The Korat is one of the oldest, most stable breeds in the world. Revered in their native Thailand as a “good luck cat,” Korats are traditionally given in pairs, with special importance when given to brides as wedding gifts.
It can be easy to see why the breed has been beloved in their homeland for so many centuries. Korats have one of the most beautiful coats in all the cat kingdom and are intelligent, loving lap cats who develop strong bonds with their families.
Korats come in just one color: a beautiful blue with silver-tipped fur that gives them a shimmery, halo-like appearance, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA). They are a small-to-medium breed with a low amount of body fat, large, forward-facing ears and round, beautiful, peridot green eyes.
The Korat is sometimes referred to as “the cat with five hearts” because, in addition to the one beating in their chests, their heads create a distinctive, valentine’s heart shape when viewed from the front, as well as from the top. Their noses are also heart-shaped, with a fourth heart shape being recognizable in the musculature in their chests, right between their front shoulders.
A deeply intelligent cat, the Korat is also a very thoughtful family member. Korats are more laidback than most cats. They’ll find time to play and be active, but they’re every bit as happy to cuddle in their owner’s lap.
They form deep bonds with their families, most strongly with the person or two that they spend the most time with. They can be skittish or aloof around strangers, but they will always seek out their family for safety and watch the proceedings from there.
Korats can do well in multi-family homes, but tend to do their best with other Korats. They are a cat who requires a hierarchy system in multi-pet homes and other animals don’t always fall in line with that thinking. However, thanks to their social, laid-back nature, Korats can and do learn to get along with other cats as well as dogs, as long as socialization is handled patiently. Regardless of what kind of other animals are in the house, make sure there are enough toys to go around. The Korat isn’t particularly fond of sharing, and fights can break out over a mutually cherished ball or toy.
Because they are so social, the Korat is not a cat who will be happy spending long periods of time alone. If you work from home or have multiple pets, everything should be kosher, but a Korat left alone can develop separation anxiety and some destructive behaviors as a result.
The Korat is very happy being a lap cat, and will contentedly follow its preferred family members around the house all day. Making sure there are toys around for when they want to play and, in multi-pet homes, enough toys to keep the squabbling to a minimum is important.
When it comes to living size or temperature considerations, the Korat is a pretty adaptable animal. As long as they know where to eat and where to poop, they’re going to be pretty happy wherever you are.
The Korat’s beautiful coat also doesn’t tend to lose hair much at all, making it a "tolerable" choice for people with hair allergies, the CFA says. But even with low-shedding cats such as the Korat, it is important to remember no cat is technically completely hypoallergenic, and allergies can still persist.
“The allergens that people are reacting to are in the saliva in fluids, rather than the hair itself,” says Carol Margolis, DVM, DACT, of the Gold Coast Center for Veterinary Care on Long Island, N.Y. “Even in a lab setting, with the use of PPE in academic circumstances, people can irritate existing allergies or even develop new allergies over prolonged exposure.”
Korats don’t need a lot of grooming. Their shimmery coat is a very low-shedding single coat of fur, so brushing them lightly once a week will keep them looking great. Giving some attention each week to their ears and teeth will help keep them healthy in the long run, but that’s going to be about as far as your Korat grooming will ever have to go.
As you might expect from a naturally occurring breed that’s nearly 800 years old, the Korat has a pretty clean bill of health. GM1 and GM2 gangliosidosis can occur in rare instances, but there are tests that can identify it in kittens and it’s not a common condition.
Additionally, because the Korat is so low in body fat, they tend to be more sensitive to anesthesia; talk to your vet about your Korat’s reaction to the drug before any medical procedures.
The first documented mention of the Korat comes from the “Treatise on Cats”, composed sometime around 1350. The book outlines 17 “good luck cats,” including the Korat. While not greatly detailed, the illustration given in the book depicts a cat that is remarkably similar to the Korat we see today, indicating the breed has changed very little over nearly eight centuries.
Named for the Korat province in Thailand, the Korat is a traditional gift among the Thai people and thought to be a symbol of prosperity for newlyweds. Until the mid-20th century, Korats were never sold, only given as gifts.
Fittingly, the first Korats brought to the United States were a pair of siblings who were gifted to the owners of the Cedar Glen Cattery in Oregon in 1959. Virtually all American Korats can trace their lineage back to that first breeding pair, the CFA says. The breed was accepted for Champion status by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1966.
- The Korat’s role in Thai society as a gift cat was so important that, until the mid 20th century, they were never sold, only given as gifts.
- Korats with crimped or striped tails were often considered especially lucky, the CFA says.
- Their Thai name, Si-Sawat, comes from their coat and literally means "greyish-blue," while "Sawat" means prosperity.