BackgroundFor many years, breeders of companion animals have applied inbreeding or line breeding to transfer desirable genetic traits from parents to their offspring. Simultaneously, this resulted in a considerable spread of hereditary diseases and phenomena associated with inbreeding depression.ResultsOur cluster analysis of kinship and inbreeding coefficients suggests that the Thai or traditional Siamese cat could be considered as a subpopulation of the Siamese cat, which shares common ancestors, although they are considered as separate breeds. In addition, model-based cluster analysis could detect regional differences between Thai subpopulations. We show that by applying optimal contribution selection and simultaneously limiting the contributions by other breeds, the genetic diversity within subpopulations can be improved.ConclusionIn principle, the European mainland Thai cat population can achieve a genetic diversity of about 26 founder genome equivalents, a value that could potentially sustain a genetically diverse population. However, reaching such a target will be difficult in the absence of a supervised breeding program. Suboptimal solutions can be obtained by minimisation of kinships within regional subpopulations. Exchanging animals between different regions on a small scale might be already quite useful to reduce the kinship, by achieving a potential diversity of 23 founder genome equivalents. However, contributions by other breeds should be minimised to preserve the original Siamese gene pool.