Cat Breeds 101: Khao Manee

Cat Breeds 101 - Khao Manee
Cat Breeds 101: Khao Manee – Image To Repin / Share
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The Khao Manee is a relatively new and little-known breed in the Western world, but it is an old and revered breed in its home country, Thailand. Strikingly beautiful, this cat is characterized by close-lying, silky soft, brilliant white fur and large, jewel-like eyes that may be blue, yellow, green, or gold – but the most valuable Khao Manees are odd eyed, that is, one eye is a different color from the other. [1]

The name Khao Manee means “white jewel,” which reiterates just how much the Thai people valued this cat. So highly regarded was the Khao Manee that it was even bred by one of Thailand’s greatest and most respected kings, Chulalongkorn the Great (1853-1910). Incidentally, the Khao Manee is a natural breed, not an engineered one. [2]

One of the reasons why the Thai people held such great esteem for the Khao Manee is an ancient belief that this cat brings good fortune. There was also a strange legend that the Khao Manee’s eyes hold special powers, so when a Khao Manee passes away, one ought to retrieve its eyes to gain the benefit of their magic. [2]

In the West, we simply like the cat because it is gorgeous to look at, fun to live with, and requires very little care, hardly more than a weekly brushing to keep its undercoat in good condition, and of course, regular nail clipping and tooth cleaning.

Khao Manee health: Unfortunately, though, there are a few health issues that are characteristic of this breed: First, the Khao Manee is prone to deafness. Apparently, the gene that causes the breed to have a pure white coat also causes a disorder in the animal’s inner ear, which results in partial or complete deafness that is often present at birth. [2] Second, your perfect-looking Khao Manee may produce a kitten or two with a kinked tail, another aberration that tends to appear in this breed. Third, since the Khao Manee has white fur, it may have a higher risk of skin cancer than other darker-colored cats. [3] If the Khao Manee is neutered, many of these health issues need not become a cause for concern.

Those who invite a Khao Manee into their homes find themselves in the company of a playfully sociable pet, a little naughty at times, but always graceful and affectionate. If you’re the type who enjoys giving and getting a lot of attention from your cat, the Khao Manee may be a good option for you. And although we cannot promise that this “luck-bringing cat” will help you to win the lottery, the friendship and trust it gives you will make you feel like a winner nonetheless. [1]

[1] Khaomanee. The International Cat Association.
[2] Khao Manee. Animal Planet.
[3] Khao Manee. Wikipedia.

Khao Manee Cat Video: