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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..


 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.    


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.