Many people believe that Siamese cats are a difficult breed due to their alleged reputation for being mean, and even media representation of the breed, from Garfield to Pokémon, has them represented in an antagonistic way.
Is there any truth to this aggressive reputation, and are Siamese cats mean, or is it more to do with human culture than cat behavior?
It is true that Siamese cats are overrepresented as aggressive compared to other cat breeds. This aggression does not necessarily indicate a state of being mean in every instance.
The Siamese breed is also more assertive, intelligent, and demanding than other cat breeds, which can cause this kind of aggressive behavior.
In this post, we will examine the aggressive behavior of Siamese cats and look at the potential causes for it.
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What Does It Look Like When Siamese Cats Are Mean?
If your Siamese cat is being truly “mean,” you can expect to see behaviors such as growling or hissing, or outright attacking by biting and scratching. Even within this list, an isolated bite can be a non-aggressive love bite, and a scratch could simply be your cat engaging in social play with you.
Other examples of aggression can be just that, but not done out of a sense of meanness. Examples of this include a thumping tail or restlessness when they’re frustrated, or more innocently, engaging you physically in negative ways because they know it’ll get your attention.
What Are Some Reasons Why A Siamese Cat Would Exhibit Aggressive Behavior?
The best way to assess your cat’s behavior isn’t so much to ask are Siamese cats mean, but rather to look at the possible reasons for your little feline friend’s behavior whenever it manifests. These range from appropriate to misunderstood behaviors.
Your Siamese cat may be exhibiting aggressive behavior for the same reason any cat would. If your little buddy is uncomfortable or scared, there’s nothing abnormal about an aggressive response.
If your cat used to be feral, you don’t know its background, or you happen to know it came from an abusive environment, it could be exhibiting behavior that’s abnormally aggressive for a typical housecat but quite ordinary for an animal with that past. For example, abused cats will frequently exhibit fear responses toward humans, even after the abuse has ended.
Siamese cats are also prone to certain genetic conditions that can directly or indirectly cause aggressive behaviors. One example is feline hyperesthesia syndrome, a condition that causes extremely sensitive skin, usually on its back.
Tactile hyperesthesia can make your cat feel discomfort while being petted by you, resulting in aggressive behaviors such as biting and scratching as a method of self-defense.
Playfulness And Need For Attention
Siamese cats are curious, high-energy, and demanding of human attention. If you’ve ever had a Siamese kitten, you’ll know all too well how much of your time they can take up with play.
The lines get blurred when you consider that a significant element of a cat’s play behavior is tied to their natural instincts and being predators, those instincts can be quite aggressive.
You need to distinguish between the instincts at the root of the play behaviors and the play behaviors themselves. Despite the evolutionary connection, your Siamese cat’s playful behaviors are not actual acts of aggression, and they’re certainly not a sign of a mean state of mind.
Admittedly, this can be little comfort when you are on the receiving end of a bite or scratch.
If you don’t mind this playful aggression, there’s no problem, but if it’s undesirable, you need to deal with it appropriately. Punishing your cat for playing will not curb aggression; instead, it could have the opposite effect.
If you want to reduce attention-seeking aggression, the best response is to ignore it or redirect it, thus ensuring your cat doesn’t get positive reinforcement to this behavior.
Siamese cats form incredibly close bonds with their humans. Further, these cats will often form this close bond with one specific person in the household. The combination of this and their territorial nature means that you can expect to see a lot of jealous behavior from your cat linked to you or to whomever it is in the home that your furry friend has imprinted on.
From personal experience with my Siamese, Olli, I can say that this is definitely true in my household, as Olli’s jealous nature does appear once in a while.
Your Siamese cat can show this jealousy by exhibiting aggressive behaviors in response to your attention being preoccupied with something else or to new people in the home. In the latter case, the jealousy is both for the person the cat has the bond with and due to the perception that your cat’s home, its territory, is being infringed upon.
