Korats are generally healthy, but they have a couple of issues to be aware of: a genetic neuromuscular degenerative disease as well as low body fat, which can make them sensitive to anesthesia.
Nearly 20 years ago now some Korats in the the USA and Europe were diagnosed with the fatal neurological disorder Gangliosidosis, two different strains (GM1 & GM2). GM1 and GM2 gangliosidosis occur when cats lack particular enzymes that are necessary for proper functioning of the nervous system. Fortunately, tests are available to identify cats that carry the diseases, so the condition is uncommon. A DNA screening test is available and has been used by most Korat breeders in the West to screen out carriers.
Korats typically have a low percentage of body fat, so veterinarians should take this into account when determining how much and what type of anesthesia to given when a Korat is undergoing any type of surgery.
Korat Cats & Korat Cat Breeders
The Korat (Koh-Raht) is a slate blue-grey short-haired pedigree cat with a small to medium build. Although small, they are muscular, strong, and surprisingly heavy for their size. They are intelligent, playful cats that if trained from an early age can play fetch and walk with a harness and lead. They are gentle and good with children but not babies.
Korats form strong bonds and thrive on human company. They enjoy being cuddly and close, making wonderful companions and are ideal for those who live in an apartment. While Korat's can be quite bold with definite likes and dislikes, they are generally a quiet cat that enjoyes a peaceful, calm environment. Korats are generally quiet, and not known for being particulary talkative. When they want to alert you that they're not happy with something or they are in need of your attention, they are capable of a variety of different sounds, from a chirp to a scream.
Korats will live quite happily with another breed but because of their need to elevate themselves to No.1 position, they are not recommended for those who have a many cats of another breed. They are very territorial. Korats should always be kept indoors unless under strict supervision. It is not unusual for a Korat to live beyond 15 years given good care.
Among Korats' distinguishing characteristics are their heart-shaped heads and the eyes are large, green, and round. Kittens have amber coloured eyes, turning to green as the cat matures. This can take anything up to 2 or 3 years. They are one of a few breeds where individuals have only one unique color, defined as silver-tipped blue, which gives the breed a shimmering shine. The roots of the fur are lighter with color becoming a deeper blue towards the tips which are silver. The muzzle and toes have the most silver tipping. The korat has a short, single and close-lying coat that does not float off when they are patted. For most people with allergies this can be a bonus with proximity being at least tolerable.
The Korat’s body does not look heavy but they are often surprisingly hefty. The bulk of the weight is in the well-developed, muscular shoulders that are somewhat wider than the chest. The neck is fairly short and heavy, connecting to a broad chest.
The Korat is a natural breed, and one of the oldest stable cat breeds. Korats originate in Thailand, and are known colloquially as the "good luck cat" and are given in pairs to newlyweds or to people who are highly esteemed, for good luck. Until recently, Korats were not sold, but only given as gifts.
The modern Korats now exist due to the diligent efforts of a few breeders inside and outside of Thailand. They have never been out crossed with other breeds so are one of the few remaining pure breeds in the world today.
Photos Courtesy of Ratchasima Korats