Khao Manee

Felis catus

Last updated: November 12, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
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The Khao Manee is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.

Khao Manee Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Felidae
Genus
Felis
Scientific Name
Felis catus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Khao Manee Conservation Status

Khao Manee Locations

Khao Manee Locations

Khao Manee Facts

Name Of Young
kitten
Group Behavior
  • Sociable
Fun Fact
The Khao Manee is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.
Estimated Population Size
unknown
Most Distinctive Feature
White fur
Distinctive Feature
heterochromic eyes, jewel-toned eyes
Other Name(s)
diamond eye cat, Khao Plort
Gestation Period
64 to 67 days
Temperament
friendly
Predators
birds of prey, raccoons, wolves, foxes
Diet
Carnivore
Average Litter Size
one to six kittens
Lifestyle
  • Crepuscular
  • Social
Common Name
Khao Manee
Origin
Thailand

Khao Manee Physical Characteristics

Color
  • White
Skin Type
Fur
Lifespan
10 to 11 years
Weight
6 to 11 pounds
Height
10 to 12 inches
Age of Sexual Maturity
7 to 12 months
Venomous
No
Aggression
Low

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The Khao Manee is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.

Facts

  • They always have striking white fur. Some kittens might be born with colored spots which go away later in life.
  • Khao Manee cats are talkative. If they are happy or upset, their owners would hear about it.
  • These cats have separation anxiety. They love being around busy homes with lots of people in them.
  • Khao Manee are still considered good luck charms by the people in their native land of Thailand. They are said to bring prosperity to those who own them.
  • They have a distinct look. Their jewel-toned eyes are usually yellow or blue or both colors on either eye.
  • White-haired and blue-eyed Khao Manee are prone to deafness due to a congenital condition. This condition never goes away.

Summary

Khao Manee cats are one of the rarest breeds of cats in the world. Originally from Thailand, this breed is slowly gaining global notoriety. They are an alluring breed with snow-white fur, jewel-toned eyes of yellow or blue or both. Rumored to bring luck to their owner, This cat were originally bred by the Siam royal family and the penalty for stealing one was death.

Scientific Name

The Khao Manee is a rare breed of snow-white cats native to Thailand. The name literally means “white gem” in the Thai language. These cats are also called Khao Plort which translates to “complete white.” They are also known as the diamond eye cats because of their bold eyes which come in blue or gold, or both colors on either eye.

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The Khao Manee is classified as Felis catus, or domesticated cat. They belong to the order Carnivora with other carnivorous mammals, and family Felidae. Members of this family are characterized by retractable claws and muscular bodies.

Appearance

Most Expensive Cat Breeds: Khao Manee
The Khao Manee hail from Thailand, where they’re considered an ancient breed and harbingers of good luck. These lucky charms are outgoing, playful pets who are totally dedicated to their humans.

©Bram Alamsyah Tjahjadi/Shutterstock.com

They are easy to identify. Their short fur is completely white, slender, and they have either blue or gold eyes, or odd eyes of each color, a phenomenon known as heterochromia. Odd-eyed cats are the rarest of the three types. Biologists have linked the white color of the Khao Manee coat and the blue eyes to congenital deafness. Defected cats usually have these traits and are deaf, but not all cats with these traits will be deaf.

Some Khao Manee kittens are born with black spots that fade away as they age, and some are born a whole other color. This comes down to genetics and the kittens born another color generally are not considered of this breed.

Khao Manee cats are medium–sized with big, round eyes, comparably large ears, and a lean, muscular build. They have four legs with five toes on their front feet and four toes on their hind feet. Fully grown, these white cats can weigh anything from 8 to 11 pounds.

Similar to other felines, these cats have retractable claws which they use for hunting and latching onto objects that they climb. They are very agile and active cats.

Behavior

Cats are known to be mischievous and curious and these are no different. They are very smart cats and exhibit love and affection for their owners. Khao Manee cats love to be around people and are known to be vocally expressive. Just like other cats, they purr when they are content and meow to communicate with their owners. When they are upset, they will hiss and when displaying aggression, arch their backs with raised fur.

Khao Manee cats are agile, owing to their muscular build. They enjoy physical activities like running, playing, and climbing. As an owner, it’s important to remember to keep your cat entertained. Cats also love to scratch things and this will easily become part of your daily life. We recommend you invest in the Scratch Lounge cat toy to keep your Khao Manee busy with fun. This toy is not only perfect for keeping your cat’s nails worn into shape, but it also contains catnip which will draw your their attention toward it and away from your sofa.

Khao Manee cats are very sociable animals and enjoy spending time with their adopted family. They love to be with their owners most of the time and suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods of time. They are best suited for owners who work from home or who work very short hours.

Khao Manee Care

They have short coats and prefer warm weather, so they would naturally dislike being out in an extremely cold environment and weather conditions like rain or snow. Because of their whiteness, they are prone to sunburn on the ears and nose.

When it comes to grooming, cats typically have most of that covered by licking themselves. These cats are low-maintenance pets because of their short fur. They should only be brushed weekly. If your Khao Manee does get dirty or smelly enough to require a bath, then you can plan ahead for it by trimming down their nails to avoid painful scratches. These cats are not big fans of water or getting wet. Their baths should include a shampoo that would highlight the brilliant white of its coat. You can use Burts Bees Waterless Shampoo for cats who would rather skip the waterworks.

