>` Korat history

Meejai Korats welcome 5 new Kittens, proud parents beeing Pimu and Samut!

Maew Dork Lao (แมว ดอกเลา ) /Maew Maleht (มาเลศ ) / Maew Si-Sawat (แมวสีสวาด )

Maew Dork Lao

The Korat is one of the earliest known breeds in the world. It is a natural breed which lived wild in the jungles of the Malay Peninsula and still can be found there in many ways similar to their native ancestors.

The name Korat was given by King Rama V of Siam, who gave them the name of their place of origin, a province in the northeast of Thailand, Korat ( Nakhon Ratchasima).

The first written records of Korats are found in the Tamra Maew ("Treatises on Cats") that dates back to the Siamese Ayudhya kingdom (1350-1767).

"The cat Maleht has a body colour like Dork Lao
The hairs are smooth, with roots like clouds and tips like silver
The eyes shine like dewdrops on a lotus leaf"

Broom and nut

Maleht means "seed", Dork is a flower and Lao a herb, like lemongrass, with silvertipped flowers. All this has a grey-blue colour with a silversheen, like the colour of the Korat.

The common name for Korat in Thailand is "Si-Sawat" and they are cherished highly as luck-bringing cats.


Si-Sawat has several meanings in Thai:

สีสวาด   [síːʔsàwàːt] pronounced with a long "a" at the end is an adjective and means bluegrey.

ศรี สวัส   [síːʔsàwàt] pronounced with a short "a" at the end means "bringing good luck and prosperity".

This expresses in the typical flowery Thai language that the silverblue Korat are luck-bringing cats.


The Korats have been presented since ancient times as a very special good-luck gift mostly in noble houses; at weddings a couple of Korats was put into the bridal bed, for instance. This should bring prosperity, health, contentment and being blessed with children.


Another tradition going back for centuries in the northeast of Thailand (Korat) is the famous "hae nang maew", the rain-ceremony, where a Korat is carried through the village, asking for rain which is needed for good crops.

This ceremony is still done today.

Martin Clutterbuck: rain-ceremony

rain-ceremony also at YouTube

The first Korats reached the USA in 1959. Narra & Darra, coming from the famous Mahajaya Cattery in Bangkok, bred by Khunying Abhibal Rajamaitri, was presented to the Johnsons who lived for six years in Thailand. Importing Korat cats from Thailand wasn’t easy, so only a few more found their way to America.

In 1965, the unaffiliated Korat Cat Fanciers Association was founded to protect and promote the breed. Only cats who could be proven to come from Thailand were allowed into the breeding program.

In 1968, breeder Daphne Negus of Arizona/USA traveled to Bangkok and managed to acquire nine Korats to bring back to America, which was an immense help to the limited gene pool. Since those early days the Korat population in the west increased slowly, the Korat breeders being interested in health in the first place but in numerous progeny.

The first Korat litter in Great Britain was born in 1972.

In 1974, Elfie Kleive, who had lived for 7 years in Thailand, brought back her pregnant female Mahajaya Coco to Norway. The Korats slowly "invaded" other European countries: Sweden 1976, Germany 1976, Belgium 1982, Finland 1987, France 1988, Italy 1993, Denmark 1994 ... Poland 2011.

All this might give you the impression of an enormous proliferation, far from it: importing Korats was and still is an enormous task having many obstacles to overcome. This rare natural breed can only be preserved healthily through close cooperation of the few Korat breeders worldwide. Matings are planned internationally over large distances. At the moment about 1400 Korats are registered worldwide, but nevertheless the Korat has been proven to be the catbreed with the lowest inbreeding coefficient in a veterinarian study!

And yet, preserving the breed is and will be a challenge which only can be overcome by more friends of this breed, who take care of the Korat, giving them good new homes!