The Diamond eyed cat
It should be made clear that the Khao Manee is not the same as the glaucomic cats which are also sometimes described as having a "Diamond Eye". This is a painful disease of the eye and should be treated as soon as possible. CatsAsia Cattery does not and never would consider breeding a glaucomic cat! However we want to make this a comprehensive site so we include all the information we can find relating to the legend of the diamond eye.
The following is an article by Laurie Rosenthal regarding these glaucomic cats..
CAN GOOD LUCK COME FROM THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS?
I'm not an expert on luck, good or bad, but the Thai belief that a cat with a ``diamond eye'' brings its owner good luck seems a bit misplaced, at least in the case of two ``businessmen'' who have announced that they will hold a traditional Thai wedding for their two diamond-eyed cats in early October. In addition to publicising the millions of baht involved in the ceremony (a great deal more than most human weddings), the ``businessman'' proudly announced they would use a helicopter and a Rolls-Royce to bring the animals to the venue of the ceremony, which will feature such entertainment as a drum march and cat contests. According to newspapers, the ``businessmen'' said they were doing all this to take people's minds off the country's economic slump and to show the world how much Thai people love their pets. Photos accompanying the newspaper reports show two animals, each with an enormous opaque orb instead of a normal eye. Chortling that the male and female have already brought them good luck, the two ``businessmen'' plan to mate the cats in the hope that the kittens will have the same condition but in both eyes.
Some condition. Two vets, Dr Marissak Kalpravidh, an eye surgeon at Chulalongkorn's Animal Hospital, and Dr Sumalee Yimsomruay of Sukhumvit Animal Hospital both confirmed my suspicions. The cats are suffering from glaucoma, and they are both probably blind in the one eye. Glaucoma, which affects other animals (humans as well) but is not life-threatening, occurs when too much fluid is produced or drainage is insufficient behind the eye. Because of the imbalance, pressure builds up and pushes against the eye, causing inflammation or infection as well as the opacity of the eye. It is not clear why glaucoma develops.
Although it is too late to save the sight of these two unfortunate cats, Dr Marissak told me that the male should be treated immediately to relieve the pressure because according to the photos, his eye is protruding and possibly causing pain. Surgery may not be necessary _ the cat must be examined first to determine whether simply extracting (aspirating) the fluid will reduce the animal's suffering. The female probably has chronic glaucoma, Dr Marissak added. Nothing can be done for her now. Dr Sumalee told me, however, that the female should be examined anyway because she may be in pain. Both vets mentioned that they see a lot of cases of glaucoma. Since your own dog or cat, especially if it is elderly, may develop the condition, you should watch for these signs: Does your pet blink a lot? Is fluid draining steadily from an eye? Then take the animal to Chula. The newly-opened eye clinic at the animal hospital has equipment that speedily and painlessly measures eye pressure. If treated immediately, glaucoma can be cured with pills and eyedrops in two or three weeks. If you leave it untreated, irreversible blindness results, as well as a lot of pain for the animal. To get an idea of the torment, take one pin and stab yourself in the eye.
Another comment. With so much money going towards this wedding (and what cruelty to submit the cats to the noise of a helicopter ride, let alone a drum procession), I can't help but think of all the schools in Thailand without the money for books, paper or pencils for their students. And by the way, I AM superstitious. I firmly believe in cycles. These two rich ``businessmen'', who are selfishly attempting to publicise themselves through the suffering of helpless animals, are going to face a lot of bad luck themselves. I don't have to curse them at all.
Oct 20, 1997 PETS ORDINARY CATS CAUGHT IN A WEB OF SILLINESS AND SELFISHNESS
Gone is all the hoopla of a few weeks ago, when two ``businessmen'' held an extravagant wedding for their cats. The two ordinary mixed-breed Orientals were special, the ``businessmen'' insisted, because each had a lucky ``diamond'' eye. Egged on by the media, the owners made increasingly outlandish statements that attracted even more publicity, until even the foreign press picked up the story. As some reporters pointed out, however, the cats are actually sick. They're suffering from glaucoma, a condition that has caused the opacity in one eye of each cat. The cats are also probably already blind in the affected eye. According to vets, the male should be treated immediately because he may be in pain.
People did try to help the cats. On Friday, October 4, the day before this silly wedding, I sat with a boardmember of the Thai Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals while he spoke on the telephone to Wicharn Charasbacha, the male cat's owner. During the conversation, Wicharn said that he was embarrassed by all the publicity and that he was willing to allow both cats to be taken for treatment on Saturday right after the ceremony if the TSPCA called off the protest it planned to hold during the wedding. Wicharn later extended the time he would keep the cats to the following Thursday, October 10, because he had promised some magazines exclusive interviews. Acting in good faith, the TSPCA did not hold the protest. The following Monday, however, when they started telephoning to confirm the appointment, Wicharn would not come to the phone. Instead, his press interviews got wilder and wilder, with the amount he said he originally paid for the cats rising with each story. Even if he paid Bt10, he was cheated. These are ordinary cats suffering from an ordinary affliction that vets see regularly in their clinics. Did he ever intend to have the cats treated _ or did he have second thoughts? No one knows. Wicharn did not keep his promise to hand the cats over on October 10 and has still not returned the TSPCA's telephone calls or faxes.
But he got what he wanted. The protest never took place, deputy prime minister Samak Sundaravej presided over the wedding, local and foreign newspapers covered it and Wicharn enjoyed lots of publicity for the cats, himself and the cosmetics he markets. I have seen Samak's cats, and he looks after them very well. I don't understand how he could be involved in antics that have made Thailand a worldwide laughing-stock, a country that holds a lavish wedding for ailing cats instead of providing the medical treatment they need. But perhaps he was looking for publicity too.
The line between ignorant and stupid can be so fine that it often makes no difference which you are. Selfishness is another matter. It has become socially acceptable, so much a part of our lives that a ``businessman'', a politician and the media can benefit with impunity from the suffering of two sick tabbies - who are now yesterday's news.