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Khao Manee Cat: new exotic white breed

khao manee cat

White Khao Manee cat with odd eyes. Photo: Janet Poulsen

Three important cat breeds come from Thailand. These are the Siamese, Burmese and Korat. The Khao Manee cat comes also from Thailand but was unknown in the West until recently — in Thailand it is now rare but still highly regarded. A Thai temple manuscript (circa 1350) mentions the breed as well as Siamese and Korat. King Rama V of Thailand (1868-1910) owned nine and prized them highly. These are exotic and special cats.

Colleen Freymouth imported the first Khao Manee cat to the US in 1999. Since then they have become increasingly bred in the US and the UK. They are now gaining recognition too — gaining “preliminary new breed status” by the ICA (International Cat Association.)

The Khao Manee cat is medium sized and muscular with an oriental look. It is normally white though also occurs naturally in other colors. To quote from “The Khao Manee Cat” by Chrissy Russell:

Take the spritely naughtiness and devotion of the Burmese, the grace of the Siamese, the heart-shaped and upright ears of the Korat and sheer beauty of the Tonkinese. Roll them up together; add a diamond white coat, characteristic high cheekbones and jewels for eyes and you have the Khao Manee.

Khao Manee Cat – a short video

As is the case with other Thai cats the Khao Manee cat has a great personality. It is a highly people orientated cat that is intelligent and curious about all that is going on around it. Khao Manee cats are good family pets and thrive on attention from their humans. As a natural breed it is healthy — even deafness —  common with white cats — is believed to be less frequent in this breed. The most distinctive thing about the Khao Manee are its dazzling eyes. These can be green, blue or gold. Odd eyed cats, as in the photograph above, are held in particular esteem.

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