The Korat, also at times known as the Si-Sawat or the Good Luck Cat, is an ancient breed named after the Korat province of northeast Thailand. This native Thai breed has aptly been described as having hair with roots like clouds and tips like silver, and eyes that shine like dewdrops on a lotus leaf. The Korat is a smallish, muscular cat with a heart-shaped head, a broad forehead and large, round-tipped, widely-set ears. Females are noticeably more dainty than are males. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Korat are its prominent, round, oversized eyes, which in adulthood are a luminous green and appear to be slightly slanted when closed. Kittens are born with bluish eyes, which turn amber and then finally green by 3 or 4 years of age.
The coat of the Korat is short, thick, sleek, glossy and uniformly silvery-blue in color. The Korat Cat Fanciers’ Association declares: “The Korat is silver-blue from birth to death. It can exist in no other colour. If any other colour should occur it would automatically cease to be a Korat.” However, despite this declaration, there appears to be a recessive dilute gene in some Korats that produces the occasional blue point, lilac point or lilac kitten. These are referred to as the Thai Pointed and Thai Lilac varieties of the breed.
Highly prized in their country of origin, Korats often were (and are) given in pairs as a traditional Thai wedding gift. They are believed to bring longevity, health, good fortune and happiness to the newlyweds. Many aspects of this breed reflect its status as a good luck charm. They are the color of liquid silver or a shiny silver dollar, both symbols of wealth. Their eyes are the color of healthy young rice, signifying a good harvest. Their coat and overall appearance resemble full rain clouds, reflecting the prospect of good crops. Today, Korat owners everywhere know that they are lucky to share the companionship of this intelligent, loving and unusual cat.
The Korat is an inquisitive, affectionate and highly sensitive animal that forms extremely close bonds with its owners and thrives on their regular attention. Korats have an unusually strong desire and need for human companionship. They are prone to becoming sullen and depressed if they are left alone or unattended for prolonged periods of time. Many owners who work full-time outside of the home find that adding another animal to their household – especially another Korat – makes a huge difference in the happiness of their pets. This breed is particularly sensitive to sound and dislikes loud noises. They may become less distressed by sudden sounds if a television or radio is left turned on throughout the day, so that they can become desensitized to unexpected loud distractions. Although Korats are gentle animals, they are not typically the best choice for busy households with small children, because of their strong aversion to noise.
Korats are known to be alert, active and quite playful cats. However, they are most fond of snuggling and cuddling with their owners, preferring to be as close to them as physically possible rather than engaging in some other endeavor. Some Korats can be rather bossy and possessive of their owners around other animals.
The Korat has highly-honed senses of sight, scent and sound. This breed varies in its level and degree of vocalization. Most Korats are fairly quiet, and when they do meow have a soft, pleasant, chirp-like voice. Others, however, are more demanding and will vocalize loudly when they want attention from their favorite people. Korats can be territorial over toys and space. They also can be domineering, protective and/or territorial about their favorite two- or four-legged friends. While Korats tend to get along well with other cats, they typically want to be the “top cat” in the household hierarchy.
The Korat has been held in high esteem in Thailand for many centuries, dating back to the thirteenth century and maybe even earlier. The first recorded record of the breed is found in an ancient book of paintings and verse housed in the National Library of Bangkok, called The Cat-Book Poems. Thailand’s Ministry of Education has said that this book was created sometime during the Ayudhya period of Siamese history (1350–1767). However, the Korat did not emerge from Thailand until the 1800s, and even then it was only occasionally seen in other Asian countries. It was first exhibited at a cat show in London in 1896. It was shown as a Siamese, but was disqualified for lacking the traditional pointed Siamese markings.
Eventually, the Korat captured the attention of American soldiers serving in Thailand. The first Korats - Nara and Darra - were brought from Thailand to the United States in 1959, by an American cat fancier. Those cats were bred together, and their kittens became part of the foundation of American Korat lines. Not long later, in 1965, Korat fanciers in the United States established a purebred cat association for the breed. The Korat was formally recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1966. Korats were accepted into the British purebred cat registry in 1975, but they did not receive full championship status in Great Britain until 1983. The breed is still relatively uncommon, but it is steadily gaining in popularity among cat lovers world-wide.
The Korat is a healthy cat breed, with no particular reported adverse health predispositions. Like most domestic cats, it has an average lifespan of approximately 15 years.