LETTER TO THE EDITOR
A THOUGHT FROM THE VET
By: Peter Taylor MRCVS
Until Sheelagh Le Cocq started talking to me about the Traditional Siamese Cat, I had not been fully aware of how much the breed has changed over the years.
From a Veterinary point of view, the change to a more elongated head shape has not led to the major health problems that conformation has caused in some breeds.
I do, however, uspect that the widespread chronic conjunctivites ("runny eyes") from which the modern Siamese suffers is due to the changed shape of the orbit (eye socket). Any my surgeries are frequently attended by anxious Siamese owners who are worried that their cat is so thin. In most cases the animal is not ill, it was just bred that way. The cat's thinness may actually be beneficial for it's health but it certainly brings it's owner a lot of unnecessary worry. 9perhaps their memory of a Siamese cat is of a "Traditional" too!).
It is also quite likely that continuing to select when breeding for a type of cat so far removed from the Traditional will also be selecting for other undesirable genetic problems which may not have come to light yet. Keeping the Traditional lines going in significant numbers will mean a wider base of genetic material in the breed making it much easier to "breed out" any new congenital problems if they occur.
Enough of the scientific rambling. No, this is more about beauty than health. The first Siamese cat I ever saw was on the television in "Blue Peter"! And she definitely did not have a nose like Concord!
The more I think about the Traditional Siamese, the more I think "what a really attractive cat". And in general I don't think that when I see a Modern Siamese in the surgery. So, thanks to Sheelagh, there is definitely one more enthusiast who would like to see a return to those Traditional cobby faces peering out of their carrier at me!