Elfi Kleive and some others, who were interested in this old breed from Thailand, imported several Korats from US, UK, and Australia. These cats and Elfi Kleive's own Thai Korats started the Scandinavian lines we know today. These first breeders founded Scandinavian Korat Association. They had the CFA Korat Standard translated and approved by FIFe. Since the approval, the number of breeders in Europe has grown steadily - now there are not only breeders in Norway, Sweden and Finland, but also in Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland The Korat is an original breed from Thailand. All registered Korats can relay their ancestors to Thailand or cats imported directly from Thailand! If it can't do that, it is not a Korat
In 1996, it was stressed in FIFe that the only permissible colour for the Korat is silverblue.
This is a very important point to make, since the name and the colour are very closely related. In "Smud Khoi" - an old Thai munk script describing all cat breeds and variants in Thailand at the time with a drawing and a small poem - it says about the Korat that the original name for this cat was MA-LED or DOK-LAO, meaning pampas-grass. The poem says:
Primprau's Wai Khun Anakot
Photo: Felicious Studios
The cat Ma-Led is of an even colour
Her coat is as the flower of the pampas grass -smooth and orderly
The base of each hair is the colour of a cloud
and her eyes are like the dew when dropped on the leaf of the lotus!
The cat Ma-Led has a body colour like Dok-Lao
The hairs are smooth with roots like clouds and tips like silver
The eyes shine like dewdrops on a lotus leaf!
Keeping this in mind, it is clear that the only colour the Korat can be is silverblue! If other colours are accepted, other breeds must be introduced to the Korat gene pool. That is an unthinkable idea. We wish to protect the Korat as an original and pure breed. The breed builds on ancient genes which the Thais have proudly and diligently protected and kept as though they were crown jewels in King Bhumibols Adulyadej's crown for many generations. Korat breeders around the world protest vehemently that this inheritance is "polluted". Therefore this precision in FIFe in 1996. When Elfi Kleive got her first Korats 25 years ago, she promised the Thai breeders to take care of the breed before she was given permission to take her cats to Norway. They were very concerned that the Korat was not mixed with other breeds. Now there are several Korat clubs around the world working to keep the Korat pure and original. By introducing other genes the definition of the breed - that all Korats can trace their ancestors back to Thailand - would no longer be valid either. In 1997, one of the oldest American breeders, Norma O'Neill, wrote the following about the Korat: The Korat is a pure-bred breed, but in contrast to many other breeds, it is pure-bred through nature. It has its special beauty from living in natural surroundings for more than 400 years.
Its ancestor is a jungle cat, still living in some of the most remote areas of Thailand (as i.e. the Korat province, which has given the breed its name). The Korat has chosen its own partners in this free life, and according to the rules of nature that means survival of the fittest - only the best (healthiest) and strongest cats could survive and produce off-spring to continue the species. In these dangerous surroundings only cats with the absolute best physical traits could survive. The body of the Korat is subtle and compact at the same time, made for quick jumps and endurance, with an elegance as if it were of steel.
The head is strong as in wild cats. In the close jungle forest the soft lines of the Korat have helped it move unremarked on its hunt for food for survival. The eyes which are very big and luminous have also been a great help while hunting. They vary in colour from golden-green in daylight to having an emerald-green glow at night. No matter the nuance the eyes are lways observant and aware. The exceptionally big eyes are protected by a boneridge, which goes over the eyes and down around the broad cheek bones. It is this "eyebrowbone" which gives the Korat the special heartshaped face , with the short slightly downward bent nose and the well developed muzzle and jaw to underline the heartshape. The ears which are placed high on the head are large and very broad at the base. That stimulates the hearing, since the ears are directed straight towards the sound.
The front paws are more like hands than feet - just look at the Korat, when it uses its elegant "fingers" during play or when it handles objects, and you will notice what a help the front paws/fingers must have been for the cat in the wild. It seems that it was not necessary to have the light undercoat, you find with many other breeds, in Thailand because the Korat is completely without one. The single short coat lies close to the body. The colour has by Westerners been described as silverblue, by Thais it is described as being "rain cloud grey" or "shining black pearl coloured" in the darker shades and the silversheen is described as "sea foam". This silversheen throws a glory around the lines of the body, which centres at the nose and the paws, where the coat is very short. It is easy to imagine that the Korat cat with these colours was very well camouflaged in the flickering sunlight at the ruins in Pimai's granite plains in the Korat province and in the close shadowy jungle forest. The Korat has a healthy outward character and enjoys being a part of its owner's life. When it is lifted to be cuddled it "gives itself" to its owner and clearly shows its adoration and love. This article very clearly describes what Korat breeders around the world are trying to protect and keep about the Korat.
