A TRIP FOR NINE KORAT CATS

In 1968, Korat cat enthusiast Daphne Negus made an epic journey to Thailand, on a mission to bring back nine Korat cats to strengthen the breed's bloodlines in the USA. This is Daphne's account and "picture story" of her experiences, first published in the CFA Yearbook 1969, and reproduced here with permission.


by Daphne Negus
or A Trip for Nine Korat Cats


(1) Mrs. Constance C. Cullen

En route to Bangkok, I stopped over in Honolulu to visit Mrs. Constance C. Cullen (1).
She has a pair of Korat cats from the Malaid cattery of Mr. Sunti Sriskoon, Bangkok. Ch. Malaid's Dok Malivalaya of Kane (Imp.), and son, Kane's Kasem, whose sire is Ch. Malaid's Khun Phan of Kane (Imp).
Upon arrival in Bangkok, I contacted my Thai friends. I had met some of them and others were friends through correspondence about "our" cats.


(2) Mr. and Mrs. Sunti Sriskoon and their son

Mrs. & Mrs. Sunti Sriskoon, and their son, display a sister of Ch. Malaid's Khun Phan of Kane (Imp), and the trophy she won on the Channel 4 Thai TV cat show in May 1968. The writing on the Malaid Cattery sign is auspicious, by a monk.

 

(3) Khun Sunti holding 
Malaid's Doklao

Khun Sunti holding Malaid's Doklao. (3)
He sent me a daughter of Doklao in 1967. Quad. Ch. Malaid's Doklao Noi of Si Sawat (Imp) was A-A and A-W Female Korat in 1967-8, and top Female Korat in the S.W. Region in 1968-9.
Khun Sunti's spacious, well-designed cattery has grassed runs in front of each house.


(4) Mme. Ruen Abhibal Rajmaitri

I was very anxious to meet one of Thailand's most famous cat breeders and judges, Mme. Ruen Abhibal Rajmaitri. (4)

We spent a great deal of time enjoying one another's company and talking about cats. She has some beautiful Siamese, Korat and "Copper" cats. This picture was taken on her patio. She is holding the eleven year old daughter of Mom Noel. Mom Noel is one of the famous Korats from her Mahajaya cattery. She is the dam of Nara and Darra who arrived in the US in 1959. [Editor's note: Nara and Darra were the first Korats to arrive in the West, the breed's founders]. With Khunying Abhibal is Dr. Jit Waramontri, D.V.M. and his charming wife, (seated).

 

(5) Mahajaya Ling Dum

Another of Khunying Abhibal's female Korats (5), Mahajaya Ling Dum, born December 16, 1966. (Photo by Pichai Vasnasong).


(6) Supalak, Thong-Daeng or "Copper" cat

In Thailand there are all-over brown cats known as the Supalak, Thong- Daeng or "Copper" cats (6). These are the equivalent of our Burmese. I was in four homes where there were Coppers. Khunying Abhibal has some of these cats. Here is one of hers, a one year old female, named Cham-pa. (Name of a deep yellow flower that is used in Thai garlands).

(7) Miss Taipei

A gold eyed white Spay (7), called Miss Taipei. She arrived from Taiwan after having been surreptitiously exchanged at the port for a Siamese cat from Khunying Abhibal. Cats are not allowed to enter Taiwan. She is pure glistening white. Her tail is straight.

(8) Evening romp in the gardens

The evening romp in Khunying Abhibal's gorgeous garden (8). The young male Seal Pt. standing in mid-photo is imported from Japan, of English bloodlines. In the background, maids keep a constant watch, with cockers and puppies. Good cats and dogs are in danger of being stolen and taken to be sold in the Sunday Market. During their exercise periods, the cats and dogs are guarded by maids and gardeners as well as by Khunying Abhibal herself. One of the veterinarians in Bangkok told me that eighty per cent of the animals purchased at the Sunday market die after receipt of immunising shots - dogs come down with distemper, cats with enteritis. It is known as 'the Sunday Market Disease."


