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Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography
In his home country of Thailand, the Korat is a living symbol of luck and prosperity. He is quieter than the Siamese, to whom he is related, but he definitely will let you know what he’s thinking. His compact, muscular body wears a short, easy-care coat in bluish-gray tipped with silver.
The Korat is a symbol of good fortune in his native Thailand. If you believe in such things, this is the cat for you, as he will follow your every footstep at home, keeping luck close at all times.
Want to make Lady Luck your friend? Meet the Korat, a symbol of good fortune in his native Thailand. And it’s easy to see why. His blue-gray fur glistens like silver, his bright green eyes symbolize prosperity, and his heart-shaped face is said to bring happiness to brides.
The medium-size Korat is muscular but compact, weighing 6 to 10 pounds. The breed is slow to mature and may not reach his full physical and emotional development until he is 5 years old. For instance, the eyes do not achieve their luminous green color until the Korat is 2 to 4 years old.
The demanding and intelligent Korat rules his household with an iron paw sheathed in velvet. He loves attention and likes to think of himself as the one in charge, whether of other cats, dogs, or the people in his family. Expect him to be closely involved in everything you do, from reading the paper to preparing meals to paying bills. When you are home, he will always be near — if not on — you, and he won’t like being left alone for hours on end. The Korat is less talkative than his Siamese cousin, but he definitely knows how to express himself both verbally and with body language. You will know if he doesn’t approve of what you’re doing or how you’re feeding him.
The Korat is well suited to any home with people who will love him and give his gorgeous coat a weekly combing. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats, attacks from other animals, and simply to prevent his curiosity from leading to the end of his nine fortunate lives.
This silvery-blue beauty is an ancient breed from Thailand. Pictures of the Korat, also known as the Si-Sawat, appear in a book about cats that dates to Thailand’s Ayudhya period (1350-1767). In it, the Korat is described as a cat that brings good fortune. The cats were never sold, but a pair of Korats was a favored gift. Centuries-old paintings of Korats look much like the breed as it is today, and all modern Korats have family trees with roots in Thailand.
In the late 19th century, some solid blue “Siamese” cats were exhibited in England but were probably Korats. It wasn’t until 1959 that a Korat lived in the United States. Nara and Darra arrived with a couple who were given the cats after retiring from U.S. Foreign Service work in Thailand.
The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed in 1967, and all cat registries now recognize the Korat.
The Korat rules his household with an iron paw sheathed in velvet. He loves attention and likes to think of himself as the one in charge, whether of other cats, dogs, or the people in his family. He can be a bit stuck up, preferring the company of other Korats to that of any other pets, but he’s affectionate with his people and calm with children.
Expect the Korat to be closely involved in everything you do, from reading the paper to preparing meals to paying bills. When you are home, he will always be near — if not on — you, and he won’t like being left alone for hours on end. Nor is he fond of loud noises or a lot of commotion. This is a gentle cat who likes to snuggle.
The Korat is less talkative than his Siamese cousin, but he definitely knows how to express himself both verbally and with body language. You will know if he doesn’t approve of what you’re doing or how you’re feeding him. A quiet, happy chirp indicates his satisfaction.
Gentle he may be, but the Korat is also energetic, playful, and highly intelligent. Challenge his brain by teaching him tricks and providing him with puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns to manipulate them.
Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in her home and handles them from an early age. Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments.
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit diseases. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either untruthful or unknowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
The Korat is prone to a fatal genetic condition that comes in two forms: GM-1 and GM-2 gangliosidosis. Fortunately, a genetic test is available that can identify carriers before they are bred. Do not buy from a breeder who does not provide a written health guarantee.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Korat at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health.
The Korat has a single coat with hair that is short, shiny, and fine. The coat is easy to groom with twice-weekly brushing. You’ll need to brush the Korat more often in the spring when he sheds his winter coat.
The only other grooming the Korat needs is regular nail trimming and ear cleaning if the ears look dirty. Use a gentle cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Start brushing, nail trimming, and teeth brushing when your cat is still a kitten, and he will accept these activities later on.
You want your Korat to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality, and looks of the Korat, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers Association, Cats Center Stage, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and The International Cat Association.
Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens.
Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to become available. Many breeders won't release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Korat might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.
The Korat is an unusual and uncommon breed. It is unlikely that you will find one in a shelter or through a rescue group, but it doesn’t hurt to look. Sometimes a pedigreed cat ends up at a shelter after losing his home to an owner’s death, divorce, or change in economic situation.
Here are some tips to help you find and adopt the right cat from a rescue group or shelter.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Korat in your area in no time. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Korats available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a cat. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with pet pros in your area about your desire for a Korat. That includes vets, cat sitters, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a cat, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Networking can help you find a cat that may be the perfect companion for your family. Most people who love Korats love all Korats. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless cats. Start with the Fanciers Breeder Referral List. You can also search online for Korat rescues in your area.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a cat. These include:
Wherever you acquire your Korat, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with pet lemon laws, be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
Kitten or adult, take your Korat to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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In his home country of Thailand, the intelligent and attention-loving Korat is a living symbol of luck and prosperity.
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