The Khao Manee (which translates to ‘white gem’) is a graceful, medium-sized cat which originated from a royal breeding program in Thailand. They have distinctive eyes which resemble a cut diamond and are most prized when they have odd eye colour combinations.
The Khao Manee is a medium-sized cat with a muscular athletic build and long legs. The almost always pure white coat is short and smooth and lies close to the body.
Their eyes are their most distinctive trait and are available in a variety of colours. The most sought after is the odd coloured eye variety which can be one blue and one green eye, or one blue eye and one gold eye. The effect is quite striking so it’s understandable why these colour combinations are highly desirable.
The Khao Manee is a naturally occurring breed that came about without human intervention. As the original royal breed of Thailand, they have been around for hundreds of years and are considered an extremely special and sacred cat. Despite this it is still a rare breed that is not recognised by most cat organisations. The Khao Manee first came to the US in 1999 so it is still considered relatively new in those circles.
Since 2010 the breed has been recognised in Britain by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), which limits Khao Manee to being shown only at GCCF shows.
Most Khao Manee are affectionate, sociable cats who enjoy the company of people. They do best when they are the recipient of lots of attention so make sure you don’t leave them alone for long periods.
This is a rather vocal breed, probably because of their close kinship to the Siamese, another breed originating out of Thailand.
Did you Know?
Whilst the most popular cat from Thailand today is the Siamese, in ancient times it was the odd eyed Khao Manee, who was considered the bearer of good luck. It was strongly believed that any household which possessed the Khao Manee breed would be the recipient of ‘long life and title.’
In the late 19th century, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) started a royal breeding program with nine Khao Manee cats and subsequent generations protected them within the Royal Palace.
The name Khao Manee translates to ‘white gem’. They also have the nickname of diamond eye or white jeweled cat due to the unique starburst pattern visible around the pupils, which closely resembles the look of a cut diamond.
Caring for Your Khao Manee Cat
A relatively healthy breed, the Khao Manee has no breed specific issues. Because of their white fur they can be prone to sunburn which may lead to skin cancer, so it’s a good idea to monitor access to direct sunlight.
Even though the white fur gene is linked to deafness, and the Khao Manee is no exception, it is not as prone to this condition as other white furred cats are, possibly due to their being a naturally occurring breed of cat.
Grooming requirements are minimal, although a weekly brush is recommended for their short coat, to keep them looking their best.
If you have a Khao Manee cat in your life, please share your experiences below.