The Thai cat is an ancient cat breed that has only recently become formally classified in the West, and is a close relation to the modern Siamese cat. The Thai cat is classed as a naturally occurring breed that is descended from the landrace cats of Thailand, and is also sometimes referred to as the Classic Siamese, Traditional Siamese or Old-style Siamese.
The Thai cat is of course native to Thailand, and its genetic origins can be traced back to the country’s native landrace cats, the Wichien-maat, which still thrive in Thailand. The world famous ancient book of Thai cat poems, the Tamra Maew, references the Wichien-maat cat, which is a naturally occurring breed in its own right.
During the 19th century, the Wichien-maat was imported to the UK, where the breed was developed by means of selective crossings to ultimately produce the cat that we now known as the modern Siamese cat. The lithe, lean and pointed appearance of the Siamese cat is the result of selective breeding, while the Thai cat’s appearance is more similar to that of the Wichien-maat, being rounder and less angular, and more like the original imports to the West.
This cat, which shares many similarities and a close genetic relationship to the Siamese but retaining a traditional appearance, is the breed now recognised as the Thai cat.
The Thai cat and the Siamese cat share a distant ancestry and also the point colouration that leads to a light coloured body and contrasting colour on the mask, tail and legs. The Thai cat’s body length is rather longer than the average Western moggy, but less elongated than Oriental types, and they have a modified wedge-shaped head, flat forehead and single-layered shorthaired coat.
The Thai cat is also very vocal with a distinct meow that they are not afraid to use!
The Thai cat is a real people pleaser, which is happiest when in the company of humans!
They love attention, fuss and love, and bond strongly with their families. They do not like to be left out of things, nor left alone for long periods of time.
They tend to be outgoing, bold and playful, and enjoy hunting and mock-hunting play. They are also very vocal and meow in conversation, and will not be shy to speak up if something is not to their liking!
The Thai cat tends to enjoy company and friendship of all kinds, and generally gets on well living with another cat, providing that there is enough attention to go round! They can also live happily with well-behaved dogs if introduced at a young age. The Thai cat is also a good pick for families with older children who know how to handle and respect their cat.
Because the Thai cat is one of the most ancient breeds of all, their gene pool is relatively diverse and they are not particularly prone to suffering from genetically inherited health problems. Many of the health problems that affect closely related breeds such as the Siamese cat come about from selective breeding and relatively small gene pools, something that the Thai cat is not a victim of. In fact, the Thai cat is one of the permitted breeds for outcrossing of Siamese and other similar breeds, in order to introduce additional genetic diversity into the Siamese cat gene pool.
Like any pedigree breed, the Thai can suffer from health problems, although as a whole they tend to be relatively long lived for a pedigree breed, and no particular hereditary problems have as yet come to prevalence within their breed lines.
Caring for a Thai
The Thai cat is a clean household guest that is fastidious about their grooming and will soon learn to use a litter tray and keep their area tidy, or toilet outside if permitted to do so.
They are not particularly heavy shedders and do not need regular grooming, although like all cats, many Thai cats come to enjoy gentle brushing and may actively enjoy having their coat cared for.
They require a reasonable amount of attention and a lot of companionship, and do not like being left alone for long periods of time. They tend to like to stick close to their family and do not like being left out of things! They are also inquisitive, fun loving and adventurous, and like to know what is going on at all times!
If you do not spend large portions of most days out at work and are looking for an affectionate companion that likes to stay close, the Thai cat might be the right choice for you. However, if you are not home very much and are looking for a low maintenance cat that is independent and perfectly happy to come and go on their own, the Thai cat is unlikely to be happy within your living situation.