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Q: What is the History of the Traditional and Classic KORAT?
A: Much of the history we present comes from the "Cat Book Poems"
and other information as provided in Martin Clutterbuck's
"The Legend of Siamese Cats", e-mail: email@example.com.
To order contact Martin at
"Grace of the Maaleht, its body evenly coloured
"One lao flower of clear colour, off white, see black mixed
"Soft fur of the colour of Dork Lao-claws and eyes a fine white
"The fourth, Dork Lao (flower) is yet greater, of sharp
"White Dork Lao straight..
"Whichever cat is beautiful as a fine Lao flower
A verse by Khun Prasit Sahakorn, more recently, translates like this:
"The cat Maled has a body color like Doklao.
"Maled" means seed. "Dok" means flower, and "lao" means reed blossom, lemongrass, or pampas grass. These are very smooth, and silvery, so they apply to the Korat coat.
In the folded book called the "Smud Khoi of Cats", I mentioned earlier, (in his book) the Korat is the fourth drawing down from the top. It is also pictorially represented on blackened Khoi paper in another ancient text. King Rama V is historically credited to naming the breed when he asked. "What a pretty cat. Where is it from? When he was told, "From Korat", thus came the name. Tradition states that their coloring camophlaged them in the granite areas of the Pimai District and protected them from extinction due to the constant wars between Siam and its neighbors for decades. They are known to have lived in the jungles of the Malay Peninsula across the isthmus of Kra.
Courtesy of Martin Clutterbuck.
In modern day Thailand the Korat is referenced as the Si-Sawat (see-sah-waht). Now they are found in other provinces than just Korat. "Si" means color. "Sawat" means prosperity or good fortune. The Si-Sawat name has components meaning a mixed color of light green and grey. A seed (ma-led) of the look Sawat is a wild, non-edible fruit growing in Thailand that is of this mingled color with a glossy, smooth shell.
Since each hair is tipped with silver, causing a shining, halo effect all over the cat, this highly prized tipping is called "sea foam" by the Thais.
Testimonials of their existence came from a 1906 visitor to Thailand from New York, NY by the name of Mr. Robins, who saw the Korat cat in the Province of Korat at that time. In the early 1900's they are referenced in "Pet Digest" as "all blue Siamese" being kept in the U.S. The Adviser in Fisheries to His Siamese Majesty's Government, Dr. Hugh M. Smith from 1923 to 1934 must have seen them because he was quoted in "Siamese Cats, published in 1948 by Sydney W. France. Their sighting was reported by Mr. Russell in Kathleen Williams' 1950 book entitled, "The Breeding and Management of the Siamese Cat". C.A. House wrote in Cats: Show & Pet , second edition in 1912 and Our Cats And All About Them (1930) about Mr. Spearman, a young Englishman just home from Siam who exhibited a Blue Siamese at a National Cat Club show held in the grounds of Holland House, London in 1986. "This cat was blue instead of biscuit colour, as were the majority of Siamese which we had seen up to that time. And Mr. Louis Wain, who was judging, refused to recognize it as a Siamese and left it out. He argued with Mr. Spearman that it was not a Siamese but that gentleman said it was and that there were others in Siam from where he had previously brought it."
Good fortune surrounds the Korat according to the Thai people. The gift of a pair of Korats to a high born, new bride is supposed to ensure a fortunate marriage. The color of their eyes is the color of young rice, and their body color is the same as rain clouds, representing good crops. Their silver tipping denotes wealth. Rarely are they sold because the Thai people hold them in such high esteem.
The first recorded pair of Korats to have been imported into the U.S. for breeding were given as a giftto Mrs. Jean L. Johnson of Cedar Glen in Gresham, Oregon in June, 1959. Nara and Darra came from Mme. Ruen A. Rajamaitri's Mahajay Cattery in Bangkok. Many years later two more were imported to the U.S. Eventually those serving our government in Thailand came home with even more.
All Korats must track their pedigrees back to Thailand to be considered a purebred or authentic Korat. Due to this requirement it has become known as "The cat with the Thai Passport".
A Korat group was formed in 1965. By 1966 they were accepted and being shown by CFA.
They are not talkative as the Siamese. Instead they greet their owner and offer a "hurry up and feed" me notice. Preferring their own kind, they still can blend into multi-breed households, with an attitude of wanting to dominate in order to receive maximum attention.
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