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.
Trip for Nine Korat Cats
|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.
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.
(1) Mrs. Constance C. Cullen
(2) Mr. and Mrs. Sunti Sriskoon
and their son
& 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.
Sunti holding Malaid's Doklao.
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.
(3) Khun Sunti holding
(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.
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.
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
of Khunying Abhibal's female Korats (5),
Mahajaya Ling Dum, born
December 16, 1966. (Photo by Pichai Vasnasong).
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).
(6) Supalak, Thong-Daeng or
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.
(7) Miss Taipei
(8) Evening romp in the
||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."
|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.
(9a) At Wat Jayapoomdaram
(9b) Chinese girl holding Khun
Chinese girl is holding Khun Mae (Honourable Mother) (9b), dam of
(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
Noi, sire of Sunetra and Sanouk, and his sire, Nin Yai.
Noi means little, or
junior, and Yai means big or Senior (9d).
(9d) Noi means junior,
Yai means senior
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.
(10) Ayudhya, former capital
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
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
of Holliday (Imp) or "Sent by Fortune".
(13) Mrs. Rutana Sundarodyan
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.
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.
(14) Nongchai of Si Sawat
and Sook Chai of Ko-Si
(15) Dr. Piyawat Poothongtong,
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.
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;
things will be driven away and all
evils be converted
The ancient and famous
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
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
|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.
(17) Owned by Mrs. Sa-ang
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.)
(18) Khun Sa-ang's Korats
(19) Ma-dee of Si-K'iu
||I am holding
of Si-K'iu (Imp) who came to the U.S. with two beautiful females of
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.
(20) Yani and Chalama
(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.
|Stone statue of a
tiger and her cub (22) at Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) across the river
from Bangkok. Chinese stone sculpture.
(22) Stone statue of tiger and
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
|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.
(23) L to R: Chief of Customs,
Mr Chalaw Chowadee;
myself; Pongpan Dhiensiri; Anurak
(24) Chalaw Supp of Si-Sawat
|My ninth cat, Chalaw
Supp of Si Sawat (Imp).
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.
|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.
(25) Khun Sa-ang, center, seated
with Miss Malee,
her sister, and myself.
thanks to Daphne Negus and the CFA
permission to reproduce the article and photographs.
For further information
about the CFA please visit their website at http://www.catfancy.com
PICTURES ©1969 CAT FANCIERS OF AMERICA/DAPHNE NEGUS
© 1999 PLANETPURR