The Korat has always been a "good luck" cat, both because of its appearance and its disposition. In Thailand, this means that Korats are not sold. They are given to people of high social status. They are also given to young married couples to ensure them good harvests in the future and many children (also a sign of wealth in the East). Its appearance symbolises all that a Thai rice farmer could wish for - the coat is "rain cloud grey" (without rain the rice won't grow), the silver sheen is a sign of wealth, and the eyes in the heartshaped face are like dewdrops on a lotus-leaf (the lotus flower also brings luck according to many Eastern cultures). Of disposition the Korat is a sweet cat with all its natural instincts intact. They can keep their top place in the family, but if they aren't "threatened" one has an active, smooching, mild and very trusting cat with its very own perception of the world order - with it as the centre! The "true" Korat temper is a sweet cat with a will of iron. A Korat is not afraid of new challenges - is of the understanding that everything is allowed unless expressly forbidden - fits into new situations reasonably fast - its sense of self is not impaired in any way - has its own opinion of the people who visit their home. In spite of this independent character, a Korat is easy to train with love and resolution. The sex-drive of the Korat is still very much up to standard. It is recommendable to neuter all cats one doesn't plan to use for breeding. A Korat-mother is extremely sacrificing when it comes to food and attention - the kittens always come first! She keeps an eye that nothing happens to them, but has complete confidence that you will take care of them.
In all ages the Korat has its own way of connecting and bonding with its family. People are very important to them. But Korats seem to prefer their own kind and are most content in a home without too many other breeds. A Korat will greet you at the door, where you sit, sleep on or beside you along your relaxed shape. It won't let you out of sight, but keep a close eye on everything you do. Because of their unique bonding ability, Korats are ideal pets. The curiosity of a Korat and need to be close to its owner makes it necessary to be careful that it doesn't follow you out the door or jump out an open window when you are in the garden. It is a very quiet and smart at times - sometimes even cunning.
After the Korat was awarded Champion status in 1983, the breed has been successful on the judge's tables and panels in Norway. In September 1987, we had our first European Premior, Pimai Gamanit. In March 1988 Pimai Eega was the first European Champion. Both were Grand European Premior and Grand European Champion respectively in 1986. Those of you who were in the cat fancy then will remember how complicated and difficult it was to get the Grand-certificates. When the European title was introduced the rules were simplified - the Grand-certificates were easier to achieve.
Since then: 20 Korats have become EC, 11 EP. 8 Korats have been BOB. "Doklao Nai Ban" was the first one in 1989. 61 Korats have been BIS-Shorthair. 16 Korats have been BOX-Shorthair. 4 times a Korat-litter has been the Best Shorthair Litter. 229 Korats have been nominated for the panel.
In 1992 and 1993, Best Shorthair Breeder Female and Best Shorthair Breeder Male in Norway were both Korats. In 1995, the Best Shorthair Breeder Female in Norway was also a Korat. Two Korats have achieved their D.M. titles: Jena's Tai Pan and Jona's Jai Lin.
In 1992, the first Korat came to Denmark from Norway - GIC Sawat's Kirilin. Two of her daughters are still being shown in Denmark - GIC Primprau's Ngongee Nguhn and GIC Primprau's Blue Emerald.
Kirilin has had a reasonable show career with 4 times BIV and 2 nominations - both decided by a draw of lots. Kirilin has also won the Shorthair Breeder Class once. Ngongee Nguhn has done very well with several nominations and 3 times BOX-Shorthair - twice in Paris and once in Denmark.
Several of Kirilin's kittens have been sold for breeding abroad - Finland, Italy, Germany, and Belgium. These have also done well with several nominations, BOX's and BIS's.
At the moment, I am the only Korat breeder in Denmark, but luckily not the only exhibitor any more. I hope there will be more breeders and exhibitors in the future!
Camilla Baird Primprau's Korat Cattery © 2003