While the average lifespan of a domestic cat is around 10-20 years, different breeds can have radically different lifespans. There are the bob-tailed Manx cats and hairless Sphynxes, who only live from around eight to 14 years. On the other end of the scale, you find longer-lived breeds like the Burmese and Balinese — noted for living well into their 20s. Another cat with a long lifespan is the Siamese. Full of intelligence and character, a Siamese cat makes a wonderful long-term companion. It’s good to know that, with the proper care, your bright and talkative friend will be with you for many years to come.
How long do Siamese cats live? Siamese cats generally live for at least 15 years and may survive into their early 20s. To reach old age, Siamese cats need proper care: regular veterinary examinations and interventions, good nutrition and a healthy, happy lifestyle.
You’ve found your way to this page because you have questions about the lifespan of a Siamese cat. Maybe you’re considering adding a Siamese to your household or you already have. Perhaps you’re curious as to how you can maximise your pet’s lifespan and overall health.
- How long do Siamese cats usually live?
- What health problems do you need to look out for?
- How can you give your Siamese cat the very best quality of life at every stage, from kittenhood to her senior years?
To find out the answers to all these questions and more, just keep reading.
How long do Siamese cats live?
A reasonable lifespan for a Siamese is between 15 and 20 years. Siamese cats are capable of living a bit longer, with luck and lots of care. They may also live less long if they develop health issues or aren’t taken care of properly.
As with any cat, a Siamese needs a good start in life. They need to be cared for properly as kittens in order to enjoy a long and healthy adulthood. This starts with being allowed to stay with their mother until at least 12 weeks of age (my preference is to keep them with the mother for 14 weeks). The kittens should also be vaccinates and spayed when they’re old enough.
Once they’re weaned and have developed enough to move away, the kittens need a safe home that’s fully equipped with everything they need to stay healthy and happy. Like all cats, Siamese cats need to be kept indoors and not allowed to roam around unsupervised if you want them to stay healthy and have a long life. This is true of any breed but it’s particularly important for Siamese. Cats of this breed are very bright (almost unnervingly so at times) but they’re not exactly streetwise. They are wildly curious and terribly social, which can be a dangerous combination. They’re also a fairly valuable breed and may be vulnerable to theft; even if you know that your Siamese isn’t a show animal and has been spayed, an opportunistic thief won’t and may steal her anyway.
Because they’re so bright and energetic, it’s particularly important that you give your Siamese a rich and varied living space. Don’t get a Siamese unless you’re comfortable with providing habitats, cat trees, scratching posts and plenty of toys. If you don’t lay on lots of distractions for the busy Siamese mind, she is sure to begin making her own entertainment. This will tend to be inconvenient at best and highly destructive at worst. If you don’t want your Siamese to use her smarts getting the kitchen cabinets open, provide her with puzzle toys and lots of engaging activities to keep her busy.
This breed is very social. For this reason I would definitely suggest getting a friend for your Siamese if you’re not home much. I would recommend that the companion not be another Siamese, though — choose a cat from a less demanding breed, a fairly low-energy one such as the stoical British Shorthair or the placid Birman. These more grounded cats help keep the Siamese from getting out of hand, while the Siamese prevents the quieter cat from getting to sedentary.
Although I wouldn’t call them a low-maintenance breed, Siamese cats don’t need too much in the way of grooming. I would encourage the usual weekly tooth-brushing that any cat should receive, along with a good brushing down once a week to get rid of any loose hair and prevent furballs. Because they are such attention-seekers, you may find that your Siamese demands more frequent brushing sessions. Cats of this breed really seem to love having a fuss made over them.
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What should I feed my Siamese for a long life?
There are several schools of thought when it comes to feeding cats. Some people cheerfully grab the cheapest dried food off the supermarket shelf, tip a days’ worth into their cat’s bowl and call it good. The cat is lucky if it actually gets cat food — if dog food is on offer that day, then that’s what the cat eats. On the other end of the spectrum you have people who lovingly prepare all their cat’s meals from the finest ingredients or spend a fortune on patent foods supposedly formulated for the exact breed, weight and stage of the cat’s life. Which is right?
