The pure white Khao Manee cat is also known as the Khaomanee, the White Gem or the Diamond Eye Cat because of its trademark jewel-like eyes, which may be blue, green, gold or “odd” (two eyes of different colors; for instance, one green and one blue). The Khao Manee developed naturally in Thailand many hundreds of years ago.
The Khao Manee’s body type is one that is appropriate for the hot, tropical climate of Thailand. Its lithe, muscular, athletic body with medium boning is moderate in all ways—never bulky or extreme. The Khao Manee’s coat is short, smooth, fine and slightly open, with a sparse to moderate undercoat. The nose is of medium length, which is better suited to hot weather than a short or snub nose.
The Khao Manee cat is playful and curious—some might even say naughty, but it’s all in good fun. Khao Manee owners know their cat’s mischievous antics is always tempered by good-natured comportment. The breed is friendly and outgoing, even with strangers, and will run to greet newcomers with a joyful welcome. They get along well with well-behaved children, and are accepting of friendships with other cats and even the family dog. In between exploration and play sessions, the Khao Manee is happy to cuddle up on your lap for a warm snuggle. The social Khao Manee cat needs abundant attention and interaction from its human family—this is not a breed that is content to be left alone long hours every day.
Weight: About 8 to 10 pounds.
Length: About 18 inches.
Coat: Short, smooth and fine, with a sparse to moderate undercoat.
Coat Color: Pure, glistening white.
Eye Color: Any shade of blue (including aqua), gold (including shades of brown, copper, amber, yellow and hazel) or green; eyes may also be odd (multiple colors or shades between eyes or within an eye).
Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years.
Characteristics of the Khao Manee Cat
|Tendency to Vocalize||Medium|
|Amount of Shedding||Medium|
History of the Khao Manee Cat
Thailand is the birthplace of many different cat breeds, some of them now extinct and others still cherished pets today. The histories of some cat breeds are limited, but we know a lot about the various Thai cat breeds thanks to the Tamra Maew, also called the Treatise on Cats or Cat Book Poems, which is a collection of illustrations and poetic descriptions of cats that was written sometime around 1350 A.D. More than 20 different ancient cat breeds are included in the Tamra Maew, but of those, only five breeds remain in existence today, including the Wichien Maat (Siamese), the Suphalak (Burmese), the silver-blue Korat, the all-black Konja and the all-white Khao Manee.
The Tamra Maew is a style of manuscript known as a samut khoi manuscript, a type of folded book found in various Buddhist cultures. The original version of the Tamra Maew was likely created in the mid-14th century, and describes many different cat breeds, some of which were considered lucky and some that were thought to be unlucky. The white Khao Manee was one of the cats believed to bring good luck and fortune to those around it. Odd-eyed Khao Manee are considered especially lucky. Due to the inclusion of illustrations and physical details of cats, some believe that the Tamra Maew may have been an early book of breed standards, which are the written descriptions of the ideal cat of a given breed.
The Khao Manee cat is extremely rare outside of Thailand. The first Khao Manee was imported into the United States in 1999. The breed is recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and the International Cat Association (TICA), which uses the breed spelling Khaomanee.
Khao Manee Cat Care
The Khao Manee cat’s smooth short coat sheds only moderately and is easy to care for. Brush once or twice a week to remove loose hair and to keep the coat glossy and soft. A bath every few months also keeps the coat feeling, looking and smelling nice. To keep the coat sparkling white, try using a brightening shampoo made especially for white cats. Like all cats, the Khao Manee needs its nails trimmed every two weeks. Check the ears weekly for dirt, cleaning with a pet-safe ear cleaner if they look dirty. If you see redness or excessively dirty ears, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup.
Khao Manee is a very playful cat that loves climbing and exploring. Give your Khao Manee places to climb and perch like cat trees or towers, and provide plenty fun toys like feather wands, balls with bells, fuzzy mice and puzzle toys. Khao Manee are reported to enjoy playing fetch.
Common Health Problems
The Khao Manee cat is generally considered to be healthy, with few known genetic health conditions affecting the breed. All-white cats like the Khao Manee are sometimes prone to deafness, which can be unilateral (deafness in just one ear) or bilateral (deafness in both ears).
Diet and Nutrition
Feed your Khao Manee cat measured meals at regular times (kittens usually need three to four meals a day, but adults generally eat twice a day—morning and evening). Scheduled mealtimes help to prevent unwanted weight gain, which can happen if you leave food out all the time (called free feeding). Cats that are overweight or obese can develop weight-related health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Talk to your veterinarian or breeder for advice about the best type of food to feed your Khao Manee cat.
Friendly and affectionate
Moderate exercise needs
Social with other pets
Doesn’t do well if left alone
Needs a lot of attention
Rare/hard to find
Where to Adopt or Buy a Khao Manee Cat
The Khao Manee cat is extremely rare, so it may be hard to find a Khao Manee breeder who has kittens available. Your best option is attending a local cat show, where you can meet many different responsible breeders. Cat shows are lots of fun for spectators, who can view many different cat breeds all under one roof. To find a cat show in your area, do an internet search for “cat show near me” or visit http://www.catshows.us. Khao Manee cats are so rare that they don’t frequently end up in animal shelters. If Khao Manee cats might find themselves in need rescue, it usually happens via a network of breeders.
More Cat Breeds and Further Research
If you like the Khao Manee cat, you might also like these cat breeds: