Siamese cats' health problems—ways to keep your cat healthy
Cats are royalty—Siamese cats in particular! Once palace residents in Thailand, these oriental cats are historically royal—hence the elegant demeanour that demands the treatment worthy of a blue-blooded feline. Perhaps because of this luxurious lifestyle, Siamese cats have always been considered delicate and susceptible to various health issues.
While they are usually healthy, Siamese cats are genetically predisposed to some ailments. This article will go over common Siamese cats' health problems. We will also look into ways to keep their royal Majesties fit so they can live a long and happy life.
What's eating Siamese cats—common health problems
Siamese cats are susceptible to several hereditary and acquired conditions.
While there’s usually nothing you can do to prevent genetic disorders, you can keep them under control with proper care and nutrition.
Genetic health problems in Siamese cats
Some of the diseases that Siamese cats are genetically prone to are:
- Respiratory infections
- Vestibular disease
- Agenesis of the upper eyelid
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
Siamese cats can suffer from respiratory issues. Although kittens usually develop lung infections, adult cats can also have these problems. This can make surgical procedures problematic and more dangerous because of the heightened sensitivity to anaesthesia.
Two common pathogens cause respiratory infections in cats, as follows:
Symptoms and duration
Feline rhinotracheitis virus
Can I play outside for a bit?
Source: luca Finardi
Regular vaccination and not letting your cat roam outside unattended can help avoid these issues.
About 1% of adult cats are affected by feline asthma, and Siamese cats seem to be more susceptible than other breeds. It is a progressive and incurable chronic disease. The most common symptoms include:
- Distressed breathing
In severe cases, a cat might also develop bronchoconstriction, which can be life-threatening.
The vestibular system in a cat's ear allows our feline friends to land on their feet easily, even when jumping from great heights. When it malfunctions, which is pretty common in Siamese cats, you might think your mischievous little kitty has had too big of a catnip sniff. Jokes aside, your cat won't have a great time as they will experience weird and unpleasant symptoms, such as:
- Loss of balance
- Head tilting
- Eye drift
This condition typically disappears within a few weeks, but it would be great to have your vet prescribe an anti-nausea medication to help with the motion sickness.
Vomiting can cause weight loss and be highly unpleasant for your cat.
Agenesis of the upper eyelid
Siamese cats can suffer from several eye diseases. Some have a cross-eye gene, which makes them look quirky and comical but has no effect on their vision. Some Siamese cats can also be affected by agenesis of the upper eyelid. It is a condition that causes an upper eyelid to remain underdeveloped, which is a more concerning defect but manageable with various treatment options, such as:
- Cryoepilation—The removal of hair follicles around the eyes to prevent irritation
- Artificial tears—Used to lubricate and protect the corneal surfaces of the eye
- Antibiotics—Used to treat corneal ulcers if they develop
- Surgical reconstruction—Recommended for cats suffering from chronic conjunctival irritation
- Eye removal—Solution for the most severe cases when none of the previous methods has worked
This condition is not dangerous, and the prognosis is typically favourable.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
PRA is a congenital disease that almost invariably ends with the cat losing their vision. The defective gene passes from one generation to another, progressively damaging the cells responsible for light reception at the back of the eye. The cat will first suffer from night blindness and then lose sight completely as the disease progresses.
There is no effective treatment or cure, and the first symptoms typically appear between the age of one and a half and two. After night blindness appears, the cat usually loses vision within two to four years.
Acquired Siamese cat health issues
Siamese cats can suffer from certain acquired diseases, namely:
- Feline hyperesthesia syndrome
- Psychogenic alopecia
- Lifestyle-related illnesses
Most acquired illnesses can be prevented with a well-balanced diet, regular vet visits, and exercise.
Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS)
I’m itchy and twitchy. Keep your hands to yourself!
Source: Felice Wölke
The feline hyperesthesia syndrome, aka the twitch-skin syndrome, is one of the ailments that plague Siamese, Burmese, and Abyssinians cats primarily. Their skin can become overly sensitive, so they could spend hours licking, biting, and scratching their backs. This could lead to the breaking of the skin and open wounds. FHS can appear at any age, and in severe instances, it can affect a cat's central nervous system.
The vet should check to see if there is an underlying issue, such as:
- Fungal infection
- Allergies to food or other particles
Besides excessive licking, you might also notice your cat:
- Urinating when you touch their back
- Attacking their tail
- Showing discomfort when held or touched
Siamese cats can develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which can lead to psychogenic cat alopecia. Cats can groom themselves so much that they lose patches of fur.
The usual culprits for this condition are chronic stress, psychological trauma, anxiety, and boredom caused by a number of reasons, including:
- New home
- Other pets
- New family members
- Lack of company and attention
The treatment typically involves antidepressants, and it’s advisable to introduce lifestyle changes that will help with stress control. Perhaps couples therapy with the dog is in order.
The following illnesses can be caused by improper diet and a sedentary lifestyle:
- Obesity—Feeding your cat food rich in carbs and fats without ensuring they get enough exercise can lead to weight gain. Obese cats are at a higher risk of developing many other diseases, including cancer, hypertension, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and diabetes
- Dental issues—Gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth resorption are the most common dental issues in cats. Due to the pain and discomfort, cats can become unwilling to eat, which can lead to numerous other health issues, such as diabetes, liver, heart, lung, and kidney disease, etc. Avoiding highly-processed food filled with grains and sugar can go a long way in preventing problems with teeth
- Bladder issues—Improper diet can significantly affect the chemical composition and pH level of a cat’s urine, which can cause the development of UTIs, bladder stones, etc.
