The Khaomanee Cat Breed: History, Characteristics, and Care


The Khaomanee, also known as the Khao Manee or Diamond Eye cat, is a rare and ancient breed from Thailand, revered for its striking appearance and playful personality. This guide delves into the breed’s history, unique traits, and care requirements, ensuring you have all the information needed to appreciate and care for these magnificent cats.

History and Origin

The Khaomanee cat, whose name means “White Gem” in Thai, has a storied past dating back hundreds of years. Originating in Thailand, these cats are mentioned in the Tamra Maew (Cat Book Poems), an ancient Thai manuscript from 1350. Historically, the Khaomanee was favored by Thai royalty, particularly for its distinct white coat and striking eye colors.

In 1999, the first Khaomanee cat was imported to the United States by Colleen Freymouth, marking the breed’s introduction to the Western world. Since then, the breed has gained recognition and popularity among cat enthusiasts. The International Cat Association (TICA) granted the Khaomanee “registration only” status in 2009, later advancing it to “Preliminary New Breed” in 2012, and “Advanced New Breed” in 2013.

Physical Characteristics

The Khaomanee is instantly recognizable by its pure white coat, which is short, smooth, and close-lying. They are muscular, athletic cats of moderate foreign type. One of the breed’s most captivating features is its eyes, which can be blue, gold, or odd-eyed (one eye of each color). Odd-eyed Khaomanees are particularly prized.

  • Head: Heart-shaped with high cheekbones.
  • Eyes: Jewel-like and can be blue, gold, or odd-eyed.
  • Ears: Large and upright, giving an alert appearance.
  • Coat: Pure white, although other colors can appear in litters.

Personality and Temperament

Khaomanee cats are known for their playful and intelligent nature. They are active, communicative, and form strong bonds with their owners. These cats are social and enjoy interacting with people, often acting as the greeters of the household.

  • Playful: Enjoy games like Fetch and interactive toys.
  • Curious: Always exploring and investigating their surroundings.
  • Loyal: Devoted to their owners, often seeking attention and companionship.

Health and Care

While Khaomanee cats are generally healthy, there are a few health considerations to keep in mind:

  • Deafness: Like many white cats, Khaomanees can be prone to congenital deafness, particularly in blue-eyed individuals.
  • Skin Cancer: White cats are more susceptible to skin cancer, especially on their ears, so protecting them from excessive sun exposure is crucial.
  • Kinked Tails: Some Khaomanee cats, particularly those from Thailand, may have kinked tails, a benign but notable trait.

Breeding and Preservation

Breeding Khaomanee cats is crucial for maintaining and preserving the breed’s lineage. Initially bred by Thai royals, efforts are ongoing in both Thailand and the West to promote and establish strong foundation lines for the Khaomanee.

  • Breeding Standards: Emphasis on maintaining the breed’s unique physical and personality traits.
  • Preservation Efforts: Breeders work to ensure the breed’s longevity and health through careful selection and breeding practices.


The Khaomanee cat is a stunning and unique breed with a rich history and captivating personality. Their loyalty, playfulness, and striking appearance make them a cherished companion for those lucky enough to own one. As awareness and interest in the breed continue to grow, the Khaomanee is sure to enchant and delight cat lovers worldwide.

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