Friday, April 6, 2018

The Purrfect 10: Siamese Cats in Pop Culture

We love reading and researching anything and everything about cats, and wanted to find a fun and unique way to share the interesting facts we learn with you! Since top 10 lists are very popular in the blogosphere, we created The Purrfect 10 as a way to present 10 educational or fascinating tidbits about a wide variety of cat-related topics, everything from health issues to cat breeds to famous felines.

Thanks to their distinctive looks and unique personality, Siamese cats have long been a fixture in popular culture. Since today is National Siamese Cat Day, we're shining a light on some of our favorite meezers in movies and books.

1) Si & Am in Lady & the Tramp: Probably the most famous Siamese cats on the silver screen, the devious duo wrecks havoc throughout Lady's home and then manages to lay the blame completely on her, all the while singing The Siamese Cat Song. (We are Siamese if you pl-ee-ee-se...)

2) DC (Darn Cat) in That Darn Cat!When the irrepressible and always hungry D.C. (Darn Cat) turns up with a wristwatch for a collar, it becomes a tip-off to an unsolved robbery and kidnapping. The fur flies when an FBI agent who is allergic to cats is assigned the task of following D.C. to uncover the robbers' hideout. Syn the Siamese won a PATSY Award (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year) in 1966 for his role in the film!

3) Tao in The Incredible JourneySyn was also the feline star of this 1963 film based on the novel The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, following the adventure of three pets, Luath the Labrador Retriever, Bodger the Bull Terrier, and Tao the Siamese cat (Syn), as they journey through the Canadian wilderness to return to their home.

4) Shun Gon in The Aristocats: A member of Scat Cat's Alley Cats jazz band, Shun Gon plays the piano (sometimes with chopsticks) and a set of drums made mostly from pots and pans.

5) Cameo in The Wizard of Oz: This kitty's scene is brief, but pivotal! Dorothy is finally headed back home via hot air balloon when Toto spots the Siamese cat and chases after her. Dorothy goes after her beloved dog and the balloon takes off without her, leaving her stranded in Oz once again.

6) Koko and Yum Yum in The Cat Who... series: One of the most famous long-running cozy mystery series starring cats (and likely the first, beginning in 1966), The Cat Who... is a series of twenty-nine mystery novels and three related collections by Lilian Jackson Braun, featuring a former crime reporter named Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats, Kao K'o-Kung (Koko for short) and Yum Yum. Koko has a “sixth sense,” which enables him to assist Qwill in solving mysteries.

7) Pyewacket in Bell, Book & Candle: This Siamese is a central character (and scene stealer) in the movie, as he is the feline familiar of Gillian the witch. The cat's real name is unknown, but he won a PATSY award in 1959, and reportedly stole the heart of actress Kim Novak, going home with her upon completion of the picture.

8) Bucky in Get FuzzyIt's impossible not to fall in love with the cynical Siamese star of Darby Conley's Get Fuzzy who shares an apartment in Boston with a dog named Satchel and their owner, Rob. Ears flat on his head and missing an upper canine tooth, Bucky lives in a dresser in the hall closet of Rob's apartment because he refuses to share a room with Satchel and rides around town in a strap-on "Bundle-O-Joy" baby carrier. He gets his kicks from insulting Satchel (even though these insults typically go over the poor pup's head), but we also get to see his soft side when it comes to his beloved teddy bear Smacky.

9) Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat: How did Siamese cats get their unique coloring? In this magical fable by Amy Tan a Siamese cat tells her children about their "great ancestor, Sagwa of China," a mischievous, pearl-white kitten who lived with her parents in the house of a greedy, autocratic magistrate. Her penchant for trouble lands her in a pot of ink, which stains her paws, nose, ears, and tail. The accident starts a chain of events that leads to the magistrate's tearful reformation, as well as to generations of cats that look Siamese but are actually Chinese. The book went on to be the basis of an animated television series, 40 episodes about a royal family of cats who have the ability to write with their tails.

