Thailand, formerly known as Siam, has a total of eight cat breeds that are either native to the country or were widely developed within the country, which is a significant number of very distinctive and highly individual breeds! Most of us could come up with the Siamese cat as a native of Thailand if we thought hard enough about it, but do you know about the other seven Thai breeds too?
In this article, we will introduce you to the eight cat breeds that are native to or originate from Thailand, along with some basic information on each of them. Read on to learn more!
The Siamese cat is the breed that most people think of first when they think of cats native to Thailand, and the Siamese cat is in fact one of the most popular pedigree breeds within the UK. They are distinctive thanks to their oriental, rather angular appearance and colour points, and also thanks to their very distinctive meow that they use very freely! The Siamese cat has also contributed to the breed pools of various other breeds of cat across the world, and is one of the oldest recognised individual breeds of cat in its own right.
The Burmese cat hails from Burma, and the vast majority of all modern Burmese cats can be traced back to one common female ancestor, named Wong Mau. The Burmese breed was founded in the 1930’s when Wong Mau was crossed with a Siamese cat, and the Burmese has long been recognised as a breed in its own right. The Burmese appearance is much more rounded and less angular than the Siamese cat, but the Burmese does still retain a loud, distinctive meow, and is known to be very chatty and also very playful!
The Korat cat has a handsome blue-grey coat, and is one of the oldest natural breeds of cat that is native to Thailand. They are known within Thailand as the “good luck cat,” and up until very recently were very rarely offered for sale, instead generally being given as gifts. It was particularly common in the past for a newlywed couple to be given a pair of Korat cats as a wedding gift by their family.
They are stocky and rather heavy for their size, and are playful, active and very adventurous! They are very friendly and affectionate with their owners, and love the company of both adults and children of all ages.
The Khao Manee is very widely distributed and well known within Thailand, but across the rest of the world they are relatively uncommon, and are classed as a rare breed. They are also referred to as the Diamond Eye cat, and the most favoured eye colour for the breed consists of one gold eye and one blue eye, although the breed can also be found with matching eyes in either gold or blue. The Khao Manee has a pure white coat that is short, smooth and very strokeable, and they have a known history going back for thousands of years.
The Havana brown cat shares some physical similarities with both the Siamese cat and the oriental shorthair, and the breed was in fact produced in the early stages by breeding Siamese cats with domestic black cats. The Havana brown is of course closely related to the Siamese cat, and they are known in some circles as the self-coloured Siamese, or non-blue eyed Siamese. They have a documented history going back to the 1800’s at least, and are one of the most common breeds to still be outcrossed with the Siamese cat.
The Bombay cat is a close relative of the Burmese cat, with the Burmese cat being one of the core founding breeds for the Bombay. They were produced through crossings of the sable Burmese with black American shorthair cats, and are very similar in appearance and temperament to the Burmese cat, but have a pure black coat, skin and paws with no other colour permitted.
The oriental shorthair is again closely related to the Siamese cat, and their size, shape and build has a lot in common with the Siamese. The core difference within the breeds comes down to their coat colours and patterns, and the oriental can be found in a much greater range of colours and styles, including tabby, pure white and various other combinations.
They have a distinctive triangular head with large ears, and like the Siamese, very much enjoy the company of people, and tend to be very chatty and vocal!
The Thai cat is one of the most ancient of Thai cat breeds, but one that has only recently been classified. They are a natural breed that descends from the landrace cats of Thailand, and are again closely related to the Siamese cat, but are thought to have more historical origins. The Thai cat is sometimes known as the Traditional, Old-style or Classical Siamese, and almost certainly formed the very basis of the modern Siamese breed as we know it today.