Hi everyone!

I am a little bit surprised, somewhat bemused, and *more* than a little bit totally amused to find myself writing this article. You see, until recently...(I'm almost afraid to admit it)...I never cared much for cats one way or the other. And now, I confess to you all: I was so wrong! Here is what happened:

My husband and I have had many a serious discussion about pets in recent years. Early in 1996, we finally made our decision. We would purchase a purebred cat. We researched breeds very carefully, taking our time, since we were acutely aware of the fact that pet ownership is a two-way street. Based on our lifestyle and our respective personalities, we then made a firm decision. The breed for us was definitely the Korat. We did a lot of thinking about the type of home that the Korat needs in order to lead a happy life. I work on a computer at home, and I'm seldom gone for extended periods of time. I also love company, and don't mind being followed around. Our home is quiet, and full of interesting things for the enterprising feline to investigate and study. It seemed that the chances were that all parties concerned, (feline and human,) would be happy.

It worked! In April of 1996, Passport Korats in Hauppauge, NY, USA, (owned by Deborah and Joseph Singler,) provided us with a magnificent female kitten who is truly a credit to her breed. We named her "Thaiger Lily." She is breathtaking to look at and possesses both keen intelligence and a delightful disposition. We were extremely impressed with the interesting combination of gregariousness, gentleness, and responsiveness of this breed.

Fortunately, (as it has turned out,) Lily's contentment and evident happiness prompted me to return to the same breeder in order to acquire a companion for her. Accordingly, I visited Passport Korats again in August of last year. Once again, I was not disappointed. I quickly noticed a female kitten almost four months old with fur already heavily silvered, and widely-spaced, magnificent eyes. Yes, I brought her home. She is an absolute knockout, and the two kittens bonded beautifully with each other and with us. Good breeding definitely shows. We have named her "Misty Arun," for the color of a blue-silver mist at dawn. By way of explanation regarding her name, I'll quickly mention that I am a former Pan Am In-Flight Purser, and have frequently spent time in Bangkok, Thailand. "Wat Arun" - the Temple of Dawn, was one of my favorite places to visit. The word "wat" means "temple," and the word "arun" means "dawn." ("Arun" is pronounced "ah-roon," like "moon.")

Korats, we found to our delight, are very social. They love people and have delightful personalities. They are also veeeerrry smart! They seem to be constantly studying everything. In terms of size and strength, the Korat, although not particularly large, has a sturdy, compact, and surprisingly muscular body. They are very agile and are great jumpers, but they move with care around the house, and one can readily see that they are trying hard not to break anything. (One reason for this careful behavior may be that they have excellent hearing, and are easily startled by unfamiliar noises.) Every once in a while - well - like once a day or so - they go galloping through the house at top speed, chasing each other around. When I'm at the computer or reading, it it usually not long before I sense a pair of eyes on me, gazing up in a friendly, almost questioning way. Then, suddenly, but in a gentle, quiet manner Lily jumps onto my lap, again looking up at me, waiting to be stroked. Within seconds Misty is there also, (not wanting to be outdone by Lily, I imagine). They both end up in my lap, where they curl up together in a compact furry ball and fall asleep.

The "Korat personality" is endlessly fascinating. They seem to thrive, for example, on their close interaction with humans. (I do mean close!) They happily follow their "person" around, while carefully observing everything that their "person" happens to be doing. They usually do this very unobtrusively. For example, when I enter a room, they seem to silently materialize in the same room within a few minutes. Frequently, however, they are able to figure out where you are headed before you even get there! Watch out! This takes some getting used to, both for *your* self-preservation and *theirs!* You sometimes have to look down and check your feet very carefully, so as to avoid stepping on, or - worse yet - tripping over, one of your unfailingly friendly, (and faithful) companions!

Here's another great thing thing about Korats: Their need for interaction is so great that they "talk." No...I'm not kidding. Of course, they meow. But, interestingly, that's not all. They "speak" to us by producing various chirping sounds of differing vocal pitches with a varying number of "syllables." They seem to enjoy - indeed they appear to require - this type of interaction. When you speak to them, they immediately respond with their own version of "speech." At first, about ten or eleven months ago, it seemed to us to be a form of back and forth "conversation" in which neither humans nor Korats knew who was saying what! This is no longer true. For example, they know the word "mouse," because it is the name I gave to their favorite game. Since they know the word, my husband and I have to spell it out in ordinary conversation, otherwise they go berserk with joy and run to the den closet, where I keep the toy which we use to play this game. The word "porch" is another word that my husband and I spell out to each other *unless we plan on going out onto our screened-in porch the very second we have finished the sentence!* If I ask them if they want to go out on the porch, they both produce a strange "Korat word" that sounds something like "ooo-oook," and promptly trot to the porch door and wait for me to open it.

Since I am starting to sound suspiciously like the mother of two toddlers, I'm going to bring this little article to a swift close right now! I hope this information will be of help to anyone interested in Korats. We are quite captivated by Thaiger Lily and Misty Arun. Happily for the *four* of us, they seem to share the sentiment. At the moment, as I finish typing, Lily is sleeping on my lap, and Misty is sitting on top of the computer monitor, with her head over the edge so that she can carefully study the funny marks as they appear on the screen. Who knows, maybe they have been secretly taking notes on how to operate computers!

Best wishes to everyone.

Joan Wiegand