10) Skippyjon Jones: Created by author and illustrator Judy Schachner, this beloved character is known as one of the most famous Siamese cats in children's literature. Now the star of a series of books, Skippyjon's story begins when his mother sends him to his room to think about what it means to be a Siamese because he's acting like anything but a cat. While jumping on the bed he looks in the mirror and imagines himself as a chihuahua, then steps into the closet which sends him on a series of adventures.

Do you have a favorite Siamese in pop culture? 
Have we missed any?
Tell us in the comments!

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Summer at said...

We love all these Meezers! But I think my human (a vintage film fanatic and part-time historian) favors Pyewacket.

Athena Cat Goddess Wise Kitty said...

Lovely cats!

Purrs xx
Athena and Marie

Patricia T said...

Thanks, Melissa. I didn’t know about all of these, though I’ve always loved Si and Am (and the Siamese song).

Unknown said...

What a great post! I did not know about Sagwa, and I fell asleep the one time I watched The Wizard of Oz, so I never knew there was cat in it. :)

The Florida Furkids said...

We knew most of these but not the last two!

The Florida Furkids

The Menagerie Mom said...

I love this list! I am so happy you included Tao from The Incredible Journey. I used to watch that movie all the time as a kid, even though some of the scenes always made me cry. Happy Friday!

Colehaus Cats said...

Awesome kitties, every one! Our Mom got to meet Tao from The Incredible Journey years and years ago. What an amazingly calm and beautiful cat!

ccl said...

I knew most of these, except for a couple of the books. I have two Siamese mixes (rescue cats). They are brother and sister, but are very different. Socrates (Socks) is a big (17 pounds) short-hair Snowshoe who is a clumsy chow-hound (my big doofus). His sister, Princess Isabella (Bella) looks like a Himalayan. She is petite (8 pounds) and agile (and rules the house).

Chirpy Cats said...

What a cool top ten of some pawsome meezer highlights. Love Tao from the incredible journey! Didn’t know about a few of the books, thanks fur sharing!

pilch92 said...

I think you got them all covered. Great post.

Eastside Cats said...

Have read every "The Cat Who..." book, and have always enjoyed Koko and YumYum! Pyewacket was very impawtant in "Bell, Book and Candle", and it even starred Jack Lemon too!

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

Oh, no. Now that "we are Siamese" song is stuck in my head. Last time it got stuck in my head, it was a good three months. I love that song. Bucky's our favorite too though we haven't read the strip anytime recently. Our paper stopped running it for some reason - so I get by on the books of the strips.

The Daily Pip said...

The Aristocats was one of our favorite movies especially when my daughter was a toddler. One of my first cats was a siamese mix named Toonces. I adopted her when I was 23 and she lived 15 years with me. I would love to adopt another siamese some day.

Mickey's Musings said...

Those are all great Meezers.
Mum has read all of the Koko and YumYum books and saw most of those movies;)
Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

Cathy Keisha said...

We love Bucky!

Three Chatty Cats said...

My faves on the list - Koko and Yum Yum! The vet said that our newest addition Harley is likely part Siamese.

Priscilla King said...

My favorite Siamese (mix) is in real life...Actually there seems to be a whole tribe of social cats in my part of the world, many of whom show Siamese ancestry. A visitor I called "the Meezer" (from his looks) sired one kitten who looked just like Bucky when little, and one who was *born* looking like a classic blue-point Siamese. Since classic Siamese are born looking off-white, I wondered what little Sisawat was going to look like as an adult. Her coat color actually reversed to deep blue-grey all over with a paler grey face. Rejected by one prospective home because she grew up not looking Siamese, Sisawat was adopted by a nicer family just because she's a sweetheart who mothers other cats' kittens.

The real Bucky hasn't lived so long, leaving pop-culture Bucky as my favorite fictional Siamese.