Let's talk Khao Manees

They’ve been nicknamed Diamond Eye, called aristocratic, even jewel-like, but no moniker suits the Khao Manee more than the translation of their name:  “white gem.” The Khao Manee is an all-white cat marked by sparkling eyes that are typically blue or two separate colours. Beautiful, with a confidence to match, the Khao Manee breed is fantastic for families as they are highly affectionate and social. They were believed to bring good luck to their owners as well. Whether true or not, the Khao Manee is a gorgeous feline to have in your midst.

Official name: Khao Manee

Other names: Khao Plort

Origins: Thailand

Black and white portrait of a Khao Manee mid-step

 

Shedding level

Very low

Warm weather? Very high
Energy level * High Family pet?*  Very high
Compatibility with other pets
Very high


* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.
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Illustration of a Khao Manee
Male
25 - 31 cm Height
4 - 5 kg Weight
Female
25 - 31 cm Height
3 - 4 kg Weight

 

 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult  1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  From 12 years

Close-up of a young Khao Manee looking to the side

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Get to know the Khao Manee

All you need to know about the breed

With their pure white coat and sparkling eyes, the Khao Manee cat is a showstopping breed. Their name, (pronounced “cow-muh-nee”) translates to “white gem,” a fitting label for a cat that’s relatively rare outside of their native Thailand.

The Khao Manee may resemble other breeds, such as the Turkish Van, but they are easily identifiable by their totally snow-white fur. It’s rare to have a cat with absolutely no markings at all, a genetic absence of melanin pigmentation. Khao Manee kittens are often born with a dark patch on their head but it will usually disappear around the first year of life.

The other main characteristic: Their captivating eyes. The Khao Manee cat is well-known for having either two blue eyes or for being odd-eyed, meaning one is blue and one is either green or amber. It is quite the sight to behold.

It’s no surprise that this majestic feline was treasured by Thai royalty, often thought to bring good luck to those who owned one. The Khao Manee is not often seen in the west however, only gaining somewhat recent acceptance by official organisations.

Quite long and lithe in stature, their elegant body is muscular and athletic, built for the climbing and jumping they are so good at. This is an active breed, not overly so, but enough to keep everyone around them occupied as much as possible.

The Khao Manee enjoys being in the thick of it. They are known to be incredibly alert, intelligent, and extremely close to their humans. Super dynamic, the Khao Manee breed will provide endless hours of enjoyment to anyone who wants to play along.

Khao Manee stalking on the forest floor

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2 facts about Khao Manees

1. The eyes have it

The Khao Manee is one of the cat breeds who presents a stunning eye colour, and quite often, two completely different ones. More commonly called odd eyes, it’s known as heterochromia, a genetic condition in which the level of melatonin differs from eye to eye. Colours range from only blue to blue, green, and amber. 

2. Pure as the driven snow

Any animal with a pure white coat makes an impression and the Khao Manee certainly does. They are one of the only breeds to sport a singular coat colour, a product of their genetics. Khao Manee kittens however, are often born with a dark patch on their head. It’s something that will usually disappear around the first year or so of their life, then it’s back to all white, all the time.

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History of the breed

Graced with a storied lineage and a royal coterie, the Khao Manee breed hails from Thailand, and the 14th Century, back when the country was known as Siam. The first mention of the breed was made in an ancient text called Cat Book Poems, or Tamra Maew. Valued by Thai kingdoms throughout the ages, the royal members considered the cat good luck and that they would bring fortune and prosperity to all who owned one. Originally known as the Khao Plort, their name was changed in the latter 1800s to the Khao Manee.

To this day the Khao Manee remains well-known in Thailand but relatively little known elsewhere. They were only fully registered by the International Cat Association (TICA) in 2013 and by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 2018.

Black and white portrait of sitting a Khao Manee

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Khao Manees

1. Ears

Ears wide at base, somewhat large, rounded tips.

2. Body

Lithe, strong, agile body, usually long in composition.

3. Coat

Pure white coat composed of short hair lying close to body.

close-up of a Khao Manee looking directly at the camera

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Khao Manee
Khao Manee rolling over on their back

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Caring for your Khao Manee

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Khao Manee benefits from a simple grooming routine. Their short-lying coat needs brushing on a weekly basis to keep it neat. Remember, cats groom themselves so need little assistance when they have short fur like this. Baths rarely need be taken unless your cat gets into something messy. Trimming their nails and cleaning their ears counts as a basic part of good care for the Khao Manee breed as well. Periodontal disease in cats is a concern and daily brushing of teeth (or as often as your cat permits!) is a necessary part of keeping them healthy. Exercise is something of a no-brainer for the active Khao Manee. This is a confident cat, not prone to hiding in a corner or lounging around all day. The Khao Manee enjoys playing; the more toys around the house, the better. Cat trees or a similar climbing apparatus will help them stay fit. A cat that bonds strongly to their owner, the Khao Manee is a pleasure to train. They are very smart, and that, combined with a desire to please, makes this a breed who is all too willing to comply. Mastering the litter box and knowing right from wrong will be a snap for the lovely Khao Manee.

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All about Khao Manees

A snowy-white cat is actually fairly common. Many breeds can turn out in white, which is determined by genetics. Persians, Siamese, Turkish Angora can commonly be white (or another tone). The colouration occurs when a cat is born with little or no melanin pigmentation - about 5% of the cat population. What is even more rare? A chocolate brown cat (the rarest), followed by cinnamon, fawn, or lilac!

The very gregarious Khao Manee cat is known to use their voice a good deal. This is an exceedingly sociable cat. They  will want to be with you, get all into what you’re doing, and almost seek a response. Ditto with strangers, whom they’ll easily approach and meow to as well. Being in the middle of things is a great place for the Khao Manee.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book