Si-Sawat, Cloud-coloured, Blue Cat of Thailand, Koraj, Good-luck Cat
|Cat (Felis catus)|
|List of Cat Breeds|
Korats are a slate blue-grey shorthair domestic cat with a small to medium build and a low percentage of body fat. Their bodies are semi-cobby, and surprisingly heavy for their size. They are intelligent, playful, active cats and form strong bonds with people. Among Korats' distinguishing characteristics are their heart-shaped heads and large green eyes. They are one of a few breeds where individuals have only one color.
The Korat is one of the oldest stable cat breeds. Originating in Thailand, it is named after the Nakhon Ratchasima province (typically called "Korat" by the Thai people). In Thailand it is known as Si-Sawat, meaning "Color of the Sawat Seed". They are known colloquially as the "Good Luck Cat" and are given in pairs to newlyweds or to people who are highly esteemed, for good luck. Until recently, Korats were not sold, but only given as gifts.
However, Korats are no longer seen in Thailand, having long since interbred. Korats now exist due to the diligent efforts of a few breeders, most of whom are outside of Thailand.
The first mention of the Korat is in "The Cat-Book Poems" authored between 1350 and 1767 AD in Thailand, now in the National library in Bangkok. However, the illustration of the Korat in this book is not detailed enough to be definitive as to the breed portrayed. In recent years the Korat was on postage stamp in Thailand. An example hangs in the city of Korat's post office.
Korats first appeared in America in the 1950s and arrived in Britain from there in 1972. Jean Johnson introduced Korats to the US in 1959. She had lived in Thailand, where she encountered the breed. Her first pair were named Nara (male) and Dara (female). The Korat was introduced to the UK by Betty Munford of The High Street, Hungerford.
Although it is rare, Korats occasionally have striking or faint white markings or spots or even very faint gray stripes. Sometimes these spots increase in size with age. These are seen as flaws, and the cats are not allowed to be displayed in cat shows, although of course it has no effect on their personality or health.
The Korat originated in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. The first recorded mentioning of the Korat is in The at-Book Poems in 1350. It was later featured in 1767. Married couples in Thailand get a pair of them for Good Luck, and until recently they where sold only as gifts. They are the most highly prized cats in Thailand. The first Korats the be introduced in the West in 1959 were named Nara and Darra.
The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy recognizes Korat type cat differing from the traditional solid blue appearance of the Korat. Such cats can be either Thai Lilacs, which are solid lilac cats, or Thai Pointed, which have the colour-point pattern also seen in Siamese. The official registration policy for Thai Cats  allows kittens to be registered as Thai if they are born to Korat parents, Thai parents or to one of each. It also requires genetic testing for gangliosidosis to be carried out to ensure that the breed remains free of this inherited disease which once existed in Korat and Thai breeding lines. Thai pointeds are popular with people who like the Siamese pattern but prefer a more moderate body type. Thai Lilacs are appreciated for their delicate pale pinky-grey colour. The genes responsible for Pointeds and Lilacs were introduced into the Korat breed when new Korat breeding stock carrying the recessive genes was imported from Thailand.
Related breeds include the Thai Lilac.