For most people in the US or Europe
a 'Siamese' cat is the famous seal point with their wedge shaped
head and blue eyes. But in their native Siam it is the Khao
Manee 'White Jewel', sometimes known as the Khao Plort ('All
White') which is the most popular and celebrated of the traditional
breeds and recent research has uncovered that they, not the seal
point, were the true Royal Cats of Old Siam.
The Khao Manee which can be identified
by their pure white fur and eyes of differing colors are among the
most exotic and interesting of all cats. Some have pairings of one
blue and one emerald green eye, while others have blue and yellow
pairings and are sometimes called "Gold & Silver Eyes".
Some have both blue or both yellow or green. It is only recently
that the genetic mutations that produce the diamond eye have been
The Khao Manees' popularity goes
back many years. The Tamra Maew or Cat Book of Poems (1350 - 1767),
the ancient Siamese treatise on cats describes it as:
white, eyes of clear mercury,
this cat if in any house,
brings long life and title,
material wealth coming in with no decrease
will be entertained with all things in happiness.*
They were a particular favorite
of Rama V, one of Siam's greatest kings who bred and fixed the
type and were closely guarded in the royal palace. The penalty (so
legend has it) for a commoner stealing one was death...
They all have a marvelous
temperament, and show great trust in humans. If given love and proper
care they make excellent pets.
On Monday 16th August1999 the
first Khao Manee cats to set foot outside Siam began an historic
journey to the United States. They arrived at Los Angeles airport
on Tuesday 17that 11 am and were met by Colleen Freymuth. On the
8th July, Colleen became the first person to breed Khao Manees outside
of Siam when 2 kittens were born to Dee. The father was Hin.