The Thai cat is fondly known as Wichien-Matt in Thailand. The origins of this breed, date back to the time before the Siamese breed became popular. In fact, the Siamese breed is considered to have developed from the Thai breed. While the development of the Siamese breed has for a time taken precedence over the Thai cat, the breeding of the Thai cat has still stayed true to its original development. Compared to the Siamese cat, the Thai cat is bigger and more robust in build. Few breeders in America have worked to maintain the original look of the first imported Siamese from Thailand.
A pioneer in the introduction of the Thai cat that represented the classic look of the old-style Siamese was a German woman, who brought the cat to the show halls in Europe. Her passion in establishing the standard look of the Thai cat has inspired many other breeders to do the same. In the early 20th century, the number of Thai cat being exported from Thailand to the rest of the western world has increased. This has helped in generating a greater interest among people in the Thai breed and at the same time increased its popularity.
Breeders in Europe and North America took the opportunity to join forces in preserving the old-style Siamese look of the Thai cat. These breeders worked cooperatively in sharing the bloodlines as well as importing new bloodlines from Thailand. In 2006, a proposal was created in getting The International Cat Association (TICA) to recognize the old-style Siamese as “Thai” cat. The efforts paid off and from 2007 – 2010, the Thai cat has advanced steadily under the TICA and has also finally obtained the Championship status on May 1, 2010.
The distinctive characteristic of the Thai breed from the other cat breeds, such as the Western Siamese and Tonkinese played the determining role in its acceptance in the show halls. The development of the Thai cat has also ensured that the breed is healthy and genetically diversified in order to produce quality show cats that will continue to inspire breeders and cat fanciers alike.
Physical appearance and attributes
Unlike the Siamese breed, the build and composition of the Thai cat is moderate and not extreme. It is a medium sized cat the weighs between 8 – 15 pounds. The body is long and substantial with a lithe yet graceful composition. Compared to the Siamese, the Thai cat has a stronger and muscular build. Complementing the body are relatively long legs that come with dainty oval paws. The tail of the Thai cat should be thick and tapers very slightly to a rounded tip.
The Thai cat has a wedged head with fairly rounded contours. Distinguishing itself from the other pointed cats is its long and flat forehead. The top of the head is relatively wide with rounded sides. Its cheekbones are high and its whisker pads are distinct, producing a whisker berak. This composition also gives an inward curve from below the cheek bone to where the muzzle begins. The muzzle is neither pointed nor blunt and composes of a firm chin. It has a long and broad nose and when viewed in profile a slight concave curve from between the eyes to the tip of the nose can be spotted. Atop the head is a pair of medium – large upright ears that are wide at the base and that taper into rounder tips. Ear tufts can also be spotted along the inner side of the ears. The eyes of Thai cat are large and round and they and are of a glistening deep blue.
The breed wears a coat of short hair that lies closely together but is not tight. It should be soft and silky to the touch and not plush. Coat colors come in a variety and include solid points, tabby points, tortie points and torbie points.
Personality and temperaments
The Thai cat is a highly intelligent, people-oriented, curios and active breed. Though it is not necessarily loud, it is definitely chatty. It is capable of leaping and climbing onto high perches as well as opening doors and cabinets. The Thai cat shows its affections in a variety of ways, such as following you around the house, cuddling in your lap and tapping its paw on you. It demands daily attention and will make an excellent companion. Its activeness is also manifest in its play, and playing is a necessary part of its daily life.
Care and health issues
This is a robust and hearty breed with no known specific health issues. However, in the physical aspect, the Thai cat might develop cross-eye or kinked tails. These conditions do not affect the health of the cat. Under proper care, the Thai cat can live up to an average of 15 years. To maintain its overall good health, a yearly health check up at the vet is recommended. It is advisable to ensure that the cat is brought from a qualified breeder who is able to produce a written health guarantee.
The Thai cat is a self-cleaning cat and a little grooming is needed. A weekly brush out would help to maintain a good sheen of the coat. For overall hygiene, do brush the teeth frequently with vet-approved toothpaste. Do also trim the nails and clean the ears whenever necessary.
The ideal home
Thai cat is suited for indoor living. As it is a highly active and attention-demanding breed, an adventure zone filled with interactive toys, cat trees and scratching poles will need to be created. The family will also need to be prepared to provide it with daily quality time and attention. Being adaptable, the Thai cat can get along well with children and other family pets as long as they are properly introduced. Under the responsible care of a right family, the Thai cat will prove to be an endearing pet as well as an affectionate and an excellent companion.