Why A Small Siamese Cat Makes the Very Best Pet
Every child has a dream of the perfect pet. Many kids dream of a beautiful, soft puppy. Not me! I dreamed of a cat, a beautiful, soft, fluffy cat with a sweet soft nose and a fluffy tail.
But today, we’re talking about cats. Precisely why I love them, how I found my heart-cat, and where I am today in my cat journey. You won’t get a ton of solid cat owner advice here, but you may get a laugh or two. And you may relate to this fun story.
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A Dog Story
When I was a wee tiny child, my parents discovered that I had an intense fear of dogs. They did their best to work around that and added a dog to our family to help me overcome that fear. You can read all about that HERE. My mom was reluctant to bring home an animal, but dad won the battle, and the dog came home.
After Brandy the dog came into the family, I discovered the weak spot in my parents’ system: My dad. Although my dad knew the secret about pets (they are GROSS), he also knew that love for a pet could overcome a lot of gross. I was a typical little girl, and I had my doting dad wrapped right around my child-sized finger.
And a Cat Story, Too.
I failed to mention before that my natural aversion to dogs was equaled only by my genuine and passionate love for all things cat-related. So, once the dog experiment worked, I began to work on getting a cat and on my mom, who was not quite yet ready to overcome the gross.
Dad came to my rescue and convinced mom we should give it a try. And so, Ivan came to be a part of our family. Ivan was a sweet orange tabby who looked much like Morris from the old 9 Lives commercials on TV. As most genteel housecats were in the 1970s, Ivan came front-foot declawed. He was also quite a looker.
As soon as Ivan entered our home, he began earning my love. Almost as quickly, he began earning my mother’s contempt. Cats, much like dogs, are animals. And we have established that my mother knows the secret about animals. They are gross. And they are not meant to live inside people’s houses.
You can read all about Morris HERE, and it just so happens that 9 Lives is celebrating 54 years of Morris in 2022. You might find a deal on some cat food!
When your cat vomits up the great food you just bought, you can pick up some of this great cat vomit cleaner here!
Siamese Cat Fact – The very first reports of Siamese cats in North America were in the late 1800’s. In fact, Historians tell us that United States President Rutherford B. Haye’s wife, First Lady Lucy Hayes, was the proud owner of a Siamese kitty named Siam. H4
Ivan was Loved
But He was Gross
In the 1970’s it was common to find circular metal support poles in the basements of homes. My dad had lovingly finished the basement in our small size ranch home, and, in a brilliant and fashionable move, he carpeted our metal poles. It was disco sheik down there with those poles and our bright orange décor accents.
I wish I had a picture to share the beauty, but alas, you’ll have to use your mind’s eye to imagine how fabulous it really was. Unfortunately, Ivan got a little carried away with the disco mentality and began using his back claws to climb the support beams. This pole-climbing behavior did not please the maternal unit in my home at all. My brother and I thought it was fabulous.
Siamese Cat Fact – Nutritional needs for most cats are very similar. Siamese cats, like most popular cat breeds, require a diet high in protein. Choose food with meat as the main ingredient. Wet food is preferred, especially for male cats, who are more prone to urinary blockage if they do not receive enough liquid in their diet. I have found the easiest way to hydrate and feed my cats over the years is to put a high-quality kibble in the food bowl and leave it out, and provide a small meal of wet food at least once per day.
Speaking of my brother, it was about this time that he thought it would be a good idea to take Ivan on a walk. It seemed Ivan had missed the litterbox a time or two and left some unfortunate floor nuggets in our groovy basement.
Casey thought a walk outside would solve this little problem. He tied a small homemade rope leash to Ivan’s collar and dragged, I mean, escorted Ivan outside and down the street for a leisurely walk. Poor Ivan disagreed and objected to the whole situation. Being a sensitive child, I took umbrage to all of this and cried. I did a lot of that in those days. But I digress.
Ivan Had to Go
Not long after the cat-walking episode, Ivan “disappeared.” My parents sat me down and told me sadly that Ivan had run away. I blamed this very thoroughly on my brother. It was all his fault for forcing my precious little orange furball to go walking outside against his will. I was sure that my brother was utterly responsible for Ivan’s disappearance. I could only imagine my poor Ivan on the mean streets, struggling to survive. Oh, the horror.
