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Korat Page 1

 

Left. Grand Champion & Premier Nikelsilva Argentia :Right her son Charlwin Zebedee.

The Korat is truly an ancient breed and is recorded in the Bangkok National Museum in the Thai book of the cats covering the period of history from 1350-1767, this contains drawings and descriptions of Thai cats and shows that there has been little if any change in them to this day.

The ancient Thai name for the Korat is Doklao which is the small silvery cat with eyes too big for its face and a nature that is too loving to resist. The Korat is special cat with its heart shaped face and wonderful lustrous eyes of an intense green colour, the neat compact, firm and elegant body, together with its loving, playful and loyal nature go to make this cat from Thailand the only one for those who know the breed.

The modern Thai name for the Korat is Si-Sawat meaning greyish blue. The name Korat was given by King Rama of Siam ( 1868 - 1910) who is thought to have asked where the cat came from and been told from the Korat province in northern Thailand. This is a land of huge granite outcrops and it is said that the Korats colour helped it to blend in with the rock, and thus give it camouflage enabling it to remain undetected.

There are many myths and charming stories about Korats. Some, one hopes, are true. All enhance the mystique of the beautiful and independent cats. The Korat is the good luck cat of Thailand still associated with ceremonies to bring vital rain to the rice crop. The cat is paraded round villages in the North East of the country and sprinkled with water to ensure the paddies are well filled, the Korat is also the colour of storm clouds, hence its association with rain. Korats were also used as watchdogs because they give warning of intruders by growling at the sound of unfamiliar footsteps.

A Korat was a traditional gift at a Thai wedding, because of the good luck they would bring to the newly married couple. At this time Korats were never for sale, they were only ever presented as gifts. They are still rare, even in their native country, and remain the most highly prized cats of the Thai people.

HISTORY

The first Korats imported to the West where brought into the U S A in 1959, having been given by a breeder in Bangkok. They were owned by Jean Johnson of the Cedar Glen line, and thus began the history of the Korat in the West. The cats were named Nara and Darra. At this point it is worth noting how things were done in Thailand. The Thai's allowed Siamese, Copper and Korats to interbreed. They named the offspring according to colour, so it would be perfectly possible to have Siamese, Copper and Korats all in one litter.

Nara and Darra were also mated to Thai imported Siamese in the USA, but kittens other than blue were not registered or describe as Korat, to preserve the image of the Korat as being purely blue. Any one individual may be blue in appearance, but may carry the genes to produce Siamese or Lilac. However, it can be many generations before these genes reappear. So it has been with the Korat .

In the USA in 1965 the Korat Cat Fanciers Association was formed by a group of owners and breeders with the object of the development and protection of the Korat cat and to produce a standard of points by which the cat could be judged at shows. The Korat was first accepted for championship status in the U S A in 1966.

The first Korats to be imported into the UK arrived in quarantine in March 1972. Their names were Brandywood Saeng Duan, Samelko Sahm and Saang Jahn's Tee Rahk. Saeng Duan gave birth to five kittens on Easter Sunday 1972. The other two were both male kittens. By 1974 there were more than 20 Korats in the UK. However it took another 10 years before the breed gained championship status from the G C C F (Governing council of the cat fancy).

Today the Korat is to be seen on most show benches around the UK. The Korat Cat Association represents Breeders and owners in this country who can all testify to the joys of being owned by their Korat!

THE KORAT OF TODAY

The Korat is a slow maturing, medium-sized cat with smooth curves and a heart shaped face, and large luminous green eyes. The body is semi-cobby, muscular and firm, with a blue coat well tipped with silver. The Korat can be a very vocal cat, but this does not usually indicate aggression, quite often only a need for some food or other attention. The Korat of today is just like its ancestors in ancient Thailand, in fact the breed is one of the least altered by modern breeding. In temperament the cat is very 'person oriented' which means they like to be involved in their owners activities. A typical Korat will be seen with its nose in the hole you are digging or helping you to make the beds, dust the furniture (what a helper!). Many like to travel in cars and some will insist on going everywhere with their owners!

Korats love to talk, they have a wide range of sounds and will always let you know what they are thinking when you come home. Many owners will say, ' you don't know what you've been missing until you have been owned by a Korat'. Generally speaking the breed is of a gentle disposition, enjoys company, and is intelligent and crafty. Some play games like retrieve, they are very affectionate and will fit into most households without any problems. For much of the above information I must give credit for collating to the late Ianthe Cormack.

THE 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, and this tradition has continued in the West . However, once it became clear that recessive, genes had been inherited from their native country, we had to accept that Korats could produce both Siamese bluepoint and lilac kittens, although both colours are infrequent.

Britain is the only country at present, that acknowledges these variants. They have been given the  names of Thai bluepoint and Thai lilac. This has done for registration purposes, The GCCF policy regarding showing is that if your cat is on the Full, Supplementary or Experimental register it should be eligiable for showing. Cats on the Reference register cannot usually be shown. Future status will depend upon their popularity with breeders and new owners. Because of what we know of the breeds origins and background it is extremely unlikely that there will ever be any other colours. A strict registration policy prevents the progeny of any outcross being registered as a Korat. In looks the Korat remains exactly as it was described six hundred years ago.

It is truly an ancient natural breed.

We saw our first Korat and the Three Counties cat show in Southampton in 1986, this was Champion Rataecora Moonspun Cobweb, a beautiful girl owned by Cathy Nichols who went on to become UK Grand Champion a few years later, we were immediately captivated by this cat and asked Cathy there and then if we could have a girl from Moona's first litter, this was agreed, but she did not go to stud for 18 months due to a very heavy show schedule. The first litter arrived on April the 23rd (St Georges day) 1988 and all were safely delivered, Due to the distance between us we only saw photographs of the kittens until Muriel and our daughter Jane went to Hull to collect her in September, she  quietly ruled this feline household throughout her life.

Her first show was the National Cat Club Show at Olympia in December of that year when as a kitten she walked off with a host of prizes, she did not do very well as a young cat due to lack of interest in food, and only gained 1 CC before her first litter. This was her turning point as food suddenly became of primary importance and her condition rapidly improved, her first litter was born in December 1989 and consisted of three boys, Charlwin Beau Brummel, owned by Jen Lacey has gained Grand Champion, Charlwin Barnaby owned by Marlene Keith gained UK Grand Premier and Charlwin Boeotia owned by Elaine Vincent of Ratchasima cattery in New South Wales Australia, he gained Double Silver Grand Champion and was the Northern Territory 'Cat of the Year' for 1991.

We were breeding under the prefix of 'Charlwin' from 1989 up to 1996 when we decided to have our girls neutered and keep them as pets, this was due to the fact that in this part of the country there are so many farm kittens needing homes that people don't seem prepared to pay the price for a pedigree Korat. Also when you told prospective purchasers you lived in Cornwall they backed off as if you lived in another world.

Our current feline household consists of 3 Korats, Willow, Polly, and Zebedee. We still go to the occasional show, those that are within a reasonable traveling distance that is, Bristol being the furthest away. Tia (Nikelsilva Argentia)  gained 3 PCs in her last three shows, the last being the Kernow Cat club show in Paignton on April 1st 2000,   she  reached Premier status on top of her Grand Champion  before passing away in June 2003 with an intestinal cancer. We lost Hebe in June 2004, she had had a heart murmur for some years but it got worse in 2004 until she succumbed to it in June.

  

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