Have you ever seen a cat with eyes that sparkle like jewels? If so, you may have encountered a Khao Manee, a rare and ancient cat breed from Thailand that is known for its pure white coat and dazzling eye color. These cats are not only beautiful but also friendly, playful, and outgoing. They love attention and interaction and will charm you with their mischievous antics and good-natured temperament.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Khao Manee cat breed, including its history, origin, characteristics, temperament, care, health, and suitability for different households. Whether you are looking for a new feline companion or just curious about this unique breed, read on to discover why the Khao Manee is a true gem among cats.
|Weight||Up to 10 pounds|
|Length||About 18 inches|
|Coat Length||Short hair|
|Eye Color||Blue, gold, copper, amber, hazel, or green; eyes may also be odd (multiple colors or shades between eyes or within an eye)|
|Personality||Playful, curious, friendly, and outgoing|
|Lifespan||Up to 12 years|
|Good with Kids||High|
|Good with Pets||High|
History of the Khao Manee Cat
The Khao Manee is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world, dating back to at least the 14th century in Thailand. The breed’s name means “white gem” in Thai, and it was considered a symbol of good luck and royalty by the Thai people. The Khao Manee was originally called Khao Plort, which means “all-white,” It was featured in a book of poems about cats called the Tamra Maew, or Treatise on Cats, written sometime in the 14th Century.
The Khao Manee was highly prized by the Thai aristocracy and was kept as a sacred treasure for centuries. The breed was rarely seen outside of Thailand until the late 1990s when a British breeder named Colleen Freymuth imported the first Khao Manee cats to the United Kingdom. Since then, the breed has slowly gained recognition and popularity in other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. However, the Khao Manee is still very rare and hard to find outside of its native land.
One of the most influential figures in the history of the Khao Manee cat was King Chulalongkorn, also known as King Rama V, who reigned from 1868 to 1910. He was a great lover of the Khao Manee and started a royal breeding program with nine cats that he received as a gift from his father, King Mongkut. He fixed the type and characteristics of the breed and kept them in the royal palace as sacred and precious cats. He also gave some of these precious cats as gifts to foreign dignitaries, such as Queen Victoria of England and Emperor Meiji of Japan.
King Rama V was very protective of the Khao Manee and did not want them to fall into the wrong hands. He ordered that all Khao Manee cats in the palace be hidden when the English and the French arrived in Thailand. He also forbade any commoner from stealing or harming a Khao Manee cat and imposed a severe penalty of death for anyone who violated this rule. He believed that the Khao Manee was a lucky cat that brought good fortune and prosperity to those who owned one.
In the last 20 years, a very short time compared to the history of the breed, the Khao Manee was recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) and The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), which use different spellings for the breed name: Khaomanee and Khao Manee, respectively. The breed is also supported by various clubs and associations around the world, such as the Khao Manee Cat Club (KMCC), the Khao Manee Cat Association (KMCA), and the Khao Manee Cat Society (KMCS). These organizations aim to preserve and promote the breed’s health, quality, and history.
Khao Manee Appearance
The most striking feature of the Khao Manee cat is its eye color, which can be any shade of blue, green, gold, or odd (two different colors). The eyes are large, round, and expressive, giving the breed a captivating appearance. The eyes are also said to reflect light like diamonds, earning the breed its nickname “Diamond Eye Cat.”
The Khao Manee has a pure white coat that is short and silky. The coat may have some faint markings or spots on the ears or tail, but these are usually not visible unless under close inspection. The coat is easy to groom and sheds moderately.
The Khao Manee has a medium-sized body that is lithe, muscular, and athletic. The breed has a graceful and elegant appearance that reflects its tropical origin. The head is triangular with high cheekbones and large ears that are slightly pointed at the tips. The nose is straight and medium in length. The tail is long and tapered.
The Khao Manee weighs up to 10 pounds and measures about 18 inches in length. The breed has a lifespan of up to 12 years or more with proper care and nutrition.
Personality of the Khao Manee Cat
The Khao Manee cat is a playful, curious, and outgoing cat that loves attention and interaction. The breed is very friendly and sociable, even with strangers. They will almost certainly run to greet newcomers with a joyful welcome. The breed is also very vocal and will communicate with you with a variety of sounds and meows.
The Khao Manee cat is intelligent and trainable but also has an enduring sense of naughtiness that may require patience and supervision. The breed is known for its mischievous antics and good-natured temperament. They may get into trouble by opening cabinets, stealing food, or knocking things over. However, these are all signs of curiosity and boredom rather than malice.
They are also very social cats that need abundant attention and companionship from their human family. This breed is not content to be left alone for several hours every day. A Khao Manee may become depressed or destructive if neglected or ignored. They thrive on interaction and stimulation from their owners and other pets.
Caring For A Khao Manee Cat
The Khao Manee cat has a silky short coat that requires minimal grooming. Weekly brushing with a soft-bristled brush or a grooming glove is enough to remove loose hair and keep the coat shiny and healthy. An occasional bath with a mild shampoo may be needed to keep the white coat clean and free of stains or dirt.
