Khao Manee cat: the elegant “diamond eye” cat from Thailand

Regarded a lucky charm, this cat boasts a white coat and eyes that look like two precious stones

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By Alex

The Khao Manee cat is a very ancient feline breed native to Thailand. Considered a lucky charm, this cat boasts a white coat and eyes that look like two precious stones. Not surprisingly, it is also nicknamed the “white jewel” and “diamond eyes.” Besides its beautiful appearance, the Khao Manee also has a very sociable and playful nature. Those wishing to have one should contact a serious and reliable breeder as it is very rare to find these specimens outside their country of origin.

Origins of the Khao Manee cat

The Khao Manee is a cat from Thailand where, in the past, it was called “Khaao Plort,” meaning “all white.” The present name, meaning “diamond eyes,” refers instead to its eyes that look like precious gems set in its head.

The origins of the Khao Manee are very ancient. Evidence about their existence is found, for example, in “Tamra Maew” a book of poems about cats from the 14th century. A favorite cat of Thai King Rama V, the Khao Manee was protected by the ruler himself from invasion by the British and French who might have stolen him.

It is very difficult to find this cat outside its original country. In 1999, American Colleen Freymuth organized a breed preservation program by breeding 12 of them to help spread the breed to other parts of the World.

Physical characteristics of the Khao Manee cat

A medium-sized cat with an athletic build, elegant and refined bearing, moving in a fluid and sinuous manner.

Here are its physical characteristics.

  • Body: long-limbed, streamlined and slender, with a rather arched back and sides
  • Head: triangular in shape but rounded with soft lines
  • Ears: rather large and rounded, they are at the top of the head and are well spaced from each other
  • Cheekbones: high and very pronounced on the sides
  • Nose: curved and pink
  • Paws: thin. The front ones are somewhat shorter than the hind ones. Feature, the latter, which gives it a gait reminiscent of that of big cats. Under the paws it has pink-colored pads
  • Hair: short and well adhered to the body, it is silky, shiny white
  • Undercoat: absent very sparse
  • Eyes: large and almond-shaped, they are usually blue or light blue, but may also be green or those gold. Having pale eyelids, the eyes appear nice and open and bright. Specimens with eyes of different colors from each other are not uncommon. In their country of origin they are considered good luck charms


Male Khao Manee specimens are somewhat more robust and stocky than females.

  • Height: male 30-35 cm. Female 25-30 cm
  • Weight: male 3-5 kg. Female 2-5 kg

The eyes of the Khao Manee cat

As already mentioned, the distinguishing physical feature of this feline breed are its eyes. Usually blue or blue, and gem-shaped, they look like sparkling stones set in an athletic, white body. In some specimens the eye color is emerald green or sapphire yellow. It is not uncommon to find cats of this breed with one eye of one color and one of another. These particular specimens are considered good luck and, for this reason, in their native country, are given as gifts of good luck.

khao manee
It is not hard to see why this cat is known by the name “diamond eyes” in its country of origin.

Character of the Khao Manee cat

Sociable, intelligent, and playful, the Khao Manee immediately bonds with his foster family. It is very sweet with his reference humans, and requires cuddles and playful moments to share from them. It meows often and usually has no particular difficulty living with other pets or children.

It needs to be stimulated both mentally and physically. Therefore, it is good to provide him with toys and accessories for climbing and romping, such as scratching posts and stuffed mice.

Health and diseases of the Khao Manee cat

In general, it is a fairly robust feline breed. However, as with all breeds of blue-eyed white cats, the Khao Manee has a high risk of becoming deaf, due to a genetic defect that leads to degeneration of the inner ear. Most serious and responsible breeders exclude cats carrying this gene from breeding.

Care Tips for Khao Manee cat

The Khao Manee requires little care. It keeps its coat clean on its own, which only needs to be brushed occasionally. From a feeding point of view, it should be fed high-quality, protein-rich food on a regular basis and without overdoing it.

To keep this cat healthy, it should be given regular annual health checkups and the regular vaccination cycle.

How many years can a Khao Manee cat live?

If well cared for and given the proper vaccinations and regular health checks, the Khao Manee can live up to 15 years.

khao manee
Beautiful puppies of this breed.

How much does a Khao Manee cat cost?

This breed is uncommon outside its country of origin. Therefore, if you want to have a breed specimen you have to import it from abroad at quite high costs, depending on the country you live in. If you live in Europe, you can expect to be asked up to 10.000 Euros.

Since it is such a difficult breed to obtain, one must be very careful of scammers who pass off half-breeds as purebreds, taking advantage of their resemblance to white cats.

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