by Barbara George
Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
The Korat (pronounced Ko-raht) originated in Thailand and is a natural breed, not having any other breed in its lineage and not used in any out-breeding programme for other breeds.
They were named for the region they came from; the first record of them is in The Cat Book of Poems produced between the 14th and 17th centuries, in which they are listed as one of the good luck cats of Thailand. These cats were popular gifts to the nobility and higher members of society, usually presented in pairs. They are associated with longevity, prosperity, health, fertility and good fortune, so a particularly lucky gift for brides! If the cat has a kink in the tail it is said to bring more luck to the owner.
Tradition still holds firm; these cats are given as gifts and seldom available for purchase. This makes the breed rare in countries other than Thailand, although there are breeders in other countries around the world. A Korat was seen in England in 1896, and the first ones recorded in America arrived in 1959.
Korats are beautiful cats, a single coat which comes in only one colour – light blue at the roots, deepens up the shaft and ends in a silver tip, giving a halo effect. The face is heart-shaped, the green eyes large and luminous. The body is compact, heavier than it looks, weighing around 3 to 4 Kg as an adult. These cats look their best when they mature, after 5 years of age. Their senses of smell, hearing and sight are more intense than most other cats.
These intelligent and energetic cats tend to adopt one or two special people, but are generally friendly and like to follow you around and be involved in all activities. They prefer to have company; with cats they get along best with other Korats, but also with dogs and children. In any group they will assume the top position. If left alone regularly for long periods they have been known to become aggressive, depressed, or develop unwanted behaviour.
They have definite personalities and can be demanding, but also prefer a quiet environment. While not generally talkative, they will make their opinions known when necessary! Stimulation, both mental and physical, is essential for a happy cat! They can be taught commands and tricks.
As with all breeds with a small gene-pool, there are some possible inherited health issues. These need to be checked with the breeder before taking on a cat. Cats with low body fat tend to react to anaesthesia more than others.
Korats are low-maintenance as far as grooming goes. Weekly grooming, including eyes, ears, teeth and claws will in most cases be sufficient. Bathing is only needed in extreme circumstances.
Although beautiful and exotic, the Korat requires a special family that will accept the constant demand for attention, the need for stimulation, understand their intelligence and not be troubled by their desire to be the focus of attention at all times. They can exhibit signs of territorialism when other family members receive too much attention, or play with a favourite toy. They are generally sensitive to excessive noise, which makes them unsuitable for homes with small children.