Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Siamese Today: A Lao Cat Family

See Cao, daddy
Here is a present-day cat family in Luang Prabang, Laos, just across the river from Thailand. The dad is named See Cao, which means white. He would be called a Siamese mix in this country. He looks awfully white compared to the Siamese cats we know, but in a colder climate his dark points would probably emerge.

The mother’s name is Hermione, named by my daughter-in-law LaChanda. Hermione had three kittens--one black like her, one gray, ane one half and half.  Sadly, the little half-and-half died. Note that Hermione is built like a Siamese cat. Note also how light her kittens are--even the one that turned black. You can see that the temperature-sensitive albino gene was at work in the womb. Even as adults, their fur is still light next to the skin.

Hermione and her kittens

Hermione and her kitten Yoda
 The Southeast Asian cat has remained so isolated from the rest of the cats of the world that it is almost its own separate subspecies. What I have poo-pooed as "myth" is in one sense true--that the Siamese cat, or at least the Southeast Asian cat, was created without human intervention. But the cat created by Nature looks more like Scooter--a ticked tabby, the wild felis sylvestris with its color adapted to provide the best camouflage in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The daddy cat named "See Cao"  has a color that is recessive, and is representative of the cat that man created. It would be rare to see a white cat in the wild.

I'm afraid this unique cat is going to become rarer as foreigners move in with their cats from other places. The Southeast Asian cat is no longer isolated, and will soon be just like all the rest of the cats in the world. I hope people will keep the traditional Applehead Siamese breed alive, because it is the closest thing to the ancient breed.                                                                         

Scooter and Hermione

You can see the kinks in the tails of See Cao and Scooter. Those are kinks; they're not just swishing their tails around.

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