The Siamese cat has been one of humankind’s favorite pets for many generations. In part, it’s their exotic heritage that draws us to them. There’s also the fact that their trademark blue eyes are impossible to resist. Yet, they have a reputation for being quirky. In particular, they are associated with bad behavior.
Beautiful as they are, Siamese cats have developed a reputation for being slightly tricky to negotiate for their aggression. Some even describe them as “mean.” By that, they could understand the Siamese cat personality as aggressive or standoffish, which is unfortunately somewhat of a misconception. But are Siamese cats mean?
In some cases, humans merely interpret the cat as being unaffectionate and not interested in being cuddly and cute. The question at hand is: Is all this true? Let’s dig into the issue and understand the Siamese a little better.
Are Siamese Cats Mean? Factors to Consider
1. What Do You Mean By “Mean”?
To answer, we need to look at why these beautiful cats have this reputation. Do we need to dig even deeper by asking what people might mean by the word “mean”? Is it possible to develop an understanding of such a cat to condition it to be less… “mean”?
By most peoples’ understanding, “mean” behavior is characterized by aggressive or destructive habits that don’t seem to have a justification. Perhaps it refers to a cat that simply bites you for no reason or randomly scratches you.
When it comes to cats, the behavior seems even more amplified because of a cat’s natural facial expressions and demeanor. When they misbehave, they seem to say, “What are you gonna do about it?” even in their finest moments.
The truth is that a cat (like a human) wouldn’t be “mean” as a matter of course. While some breeds tend to be more assertive or territorial, aggression is usually a result of some trigger or underlying cause. As far as we know, there’s no reason to think that a cat could be “mean” simply because it chooses to be.
We should also note that not being overly affectionate doesn’t translate to meanness. Some cats do not enjoy being cuddled or picked up. And that’s fine.
2. Specific Behavior Traits
To some degree, many of these factors can apply to any cat. But the Siamese do tend to display these acutely when they are present.
This cat’s beautiful blue eyes have a story to tell, it seems. Interestingly, they have a specific genetic condition that appears to create visual abnormalities, reportedly with night vision. This results in disrupted natural body rhythms (circadian rhythms, if you will) and sleep cycles.
Siamese cats also have an odd disposition when it comes to energy. They tend to peak energy in the evenings and can get somewhat active at the most inconvenient times. The result is that you’ll have furry things running around your home in the deepest sleep hours of the night.
Siameses are prone to suffer separation anxiety when they are left on their own for extended periods of time. When they are bored or anxious, they may resort to behavior we see as destructive.
You’ll understand what this is all about if you’ve seen a cat video of cats knocking things off shelves or scratching up an expensive couch. The Siamese are notorious for breaking things, and they seem to have a talent for knowing what’s expensive.
A word to the wise; Siamese cats may struggle if you bring a new pet into the home after they have already been there for a while. Siamese cats are very territorial and will be most comfortable knowing who’s who and what belongs to whom in the house.
A disruption to this order may trigger aggressive behavior, especially to the new arrival, whether a person or animal. If you intend to have more pets, it’s better to adopt them all as kittens and pups — and at the same time, if possible.
Failing that possibility, a proper and controlled introduction method should be employed.
3. Siamese and Affection
Siamese cats are affectionate to a fault. Their affection and love play a part in why some people feel they are mean. They tend to want a lot of attention, and when it is not given, they may act out.
They can become quite jealous when your attention is taken away. Make sure to employ patience and let them control the interaction to establish boundaries. It will also help to remember that your cat loves you and simply wants to feel like you love them in return.
These cats are very vocal about their wants, and your Siamese may meow at you whenever they need to. Chances are you will know when there’s a problem.
4. Are Siameses Problematic?
Siamese cats are no more problematic than any other cat or pet when considering all the possible factors that create their personality. With a deeper understanding of causes and remedies, almost any pet can be taught to be a fully functional member of the family.
5. Are Siamese Cats Aggressive?
Siamese cats are prone to what can be called “redirected aggression.” It is a result of a number of breed personality traits colliding to form behaviors we might consider “mean” or aggressive. Siamese cats, as a breed, tend to be more prone to stress than most other breeds.
But in truth, this isn’t present in all Siamese, and individual cats will be more predisposed than others. What we do know is that they can be sensitive to certain situations. For example, they don’t like changes to their environment and routines. They are also wary of strangers and other animals and struggle more than other cats to adjust to these things.
They also seem more possessive than most other cat breeds. So they may become jealous in a way if your affections and attention seem to be focused elsewhere for too long. And their acting out may seem to us like aggression.
6. The Cat’s History
The following applies to all cats, really. Cats who have suffered some kind of trauma or were feral, are more likely to have difficulty adjusting to comfortable, smooth home life. If your Siamese has some kind of history that suggests this, it’s not surprising to find it acting aggressively or standoffish.
