Thai is the designation recently given to the original foundation cats of the Siamese breed, the Wichien-Maat of Thailand, (originally Siam), which means ‘Moon Diamond’. These cats were first imported into England in the late 1800’s, where they were called Siamese, after the name of the ruling dynasty of Thailand at that time. Since then, the Siamese have been purposely bred to produce an ever longer, leaner body type with sharper features, with the extreme look becoming favored in the show ring over the years. Some breeders continued breeding the Traditional Siamese, but found themselves outside the mainstream. International breeders combined in their efforts to save the Wichien-Maat, or “Old-Style Siamese”, as they are often referred to, and to promote the authenticity of this ancient breed. They successfully lobbied for a new classification, which mandated the new name Thai, so now both types of Siamese can be shown, in separate classes.
The Thai have a more substantial build, rounder head with higher-set ears, and a less extreme look than the modern Siamese. They have a close-lying coat that requires only a weekly brushing, and are generally healthy and long-lived, from 15 to 20 years or more.
These beautiful cats are smart, vocal, inquisitive, and athletic, and form tight bonds with their humans. They do need companionship and daily stimulation to thrive, so a big family should consider the Thai when looking for an affectionate, fun-loving, energetic pet.