The Breed History
Considered a good luck symbol by the Thais, this breed to them symbolizes wealth and rain because of the soft silver color. First written records date to the Ayudhya Period of Siamese history which encompasses 1350-1767, where a cat of this description was identified as a good luck cat. First found in the Korat province in Northeastern Thailand (then Siam), Korat (Koh-raht) are more commonly referred to as Si-Sawat (see-sa-what) in Thailand, which means prosperity. First American imports occurred in 1959. The CFA accepted the Korat for championship status in 1966. TICA accepted them in 1969, FIFР№ in 1972. In Thailand, they were given in pairs as gifts, and especially valued as bride gifts; also cherished as gifts for visiting dignitaries. No outcrosses are allowed.
Weight: 6-10 lb (2.5-4.5 kg)
Coat: The Korat possesses a single short coat; hairs are dark in the middle, and light blue-gray at the base, the ends are tipped with silver (coat color is termed silver-blue). The coat lies close, is silky and glossy, and the silver tipping produces a halo effect around the cat. Silver tipping is pronounced on feet and muzzle. In Thailand, the coat color is referred to a "rain cloud gray". Though the odd lilac or lilac point cat is born, they are not accepted as Korat for registration. In one study, Korat cats had a 21% carrier rate and 2% rate of pointed cats.
Eyes: The Korat has very large eyes which gradually transition through yellow amber-amber-amber-green, then to peridot green by two to four years of age.
Points of Conformation: A small-medium sized cat, they are moderately compact (semi-cobby). The head is heart-shaped, and the profile has a slight stop and the nose curves down towards the terminus. Large ears have rounded tips, and have minimal furnishings. Oval feet are compact. The Korat has a medium length tapered tail with minor kink accepted (felt but not seen).
Grooming: Grooming needs are minimal, and a quick weekly brush will suffice.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Gentle, affectionate. Considered sensitive to noise and handling, they should be exposed to various sounds and people/handling from a young age. Korats may resist being held up in the air or stretched/restrained. Playful, good with children, form a strong bond with their owners. High activity cats, territorial, may like to be a bit of a boss. May shadow people around the home, some like to play fetch and are quiet voiced around home, but vocal in strange environments such as a show ring.
Normal Breed Variations
Korat were assigned moderate genetic diversity (0.53) in one study.
None reported in the literature
GM2-gangliosidosis: This condition is a lysosomal storage disease resulting from an autosomal recessive defect, a mutation (fHEXBKorat) in the gene for the ОІ-hexosaminidase (HEXB) or О±вЂ“hexosaminidase (HEXA) enzyme. In one study colony kittens showed disease by 4 weeks of age, and by 6 weeks, significant neuron and hepatocyte lysosomal storage vacuoles/inclusions were present. Progressive neurological deficits were noted at 4-7 weeks of age including fine head tremor, ataxia, and eventual loss of mobility. Reduced vision, myoclonus and dsyphagia were also described, with seizures and spastic quadriplegia late in the disease, leading to natural death by about 6-8 months of age. Livers grossly appeared pale and enlarged.
GM1-gangliosidosis: Periodic cases have been reported in the literature. In one report, a 7 month-old stunted kitten presented with slowly progressive neurologic signs (hind limb tremors, ataxia with hypermetria, spinal nerve hyper-reflexia, progressive paraparesis), mild dyspnea and regurgitation, and low ОІ-galactosidase (GALB) enzyme activity. The activity of the enzyme, ОІ-hexosaminidase was increased. Vacuoles in nervous tissue and liver were found to be filled with oligosaccharides and GM1-gangliosides. The index cat was euthanized at 21 months old. Pedigree analysis was suggestive of an autosomal recessive trait. Studies show the same mutation is responsible for the GM1-gangliosidosis condition in both Korat and Siamese cats; identification of the mutation has allowed carrier detection; international screening began in 1999.6 Enzyme assays overlap between affected and normal cats so their diagnostic utility is limited compared with genetic testing. The mutation for GM2-gangliosidosis (fHEXBBaker), a distinct mutation, was recently elucidated and reported in the Domestic Shorthair cat. Therapy approaches for both of these conditions in the future could be similar but at this point, all are still experimental. Research includes modalities such as bone marrow cell transplantation and gene therapy.8 Currently, there is NO effective therapy. Because the clinical picture of the two distinct mutations in the Korat breed is similar, definitive diagnosis historically has been a challenge. Since the storage diseases have now been identified over a period of 4 decades, continued presence of clinical cases suggests this trait may have many carriers in this breed. Testing as of December 2004 of 500 Korat cats has provided a case frequency rate of carriers for both mutations of 20%, so it is important breeders do not cull carriers or the genetic diversity of the breed will be reduced significantly. It is recommended that breeders use programs where mating of known carriers exclusively occurs with cats that have tested negative. All offspring should be subsequently tested, and for the next generation, select only normal kittens for breeding stock, and neuter the carriers and direct them to pet quality adoptions. This will gradually eliminate the undesirable trait while maintaining the other excellent traits of quality cats. (Dr. H. J. Baker, pers. comm.)
None reported in the literature
Korat Gangliosidosis Screening Program For GM1- and GM2-gangliosidosis: Molecular screening program for both GM1 and GM2 disorders is available at the Scott-Ritchey Research Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University. Contact the laboratory for a kit containing sample tubes, instructions and the USDA letter. Results are confidential. Requires 1 ml of whole blood - EDTA, overnight delivery. The sample need not be refrigerated. There is no charge for the breeders to check their cats, and a certificate may be provided for those working within cat registries that require testing for registration (in Germany for example). If samples are sent from outside the USA, a USDA exemption letter must be filled out. College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University AL 36849 Phone: (334) 844-5951 Fax: (334) 844-5850 Cheek swab testing is also available from the UC-Davis VGL.
- Breed name synonyms: Blue Cat, Temple Cat, Thai Cat, Si-Sawat Cat.
- Registries: FIFe, TICA, CFA, ACFA, CCA, WCF, ACF, GCCF.
- Breed resources: Korat Cat Fanciers Association: http://www.koratworld.com/
FiFe Korat breed council: http://www.fifekoratbc.com
Si-Sawat (Korat) Society: http://www.si-sawat.org/
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