Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat

Updated: December 9, 2022
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Telling the difference between a Thai cat and a Siamese cat can be somewhat challenging. After all, they both come from Thailand originally, and they look fairly similar as well. However, we’re about to go into detail about the differences between the Thai cat vs. Siamese cat. Once you’ve read this article, you will be much better able to distinguish between these two cats, knowing more about different characteristics that set them apart from one another. It’s important to know the differences between these two cats if you’re planning on adding one of them to your home. If you can distinguish between them, you’ll know better which one is the better fit for your family.

Comparing Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat

Siamese cat - old style
Thai cat and Siamese cat are relatives who diverged due to differences in breeding.


Thai CatSiamese Cat 
SizeUp to 23 inches tall; 8-15 pounds10-13 inches tall; 6-14 pounds
AppearanceVery pronounced color points and patterns, especially on the face. Round bodies, apple-shaped heads, thick paws, and short tails.Very pronounced color points and patterns, especially on the face. Long and lean bodies, triangular heads, slender legs, long tails, larger ears.
AncestryOriginated in Europe and North America in the late 1900s as an attempt by breeders to recreate the traditional look of the Siamese cat.Originated in Thailand, sometime between the 1300s and 1700s.
BehaviorVery affectionate, loving, intelligent, and vocal. Friendly to everyone, including strangers. Need mental stimulation in order to avoid becoming destructive. Can be independent, although they like attention.Very affectionate, loving, and intelligent, while being very vocal as well. May need stimulation in order to stop them from being destructive in the house. Always in need of attention, although they are choosy about who they like. Generally reserved around strangers.
HealthOverall healthy, with no known common health issues.Overall healthy but can be prone to many conditions. These include liver disease, heart disease, gum disease, asthma, lymphoma, hyperesthesia syndrome, and progressive retinal atrophy.
Lifespan12-16 years8-15 years

Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat: Key Differences

Siamese Cats - Classic Siamese Cat
Thai cat with blue eyes. The Thai cat and Siamese cat have a common ancestor, which is why they are fairly similar but have several notable differences.


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There are many similarities between the Thai cat and Siamese cat. This makes sense, as they have a common ancestor. The modern Thai cat is a result of breeders’ attempts to restore attributes of the traditional looking Siamese cat to modern Siamese cats, whose appearances had diverged from that look.

Although the two breeds have identical coloring, the Thai cat tends to be slightly heavier and significantly taller than its Siamese counterpart. The Thai cat is also generally healthier, with a longer lifespan.

Although both cats are affectionate, the Thai cat tends to be friendlier to everyone and quicker to warm up to strangers.

Let’s dive in to learn more about the differences between these two breeds!

Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat: Size

Siamese cat lying on a table.
Beautiful Siamese cat. The Thai cat is slightly heavier and significantly taller than the Siamese cat on average.

©Suwanon Wongsaphan/

On average, the Thai cat is taller and heavier than its Siamese counterpart. They typically weigh between 8 and 15 pounds, while the Siamese cat typically weighs between 6 and 14 pounds.

Additionally, while the Siamese cat is typically between 10 and 13 inches tall as an adult, the Thai cat can be up to 23 inches tall. While the difference is not always this large, you can typically see that the Thai cat is significantly larger than its Siamese counterpart.

Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat: Appearance

Siamese cats - Old-style Siamese Cat
Though Thai cats and Siamese have similar coloring, Thai cats tend to have rounder bodies and heads, as well as bigger paws and shorter tails.


Thai cats tend to have more round-shaped bodies, with apple-shaped heads. In some ways, they are more similar to American short-haired cats in appearance than they are to Oriental breeds. They also have thick paws and tails that are shorter than those of their Siamese counterparts.

In contrast, the bodies of Siamese cats are long and lean, with slender legs and long tails. They tend to be more wedge-shaped with triangular heads. they also have larger ears than Thai cats. They bear more of a resemblance to the traditional look of an Oriental cat.

However, both breeds have identical coloring. They have the same distinctive pattern of dark color points on a light body. The colors of their bodies can be anywhere between tan and white, while their legs, face, and ears can be darker colors, between tan and chestnut. Both breeds also have blue eyes that can vary in shades.

Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat: Ancestry and Breeding

Friendliest Cats - Siamese
Breeding of Siamese cats over time changed their appearance. Breeders were interested in creating cats of the traditional Siamese appearance, so they bred selectively to recreate the Thai cat.

©Mercedes Fittipaldi/

The story of divergence that created the two cat breeds that are today known as the Thai cat and Siamese cat is quite interesting. 

Both breeds found their initial beginnings in Thailand as the Siamese cat. People there still call it the “Wichien-Maat,” which roughly translates to “moon diamond.” It was originally transported to the United Kingdom in the late 1800s. These cats were called Siamese cats, and sometimes people would refer to them as Royal Cats from Siam (the former name of Thailand), as royalty coveted these animals.

This cat is believed to be one of the most ancient breeds in existence, as there seems to be a description of this very cat in the Thai manuscript “Tamra Maew,” from sometime between the 14th and 18th centuries. But over time, breeding of the Siamese cat changed its appearance. The head became longer and more triangular, its legs became longer, and its body became more slender.

However, there were many breeders who were interested in the traditional look of a Siamese cat. In the 1950s, they started selectively breeding to try to get the original traits back into the breed. In 1990, the new name of “Thai cat” was given to cats that had the look of traditional Siamese cats from long ago. Thai cats are also called Old-Style Siamese cats.

Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat: Behavior

Old-Style Siamese, Thai cat, or Wichianmat cat
Thai cats and Siamese cats are both affectionate and intelligent, although Siamese cats generally tend to be pickier about who they like and need more attention. Thai cats, like the one seen here, can tolerate being a lone a bit better.


Both the Thai cat and Siamese cat are affectionate and like human contact. They are also both intelligent and curious, needing a lot of mental stimulation in order to keep them from being destructive indoors. These cats are also both very vocal.

The Thai cat is generally much quicker to warm up to strangers. They also tend to be much friendlier to everyone, including other pets. The Siamese cat generally tends to be choosier about who they like. Thai cats tend to be universally friendly, while Siamese cats will make it clear that they dislike certain people.

Thai cats tend to do better on their own, although they love being in the company of their favorite humans. Siamese cats are more likely to need constant attention.

Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat: Health

Siamese cat sitting in a litter box.
The Thai cat and Siamese cat are both fairly healthy, although Siamese cats tend to suffer from more health issues.

© Bueckert

Siamese cats are healthy overall, but they tend to be prone to gum disease, asthma, hyperesthesia syndrome, lymphoma, heart disease, and liver disease. Additionally, they are at risk for developing progressive retinal atrophy.

Thai cats tend to be healthier, with no common health issues. Breeders who worked with them recognized the risks associated with inbreeding and overbreeding early on. As such, they took the necessary measures to keep this cat healthy.

However, it’s always good to take your cat to the vet on a regular basis to make sure that they stay healthy, regardless of the breed.

Thai Cat vs. Siamese Cat: Lifespan

Portrait of blue-eyed Siamese cat hunting in a green garden.
The Thai cat lives significantly longer than the Siamese cat on average.


A fairly significant difference between the Thai cat and Siamese cat involves the lifespan of these two breeds. The Thai cat lives significantly longer than the Siamese cat, with an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. The Siamese cat has an average lifespan of 8 to 15 years.

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