The Khao Manee is considered a relatively new and rare breed both in the United States and in the United Kingdom. However, this breed is actually an ancient pure breed that originated in Thailand alongside the Burmese, the Siamese and the Korat. While the Siamese may be the world’s most popular Thai cat breed today, in old Siam the Khao Manee was the most revered. One of Thailand’s greatest King, King Chulalongkorn bred this cat and had nine of its own. For many years, only the Royal family was permitted to own and breed the Khao Manee. The name Khao Manee means “white germ,” and a look at the cat will make the reason behind the name apparent. The first arrival of the Khao Manee in the U.S and U.K. was in 1999 and 2009 respectively. Several breeders have come together to work in preserving the breed as well as in bringing the breed to a higher level of recognition among cat associations.
Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium sized cat that weighs between 8 – 10 pounds. It possesses a solidly built body with good muscular development. Together with its bone structure, the body of Khao Manee combines athleticism, grace and symmetry in an excellent way. This is especially evident from its level back as well as its well-muscled shoulders, chest, hind quarters and abdomen. Strength can also be spotted in its well-proportioned and muscular legs that extend into rounded paws. Balancing the elegant body is a medium length tail that is slightly broad at the base and tapers into a rounded tip.
Khao Manee has a head that is a heavy wedge. Facial features compose of a definite whisker break as well as strong and clean contours at the brow and cheeks. Viewed in profile, the muzzle appears slightly squared and a slight convex contour from the top of its head to the level just below the eyes is evident. The nose is considerably prominent with a blunt tip and rounded bone structure. Its chin should also appear to be in alignment with the tip of the nose and its jaw is neither receding nor unduly massive. Set atop the head is a pair of medium sized ears that are held high with a slight outward and forward slant. They are broad at the base and taper into rounded tips. Ear tufts are short and appear as sparse furnishings in the ears.
One of the most distinctive features of the Khao Manee is its large almond shaped eyes that have also resulted in it being nicknamed as diamond eye or white jewel. The brilliance of the eyes is because of the striking starburst pattern around its pupils, which gives them the appearance of a diamond cut. The eyes come in a variety of colors, but the most coveted and exotic is the odd-colored eyes that can come in either a blue eye and green eye or a blue eye and a gold eye. Often white animals, no matter the species, can have a higher than usual incidence of deafness. However, there is a lower than usual incidence of deafness in the Khao Manee. It is believed that this is due in large part to the fact that the Khao Manee is a naturally occurring breed.
This “white germ” wears a coat of short and smooth hair that is almost always pure white. It is plush to the touch and is slightly loose and open with little undercoat. A dark patch might appear on the head of a Khao Manee kitten, but this will usually disappear when the cat is around a year old.
Personality and temperament
Khao Manee is a very social and affectionate cat that thrives on company and attention. It extends its affections to every member in the family and even to strangers whom it is comfortable with. However, it will still bond best with its favorite person. It possesses an above average intelligence and bellies a playful and witty nature under its graceful appearance. Cuddling is one of its favorite activities other than following its owner around the home, seeking to be involved in every household activity. The Khao Manee can certainly interact well with children and other friendly family pets.
Care and health issues
The Khao Manee has no known specific health issue aside from the concern of the rare occasions of deafness. A healthy Khao Manee can have an average life expectancy of between 10 – 12 years. It is important to obtain a written health guarantee from qualified breeders when purchasing the breed to ensure that the cat is not contracted with any common feline diseases.
While the coat is short and lies close to the body, the Khao Manee still has a small amount of undercoat that would require a weekly brushing to make sure that it does not irritate the skin. Other basic grooming practices should include frequent teeth brushing with vet-approved toothpaste as well as nail trimming whenever necessary. Also, check the ears indications of infections or irritations and clean them with a damp cloth when needed.
The ideal home
This is a breed that is suited for indoor living. As it thrives on companionship and attention, the family would need to be willing to set aside the time to care and play with it. To prevent boredom, an adventure zone equipped with cat toys, cat trees and cat gym sets will be necessary. Khao Manee has no issue getting along well with children and other family pets, thus making it an ideal pet for most types of household. Its superb temperament, lovingness and affections make it an endearing treasure to have around the home.