Khao Manee: A Cat With White Fur And A Fun Origin Story

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Khao Manee

Very recognizable by its pure and silky white fur, as well as by its bewitching gaze, the Khao Manee is a very rare and very old oriental type of cat breed originating in Thailand, where it has been seen as a good luck charm for many centuries. Perhaps this is why it is also one of the most expensive cats in the world. In this article, we give you a quick guide to all things Khao Manee before you decide to buy one. 

The Khao Manee: Thailand’s Best Cat, FAQs, and Details! 

Quick Facts on the cat version of Snow White

Size: 20 cm to 24 cm

Weight: 2.5 kg to 5.5 kg

Coat: short

White colour

Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Gestation period: 60 days

Description and characteristics of Khao Manee

A pure white coat that is short, soft, and close to the body. 

The first characteristic of the Khao Manee is its shiny coat made up of fine pure white hairs, very silky and soft to the touch. Only the pads, nose, and ears of Khao Manee are reddish-pink. Sometimes white kittens are born with a darker little mark on the top of their heads, which disappears around the first year of age. It is normal.

The ears are medium to large in size and the nose is slightly curved. 

The head of the Khao Manee is triangular in shape. Its cheekbones are prominent and the cat wears two erect ears of medium size, rounded at their tips, well erected on its head. The front legs of the Khao Manee are a bit shorter than the hind ones.

The most noticeable characteristic is the color of the eyes. 

Their clear, deep, and brilliant eyes like diamonds can range from blue to amber, yellow or green, or a combination of blue and any of the other colors. In Thailand, the different-eyed Khao Manee is the most prized and is usually given away like a cat carrying good luc

Khao Manee cats are agile and muscular.

The general appearance of this cat is rather athletic, supple and graceful. Note that the female is thinner and smaller than the male who has a more muscular body

The Khao Manee is intelligent, loyal, and very attached to his master.

Khao Manee cats have a reputation for being active, loyal, outgoing, talkative, smart, and playful. 

Other personality traits.

  • Curious and playful cat
  • Sociable and dependent cat
  • Slender and elegant breed of cat
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Allergenic breed
  • Needs some outdoor space
  • May require familiarization before living with children

Health risk.

There is a certain risk associated with a car born with white fur, blue eyes, and deafness. Not all blue-eyed white cats are deaf, but there is such a possibility. Therefore it is recommended that registered cats be tested for breeding.

It is a talkative cat, also recognizable by its characteristic meows.

They love people, they have a lovely purr and an alluring meow.

Origin of Khao Manee – a story of duping foreigners to save the royal cat


The Khao Manee is originally from Thailand where it is considered a lucky charm and a valuable breed. It is a very old breed of cat, traces of which can be found as early as the 14th century. The book of poems of cats, a collection of Thai texts, is the supposed oldest trace of the breed, described from the fourteenth century. 


Until the end of the 20th century, Khao Manee was only found in its country of origin. However, since it was nearing extinction, the cat was then introduced to the United States. 

As this cat remains one of the rarest breeds in the world today with very few breeders, it is even threatened with extinction. 

Threatened with extinction, until 1999, no individual was present outside Thailand. An American specialist in the conservation of endangered species, Colleen Freymuth, received that year the first Khao Manee to leave Thailand. She developed a program of safeguarding by breeding and the diffusion of this race. In total it imported twelve subjects.


These subjects and their descendants were then passed on to Frédéric Goedert, who was for several years the only French breeder of Khao Manee in the West.

Character and behavior of the Khao Manee – who is it for?

The Khao Manee is an intelligent, sensitive, gentle, and affectionate cat. But these character traits do not prevent him from being lively, curious, agile, and very playful. Even though the Khao Manee is independent, the cat is very attached to his/her master and education is easy.  

The cat very well accepts the presence of other animals in his/her family circle and gets along well with all the members of the family, young or old. Their character is very similar to that of the Siamese cat. 