Siamese Cat Fact – Siamese cats are one of the most talkative cat breeds. They have quite a distinctive chirping meow and will tell you all about anything they find interesting, upsetting, or wonderful. To this day, vocal cats are my favorite. I sometimes wonder if that’s why I love the breed so much. We match levels of chattiness.
Now, imagine my dismay time later when I found out that Ivan had NOT actually run away. Instead, he had been given away! And to a family friend, of all people. Oh, the betrayal! The pole climbing and floor nuggets, likely combined with other animal-like habits, had led to the unfortunate end of his time living with us.
My parents were just too soft-hearted to tell me that he needed to go, so they decided to fabricate a lovelier story of why Ivan was gone in an age-old (yet often doomed to fail) parenting move. Nice try, parents. We’ve all been there.
Time To Try Again!
After enough time passed, I got over the trauma of Ivan’s disappearance, re-doubled my efforts, and began the campaign for another cat. About that time, a strange coincidence happened (insert ominous music here).
My dad tells the story like this: After a long shift at work one rainy night, he made his way out to his car in the dark. Upon approaching the driver’s door, he heard the distinct cry of a kitten. It was wet outside, and dark and cold. And there was a tiny, black and white kitten crouched under the car, wet and shivering.
Siamese Cat Fact – Siamese cats tend to be on a smaller scale of cats. Traditional Siamese cats weigh an average of anywhere between 8 and 14 pounds fully grown. My Neko was about 7 pounds at her adult weight. She had no concerning health conditions and didn’t need to gain weight. She simply had a small body type.
What choice did my dad have other than to bring that sweet tiny kitten home to his kitten-starved daughter? So he did. Indeed mom could not say no to that precious little thing, could she? Of course not.
And so, Wiggles came to be a member of the family. We lovingly named her for the severe case of wiggles she had. She loved to attack anything and everything, toys, toes, furniture, you name it, she pounced it. Wiggles preceded each attack with her tiny back end wiggling in prep for the pounce. She was darling.
Wiggles was Darling!
She was also destructive. Wiggles took up where Ivan had left off by climbing the pole in the basement. In addition, after her front-paw declaw, she miraculously grew claws back. So, mom and dad had her re-declawed. I bet you didn’t know that was a “thing,” did you? And you guessed it; those claws grew back again.
Siamese Cat Fact – Modern Siamese cats can be susceptible to some specific hereditary conditions, such as kidney disease and progressive retinal atrophy, among others. Be sure to use a reputable breeder if you’re going to purchase any of the different types of Siamese cats.
Wiggles was clearly gifted with claw-growing skills, so it only made sense that she would want to keep those treasures nice and sharp, right? She did this by using mom’s furniture and pretty much anything in our human home, including the carpet, wall corners, and stairs. You name it; she clawed it. All that wiggling and cuteness did not negate her absolute animal-ness. And let’s say it together this time, animals are GROSS!
You must know by now where this is going. Mom and dad decided that she, too, must go. We gathered around for a family meeting, where mom and dad explained to me that she needed to go. I can’t remember the specific reasoning they gave me, but I will say they must have been quite convincing.
I was on board with finding a new family for her, where she would find a whole new level of happiness. As soon as we had dropped Wiggles off, I found myself in a puddle of tears in the backseat of the car, lamenting that I had ever agreed to such a terrible idea. But it was too late. Wiggles was well on her way to wiggling into another child’s heart and destroying another mom’s home.
Siamese Cat Fact – Classic Siamese cats come in several different colors, such as Seal Point, Blue Point, Chocolate Point, and Lilac Point. All these different colors boast beautiful blue eyes, long legs, a long tail, a muscular body and a glossy coat. Click HERE for a full description of the physical appearance required for a show-quality Siamese cat from the Cat Fanciers Association.
A New Hope!
and My First Childhood HERO…
Time passed. I grew older. But I did not outgrow my longing for a sweet kitten companion. At about age 11, I began a new campaign for a cat. I was relentless, and mom finally gave in. The announcement came – I could have a cat. On one condition. That it be a Siamese cat, a female, and FREE. Technically that’s three conditions, but I was 11, so what did I know? All I heard was a big, fat YES!!!
I quickly set about finding my cat. It turns out that just two blocks over, a friend of mine had a neighbor with a litter of kittens. And can you believe it? They were Siamese! With one box checked off the list of conditions, I visited the neighbor and her Siamese kittens. She kept them in a hallway closet with chicken wire placed where the door used to be. This setup assured that they were safely out of the way with plenty of air.
