KORATS IN AUSTRALIA
The first Korats were imported into Australia from America by Pauline Armit and Evelyn Clarke of South Australia. They were a male, Jalna Krah Manee and a female, Sailaway Star. They arrived on 29th August 1969 by ship on the last voyage to Australia of HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Silver Gd.Ch. Charlwin Boeotia (UK imp.)
Star had her first litter while in Bicton Quarantine Station, Western Australia, but all the kittens died after catching 'flu'. Star was also very sick and were it not for the ministrations of Mrs Helen Moffat and her Vet of Perth she would probably have died also.
In 1970 Star had another litter and the only female, Valiant Austra, was sold to Mrs Moffat. Later on in 1970 Star died so there were only two breeding Korats in Australia again, father and daughter! As Jalna was lonely once Star went, Mrs. Armit gave him as a mate for Austra in Exchange for a female kitten from this mating. (This kitten later died from a twisted bowel.) So for some years to come, Jalna was the sire of all Korats in Australia.
Dr. Walter von Hapsburg of Sydney became interested in Korats in 1954 while on a visit to Thailand. He purchased two "Nah Trang" females from the second litter of Austra and he later imported a total of eight Korats from USA at great expense. Around Christmas time in 1973 Mrs. Moffat in WA passed on to Dr. von Hapsburg a letter from Mr. Russ Ritchie who, with his cats, was at the time living in Hawaii. Dr. Hapsburg began negotiating then with Mr. Ritchie for two males who were later to become the second Korat import into Australia. It took fifteen months for these boys to finally get to Dr. von Hapsburg as they had to go to America and all the way across the US where they were held up by snow before the flight to the UK. There they had to spend six months in an approved boarding cattery to fulfil Australian quarantine requirements. On arrival in Australia they had to undergo yet another ninety days in quarantine!
Ch. Pimai Wan Nanda
In 1976 Dr. van Hapsburg imported his second two Korats from USA, Ch. Tru Lu's Toyota of Yowie and Ch. Tru Lu's Sunetra of Yowie. Then in 1977 Solna's Mattis of Yowie and Solna's Illka of Yowie arrived from California. In February 1977, Ch. Tru Lu's Gad-A-Bout of Yowie and Ch. Tru Lu's Nah Rak arrived, again for Dr. von Hapsburg who bred under the prefix "Yowie". We Korat breeders and fanciers are very fortunate that Dr. von Hapsburg was so interested in and captivated by the breed!
Another person who imported Korat early in the Korat's Australian history was Mrs. Raynor Booker of Darwin who imported the female, Kheilan Firousi, from the UK in the mid 70's to add to her Yowie stock. She bred many beautiful Korats under her prefix "Donrenor". A daughter of Firousi went to Mrs. Betty Newton or Perth who also acquired Tru Lu's Gad-A-Bout and Yowie Tukata. From Donrenor Chao Fah Ying, Tukata and Gad-A-Bout Mrs. Newton bred several litters under her prefix "Elrond" during the early 80's. Some of these kittens still survive as pets in WA but the three breeding cats were later sent to Queensland to start the Korat breeding there.
Undoubtedly the cat to have made the most impact on Korats in Australia would be Jalna's Krah Manee who was born in USA in April 1968 and who sadly died from cancer of the throat in Perth, WA, on 15th June 1976.
My own association with the breed began in 1984 when a stray male Korat wandered into our garden and adopted us for his new family. In later years I was to discover that "Oscar" was one of Raynor Booker's breeding. Oscar was a loving and faithful companion to my husband and me for ten years. It was with great sorrow we had to say goodbye to him in January 1994 due to kidney failure. He was then fourteen years old.
My first imports came to Australia in July 1991 from the UK. They were a male, Charlwin Boeotia (now a Silver Great Grand Champion) and a very elegant female, Koorahk Eirlys (now a Bronze Great Grand Champion). Their first litter was born at the end of 1991 (five females). In May 1992, I imported a second female from the UK, Jenanca Serena. Unfortunately this female developed pyometra after her first mating and was eventually spayed in April this year. I did manage to breed a nice little stud boy from her although after much trauma and expense, so all was not lost. Serena now shows herself very well on the show bench as a spey.
Ch. Jenanca Serena (UK import)
Earlier this year I was very proud to be able to send a nice little stud boy to a prospective breeder in WA and some of you may have seen Wendy Fancote's Korat on the show bench in recent months. Sadly, Ratchasima Robs Delight lost his life on 6th November 1994 in a battle with a dugite snake that ventured into his cattery pen. It was a battle to the death - the snake also died.
