FAQs

The Korat

AUTHOR: Dennis Ganoe, 4/26/94 [dennis@korats.com]
Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996 Dennis Ganoe, All Rights Reserved.

DESCRIPTION

The Korat (Koh-Raht) is a medium to small, shorthair cat with the females weighing between 6 and 8 pounds and the males from 8 to 10 pounds. The Korat is a very compact cat with a low percentage of the weight as body fat. This means the Korat may appear to be a small cat, but in reality they are much heavier and more solid than they look.

They have broad chests with well developed muscles, even the females. They have a single close lying coat that is always silver-blue. Single coat means they do not have a downy undercoat and the coat lies flat. The head is heart shaped. The heart is outlined by drawing imaginary lines from the rounded tip of the chin up to the top of the ears and then back to the top of the head. The eyes are oversized for the face but are not protruding or "bug eyed." The eyes are round when fully open but appear slanted when closed or partially closed. They are peridot green (in the mature cat) and translucent in all stages of development.

Korats are slow maturing cats. They can often take up to 5 years to reach their full potential. The coat will always be silver-blue, but the silver tipping will become more pronounced as they mature. The eye color, a vivid peridot green, also appears as cat matures. The Korat is a cat that gets better and better as it ages.


HISTORY

The Korat is an ancient cat from Siam (now Thailand) that is written of in the "The Cat-Book Poems." This book was written between 1350 and 1767 AD. The Korat is known as the Si-Sawat cat in its native country and the Korat name was originated when King Rama V of Siam was presented with the cat. He asked what kind of cat it was and was told it came from Korat, a high plateau in northeast Thailand. It is known as the good-luck cat of Thailand and a pair of Korats are often given to brides on their wedding day to ensure a happy marriage. Korats are rarely sold in Thailand, but given to people held in high esteem.

The first Korat to be exhibited was probably in England in the late 19th century. It was entered as a Siamese because that is where the owner obtained it. It was listed as a solid blue and descriptions of that judging still exist today. The first modern Korats were introduced to the U.S. by Mrs Jean Johnson in 1959. Her husband retired from the foreign service in Thailand and they were presented with a pair of Korats as gifts when they returned to the United States. Since that introduction, many additional Korats have been imported, and every Korat can trace its ancestry back to Korats living or have lived in Thailand. This is why the Korat is sometimes referred to as the Silver-blue cat with the Thai passport.

Shortly after the Korat arrived in the United States the Korat Cat Fanciers Association was formed. It is a non-affiliated international club dedicated to the protection and development of the Korat. This club was instrumental in getting the Korat recognized in all associations and helps ensure that the standards for the Korat remain virtually the same in all associations.

CHARACTERISTICS AND TEMPERAMENT

The Korat is an active cat with strong likes and dislikes. They are quite territorial and consider their "human" part of their territory. For this reason they make outstanding companions, always nearby and faithful. Korats are very intelligent and take well to most training. Korats have been trained to play games such as fetch and can be trained to walk on a leash.

Korats "bond" with their owner either as kittens or as adults. The bonding usually takes place in the first few weeks a Korat is in its new home. After the bonding, the Korat will want to be with their "person," whatever that person is doing and will follow their chosen person from room to room to be nearby. This behavior has been known to annoy some people. Bonding with a Korat is not limited to humans. Korats will bond to what ever entity they like best. This can be an adult, a child, another cat, or a dog. Bonding with a Korat doesn't mean it will reject offers of affection from others. It simply means they have a chosen preference in companionship. Korats have thrived in every environment this author has known. They do tend to elevate themselves to the Number 1 position in a group of cats and other cat breeds have been known to resent this.

Korats in the show ring show all of the above mentioned traits. Korats are not generally fearful cats, so most of their show behavior is learned. They may learn that aggressive behavior gets them taken home. They may also learn that certain behaviors get them special attention from their chosen person. Showing a Korat takes time and firm control. It takes time to train a Korat to show. The exhibitor must ensure the Korat learns the show routine and what is expected of the show cat. An exhibitor of Korats must have firm control of themselves, because any "pay-off" of unacceptable behavior by the Korat, teaches the Korat to repeat the behavior in order to get what he wants most, attention from his "person."