Well, the first is definitely wrong. Cats need cat food, dog food does not contain the right nutrients and is unhealthy generally. I have seen some foods marketed as being specially developed for specific breeds, a claim I find highly dubious. There’s nothing special about a particular breed that would require a particular food. If you want to spend the extra money on “Siamese food”, go right ahead — I doubt it will do your cat any harm — but it’s not really necessary and can put quite a dent in your wallet. If your cat has any medical issues requiring a special diet, your vet will advise you on the right food.
On the whole, your Siamese cat should eat a moderate amount of wet food (keep the dry kibble for treat balls and other puzzle toys). Choose a quality brand with plenty of protein and no grain or other starchy fillers. It’s fine to offer treats, particularly if you’re trying to train your Siamese or teach her tricks, but keep the total amount to less than 10 per cent of her daily caloric intake.
My Siamese gets bored indoors! Can’t I let her out?
This is a fairly common question. I stand by my previous assertion that it’s really not safe to let Siamese cats roam around outside. They’re wonderful cats but very good at getting into trouble.
That leaves us with the question of how to contain the irrepressible Siamese spirit. A bored Siamese isn’t just a source of property damage and annoyance — boredom, in this breed, seems to represent a legitimate health risk. A bored Siamese is a stressed Siamese, and stress can wreak havoc on this breed’s health. As we’ve already seen, this breed does best in a very cat-friendly environment that’s been enriched with toys and play equipment. My usual prescription for a happy cat includes two sessions of active play with a teaser toy per day; for a Siamese, I’d expand this to at least three sessions. If you’re out during the day and there are no other cats in the house, I strongly recommend getting motorised toys that your Siamese can chase.
Another really good way to help your Siamese deal with all that spare brain power is to teach her some tricks. Although mischievous, this breed is also highly educable and loves to learn new skills. Siamese seem to take well to clicker training and can learn cute tricks like giving you a high-five in exchange for a treat. You could also kill two birds with one stone and harness-train your Siamese. This allows you to take your pet out for supervised walks, burning off that Siamese energy and helping her to stay fit. Because they’re so smart and lively, Siamese cats seem to take reasonably well to the harness if it’s introduced with care.
What are some health problems that affect Siamese cats?
The Siamese is a very old breed and has quite a diverse gene pool, meaning that they’re less likely to be afflicted with conditions stemming from inbreeding. As their longer lifespans suggest, Siamese cats are a fairly healthy breed. That said, there are some conditions to watch out for.
Siamese cats are very prone to vision disorders. These can sometimes be corrected; even if they can’t, though, they don’t seem to have too much of an impact on the cat’s quality of life. Crossed eyes are especially common. This breed needs to be monitored for glaucoma, as they’re rather more prone to it than average.
Siamese cats can develop bladder and kidney stones, particularly if they don’t get sufficient fluid. I would recommend providing a kitty drinking fountain — cats in general are quite bad at drinking from dishes and Siamese seem to struggle with this. I’ve noticed a particular reluctance to drink from a dish among Siamese with eye disorders and running water really seems to help them. One cross-eyed Siamese girl of my acquaintance would only drink from the tap; I suspect her depth perception made the dish a bit challenging.
Siamese cats are vulnerable to certain cancers, especially later in life. Feline cardiomyopathy and other heart problems can also arise in this breed. It’s particularly important to stay on top of those yearly checkups so you don’t miss anything serious.
Some Siamese have kinked tails, which don’t usually seem to cause any major problems. They’re largely an aesthetic issue (personally, I think tail kinks are adorable) but may be associated with arthritis.
Article by Barbara Read
Barbara Read is the heart and soul behind CatBeep.com. From her early love for cats to her current trio of feline companions, Barbara's experiences shape her site's tales and tips. While not a vet, her work with shelters offers a unique perspective on cat care and adoption.