Siamese cats are loved by many for their beautiful eyes and elegant, glossy coats. But do you know that this stunning cat breed is also prone to problematic behaviors?
Siamese cats are generally friendly and sociable creatures. However, without proper training and environmental enrichment, they can quickly get up to mischief and even become aggressive.
So are Siamese cats actually mean? If you are planning to adopt a Siamese, it would be worthwhile understanding the unique temperament of this breed to make sure they are the right pet for you.
Are Siamese cats aggressive?
It is understandable that you would be upset if your Siamese started scratching, hissing, or trying to bite you. What appears to be an innocent-looking furbaby has suddenly become aggressive toward family members and other household pets! She might also become overly protective of her personal belongings and her territory, especially if you have recently introduced a new cat or puppy to the home.
Beautiful as they are, Siamese have a reputation for being one of the meanest cat breeds. They are generally friendly and affectionate toward their favorite people, but these beautiful cats also tend to be more aggressive and territorial than many other cat breeds. They are prone to jealousy and are extremely protective of what they consider theirs.
Many believe that this naturally possessive behavior has been passed down from their feline ancestors, who were originally bred to guard ancient temples in Thailand. And, for this reason, the Siamese breed is often considered unaffectionate and less cuddly.
It is very important to note, though, that any cat can display bad behavior as a result of several factors such as environmental triggers, underlying medical issues, or past trauma. Cats can also develop fear or aggression towards unfamiliar people or pets due to a lack of proper socialization. And, while Siamese cats may be particularly prone to behavioral issues, it does not mean they cannot be sweet and cuddly like other cat breeds.
Along with their assertive nature, Siamese cats are also highly intelligent and playful, and can easily get themselves into mischief if you do not provide a sufficiently stimulating environment to release their pent-up energy. These cats will always find ways to entertain themselves, even if it means causing trouble around the house.
Why are Siamese cats mean?
Siamese cats can be mean for many reasons. If your usually-affectionate feline companion suddenly starts scratching or hissing at you or other pets, it could due to:
1. Territorial behavior
Siamese cats are naturally protective of their owners and their homes. If your cat hisses or growls at a new pet or visitor, it is likely because she feels her territory is threatened. This behavior can be problematic, especially if the cat becomes hostile towards a family friend or another pet.
To make your Siamese friendly toward everyone, it is very important to start socializing them at an early age, preferably around two to seven weeks old. Try to introduce the kitten to other people and animals, and when introducing them to your friends, allow the cat to smell them before being petted.
Remember that cats can sense the emotions of their owners, so make sure that you are relaxed and calm whenever someone visits your home. This will help your Siamese feel at ease, too.
Siamese cats are hyperactive by nature. This means they can quickly become overexcited and display violent outbursts during playtime.
If your cat suddenly starts to scratch, bite, or attack you while playing, she is likely overstimulated. Behavior like this should be discouraged. Firmly say “no” and stop the play session immediately every time your pet’s sharp claws or teeth touch your skin. By not giving her attention, you can teach your cat that biting and clawing are bad behaviors. Instead, give her wands or toys on which she can safely use her jaws and claws.
However, never punish your Siamese in any way when she displays undesirable behaviors. Cats do not understand punishment and, if you yell, hit, or spray your cat with water, she will likely develop distrust towards you and become even more aggressive.
3. Needy or clingy behavior
Siamese cats are generally known for being clingy, and ignoring them can cause a build-up of frustration that might lead to destructive behaviors. If the cat has become used to receiving rewards for bad behavior or is not trained to behave correctly, they are more likely to attack their owners or vent their frustrations on household furniture.
For this reasons, the Siamese breed is not ideal for busy people or for those who are constantly out and traveling. Siamese cats do not like being left alone for too long. They are highly social and, hence, demand lots of time and attention from their owners. They are also not suitable to be kept as a single pet – make sure to get another cat – preferably another Siamese – to keep your furry companion happy and entertained.
Just like people, Siamese cats can get crabby, especially if you try to pet or initiate cuddles when they are not in the mood. Due to their territorial nature, they can also get easily annoyed if a family member or pet tries to invade their private space or meddle with their toys.
