Korat Cat

Korats are a slate blue-grey shorthair domestic cat with a small to medium build and a low percentage of body fat. Their bodies are semi-cobby, and surprisingly heavy for their size. Korat cats are intelligent, playful, active cats and form strong bonds with people. Among Korats' distinguishing characteristics are their heart-shaped heads and large green eyes. They are one of a few breeds where individuals have only one color (some are yellow-green, rather than blue-grey).

The Korat cat is one of the oldest stable cat breeds. Originating in Thailand, it is named after the Nakhon Ratchasima province (typically called "Korat" by the Thai people). In Thailand it is known as Si-Sawat, meaning "Color of the Sawat Seed". They are known colloquially as the "Good Luck Cat" and are given in pairs to newlyweds or to people who are highly esteemed, for good luck. Until recently, Korats were not sold, but only given as gifts.

However, Korats are no longer seen in Thailand, having long since interbred with cats brought by, e.g., U.S. personnel during the 2nd Indochina War (Vietnam War). (Korat, for example, was a major R-n-R town due to its proximity to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.) Korats now exist due to the diligent efforts of a few cat breeders, most (perhaps all) of whom are outside of Thailand.

The first mention of the Korat cat is in "The Cat-Book Poems" authored between 1350 and 1767 AD in Thailand, now in the National library in Bangkok. However, the illustration of the Korat in this book is not detailed enough to be definitive as to the breed portrayed. In recent years the Korat has graced a postage stamp in Thailand. An example hangs prominently in the city of Korat's post office.

Korats first appeared in America in the 1950s and arrived in Britain from there in 1972. Jean Johnson introduced Korats to the US in 1959. She had lived in Thailand, where she encountered the cat breed. Her first pair were named Nara (male) and Dara (female). The Korat was introduced to the UK by Miss Betty Munford of The High Street, Hungerford. Betty was affectionately known as the Cat Lady of Hungerford. Betty died in June 2009.

Although it is quite rare, some Korats may occasionally possess strikingly or faint white markings or spots or even very faint gray stripes. Sometimes these spots increase in size with age. These are seen as flaws, and the cats are not allowed to be displayed in cat shows, although of course it has no effect on their personality or health.

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