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Khao Manees in Thailand today

Thais are a superstitious people and many of their beliefs center round the spirituality of animals. Part of the reason  for the Khao Manee's popularity is undoubtedly the  ancient Thai belief that certain types of cat  bring good fortune to those who look after them. 

Hurry and find a good cat to prosper and gain results, 
rank and slaves because of the good cat 
with the correct characteristics...

The characteristics of these auspicious cats  beliefs were described  in the Tamra Maew (the Cat Book of Poems) written between 100 and 200 years ago.  The Khao Manee, referred to in the poems as the Khao Plort, is identified as one of the 17 'good cats', 

...two eyes like diamonds 
business meets success with prosperity, 
like a priceless jewel...

The one names Sri Parort, white base
paw colour, all over shines like crystal
White whiskers, as if applied
So fine-luck is not slow coming to the house.

 

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This record sleeve for some Thai pop songs features a Khao Manee on the cover and typifies the popularity  of the Khao Manee among young Thais. 

Click on pictures to enlarge

Click on picture to enlarge

 A Khao Manee stamp 

This quaint belief still exists in modern Thailand. For example, recently  a Bangkok businessman who acquired a diamond eyed cat and whose business subsequently prospered, staged an opulent wedding at the Phoebus Amphitheatre for his cat and that of a friend which also had a diamond eye, together with white bridal gown, a red tuxedo for the groom and a dowry in cash and jewelry.

After death, according to another tradition, the cats should be dug up as their eyes will bring good luck.  

 

 

A stamp featuring the Thais' favourite cat

Reprinted with kind permission of the author from the Legend of Siamese Cats (White Lotus Press)
Information provided by Daphne Negus