Take note of these common signs of aggression so that you know when to withdraw to avoid painful bites and scratches:
- Head turned away from you
- Skin rippling, or hair rising
- Ears flicking back and forth
- Tail twitching back and forth
The best way to deal with a grumpy cat is to ignore the bad behavior. Do not chase or shout, as this will only encourage aggression. Give your Siamese enough time to cool off before approaching or petting them again.
However, there are also instances when a Siamese becomes irritable due to an underlying health issue. If your cat is regularly in an irritable mood for no apparent reason, it might be best to schedule an appointment with your vet.
Like most other cat breeds, Siamese do not adapt well to change. Stress in cats is often triggered by major life changes, such as moving to a new home or switching owners. For us humans, these changes might not be a big deal. However, for a cat, it can be frightening. As it turns out, our feline companions thrive on predictability and routine, and do poorly when anything in their environment shifts.
Sudden loud noises, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, or noises from nearby construction sites, can also frighten our fur babies. If you try to comfort or pet them, they might end up biting, scratching, or hissing at you unintentionally, out of fear.
Hence, any changes in your cat’s environment must be dealt with appropriately. For example, if you are planning to move to a new home, make sure to plan ahead so that you can make the transition as smooth as possible for your cat.
Lastly, provide your Siamese with a private hideout where she can feel safe and secure from unexpected thunderstorms or loud noises. For example, you can set up boxes, an open cat carrier, or access to shelves and under furniture where your fearful kitty can run for refuge.
6. Predatory instinct
Although Siamese cats are highly intelligent and playful, they are also hard-wired to hunt prey. So, as mentioned previously, if you do not provide your cat with lots of stimulation, they are sure to find another outlet for their energy.
However, being playful and extroverted does not make these beautiful cats mean – it is just how they are! Be careful, though, as they might fix their eyes on you and attack your feet as you walk down the stairs. Make sure to provide lots of toys and scratch posts instead, to keep them fully occupied.
7. Petting aggression
Imagine this – you are petting and scratching your furry friend as she happily purrs and rubs against your leg. And then, after a while, she suddenly attacks you!
Cat rubbing is a sign of affection, but after a certain period the physical touch can start to feel unpleasant for them. Repetitive contact can cause overstimulation, arousal, or even pain. This is why your cat reacts by hastily attacking you.
A lot of people misinterpret this behavior as being mean. To avoid petting aggression, try to understand your cat’s boundaries as well as her tolerance for petting. Make sure to keep your petting sessions short and sweet, then gradually increase your bonding time until your cat shows signs that she has had enough. Do not forget to reward your furry friend for being calm and friendly.
8. Feline hyperesthesia
Sometimes, your Siamese can be extra sensitive when touched, but it does not necessarily mean she is cantankerous. If your cat bites or scratches every time you pet her, it might be due to discomfort or pain. Siamese cats are known to be susceptible to feline hyperesthesia, a disorder that causes the skin to be extremely sensitive and even painful when touched.
Signs of feline hyperesthesia include excessive grooming, frequent vocalization, increased urination, and unusual chasing of the tail. If you notice these sudden behaviors in your Siamese, make sure to have her checked by the vet right away. There is no cure for feline hyperesthesia, but with proper medication, your feline buddy can still live a happy, healthy life.
How to stop a Siamese from being mean
Depending on the cause, there are many ways to transform your grumpy Siamese into a more affectionate and friendly cat.
First, provide them a safe and private space to go to whenever they feel anxious. It could be access to another room, a cat condo, or high perches where they can cool off and unwind.
Understanding their triggers is also very important, and you need to create plans to address these issues appropriately. If your Siamese shows signs of aggression, stop petting them and leave them alone immediately. Let them approach you on their own terms.
Lastly, use positive reinforcement to encourage calm and friendly behavior. Give your cat their favorite treats to reward good behavior. However, never reward bad behavior, especially if the cat turns to aggression to get your attention. Also never punish a cat, as this will only cause fear and avoidance.
Siamese cats have a reputation for being mean due to their territorial and domineering nature. However, they might also appear irritable due to stress, overstimulation, or an underlying health issue. So make sure to have your furry friend checked by the vet to rule out serious diseases. Your vet will also help you determine the triggers of aggression, and how to address these issues to turn your mean Siamese into a sweet and friendly cat.
Image: istockphoto.com / vvvita