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is that a Russian Blue? (What is the difference between a Korat and a Russian Blue?)
 
The Russian Blue and the Korat share a great many words in common. Both are described as medium, silver-blue shorthair cats with green eyes. A Korat is generally heavier for the same size cat than a Russian Blue. Korats are stockier and a bit chunkier than Russian Blues and the Korat has rounded lines where Russian Blues have longer and straighter lines. The Korat has a single coat and the Russian Blue has dense double coat. The Korat is gun-metal blue which is darker than the usual Russian Blue color. Both breeds have silver tipping on each hair. The Korat's eyes are a peridot green and the Russian Blue has emerald green eyes. The head structures on the two breeds are distinctly different and the personalities are very different.
 
Is the Korat prone to any particular illnesses?
 
Korats are not prone to any particular illnesses. However, there were rare instances of a genetic neuromuscular degenerative disease that had been identified in the Korat as well as other breeds of cats, called GM1 Gangliosidosis and GM2 Gangliosidosis. Through the efforts of a dedicated researcher and clinician, Dr Henry Baker, this disease has been virtually wiped-out from the world wide Korat population. Information about this disease and the steps taken to erradicate it are well documented on the Koratworld GM FAQ page. The Korat breeders of the world owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr Baker and the other researchers who helped eliminate this heartbreaking disease.
 
How are Korats in single cat households?
 
Korats will bond more closely to their human if they are the only cat around, but some cautions should be observed with a single Korat. The need for companionship is so strong in the Korat that a single Korat should not be left alone for extended periods or ignored when the caregivers are present (see Training, below). This may cause the Korat to become aggressive or, more likely, very withdrawn. Either of these conditions prevent the Korat from exhibiting its true nature. If the Korat is left with only other cats, because of their need for companionship, the Korat will bond with one of the other cats. When multiple people and/or cats are present, the Korat will bond with the individual they "like" best or whomever they spend the most time with, be that cat or human.
 
Are Korats quiet? What are their voices like?
 
Korats vary widely in their vocalizations. Some will be exceptionally quiet and others will scream. Every Korat is capable of an incredible variety of sounds, from a quiet questioning chirp, to a full voice roar. They generally "speak" only when they have something to say, or to alert you to their needs.
 
Are they outdoor cats?
 
Most breeders do not let their cats go outdoors at all. In fact, Korat breeders require a sales pledge that, among other things, requires the new owner to ensure the cat is kept indoors except under direct supervision.
 
How much does a Korat cost?
 
Generally, pet quality kittens start at $400 and the price may change depending upon the quality of the kitten. Some breeders will sell show quality kittens as pets when an exceptional home is found and breeders will often place an older cat for a nominal charge when they are completed with their breeding life. Even older Korats will bond to their new owners. These older cats are usually 6-8 years old and have earned their "retirement."
 
How long do Korats live?
 
It is not exceptional for a Korat to live 15 years or more given good care.

RECOGNITION

The Korat is recognized for championship status in the following associations:

  • Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
  • The International Cat Association (TICA)
  • American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA)
  • Cat Fanciers' Federation (CFF)
  • Federation Internationale de Feline (FIFe)
  • Canadian Cat Association (CCA)

CARE AND TRAINING

Korats are easy cats to take care of because they will usually tell you what they need. They are not finicky eaters, but it is recommended that owners feed only high quality dry food and/or canned food. Although Korats like people food, it is not formulated for them and should be minimized.

Korats have a low body fat percentage, but they can become overweight. If fed too much, a Korat will develop "fat pads" along their underside. These can be mistaken for mammary tumors as they have the same look and feel. If any doubt exists, have the cat examined by a veterinarian.