The Khao Manee cat’s eyes, ears, teeth, and nails also need regular care. To remove any discharge or debris, the eyes should be cleaned gently with a soft cloth or a cotton ball moistened with warm water. The ears should be checked weekly for signs of infection or wax buildup and cleaned carefully with a cotton ball or a special ear cleaner. The teeth should be brushed daily or weekly with cat-friendly toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to prevent dental problems and bad breath. The nails should be trimmed as needed with a cat nail clipper or a file to prevent overgrowth or injury.
The Khao Manee cat needs a stimulating and enriching environment to keep it happy and entertained. The breed loves toys, scratching posts, cat trees, and interactive games that challenge its intelligence and curiosity. They also often enjoy playing fetch, puzzle toys, laser pointers, or feather wands. The breed also appreciates having access to a window or a balcony where it can watch the outside world and bask in the sun.
However, the Khao Manee cat should be kept indoors or in a secure enclosure to protect it from predators, diseases, accidents, or theft. The breed’s white coat makes it vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer, so it should avoid excessive sun exposure. The breed’s rarity and beauty also make it a target for unscrupulous people who may want to steal or harm it. As much of a shame as it is that this is a concern, we have to mention it.
Khao Manee Lifespan
The Khao Manee cat is a generally healthy breed that can live up to 12 years or more with proper care and nutrition. However, like any other cat breed, they may be prone to health issues affecting their quality of life or longevity.
Common Health Issues
One of the most common health issues that may affect the Khao Manee cat is deafness, especially in blue-eyed cats. Deafness may be present at birth or develop later in life due to genetic factors or infections. Deafness may affect one or both ears and may not be noticeable unless tested by a vet. Deaf cats can still live happy and normal lives if kept indoors and given extra attention and care.
Other eye problems may also affect Khao Manees, such as glaucoma, cataracts, or corneal ulcers. These conditions may cause pain, inflammation, blindness, or eye loss if left untreated. Eye problems may be caused by genetic factors, injuries, infections, or aging. Your regular veterinarian is your best source of support for check-ups, eye drops, medication, surgery, or artificial lenses.
Other health issues are:
- skin allergies
- respiratory infections
- urinary tract infections
- kidney disease
These conditions are common among many cat breeds and may cause symptoms such as itching, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, frequent urination, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, parasite control, medication, diet changes, fluid therapy, or surgery may prevent or treat these conditions.
Where to Buy a Khao Manee Cat
Finding a Khao Manee cat is unlikely to be easy or cheap. The breed is rare in the United States and other countries outside of Thailand, and only a few breeders are registered with The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) or other reputable organizations. The price of a Khao Manee kitten may range from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the breeder’s location, reputation, quality of the kitten’s pedigree, and appearance.
If you’re serious about searching for a kitten, we suggest starting with Breedlist. At the time of writing this, only one breeder was listed for this breed. Alternatively, you can contact the CFA and ask for help in locating a breeder.
The Khao Manee cat is a unique and beautiful cat breed that can bring joy and luck to those who own one. They have pure white coats, jewel-like eyes that sparkle like diamonds, and friendly, playful, outgoing personalities that love attention and interaction. The breed is easy to groom and care for but may have some health issues that require regular vet check-ups and treatment. The breed is suitable for most households that can provide it with enough attention, affection, and activity.
Have you ever owned or met a Khao Manee cat? What was your experience like? Would you consider adopting one in the future? Share your thoughts with us!
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How to identify Khao Manee cats?
Khao Manee cats are easy to identify by their pure white coat and jewel-like eyes that can be any shade of blue, green, gold, or odd (two different colors). They have medium-sized body that is lithe, muscular, and athletic. They have a triangular heads with high cheekbones and large ears that are slightly pointed at the tips. They have straight noses and long and tapered tails.
Are Khao Manee cats deaf?
Khao Manee cats have a higher-than-average chance of deafness, especially if they have blue eyes or odd eyes. Deafness may be present at birth or develop later in life due to genetic factors or infections. Deafness may affect one or both ears and may not be noticeable unless tested by a vet. Deaf cats can still live happy and normal lives if kept indoors and given extra attention and care.
Are Khao Manee cats hypoallergenic?
Khao Manee cats are not hypoallergenic. They have a short and silky coat that sheds moderately and may trigger allergies in some people. They also produce dander, saliva, and urine that may contain allergens. People who are allergic to cats should consult their doctor before getting any cat breed.
Are Khao Manee cats rare?
Khao Manee cats are very rare in the United States and other countries outside Thailand. They are one of the oldest and most ancient cat breeds in the world, but they were kept as a secret treasure by the Thai aristocracy for centuries. They were only introduced to the Western world in the late 1990s by a British breeder who imported the first Khao Manee cats to the United Kingdom. Since then, the breed has slowly gained recognition and popularity in other countries, but only a few breeders are registered with The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) or other reputable organizations.
How much are Khao Manee cats?
Khao Manee cats are expensive due to their rarity and beauty. The price of a Khao Manee kitten may range from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the breeder’s location, reputation, quality of the kitten’s pedigree, and appearance. The price may also vary depending on the demand and supply of the breed in the market.