(9a) At Wat Jayapoomdaram

At Wat Jayapoomdaram (which means a place where all evil has been transcended) (9a), in Bangkok's Chinatown, Khun Sunti (standing) assists me in getting applications for registration completed for the two Korat kittens, Sanouk of Holliday (Imp) and Sunetra of Si Sawat (Imp) who were given to me by Khunying Abhibal. Sanouk and Sunetra were born in the Wat, or Temple. There were many Korat cats there. They are the pets of the Chief Abbot. He had allowed Khunying Abhibal to have these two after
first cautioning her not to select any with kinked tails. In Thailand, a kink or crook in the tail gathers added good luck for the cat's owner! The Chief Abbot could not sign the forms, he said it would not be proper, so the breeder is shown as the Temple itself.


(9b) Chinese girl holding Khun Mae

The little Chinese girl is holding Khun Mae (Honourable Mother) (9b), dam of Sanouk (Festival) and Sunetra (beautiful Eyes). The lady is holding a young male. I asked for him, but the Chief Abbot refused to release any more of his cats because thieves had come in and stolen three.

(9c) Nin Noi, sire of Sunetra

(9c) Nin Noi, sire of Sunetra and Sanouk, and his sire, Nin Yai.


(9d) Noi means junior, 
Yai means senior

Noi means little, or junior, and Yai means big or Senior (9d).

 


(10) Ayudhya, former capital of Thailand

The site of the capital of Thailand has moved throughout its history (10). From 1350 to 1767, Ayudhya, north of Bangkok, the present capital, was the seat of government. Ayudhya was brought to ruins finally in wars with the Burmese, who set fire to chedis such as these to melt the gold off them.


(11) Bangpa-In

Not far from Ayudyha (11) is Bangpa-In, traditionally a place of relaxation for the Royal Court. Set in formal gardens, alongside the Chao Phraya River, its serene beauty leaves a lasting impression. I am standing on the bridge with our friend, Anurak Thananan. Behind us is the Pavilion, on the water. The "Floating Palace" is in the background. Note architecture of bridge and palace, influenced by the Italian and French architects imported by King Chulalongkorn, the Fifth King of the present ruling Dynasty.


(12) Khun Luang Paripon Pochanapisuti

Celebrated lawyer (12), Khun Luang Paripon Pochanapisuti, who has bred Si-sawat cats for thirty-five years. He also breeds Siamese in his spacious cattery in Bangkok. I brought home two cats from his cattery - Sook Chai of Ko-Si (Imp) (in photo with Khun Luang) or "Full of Happiness", and Boon-nam of Holliday (Imp) or "Sent by Fortune".


(13) Mrs. Rutana Sundarodyan

Mrs. Rutana Sundarodyan (13) has a bookbinders shop near the Grand Palace in Bangkok. her customers are treated to an opportunity to pet the many Korat and Siamese cats who relax or sleep on the counters. This is Chokdee, sire of Nongchai of Si sawat (Imp) who now lives with me. Nongchai means Little Brother.


(14) Nongchai of Si Sawat
and Sook Chai of Ko-Si

The kitten is Nongchai of Si Sawat (Imp) (14), male kitten, at 7.5 weeks. With him is Sook Chai of Ko-Si (Imp) at seven months, from Khun Luang Paripon. As I located the Korat cats, some of them moved into my hotel with me. The Management gave me a refrigerator for their food.


(15) Dr. Piyawat Poothongtong, D.V.M.

I visited Dr. Piyawat Poothongtong, D.V.M. (15) at her clinic. She also has a clinic at the Livestock and Pets Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. I was showing her the 1967 CFA Year Book in which I had an article about Korat cats. All the nine cats I brought back had their enteritis shots and rabies vaccinations, and certificates were issued for these, before they left Bangkok.


(16) Smud Khoi

This should be of prime interest to all cat lovers as it is very, very old.

The explanation and verse for the Supalak, Thong Daeng or "Copper" which is considered a very lucky cat: (As rendered by Khun Sunti).

Supalak cats, or Thong (gold) Daeng (red) actually means Copper colored cats. Supa means good, beautiful, progressive; lak or laksana means characteristic. Hence, Supalak cat means a cat of beautiful characteristics.

The Characteristics of the Thong Daeng cat surpass the characteristics of all others in existence.
Their coat color glitters like copper bright
Their eyes shine like the glittering sun on high;
All harmful things will be driven away and all
evils be converted to benevolence.

The ancient and famous Smud Khoi (16) or Papyrus Book, in Bangkok's National Museum, shows, in color, paintings of favorite cats of Thailand, each described by a verse. 