When having your Korat spayed/neutered or when have any operationthat requires anesthesia, it should be remembered that Korats have little body fat to absorb the anesthesia. Non fat-soluble varieties should be used when operating on Korats. This is the same as other "lowfat" animals like Greyhounds, Whippets or Siamese.

Korats reach sexual maturity relatively early, 6-8 months in most cases. Neutering a male cat at this age is appropriate, as is spaying the female. A male cat will begin spraying, or marking his territory upon reaching sexual maturity. Korat females, when they come into season, will call for available males, and will also mark their territory with urine. Spaying and neutering can alleviate the desire to spray.

Training a Korat is relatively easy. Fetch the toy is a game that most Korats readily adapt to. Training a Korat can be done with both negative and positive reinforcement. Negative incentives should be limited to a loud "NO", a clap of the hands, snap of the fingers, or a squirt bottle of plain water. Because of the Korats gregariousness, the ultimate in discipline is to quietly place the cat in a separate room for a short time (15 min) and then just as quietly let it out. Be sure no toys or other amusements are available in the "time out" room. Positive reinforcements are the usual games and treats and a simple petting session for something well done.

BREED STANDARDS

The standards for Korats is almost identical for every association.The differences are in CFA and TICA a non-visible tail kink is allowable whereas in the other associations it is disqualifiable. In Thailand, a kink in the tail of a Korat is considered a sign of extra "good-luck." When Korats are judged, CFA judges tend to ignore a non-visible tail kink. TICA judges who notice the kink will usually not final a Korat.

The Korat is a medium sized, semi-cobby shorthair cat. The body is well-muscled with a broad chest and good development. The Korat has a single close-lying blue coat with each hair tipped with silver. The more silver tipping, the better. The head is heart-shaped with large luminescent green eyes. The heart is outlined by tracing from the strong chin up the cheek bones to top of the ears and then returning to the top of the head. A second heart can be traced from the chin to the eyebrows and back to the bridge of the nose. The profile has a slight stop (not a break) with a gentle lion-like downward curve just above the nose leather. The eyes appear over-large for the face, but are not protruding. The eyes are round when fully open but have a slant when closed or partially closed. The ears are large and set high on the head. The tail is moderate in length, wide at the base and tapering to a rounded tip.

A non-visible tail kink is allowed. The front legs are slightly shorter than the rear legs with oval feet. There are 5 toes on the front feet and 4 toes on the rear feet. Nose leather is blue and paw pads are lavender-pink or mauve.

Disqualify: Any other color than Silver-Blue, white spots or lockets, wrong number of toes on the feet.

Point Distribution (CFA):

HEAD		           25
	Broad 	                5
	Profile 	            4
	Breadth Between Eyes 	4
	Ear set/placement 	    4
	Heart Shape 	        5
	Chin and Jaw 	        3
EYES		           15
	Size 	                5
	Shape 	                5
	Placement 	            5
BODY	               25
	Body 	               15
	Legs/Feet 	            5
	Tail 	                5
COAT		           10
	Short 	                4
	Texture 	            3
	Close-Lying 	        3
COLOR		           25
	Body 	               20
	Eye 	                5
    

REFERENCES

  • CAT FANCY - Feb. 1994
  • CAT FANCY - Feb. 1990
  • The Korat Story, c by Daphne Negus, TX 320-928

Breed Clubs

  • Si-Sawat Society (CFA),Cheryl Coleman,cheryl@coleman-services.net
  • Korat Cat Fanciers Association (non-affiliated)
  • Korat Cats International (KCI) (non-affiliated), Bobbie Weihrauch, bbyrock@msn.com

BREEDERS

Disclaimer: These breeders have been recommended in good faith by the author of this article. However, you are still responsible for verifying that a particular breeder meets your needs and to your satisfaction. Additional breeder listings can be found in "CatFancy" and "Cats Magazine" in the US and Canada, and in "Cat World"in the UK.

© 1996-2014
All contents are copyrighted by Judy and Dennis Ganoe and may be used only with permission of the author.
Pictures are the property of the photographer and may only be used with permission of the photographer and the authors.