Khao Manee cats should get their nails trimmed down periodically, as is the case with all domestic cats. It is very important to learn how to cut your cat’s nails properly to avoid injury to your beloved pet.

Some Khao Manee cats are born deaf in one or both ears. With a deaf cat, there are certain measures that should be in place to ensure its safety.

These include:

  • Monitoring and controlling the cat’s whereabouts. You might want to keep your cat inside the house and only take them outside under proper supervision.
  • Stomping around them creates vibrational waves to indicate your presence. This ensures that they are not startled by you.

Pros and Cons

There are many things to consider when deciding to own a Khao Manee cat. Here are some pros and cons of owning one:

Pros

  • Khao Manee are a very attractive pet choice because of their brilliant white fur, jewel-toned eyes, and rare status. Since they were originally bred by royalty, you might feel as extravagant owning one.
  • Khao Manee cats make great companions. They are friendly, expressive, vocal, and they can get very attached to their owners.
  • Khao Manee are low-maintenance pets. They have short fur which do not require excess grooming, and they eat regular cat food despite being so unique.

Cons

  • Owning a Khao Manee won’t be a cheap choice. Get ready to shell out thousands of dollars to purchase this cat breed. Costs range from $1,800 to $10,000 depending on the cat’s physical characteristics.
  • Khao Manee cats might be prone to some disabilities that some owners may not be ready to handle. Some of these cats are born deaf and would require special treatment.
  • Khao Manee cats get separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time. Owners would need to be present around the clock. They are not a breed for people who have to be away from home for long.

Diet

Khao Manee cats are obligate carnivores. This means that their staple diet consists of flesh. Nevertheless, every cat has its specific dietary preferences. Cats are usually fed wet or dry food, so it is up to the owner to determine which ratios their cat prefers. Keep in mind that the nutritional needs of a Khao Manee kitten will differ from that of a lactating mother or a senior kitty. You can find a curated list of the best cat foods here to choose the perfect grub for your Khao Manee cat.

Habitat and Population

The Khao Manee is one of the rarest cats in the world. Native to Thailand, they are only just gaining popularity worldwide. They are said to have only been bred and owned by Siam royalty and Thai breeders are working to keep these cats from becoming even more of a rarity.

Now, Khao Manee breeders are springing up around the world, particularly in Europe and the United States. In 1999, the first 12 Khao Manee cats were imported into the United States. Another breeder introduced the Khao Manee cats in France in 2004. Purchasing costs for a purebred Khao Manee range from $1,800 to $10,000 depending on factors like presence of defects and eye color.

The exact Khao Manee cat population figure is currently unknown, but it is widely believed to be on the decline.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Khao Manees have the same mating patterns as other cats. Khao Manees will reach sexual maturity between 7 to 12 months of age.

Male Khao Manees are typically bigger than the females and have a moderately denser bone structure. Male cats weigh about 8 to 11 pounds while the females weigh six to eight pounds.

Females usually have up to five estrus cycles in a year. When they are in heat, several males fight to win her as a mate. After the mating session, the female licks her vulva clean before she is approached by another male. A female cat can mate with more than one male and give birth to a litter of kittens with different fathers.

The gestation period for cats usually last 64 to 67 days and the female cat births one to six kittens, usually averaging three.

Due to their rarity, it is very difficult to find a purebred Khao Manee cat or even a breeder as this cat is still virtually unknown in most Western countries.

Predators and Threats

Due to their rare status, Khao Manees are usually heavily protected by their owners, so the chances of them being preyed upon is low. However, there are larger animals which they could potentially be susceptible to as prey. These animals include cougars, wolves, foxes, large birds of prey, and coyotes.

Aside from predation, Khao Manee cats face extinction, although their exact population is unknown. They are one of the rarest cat breeds in the world. There is currently a system of breeders in the Western world and in Thailand who selectively breed Khao Manee cats in order to preserve their lineage.

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About the Author

Hi! I am a writer, actor, and filmmaker. Reading is my favorite hobby. Watching old movies and taking short naps are a close second and third. I have been writing since childhood, with a vast collection of handwritten books sealed away in a duffel bag somewhere in my room. I love fiction, especially fantasy and adventure. I recently won the James Currey Prize 2022, so now, naturally, I feel like I own words. When I was 11, I wanted to be a marine biologist because I love animals, particularly dogs, cats, and owls. I also enjoy potatoes and chocolate in all their glorious forms.

Khao Manee FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Why do some Khao Manees have different eye colors?

Some Khao Manees have heterochromia, a condition where the eyes are of two different colors. In Khao Manees, these colors are typically blue and yellow.

Are Khao Manees good with children?

Khao Manees are people-loving cats. They are friendly and outgoing, perfect for a full house with children. However, they would do well with older children rather than younger ones who may not know how to handle them properly. Younger children should be supervised with this breed.

Are all Khao Manees deaf?

No, not all Khao Manees are deaf. Congenital deafness in this breed is linked to the white fur and blue eyes due to a genetic defect. However, not all white-haired and blue-eyes Khao Manees will be deaf. Kittens should be taken to proper specialists to know if they were born with this condition.

How big do Khao Manees get?

Adult Khao Manees are medium-sized animals. They can grow to heights of 10 to 12 inches and weigh 6 to 11 pounds.

What family do Khao Manees belong to?

Khao Manees belong to the family Felidae.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. The Cat Fanciers Association, Available here: https://cfa.org/khao-manee/
  2. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khao_Manee
  3. Web MD, Available here: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/what-to-know-khao-manee
  4. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat

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