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Interview with Namdee 

The following is a translation of an interview with Namdee Witta in a Thai magazine.  (translation from Thai by Nick Abel & Pornpetch Yinatsawaphan)

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“Hey cat, you look very sexy”

“OK Blue Sky, Golden Sky lets show them what its like being a sexy cat”

The white cat lying in the cage on hearing Uncle Namdee gets up and shows that the Thai cat has a very nice figure.

There are more than 30 cats living in the Cat Museum in no. 4 Pudtanon Road which has now moved from a Thai house to no 103, a 3 storey town house close to the Thai house. The Thai house had holes in it and the woodwork had been destroyed because of the humidity and the rain. When the rain comes into the house the cats got pneumonia.

We are talking to Namdee Witta the owner of the Thai cats which trace their lineage back to those of Rama V. This breed of cat is a very traditional Thai cat and is almost extinct. It has a character that stands out more than any other cat in the world because it has odd-colored eyes. One is emerald green or heliodor yellow, the other sapphire blue or diamond white. In the past people would call them Diamond eye cats. The Khao Manee was a favourite of Rama V. He was very protective of them and in his time he had 9 and he asked his son Prince Chum Rom Kreth Udomsak to breed from the 9 to 18.

Prince Chumpom gave the cats to his daughter Princess Ruang Jit Jarang Apakorn who is Namdee's aunt [don't be too impressed by this: Rama V had 200 children!] . The 18 cats became 40. The Princess gave them to Namdee's maternal grandfather, Colonel Haw Pionudhad in 1957, and he expanded the number to 300 cats.

Namdee cleans the cats' eyes using cotton wool with Optrex eye lotion cleaning 2-3 times to prevent eye problems. If the cat has a cold he will use cotton wool with Eucaluptus and afterwards he will wash his hands with hydrogen peroxide. Then we look at the box which is full of medicine for the cats. We see a big water barrel which is the water for the cats. Namdee grabs a bottle of Kings Stellar scent which he sprays over the house. He has to do this because its the 3rd and 4th rule from Rama V's time (see below)

Now its time for Blue Emerald, a male 2 year old cat to be cleaned. He doesn't want to be cleaned and shrinks back in his cage which has a heart shaped rug as a bed.

Namdee then tells us about the rules for keeping cats. He gave his word to his aunt that he would respect these rules, which she gave to her father who gave his word to Rama V.

1) Only breed within the same breed. Cannot crossbreed. All round the world people say that you cannot breed within the same family. Don't tell this to us. I don't care if its the same family. Just the same breed.

2) The cats cannot be sold.

CNN, Reuters and several foreign newspapers and magazines have run stories on Namdee's cats. Group tours from Taiwan, Korea and Japan have come to see them. More than 1000 people in 40-50 groups have visited him. Because of this publicity some people have wanted to buy one of his cats.

One such was a Sheik from Saudi Arabia. The hotel called and said the a VIP wanted to see the cats. He came driving a new Mercedes. When he arrived in a black suit, Namdee asked him how he knew about his cats. "From the foreign TV". He wanted to buy one of Rama V's cats. Namdee explained that he cannot sell them because they are the King's cats and he must give them back to the King. He cannot even sell to a Thai. "But I have lots of money." The Sheik patted his wallet. "Billions. I own some oil wells" Still, Namdee cannot sell the cats and must give them back to the King. They must be returned to the Palace, otherwise he would be a thief.

On another occasion a lady in her 40s came with her husband. She believed that Rama V had entered into her body, and asked Namdee for some incense. She looked angry. Then she started smoking. Namdee tells her he does not believe what she is saying. "If Rama V has entered you then what is my aunts name?" "Give me a moment" She goes outside to smoke. After a minute she returns. "Your aunt's name was Supanalawah" Namdee grabbed a brochure. "This is Princess Ruang Jit Jarang Apakorn. Now you get out or I'll call the police" The woman turned pale and ran out of the house. Namdee shakes his head. If someone wants to buy a cat, Namdee tells them to see Professor Vichit because Vichit has every type of Thai cat for sale.


to be continued