats are listed, a Seal male, Lockehaven Siam #138, and a Chocolate female, Sally Ward #139. Both of these cats were owned by Mrs. Clinton Locke, 2825 Indiana Ave., Chicago, Illinois. The male, Lockehaven Siam, was purchased in France by Mrs. Locke and was a "direct importation of Siam". Lockehaven Sally Ward was purchased by Mrs. Spencer of Sandusky, Ohio, but owned at the time of registration by Mrs. Locke. It is not indicated if this cat was imported by Mrs. Spencer, nor if she was the breeder. The birth dates and pedigrees of these two cats are listed as Unknown.

Two more Siamese are listed in Volume 2 of the Beresford Stud Book, which covers a period of registration from July 1900 to July 1901. Both were imports and born in 1897. They were listed as a male chocolate Siamese, Netherlands Tilu #308, and a female Chocolate, Netherlands Ma #309. Both cats were originally owned by Mrs. Clinton Locke, who purchased them from Lady Marcus Beresford. The two cats were bred by Mrs. Sutherland.

In Volume 3 of the Beresford Stud Book, covering 1901 to 1903, four Siamese are listed. Chone #510, a Neuter Seal, born 1899, owned by Mrs. Mary P. Freeman, San Francisco, Calif., bred by Mrs. A. H. Hoag, also of San Francisco. The sire is given as Siam and the dame, Angora Rowdy #532. Angora Rowdy is also listed as a Seal female, born 1894, but no pedigree is given. Rowdy was imported by Postmaster Gen. Hastings, but was owned at the time of registration by Mrs. Hoag. This then reveals what appears to be the first American bred Siamese, a Neuter named Chone. The third listing is Angora Sikh #533, a Seal male, born August 14, 1899, also owned by Mrs. Hoag, but bred by Mrs. Christian Reiss. Mrs. Reiss' address is not given. The fourth listing is Madison California #708, a male Seal out of Rowdy bred by Mrs. Hoag. The owner is Charles H. Lane, Chicago. No birth date given. Many of the first American-bred Siamese are from Mrs. Hoag's famed Angora Cattery. In 1903 she sold Chemita, a Queen, to Mrs. Mandeville of Boston, and this launched the interest in New England.

Only one Siamese, a female Seal, Angora Kiobe #868, is listed in Volume 4 which covered July 1903 to July 1905. Kiobe, born July 9, 1902, was bred by Mrs. Tilden, Kiobe, Japan, and was also owned by Mrs. Hoag.

From these early records, which are written proof, we know that Siamese Cats were OWNED in America prior to July 1900. The Beresford Cat Club of America had its Recorder Lucy C. Johnstone.

Related articles:

Back :: Top :: Home



Legal Disclaimer | Report A Broken Link or Typo

Website created & maintained by
ShowCatsOnline Web Design