The adventures that led us to our first Korat began 19 years ago. I received a larger than expected tax return. I turned to my son, Ian who was just 5 and happily playing with his baby brother, Orion Ð aged 1, and offered him two options Ð we could go out for dinner and a movie or we could adopt a dog from the pound and find it a good home. Now I was in college Ð again, still working my way through as a single mom and already had a strong willed, 75 lb. Chow Chow so I wasn't ready to permanently add to the family. Years earlier I'd bred and shown Great Danes and Afghan Hounds while working for the airlines and having access to inexpensive travel. I'd been an animal advocate my whole life and had owned many types of domestic and wild animals. I'd taken in unwanted critters since I was a kid Ð from pets that moms and dads wouldn't let kids keep to birds and squirrels dislodged from nests. So I was always looking for ways to help those we share the world with.
In those days pet stores didn't sell mixed breed or older animals and no-kill shelters didn't exist where we lived. An untagged animal in a county pound, unless it was a puppy or kitten, usually had about a week before it would be euthanized. I'd visited the pound many times and had learned their system of marking cages to indicate when each animal would be put down. I told Ian that whoever we picked had to have a red dot on it's tag. I knew that meant it had two days or less to live. We found a frightened cocker mix who snapped and snarled at anyone who came close, but relaxed and became friendly once we had her in the outside exercise yard. It took us two weeks to clean her up; get her vet checked and immunized; trained to come and to walk on a leash; to socialize her with kids, cats and dogs; and then find her a new home. I'll admit we lied on the advertisement we placed. Pound animals had a bad reputation in those days. So we said that Orion was allergic to dogs and we had to place her. It worked out so well that we repeated the process for many years Ð adopting dogs and sometimes cats and placing them. We placed everything from Italian Greyhounds to St. Bernards and a wide range of mixed-bred dogs. We placed pure-bred and domestic cats. Occasionally we'd find it too hard to let go and our own brood increased. The Korat we found was one of those.
Ten years ago we were in the local pound looking for a dog to place. We had bound a beagle-cross who seemed promising when Orion wandered in to the cat area. He came out to the front where I was filling out the paperwork on the dog and told me I had to see this incredible cat. I resisted. Usually one rescue at a time was the rule. He insisted. We went back into the cat area which was filled to overflowing with cages of cats Ð mostly grown and hard to place. In the corner with half of its cage wedged behind another cage holding a huge, white, long-haired domestic cat, was a silver cat with luminous green eyes. The sign said it was a Russian Blue and that the reason it had been given up was that the owner's step father was going to shoot it. I'd owned a Russian Blue. I didn't think so. He was single coated, had a heart-shaped face dominated by pale jade eyes and a compact, muscular body. From the dim recesses of a memory of past cat shows I'd attended a memory returned. "That's a Korat." I said. "Never heard of that kind of cat." said the pound worker who'd brought us back. I turned to go Ð we'd picked our dog. Orion, who is miserly to the Stooge degree, said "I'll pay the fee." So we brought him home, renamed him Prajnah and waited to see what kind of behavior a cat could have to make shooting the best option. We never found out. The cat settled in like he'd been with us since birth.
As these things go Prajnah adopted not Orion, but Ian. They became inseparable. A bedraggled kitten Ian rescued from the woods claimed Orion. Cats are like that. When Ian went to college I became Prajnah's new pet. Prajnah, favorite toy in mouth, always ready for some fun, always there beside you ready to comment on your decisions, to encourage you to play, to check on you when you felt low or ill, blessed us for nine years. Since his eyes had turned Korat green we assume he was between 11 and 14 when we lost him to suddenly to a brain tumor. But Prajnah's memory and our fondness for him and the breed remains undiminished with time.
Samara A. Adrian - USA