Section 4 - FOREIGN - Group 1
It’s an easy task to define the Korat as it is the blue cat of Thailand. Indeed, it’s very name in its native country means exactly that: ‘si-sawat’ greyish-blue cat. Many countries have their own blue cats, so keeping records of origin has always been important for the Korat breeders and clubs. All Korats in the west today can have their ancestry traced back to imports from Thailand. Not for nothing is it sometimes known as the ‘blue cat with the Thai Passport’.
History and Appearance
The earliest existing records of the cats of Thailand can be seen in the Bangkok National Library, and are known as the Cat-Book Poems. The Korat entry relates that, ‘The base of each hair, Is the colour of a cloud’ and Korat eyes are ‘Like dew when dropped on the leaf of a lotus’. The poems may have their origins over 600 years ago, but the first pair of Korats arrived in the USA in 1960s and the first litter in the UK were born at Easter in 1972. There is though an intriguing reference over seventy years earlier to a blue cat from Siam in Britain in 1896. It was exhibited as a Siamese cat, but had the ignominy of being disqualified as its colouring was not typical of a Siamese, but blue like a Russian. And as the blue cat of Siam (now Thailand) is the Korat, what else could it have been?
Do not choose this breed for its looks alone. The Korat is not for you if you are desirous of the merely decorative. They wish to be involved in the lives of their people and are truly companions. There has to be a reciprocal commitment on the part of the new owner. All of us who have owned them know how our lives were changed when Korats arrived. Their natural intelligence, liveliness and playfulness is their charm and someone new to the breed must know of this, and be ready to give time and love, which will then be repaid a hundredfold. New owners should buy/make toys on strings and invest in the biggest climbing post they have room for. This is breed that likes to live in three dimensions.
Korats have fine single coats and moult very little. However, they love a grooming session of gentle brushing and/or combing combined with hand stroking the fur smooth. For perfection, and that extra show gloss, a final polish with a chamois leather or an old silk scarf is recommended. Korats will enjoy time outdoors, but their safety must be paramount. They will train to a harness, but love the space (enclosed) for an activity session or sunbathing.
They are generally a long lived breed. Many reach their late teens and a few go past 20. They were the first breed to be DNA screened for two forms of a genetic disease (GM1 & GM2) that kills cats before their first birthday. All UK lines were tested in 1998 and found to be clear. From that time all GCCF registered Korats will have been tested, or have parents known to be clear, before they are registered. It is the disease we did not have and hopefully never will have thanks to genetic testing.
Photos: Chris Brignall, Petographer