The best you can do to ensure your cat is happy and healthy is to feed them high-quality, balanced meals that satisfy all their dietary needs.
How to improve your Siamese cat’s quality of life
All I need is a pile of toys and your constant undivided attention.
Source: Bryony Elena
Pillars of good feline care are:
- Regular exercise
- Adequate grooming
- Good nutrition
The fun time between regular sleeping schedules as prescribed by the vet
Making sure your feline companion is entertained and active will go a long way in keeping them healthy and happy. Regular playtime can help with their immune system, weight control, and OCD prevention. Some of the ways to provide a quality fun time for your Siamese and keep their cognitive functions active are:
- Interactive games
- Puzzle feeders
- Abundance of toys
If you manage to create a fun environment for your cat where they can climb, play, and solve puzzles, they can be active even when you are not around. While this can be useful, it can't replace the time you spend with them. Without your attention, your once friendly Siamese can become lethargic and depressed and develop behavioural problems. Only 15 minutes of your time every day will make your feline friend's day!
Regardless of whether you have an Applehead, Wedge Siamese, Himalayan Siamese (a Persian in Siamese disguise) or any other type of Siamese cat, you can expect them to shed, albeit much less than other breeds. Because of this, they require regular grooming.
You should brush your cat’s fur at least once a week. Use a soft-bristled brush and always brush in the direction of the hair growth.
Besides brushing, you also need to:
- Clean your cat’s ears
- Clip their nails
- Brush their teeth (as often as possible)
- Wipe them (they usually hate baths, but a damp cloth will be pleasantly pampering)
Purrrfect cat diet
The most critical aspect of caring for a cat is knowing what they should and shouldn't eat. The right portions of a well-balanced diet that meets all Siamese cats' dietary needs can do wonders in maintaining their health. Every meal you give to your feline companion should have a perfect balance of:
- Animal protein—The most important ingredient and source of energy that ensures muscle growth and proper organ function. The food you choose should contain more than 50% of animal protein. Plant protein is not a good substitute because it doesn’t contain essential amino acids (e.g. taurine) and is not easily digestible
- Fat—A good secondary energy source that provides the taste cats love and essential fatty acids crucial for healthy skin, luscious coat, and efficient immune function. Recommended percentage of fat in cat food is up to 20%
- Vitamins and minerals—Essential for nearly all biological functions, including oxygen transportation, nutrient utilisation, and enzyme formation. Cats get all the vitamins and minerals they need from meat
But I love me some kibble, too.
Source: Summer Rune
Wet food vs. dry food—choose the right food type for your Siamese kitty!
Dry food is convenient and typically more affordable, but it’s not the best option because it contains a lot of grains, sugar, and other filler ingredients. None of these have any nutritional value for cats and are a common cause of allergies and obesity.
Another drawback is that cat kibbles aren’t hydrating—most products contain only 10% moisture, which isn’t enough considering that cats should get most of their moisture from food. Cats fed dry food only often suffer from urinary tract infections and kidney diseases.
As opposed to kibbles, canned food usually contains around 75% moisture! High-quality, meat-based wet food is the ideal choice for felines because it resembles a cat’s natural diet. This type of food is usually rich in animal protein, animal fat, and essential minerals and vitamins.
You can offer kibble to your Siamese as an occasional snack (some vets even consider dry food to be great for dental health) as long as you make sure your feline gets two wet meals a day.
Untamed—your cat will love it
Keeping your Siamese cat healthy and happy is easy with Untamed! We created food closest to cats' natural diet and eating habits, free from known allergens. Every meal your cat gets will be:
- Rich in protein—Our cat food contains two times more protein than most other commercial foods, and we only use high-quality whole meats
- Sugar-free—Sugar can cause flatulence and cramps, which is highly unpleasant for the cat, and it can lead to nausea, vomiting, and high blood pressure
- Grain-free—Cats don’t need grains, and many felines can be sensitive to this ingredient, often suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting, skin irritation, and weight gain
- Low in carbs—Low-carb diet helps keep your cat’s weight in check and is especially beneficial if your cat is diabetic
All the ingredients in Untamed meals are of high quality and ethically sourced. Depending on your cat's preferences, you can choose meals made with:
- Chicken breast
- Chicken liver
- Tuna steak
- Sardine fillet
- Mackerel fillet
- Salmon fillet
Our meals are created with the help of veterinary experts to make sure cats' nutritional needs are met. Thanks to our gentle preparation method that ensures the natural aroma and texture of the meat are intact, even the fussiest of eaters won’t be able to resist the content of our tins.
Try Untamed and treat your Siamese to healthy and delicious meals!
What to expect once you switch to Untamed
After they started feeding their cats with our high-quality and tasty meals, many cat parents have noticed positive changes, as follows:
The first week
After two months
After four months
How to sign up for a tailor-made meal plan for your Siamese cat
For me? Why, thank you, my noble servant.
Image (c) Untamed
Ordering a tailor-made meal plan for your Siamese kitty is as easy as one-two-three. Follow these steps to sign up for a trial pack:
- Complete the Try Now quiz
- Provide the necessary information about your cat
- Choose the products your Siamese will love
- Complete the order
You will receive the first shipment within a day, and a selection of your pet's favourite recipes can be delivered right to your doorstep every month. If you decide to change products a bit or cancel your order, you can do it any time you like.