Section 4 – FOREIGN – Group 1
The Thai cats are the Thai Lilac and the Thai Blue Point – very similar to their self-coloured cousin, the Korat. Thais are simply Korats wearing a different coat. Britain is the only country, at present, which acknowledges these variants. Just as British cats were originally described according to their colours, so it was in Thailand.
The name Korat is only ever given to the blue cat because the word Korat in Thai (Si-sawat) means blue cat, and indeed, the Korat is defined as the blue cat of Thailand. That means any other coloured cat, regardless of parentage, cannot qualify for this definition. Therefore, names were coined that described both the colour and origin but also respected tradition.
From the earliest days of recorded Korat breeding in the west (1959), kittens have been born occasionally with a Siamese type pattern i.e. pale body with some shading but the blue colour restricted to the points (face, ears, legs, paws and tail). In other parts of the world these have been, and still are, considered Korats with a blemish. Therefore, when in 1989 two Korats mated together in the UK gave birth to a ‘pink’ kitten, it was a bit of a surprise, to say the least. In the late 1980s and early 1990s other UK-based Korats gave birth to the odd ‘white’ and ‘pink’ kitten. It became clear that these new ‘colours’ (although one is really a restricted coat pattern) were derived from recessive genes which had lain dormant in the Korats for many generations and coming together to either ‘dilute’ the coat colour in the case of the Thai Lilac or restrict the coat colour to a Siamese pointed-type pattern in the case of the Thai Blue Point.
Thai cats are foreign type of medium build, firm, lithe and muscular, never large or coarse. Famed for their heart-shaped face, they have a body of medium length, with a medium tapering tail. Females are more dainty in appearance but should not be undersized. The Thai Lilac is a unique cat with a lilac coat which is a warm pinky-beige tone tipped with silver, the more silver tipping the better. When the coat is short, the silver sheen is intensified. Thai Lilacs have large, expressive, clear green eyes – truly, winning and appealing qualities. Kittens and adolescents up to two years may have yellow or amber to amber-green eyes. The Thai Blue Point has a body colour of off-white with some shading allowed on back and sides to tone with the points. The blue points should be tipped with silver. Their eyes are a clear blue colour.
The Thai can be a very vocal cat but this does not usually indicate aggression. In temperament the cat is very ‘person oriented’ which means they like to be involved in their owner’s activities. A typical Thai will be seen with its nose in the hole you are digging (such a help), many love to travel in cars and some insist on going everywhere with their humans! Thais love to ‘talk’ and they have a wide range of sounds and will always let you know what they are thinking when you come home. Generally speaking, the breed is of a gentle disposition, enjoys company and is intelligent. Some play games like ‘retrieve’. They are very affectionate and normally fit into most households without problems.
The Thai cat breed is a low maintenance cat. Using a grooming glove or a rubber brush once or twice a week will remove all dead hair without harming the coat. The average weight of the cat is 8 to 10 lbs. Male cats are larger and heavier than the females. A healthy, well-cared for cat can be expected to live for 15+ years – they have a long life expectancy.
Like the Korats they are descended from, Thais are generally a long lived breed. Many reach their late teens and a few go past 20. Korats 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 Korat & Thai lines were tested in 1998 and found to be clear. From that time all GCCF registered Korats & Thais 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.