The qualifier of “cat-dog” suits the Khao Manee  very well: rather talkative by nature, the Khao Manee likes to communicate with his “master”, whom he adores, and often recognizes his name.

How to take care of your Khao Manee: its needs

The Khao Manee, who is a house cat, is happy as long as she/he is in the presence of her/his owners. It does not require special care apart from brushing once a week to maintain the beauty of its white coat. Due to its clear eyes which can be fragile, it is advisable to clean them regularly.

As with all cats, this breed needs regular vaccinations, antiparasitic control, and annual veterinary check-ups.

The food of Khao Manee

The Khao Manee does not need a special diet. 

As with all cats, each has its own particular likes, dislikes, and needs when it comes to food. 

The food of Khao Manee should be carnivorous as they need to obtain 41 different and specific nutrients from the food they eat. 

The nutrient ratio will vary based on age, exercise and lifestyle, and overall health, so in the case of an energetic and growing kitten, the dietary needs require a balance of nutrients in their diet more than a less active senior cat. 

Basically, choose good quality food adapted to its age, state of health, and level of physical exercise.

Other considerations to take into account include feeding him the right amount of food to maintain his “ideal body condition” according to individual preferences for wet or dry recipes.

Other FAQs:

What is the breed purity of Khao Manee?

A very old breed that has not undergone major genetic modifications, the Khao Manee is a healthy cat that does not present any particular problems.

Is it the best cat breed for kids?

Despite not being an ideal breed for getting along with children with adequate familiarization they can live and adapt to kids. 

What does Khao Manee mean?

Khao Manee means “white gem”; the breed is said to bring good luck and was a popular breed in Thai royalty, for example, it was the absolute preference for the King of Siam Chulalongkorn (Rama V). According to legend, for fear of theft, King Rama V hid all the Khao Manee from the palace when the English and French arrived. The breed was kept apart by members of the royal family. To these foreigners, the King allegedly presented Siamese, offered as the royal race, so that he could preserve the true royal race, the Khao Manee.

Other names include white gem, Khaao Plort, and diamond eyes. The Khaao Plort means all white and these days the cat’s name means gemstones, due to its eyes, which can each be a different color. 

Why is the Khao Manee so expensive?

The Khao Manee is currently probably the rarest feline breed on the market and even within the breed, the rarest eye color can cost over 11,000 Dollars! 

  • The prices are related in such a way that an adult born with yellow eyes presenting defects (“broken” tail, strabismus, deafness, non-white subject) is negotiated around 1700 Dollars/1500 Euros. 
  • On the other hand, a young specimen intended for reproduction, coming directly from a prestigious breeding farm in Thailand, with small eyes, and presenting good characteristics, can be negotiated at 3400 Dollars/3000 Euros. 
  • Some exceptional subjects with singular eye colors or with very rare features can reach up to 11,000 Dollars/10,000 Euros.

In its country of origin, the Khao Manee is the object of very great popularity because it is associated with the monarchy but also with several legends of extreme happiness and healing always in relation to monks and temples which would have made the fortune. Some stories mention sums of up to 1.5 million Baht (over 4 million Euros or 4.6 million Dollars) in 1993 for a subject with the eyes of precious stones which made it possible to finance the construction of a monastery. 

How can you trust a Khao Manee breeder?

In addition to the price, the future purchaser must obtain guarantees, multiple and essential. It must in particular require an up-to-date vaccination and perfect health of the coveted subject. He must also require that the pedigree of both parents be registered with the TICA, or the CFA. An online register, which has no legal value, can also be consulted. 

It is strongly advised not to acquire a Khao Manee subject without proof of its origins (pedigree) as there are so many usurpations, especially on online pet sales sites.

The breeder must finally commit to the perfect sociability of the subject sold and transmit biographical and character elements and the buyer is strongly advised to come and visit the breeding to make the right choice to comply with some fundamental health rules.

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