Khao manee quick facts
Length: 10 - 12 inches
Weight: Females: 5.5 - 8 pounds, Males: 8 - 10 pounds
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Lifespan: 10 - 12 years
Coat length: Short
Coloring: White with any eye color including different color eyes.
Grooming needs: Low
Friendliness: Breed alone is not an accurate predictor of individual cats' personalities. However, khao manee cats are generally regarded as playful and curious.
The khao manee cat breed originated in Thailand and the name translates to "white gem." These stunning cats have white fur and bright, almond-shaped eyes that earned them the nickname diamond eye cat. The cat is said to bring good luck to the families the cat lives with. The cats are athletic with muscular bodies and they love to play. If you are looking for a sociable cat who also loves to lounge on your lap, the khao manee breed may be a good choice for your family. Consider whether the cat's personality and care requirements are a good fit for you and your family.
Khao manee cat history
The khao manee is an ancient breed that originated in Thailand. They are a rare breed, especially compared with the other Thai cat breeds including the Siamese cat, Korat cat, and Burmese cat. The breed is referenced in the 14th-century Thai book of cat poems called "Tamra Maew." The cat was first called khao plort, but the breed is now known as khao manee.
The shorthair breed has a pure white coat and any eye color is accepted as long as they are vivid. Yet blue, green, and gold are the most common eye color. These cats may even have eyes with one blue eye and one gold or green eye.
While the breed may have a long and largely unknown history, they are a new breed in the cat show world.
- The first khao manee cat was imported to the United States in 1999 by Colleen Freymouth.
- In 2018, the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) accepted the breed into the miscellaneous class. The breed has not yet received championship status.
- The International Cat Association (TICA) started accepting registrations for the breed in 2009
- TICA granted the breed championship status in 2015.
Khao manee cat personality
These cats are very sociable and don't like to be left alone. If you live alone and work long hours, this may not be a good match for you. Fortunately, they tend to get along with all family members, including children and pets — who can keep them company. They enjoy spending time with the family and are quite vocal. They will often have a conversation with you filled with meows and other vocalizations.
The cats are both athletic and intelligent. Their curiosity will have them exploring every corner of the home. They love playing games with you and you can entice them into a game of fetch or play with a teaser toy. Despite their playful nature, they are also affectionate and will gladly curl up on your lap to nap.
Khao manee cat lifespan and health issues
A healthy khao manee has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. They are generally a healthy breed, but there is one health problem that affects the breed. As with other white cats with blue eyes, the khao manee is at a higher risk of deafness. The dominant W gene that causes the white coat color also has a genetic link to blue eye color and deafness. However, not all cats with the dominant W gene will be deaf or have blue eyes.
Breeders will not know if a khao manee kitten is deaf until they are about 3 to 4 weeks old. However, diagnosis can be challenging as the kitten can take visual cues from their littermates. Once a kitten is separated, breeders and cat owners can observe the kitten to see if they respond to sounds.
Some cats may be deaf in only one ear. Unless you have special veterinary testing, you may not be able to detect this partial deafness.
Khao manee cat grooming and care
The khao manee is a low-maintenance cat breed since they do not have an undercoat. Their short coat only needs weekly brushing to remove any loose fur. Other things to incorporate into your grooming routine include:
- checking and trimming the cat's nails
- cleaning the cat's ears
- brushing the cat's teeth with a veterinarian-approved pet toothpaste.
Feed the cat high-quality commercial cat food as recommended by your veterinarian. Make sure the cat has access to fresh drinking water at all times. Take your cat in for regular veterinary check-ups and keep them up-to-date on all of the recommended vaccinations.
Welcoming a new cat into your home
Once you choose a khao manee kitten to bring into your home, the wait can seem endless. Take the time to prepare by cat-proofing the house which includes removing any poisonous plants and clearing counters and shelves of anything that may harm your cat including things like cleaning chemicals. Be sure to look for spaces where your cat could get stuck or injured such as holes in the mattress or boxspring and small gaps between heavy pieces of furniture.
Set up all of the needed cat supplies in a designated room to create a safe space where your cat or kitten can adjust to their new environment. This includes:
- food and water
- litter box
- scratching post
- cat tree and shelves
- cat toys
Allow your new cat to explore the room at their own pace. The breed tends to be naturally curious but some cats may need longer to adjust than others. Spend plenty of time in the room and offer to play with the cat. Avoid holding the cat to be petted before they are ready and use plenty of positive reinforcement.
If you have other pets or small children, introduce them to the new cat. Monitor the interactions so you can ensure everyone is safe and has a positive experience. Once your cat is comfortable, you can open the door and allow them access to more of the house. Before you know it, your khao manee cat will be an active member of the family.