The top one is an all black cat. 
Next is the Supalak (or Thong Daeng or "Copper".) 
Then comes the Gow Tham, or Nine Point, a white cat with large black spots on it. 
Then there is our silver blue Korat, or Si-Sawat cat. 
Below this is a black cat with a white stripe all down its back and tail. 
The next is called the Ratana Kampon, or "Martial Gem" because the band round its middle resembles an officer's sleeve band. This cat has a body that is pink like the inside of a conch shell. Nobody I have met has seen one. 
Next, we all recognise the Seal Point Siamese cat, or Vichien Mas ("Diamond Mouth") and so on.


(17) Owned by Mrs. Sa-ang Suravadi

Competition at cat shows is stiff and trophies are gorgeous (17). This charming family of Korat cats, dam, sire and two kittens, are grouped round the huge silver cup they won for their owner and breeder, Mrs. Sa-ang Suravadi of Bangkok. Khun Sa-ang's first Korat came from Korat, in N.E.Thailand, many years ago. When Khun Sunti first took me to see her, she had eleven Korat cats, plus Siamese and a "Copper". Three of her Korats, Nudta of Full House (Imp), Ma-dee of Si-K'iu (Imp) and a kitten, Tong-goi of Brandywood (Imp) came back with me to the U.S.


(18) Khun Sa-ang's Korats

I took this shot of Khun Sa-ang's Korats (18). Note the "Copper" in front of the table leg, at center. (The faintly spotted effect is a trick of the camera flash and not visible to the naked eye.)


(19) Ma-dee of Si-K'iu

I am holding Ma-dee of Si-K'iu (Imp) who came to the U.S. with two beautiful females of Khun Sa-ang's...(19).

(20) Yani and Chalama

Yana and Chalama, two Korat females (20). Chalama had a notion to travel with me, too; she sat in one of the carriers for most of the day before the sisters left for California. However, Yani and Chalama were not to leave Bangkok. Khun Sa-ang's cats all have the run of her home.


(21) Ma-dee of Si-K'iu

Ma-dee of Si-K'iu (Imp)  now lives with Miss Catherine Barclay of Boulder, Colorado. She has made championships and Finals at the shows.


(22) Stone statue of tiger and cub

Stone statue of a tiger and her cub (22) at Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) across the river from Bangkok. Chinese stone sculpture.


(23) L to R: Chief of Customs, Mr Chalaw Chowadee; 
myself; Pongpan Dhiensiri; Anurak Thananan.

Gow, Nine, is the lucky number in Thailand. My ninth cat was given to me by the very important gentleman in picture 23, the Chief of Customs, Mr. Chalaw Chowadee. I am at his home, with my friends, Pongpan Dhiensiri and Anurak Thananan, who had brought me to see him at his request. 

(24) Chalaw Supp of Si-Sawat

My ninth cat, Chalaw Supp of Si Sawat (Imp).

Khun Chalaw knew that his cat, whom he had brought with him from Korat Province, was going away somewhere. Hearing of my search for the Si-sawats, he said I was to come and see him. While I was there, his cat, Chalaw Supp of Si Sawat (Imp) walked in and got into my lap. Khun Chalaw then gave her to me. The day before she left home, she went over to her two kittens from a previous litter and washed them all over, then went and sat in her carrier that was to bring her to California. The whole family burst into tears at the touching farewell.


(25) Khun Sa-ang, center, seated with Miss Malee, 
her sister, and myself.

In Customs at Bangkok Airport (25). Khun Sa-ang, center, seated with Miss Malee, her sister, and myself. They brought the three lovely Korat females to the airport and waited to see them off.

The nine cats travelled the twenty-four hour flight very well and they would have suffered no ill-effects at all if whoever gave them their food and water at Honolulu had not neglected to remove their water dishes from their carriers! I had provided dishes and jars of baby food for the flight. We touched down in Hong Kong, where the crew were too busy feeding monkeys to take care of the cats, and in Tokyo, where I insisted on their being fed regardless. But in Honolulu I was going through Customs myself so had no control over the feeding. Some of the cats suffered a chill from water soaked bedding. However, they eventually recovered and they adapted very quickly to their new surroundings.

 

Many thanks to Daphne Negus for permission to reproduce the article and photographs.