The Siamese, affectionately called the "Meezer" (for Siameeeeser) by fanciers of this Oriental breed, have been around since the late 1800s. An aristocratic and sleek feline, the Siamese are the most vociferous of felines. They rank number six in the top ten most popular breeds, according to the CFA's 2011 registry. The Siamese are more prone to anxiety problems than some other breeds.
The Meezer Personality
The Siamese are called the "quintessential people cat" by the Cat Fancier's Association. And although each cat has his own personality, as a breed, the Siamese generally like to be around people. Many Siamese owners report their Meezers follow them around the house like a puppy dog. They are also known to greet their owners at the door and will play fetch much like a dog. Because the Siamese are such gregarious cats, they do not do well in isolation or when put in a position where they cannot exercise their lithe, svelte bodies and intelligent minds. These cats need to be with people, or they will not thrive.
This "Royal Cat of Siam" is accustomed to being the center of attention and when ignored or kept from people will develop serious emotional and mental issues such as depression and anxiety, especially separation anxiety. This is seen time and again in animal shelters where Siamese cats, having emotionally "shut down," will be seen hiding in the back of their cages, giving the impression they are unfriendly loners. The truth is, they are so emotionally traumatized by not being with people, they will sometimes go days without eating and can quickly become ill due to malnutrition or dehydration. Siamese cats who have been adopted by people who work long hours or whose idea of a cat is a living statue to be admired but not lavishly adored will show symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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A network of Siamese rescue organizations help get them adopted. Savvy shelter managers are aware that Siamese cats don't "show" well in shelters so if a particular Siamese is not adopted within a few days of being offered, will call a Siamese rescue organization to get him into a foster home where he will receive the attention he needs to thrive. Placing a homeless Siamese in a foster home alleviates the stress and depression the cat is experiencing. The cat is then campaigned through a series of social network sites, email blasts, Siamese classified ads and other rescue resources.
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If you have a Siamese cat you suspect is dealing with anxiety issues, understanding your cat is of utmost importance. Once you understand that your cat is in need of human contact, you can provide it more deliberately. Interaction with your cat will go a long way towards helping her cope with her emotional problems. If the anxiety is due to other issues, such as a new pet or person in the home, domestic violence issues or illness, consult your vet for prescription anti-anxiety medications. There are also homeopathic remedies with ingredients that help calm animals available at most pet supply or health food stores. If you are away from home most of the day and you suspect separation anxiety, consider adopting a second cat as a companion so your kitty isn't alone all day.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.