Is It Normal for a Siamese Cat to Be Cross-Eyed?

Siamese cats have a genetic tendency toward crossed eyes.

Siamese cats have a genetic tendency toward crossed eyes.

Although many Siamese cats aren't cross-eyed, historically the trait was considered normal for the breed. Today, Siamese with and without crossed eyes exist. Whatever your preference, you can find Siamese cats with beautiful blue eyes that slant or look straight on.

Significance

The crossed eyes of the Siamese cat developed naturally to compensate for a genetic flaw in their eye structure. Interestingly, this same genetic trait causes the coloration of Siamese. Although the cat's eyes are not permanently crossed, traditional Siamese cats must cross them to see straight.

Scientific Explanation

Cats' eyes point forward, like human eyes. Each eye has one spot that sees the same thing as the other eye. Nerves communicate the image to the brain, which puts the two together as one clear image. Human retinas rest at the back of the eye straight on, so we look straight ahead to see. With Siamese cats, the left retina tilts in toward the right and the right retina tilts left. If the cat looked straight ahead it would see two different images. Siamese cats have compensated by crossing their eyes to place the retinas in line and to see more clearly.

Breeders' Role

Crossed eyes and a kinked tail are both considered natural to the breed; street Siamese cats in Thailand have them. Most if not all Siamese cats used to be cross-eyed. However, the trait is less common among modern Siamese. Breeders have worked to remove it, along with the kinked tail.

Tips

If you're looking for a Siamese cat who's not cross-eyed, look for Modern Siamese. These are less likely to have crossed eyes, although the trait does pop up sometimes because it's genetic. Cats classified as Traditional or Thai Siamese haven't been bred to reduce the cross-eyed gene.

 

About the Author

A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images