Siamese Cat Fact – Siamese cats are born with all-white fur. They develop their coloring as they grow. They are born with those bright blue eyes, though! By the time Neko was an older cat, all of her creamy white fur had begun to turn dark brown and her eyes remained bright blue. H4
As I adored those sweet little kittens, the kind neighbor showed me one tiny little girl kitten who had tried to make her escape by climbing the chicken wire. She made it part of the way up and then slipped down the chicken wire and sliced her tiny tummy open.
It was just the kind of treatable injury that was addressed at home with some butterfly stitches, but it rendered that sweet little kitten “not show quality,” and therefore, not worth a whole lot. Even though she had no other health issues or health problems,
Siamese Cat Fact – Siamese cats are incredibly mischievous and energetic, especially as kittens. They are superb hunters and love to have small and light toys that can easily be carried in their mouths. You should plan on spending 40-60 minutes each day actively playing with your cat Puzzle toys are also a great choice to keep your Siamese mentally stimulated.
I told my neighbor lady about my mom’s conditions with great enthusiasm. She smiled sweetly and asked if I wanted that kitten. She is one of my early heroes in life. What a sweet and generous offer. I’m not sure my mom would consider her a hero, but when I went home and told her all about my new kitten, she knew I had her.
She had set up what she thought were standards that no one could achieve in kitten shopping, and I had reached them. It was a miracle!!! We went to get my sweet little kitten a few weeks later. Neko and I immediately fell in love. She was a small Siamese cat, which made her much more adorable. She slept with me, she snuggled me, and she followed me around and sat on my lap while I read books. Neko was my dream pet, and I loved her.
My cat’s name was Neko (Japanese for CAT) and pronounced like the Necco in those old wafer candies.
If you are interested in learning Japanese (or other languages), you MUST check out DuoLingo. It’s FREE! You might find an excellent pet name while you’re at it!
If you are now hankering for some Necco candies, you can get them here:
Neko was Gross, Too
Unfortunately, even though she was a beautiful cat, she also created and vomited out hairballs, she left copious amounts of cat hair on anything she touched, and she peed on the floor outside of the litter box. But of course, she did; she was an animal. And as mentioned, my mom knew this would happen. She knew the secret of the animal.
But, it turns out that my mom had finally reached a new stage of motherhood. She loved me more than she detested that animal and didn’t have the heart to strip me of my very best friend. So I was allowed to keep Neko. Thanks, mom!
Neko lived about 15 years. She kept me company through my middle school and high school years, through boyfriends and teen girl drama. That sweet kitty was even waiting there for me at home that one time I accidentally dropped my skirt on stage in front of my entire high school (another story for another day).
Neko ignored my other family members and held vigils for long periods of time outside my bedroom door at home while I spent a school year as an exchange student in Japan. Yup. She was my steady rock. Every girl ought to have a friend that dedicated, even if it is a feline friend.
Siamese Cat Fact – Cat Historians believe that the Siamese breed originated in Thailand around the 14th century. The Siamese cat is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world.
When I got married and moved out, Neko came with me. She was the perfect cat if you could look past the hair, vomit, and pee. We even put a little cat door in for her at our first house so she could get to the litter downstairs without leaving the basement door open.
After the birth of my second child, our vet diagnosed Neko with a terrible case of cancer in her jaw. Soon after receiving that devastating news, her face swelled; she lost teeth and began drooling. Cats are too dignified to drool, so we knew when it was time to say goodbye. It was a terrible illness and a heart-wrenching goodbye for a beloved friend.
It should be no surprise that it didn’t take long before I was ready to bring home a new baby kitten. My deep love for Neko had blinded me so that I didn’t ever fully grasp the concept that cats are indeed gross.
Siamese Cat Fact: All cats are affected by periodontal disease, but Siamese are more likely to experience early onset or more severe cases. Be sure and get your cat’s teeth checked at their annual vet visit!
It wasn’t until I had a string of my own cats come in and out of my life in my child-rearing years that the pieces started falling into place. But that’s another chapter in the “Cats are Gross” saga.
I will leave you with this picture of my latest gross cat, Scarlett No’Hara. Like Neko, my love for her surpasses my awareness of how gross she is. I mean – look at that face!