Known as the “White Gem” of Thailand, the Khao Manee cat is a natural and ancient breed that traces its roots hundreds of years back in the country’s rich and colorful history. Despite being shrouded with rarity and mystery, this feline has gained a reputation as a frisky and friendly cat that thrives on human interaction. It is highly sociable, often searching for friends to invite for lengthy play sessions, making this furball an excellent fit for active and busy homes.
Origin of the Khao Manee Cat
The Khao Manee cat boasts aristocratic roots, as they were initially kept by noble families in Thailand numerous centuries ago. A cat poetry book from classic Thai literature from 1350 referred to these cats as the Tamra Maew.
Also fondly called as “White Gem,” this feline was thought to bring good fortune, which is why they were revered by the Thai noblemen, the only individuals who had them as companions until recent times.
Due to the country’s immense love for the breed, the Khao Manee stayed native in Thailand for a very long time. It was only in 1999 when a breeder brought one to the United States. However, Khao Manee cats still remain rare in America. While they are popular in the homeland, their population is decreasing, and breeders across the world are doing their best to preserve the breed and safeguard the Khao Manee cat’s existence.
Physical Characteristics of the Khao Manee Cat
Length: 10 to 12 inches
Weight: 8 and 10 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years
Coat Color: White
Type of Coat: Short, smooth, lying close to the skin
Eye Color: Blue, amber, green, yellow, mostly odd-eyed
Khao Manees are slender and athletic cats with a muscular and well-proportioned body. The head is heart-shaped, with fairish-sized to largish ears sitting atop. Their nose has a slight curve, while cheeks appear prominent. The color of their eyes can range from blue, amber, green, and yellow. Thai people believe that odd-eyed Khao Manees cats bring the most luck and are often gifted as good luck cats.
Khao Manee Cat Personality
While they may have royal roots, Khao Manee cats are fun-loving and inquisitive cats. They will survey all areas around the home, never leaving any place unexplored. Otherwise, they will be happy to play fetch with their owners.
Highly gregarious, toddlers and small pets will be their new playmates, but they often want to be the center of attention. Guests won’t deter them, and these felines will not be timid as they arrive. They’d be happy to be part of the welcoming committee and see whatever is going on.
With such social demeanor, they can suffer from anxiety and loneliness if left for extended periods. They are people-oriented and will not fit families or owners that would be content in petting them as they go to work during the day and get back home 9 to 12 hours later.
But with close kinship to the Siamese cat that also hails from Thailand, Khao Manee cats are renowned for being a communicative breed. They love to talk, making back and forth conversations a normal part of the day. These furballs have a pleasant voice and adorable purr and use it to either show off or attract attention.
Caring for the Khao Manee Cat
From a grooming standpoint, Khao Manee cats are relatively easy to care for. Thanks to their short, smooth, and tight-lying coat that hardly sheds at all, weekly brushing can suffice in keeping them mat free. Meanwhile, rubbing their fur with a chamois cloth can help provide it with an adorable gleam.
However, as playful cats, they need plenty of interaction. Regular game time is a must to keep them both physically and mentally stimulated. If their family is busy, ensuring that they have toys and ample space to run will help these cats fulfill their exercise needs.
Same with other feline breeds, Khao Manees can be prone to periodontal disease. Brushing their teeth once a week using vet-approved toothpaste can help ensure their optimum oral health. Nail trimming should be done every two weeks, while eye cleaning can be performed weekly. Khao Manees’ ears should also be examined occasionally for any signs of infections or dirt build-up.
Being a white cat, Khao Manees are vulnerable to skin cancer. This often occurs around the ears and affects those who love to lay under sunspots. Regular consultation with the vet is vital to detect any condition early and provide necessary treatment.
As a rare breed, Khao Manees are prone to be stolen. With that, it is best to keep them as indoor-only cats. Plus, it would also keep them away from wild animals, accidents, injuries, and diseases they may encounter outside.
Khao Manee cats are ideal for families looking for fun-loving and chatty busybodies. Despite their regal roots, these furballs are highly-social and thrive in human companionship and affection. Any family that can match the attention they need is bound to loving furballs that would make their home feel noble.