Not all aggression is equal, either. A cat may act aggressively towards other pets but be fine with humans, and vice versa. The bottom line is that cats are very cognitive of their past experiences.
They tend to remember bad experiences strongly, and it can be difficult to recondition them after such an event. If at all possible, it will take time and a lot of patience. It can sometimes take years to get them to trust you. And, even then, that trust may not extend to others.
7. Health Considerations
Certain health issues may also contribute to behavioral characteristics that aren’t “social” or ideal from a personality perspective. For example, a perfectly normal or unexpected hormone change can have an impact on personality.
This may manifest as a bolt of aggression suddenly rearing its head. Other destructive habits may also arise. Our cat may stop eating, start scratching up the furniture, or simply want to be left alone. Because you may not be aware of what’s going on or when it will happen, it’s best to take note of any sudden changes in personality.
Cats react to injury or bodily changes in odd ways. Have a word with a vet if the behavior is particularly problematic. A routine health checkup may reveal the cause. Bear in mind that some conditions may have to be managed rather than cured outright.
3 Tips for Dealing With Unwanted Behavior
It’s tempting, especially for inexperienced owners, to want to confront the situation and the cat with force of will or disciplinary action. But believe the experts; there’s no way to win a battle of wills with a cat, much less a Siamese.
It’s far more prudent to approach the situation “scientifically.” You stand a better chance of fixing a problem if you take some time to analyze and understand the problem, which in this case, is aggressive or mean behavior.
1. Identifying Triggering Factors
Suppose you notice that your cat is inconsistently acting in aggressive ways or in specific situations. You might want to look at whether there are triggering factors. For example, if your cat is only mean to you or a specific person or other pet, chances are that something specific is triggering them.
The trigger can be easily identifiable. It could be something like an aspect of your behavior, for example. It can also be something less obvious, like a scent on you or your clothing. They may also harbor a memory of something you or someone like you did to them in the past. Never let it be said that cats don’t hold a grudge.
Likewise, if your cat is nervous and anxious around food, for example, it could inform a possible cause. Some cats are very nervous about strangers visiting your house. The sound of workers, traffic, or fireworks outside can all be triggering.
2. Safe Spaces
If there’s a fundamental difference between a cat and dog personality, it’s that cats decide when they want to be social. Dogs, meanwhile, seem just to love being around people in general. Cats like to be on their own sometimes. At the very least, they like to choose when to show any hint that they notice you. They also like to have “safe spaces.”
This is why it’s always a good idea to provide a space in your home that no other pet can get to. Cats like high spaces, which makes a good cat tree a must-have for any good home.
A small crawl space is also a good idea for a nervous cat; somewhere they can retreat to if something startles them. Cats will explore a house and become familiar with escape routes. Provide one or two if possible.
A safe, secure space is important for another reason. If a cat becomes outwardly aggressive through fear response or otherwise, place it in a quiet room separate from other pets and people. On its own, it will be able to relax and calm down without other physical triggers to deal with.
3. Positive Reinforcement Techniques
As mentioned, patience is a valuable quality to have as a cat owner, especially for the Siamese. When a Siamese has displayed behavior that is undesirable, the approach to take is that of positive reinforcement.
You should not force a cat to do anything it doesn’t want to. This will likely make it worse. Let a cat take its time to build trust. Let it come to you. You can encourage them with treats and so forth, but know that if it doesn’t want to sit with you, it won’t.
Likewise, do not punish your cat for bad behavior. Siamese cats do not respond well to punishment, as they consider you as an equal and not an “owner” per se.
Image by liliy2025 from Pixabay
A Few Tips on Routine
As noted earlier, Siameses, in particular, enjoy routines and stability. If you do not already consider establishing the following routines:
Play Regularly: Your cat has lots of energy to burn and will benefit from a daily bout of play with you. It’s also great for bonding and connecting positive feelings with your presence.
Supply toys and activities: Cats are brainy and curious and are stimulated by puzzle toys and intriguing objects.
Provide positive introductions: When visitors or family members need to be introduced, try to maintain a positive mood and pay your cat attention in the process. It will help them to feel a part of the proceedings.
Set feeding schedule: Feed your cat at set times and in set spaces, and stick to a regular grooming schedule. On that note, once used to it, a Siamese cat will enjoy a grooming session with you.
Final Thoughts on Whether Siamese Cats Are Mean
Any cat (or human, for that matter) isn’t born mean. If a cat is overly aggressive or antisocial in any way, it is likely because of history or a condition that is present.
It may be true that a Siamese cat has a strong personality as a breed trait. But it is ultimately a domesticated cat that, in general, should be able to get along in your home just fine.
What is important to know and consider is what to do in a given situation. As detailed here, it would help to understand the underlying cause of such behavior in your cat. From that point, it is theoretically easier to try to manage the situation. In many cases, the cat can be socialized into better behavior.
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