Although I have only been breeding Korats for a relatively short time and there have been many heartaches along the way, I cannot imagine my life without them! Yet it is difficult to explain to people what is so special about Korats but special they are! Every new owner who has purchased a kitten from me has been captivated by the Korat, as I am. They have a wonderful temperament and, although they are playful all of their lives, they are never destructive like some cats. They love human company and enjoy being part of everything you do and make excellent companion cats. On the other hand, they are very good with children too. My most wonderful experience was when I sold a two year-old neuter to a family with six children, the youngest a two year old Downes Syndrome child. This cat had had nothing to do with children until then but within hours of being with his new family he was being wrapped in nappies and pushed around in the little fellow's cart! His new owners allow me to show him and he does well on the show bench too.
Because of their short, single, close-lying coats, Korats are a good breed for people who have an allergic reaction to cat's hair. Korats are busy, inquisitive, and intelligent. They have an acute sense of hearing and do not like sudden loud noises. If taught at an early age they make good retrievers of small objects such as soft toys. Earrings, watches and such-like small things hold a special fascination for them. Many times I have had to search for these only to find them much later in an entirely different place to where I knew I had put them! Korats seem able to interpret your moods and react accordingly: they are a great comfort in times of stress. Korats are regarded as the Good Luck cat in their native Thailand where they are often given, as a pair, for a wedding present. The farmers of Thailand use them in ceremonies to ensure good rains for their crops.
BZ DB GDCH. Koorahak Eirlys (UK import)
The Korat shows itself very well on the show bench also and I have often been told by judges how good to handle my Korats have been. However, some people can be put off by their 'talking'. Studs especially can be quite vocal at shows but this is all part of attention seeking. My UK stud is a perfect example of this. Very vocal at shows but at home he loves nothing better than to be draped around my neck chatting in my ear as I go about my chores. My UK import queen, Koorahk Eirlys, who is five years old has been very successful on the show bench having taken out Supreme Exhibit twice, once under Mrs. Gloria Stephens from USA. She is a very gentle, elegant cat with the true Korat 'look'. My other UK import girl, Jenanca Serena, is at present making her mark on the show bench as a spey. her special characteristic is her penchant for wanting to be nursed while she cuddles into my shoulder - but it has to be the left shoulder only!
It is a great pity that there are not more Korats on the show bench in Australia but the majority of kittens sold go as pets. Strangely enough most of my kitten sales are to people who have never had a Korat before, but once having lived with one, they are completely captivated!
Ratchasima Cattery - Australia
The Blue Point Korat
"The Korat Story" written by Daphne Negus of the USA, tells us that the Korat cat "is blue from birth to death and any other colour cannot be called a Korat".
On 26th January 1994 in Darwin, a litter of four kittens was born from a mating between two blue Korats. Among these four babies was a Blue Point female (the other three were blue males).
Although I was aware that this kind of thing did occur from time to time, it was still quite a shock. It is certainly not a common occurrence but I have seen documentation of it happening in the very hearly days of the Korats in America and I know of one living in France at present. Also, two others were born in the UK this year but unfortunately they did not survive.
The appearance of the Blue Point kitten is caused by a recessive gene, in this case the Siamese gene. In this instance the recessive gene can be traced back over twenty generations. In most cases where a Blue Point has turned up it is usually found that there is a direct Thai Import in the 5th generation. In the case of my Blue Point baby the Thai Import is in the 6th generation on the sire's side. The sire is a descendant from my UK imports and an Australian stud; the dam is from old Australian lines and my UK import stud.
Korat fanciers call these babies "snow cats", the Thai name being "Himah Look". People who have visited Thailand have told me how in the catteries there, the different breeds are to been mixing freely. Therefore it is feasible to suggest that these cats would be likely to intermate at some stage.
The Thais tend to go by phenotype rather tha genotype. If it is blue, it is a Korat; if it is brown, it is a Burmese, etc. Not a lot is known about the Blue Point Korat because in the past it has been the practice to give them away as pets and to say nothing. This is areally very sad because they are a very pretty cat with a very loving and delightful nature, exactly the same as the solid blue Korat. Anyone who has seen my girl has been quite captivated by her. Her type is that of a Korat, in fact rather a good example of the breed. Her coat is also fine and close-lying, creamy white with patches of soft blue through it and, of course, the blue Siamese points and face mask. Her eye colour, however, is a very pale blue. She is very lively, curious and attention-seeking and we love her very dearly. My husband has christened her "The Princess".
I did repeat the mating this year and once again another Blue Point has appeared, this time a little boy with three blue sisters. I have since desexed the sire.
Ratchasima Cattery - Australia
(The Korat pictured in these articles are all owned by Mrs. Elaine Vincent)
Australian Kittens of 1991
5 females born on January 25, 1991
sire: Ch. Charlwin Boeotia
dam: BZ DB GDCH. Koorahak Eirlys
Bred by Mrs. Elaine Vincent
Australian more recent Generations...
5 females born on March 7, 1997
sire: ACF Nat. CH. Bronze AOE. Sapphire Dbl. Gd Ch. Koorahk Binky's Boy (UK import)
dam: Ch. Rursai Dtook Ga Dtah
bred by Mrs. Eva Krynda - DOKLAO Cattery