Jealousy in Siamese cats also manifests in the form of separation anxiety. If you spend too much time away from your cat, it may begin showing mischievous behavior, frequently in the form of breaking household items or scratching up your furniture.
An easy fix, albeit only a partial one, is to have another Siamese cat or a pet that your Siamese gets along with (I know, easier said than done!) so that they provide a constant distraction to one another.
To the original question of are Siamese cats mean, sometimes the answer for your specific Siamese cat depends on their personality. Much like humans, studies show that cats also have unique personalities and ingrained temperaments independent of external factors, which we could interpret as mean.
Your cat could, for example, be predisposed to having a short temper. If that’s the case, the kind of stressors that other cats may be able to ignore could set off your cat in the way that only a more intense stressor would on another cat.
Does this mean that your Siamese cat is bad? No, it only means that you need to be aware of your feline companion’s personality and approach it appropriately. A short-tempered cat, for example, may necessitate less aggressive or invasive play from its human, but if you can do that, you can still have a great relationship with your cat.
The Siamese Breed
Originally from Thailand (formerly known as Siam), Siamese cats are one of the oldest recognized breeds in the world. They have a reputation for being vocal, dominant, and highly intelligent. There are many different Siamese variations:
- Old Style Siamese (Thai Cat)
- Applehead Siamese
- Classic Siamese
- Modern Wedge Siamese
- Seal Point Siamese
- Chocolate Point Siamese
- Blue Point Siamese
- Lilac point Siamese
- Red Point Siamese (Flame Point)
- Cream Point Siamese
Do variations in the breed (Siamese with different coat colors) come with a known variance in behavior? Personality is basically the same throughout the different types of Siamese cats in the breed, even though they may look different and come from different geographical locations.
The aspect of fear and defense, however, is shared across all types of Siamese cats. This means they will invariably perceive threats as something bad and react defensively, for example, by hissing or scratching.
Ultimately, every Siamese is unique, and sometimes their temperaments may be interpreted as mean in the same way that different human personalities may come across as mean to someone else.
Related Posts: Are Siamese Cats Hypoallergenic?, Do Siamese Cats Like Water?
We’ve learned that even though Siamese cats are overrepresented in instances of aggression, there are many reasons for this, and by understanding these, you can react appropriately to these situations.
If you were wondering are Siamese cats mean, you can now see that this isn’t really the case and that their behaviors are a lot more complex than that.
Remember that the Siamese cat breed has so many positives, and as a cat owner, you can be confident that you have one of the most intelligent and fun cat breeds. I know that I can never resist those beautiful blue eyes of my sweet Siamese Olli!
Read Next: The Beautiful Lynx Point Siamese Cat: Facts and Pictures
Although they are generally lovable and friendly, Siamese cats are prone to problematic behaviour that can occasionally turn into aggression. If they are in a safe and comfortable environment where they can be active and in the centre of attention, a Siamese will be the most affectionate companion ever.Is Siamese a sweet cat? ›
Temperament. The Siamese cat's personality is friendly, affectionate, outgoing, and social. This beautiful breed is also one of the most intelligent around. The Siamese is loving and trusting with humans, and he thrives with lots of positive human interaction.Are Siamese cats overly affectionate? ›
While the coat needs little care, Siamese tend to associate brushing with affection and will enjoy spending time being groomed. The Siamese, as elegant as she looks, can be quite a lap cat. She is extremely affectionate and will sleep next to her parent.What is the personality of a Siamese cat? ›
Temperament: Most breeders describe the personality of Siamese cats as highly social, extroverted, and outgoing. They show immense loyalty and, like dogs, form strong bonds with humans. As their owner, you might find them constantly following you around and demanding your attention.Why is my Siamese cat so sweet? ›
They are one of the few cat breeds that actually crave and enjoy human companionship. Siamese cats tend to be loving and trusting of their humans, but often bond with only one person. That said, they are highly prone to separation anxiety and depression when left alone for long periods of time.