Khao Manee cat sitting on a red chair.

Khao Manee Cat Breed

An extroverted and intelligent breed, this cat is highly curious and will eagerly explore its surroundings.

The “white jewel,” as the name translates, is native to Thailand. Cats apparently of this type are recorded in Thai poetry as early as the 14th century, and were described as pure white, having “eyes of clear mercury.”

Khao Manees were favorites of the Thai royalty and not seen outside their native country until the 1990s, when a US breeder imported a pair. Now they are attracting attention elsewhere, especially in the UK and the US.

In 2013, The International Cat Association (TICA) granted the Khao Manee “Advanced New Breed” status. This aristocratic cat is noted for its variety of eye colors: it may have both eyes the same color, have odd-colored eyes, have eyes the same color but of varying shades, or even have eyes that are each bicolored.

The coat is all white, although some kittens are born with a dark spot on the head. Khao Manees are bold, friendly, mischievous, and also sometimes loudvoiced. These extroverts are said to enjoy the company of humans, whether playing with their family or meeting visitors to the home.

Royal Favorite

For most of their history, Khao Manee cats were considered so special that they could be owned only by royalty. In Siam (now Thailand), one of the country’s greatest rulers, King Chulalongkorn, known as Rama V (1868–1910), gave his son permission to start developing the breed.

Many generations of these cats were kept guarded within the royal palace, and it is said that a Khao Manee was ceremonially carried in a coronation procession in 1926.

Origin: Thailand, 14th century

Breed registries: GCCF, TICA

Weight range: 6–12lb (2.5–5.5kg)

Grooming: Weekly

Colors and patterns: White only.