Siamese cat eyes are known for being a brilliant sapphire blue and the legend says that they were given as a gift from god. In ancient times only royalty were permitted to keep Siamese cats, as they were believed to have special powers and those who owned them received good fortune.
They were kept to offer protection and the legend goes that Barbarians threatened to destroy the temple alter in Siam. The cats managed to chase off the invaders and as a reward for their bravery and loyalty were blessed with their brilliant blue eyes.
Why Siamese cats have poor eyesight
Cats are known for their ability to see in the dark, and are renowned for their nocturnal hunting skills. Siamese cats however unlike other breeds of cat have very poor night vision. The pupil in a cat’s eye is like the aperture in a camera. It can close to a very narrow slit in bright light during the day, yet open far wider than the pupil in a human eye at night. This enables it to hunt in the dark and see objects that the human eye can’t in poor light.
The reason cats can see so well in the dark is because they have a light reflective surface at the back of the eye known as the tapetum lucidum. This makes them shine when hit by car headlights and gives a green appearance. The Siamese cat however doesn’t have this light reflective surface so can’t see so well in the dark. If you own a Siamese cat you’ll know that they aren’t nocturnal like your average moggy.
Why is the Siamese cat cross eyed?
Siamese cats eyes can often look crossed, and this is because the centre of the retinas are not aligned in the usual way. The centre of the left retina is shifted towards the right, and the centre of the right retina is shifted towards the left. Like us, Siamese cats eyes point forwards, So in order to see things properly they turn their eyes inward, making them look cross eyed.
This breed of cat aren’t born cross eyed but start to look cross eyed at around 12 weeks old. The muscles become used to this position and this cross eyed look becomes permanent. Although this can look very odd, it’s perfectly natural for this particular breed.
Siamese cat eye color
Siamese cats are known for their blue eyes, yet some cats may have very pale colour eyes that look almost white with just a touch of blue, to deep blue almost navy. The reason for this is that some Siamese cats have a much higher amount of pigment in their eyes than others. The more pigment the paler the eye colour. The Siamese are also noted for their almond shaped eyes which helps to give them that graceful feline look.
Siamese cat eye problems
One of the most common eye problems in Siamese cats is glaucoma. This is a common complaint in elderly humans and dogs, but is also found in cats. It’s known as feline glaucoma. There is no cure but your vet can prescribe eye drops to reduce the pressure inside the eye. It’s a painful condition and if your cat has very advanced glaucoma surgery may be advised.
Siamese cats can be born with primary glaucoma which is hereditary. If you are considering getting a Siamese cat you should be aware of this. So how can you tell if your cat has this condition? Look for a blood shot appearance or a cloudiness in the eye. She will be in some discomfort and the third eyelid may cover the eye. If you’re in any doubt you should consult your vet. As with humans the earlier it’s treated the better.
Siamese cats eyes can develop a condition called progressive retinal atrophy. This is an inherited disease that leads to a deterioration of the retina and eventual blindness. This is eye disease is more common in certain breeds of cat and some breeds of dog. However your cat probably won’t be completely blind until well into her old age.
Siamese make delightful pets if cared for properly and given plenty of love and attention. They have an outgoing personality and are very vocal.