Cats In Thailand in the 1960s'

The following article about a journey to Thailand was written by Daphne Negus, who has bred Korat cats with the cattery name Si Sawat since 1964. Here she tells the story about how she went to Thailand to bring home Korats for her and her friends' breeding programs. The article was published in CFA's yearbook 1969. Reprinted with kind permission from Mrs. Negus.

Ulrika Olsson, 2003

Picture Story of a Journey to Thailand
(Or a Trip for Nine Korat Cats)

By Daphne Negus


(1) Mrs. Constance C. Cullen

En route to Bankok, 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, Bankok. Ch. 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.

Mr. and 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 Chanel 4 Thai TV cat show in May 1968. The writing on the Malaid Cattery sign is auspicious, by a monk (2).

Kuhn Sunti holding Malaid's Doklao (3). He sent me a daughter of Doklao in 1967. Quad. Ch. Malaid's Noi of Si Sawat (Imp) was A-A and A-W Female Korat in 1967-68, and top Female Korat in the S.W. Region in 1968-69. Khun Sunti's spacious, well-designed cattery has grassed runs in front of each house.

Korat2   Korat3
(2) Mr. and Mrs. Sunti Sriskoon and their son (3) Khun Sunti holding
Mulaid's Doklao



(4) Mme. Ruen Abhibal
Rajmaitri, center 

I was very anxious to meet one of Thailand's most famous cat breeders and judges, Mme. Ruen Abhibal Rajmaitri (4). 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 U.S. in 1959. With Khunying Aghibal is Dr. Jit Waramontri, D.V.M. and his charming wife, (seated).

Another of Khunying Abhibal's female Korats (5), Mahajaya Ling Dum, born December 16, 1966. (Photo by Pichai Vasnasong)


In Thailand 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).

A gold eyed white Spay (7), called Miss Taipei. She arrived from Thaiwan 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.


In Thailand 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).

A gold eyed white Spay (7), called Miss Taipei. She arrived from Thaiwan 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.


 (5) Mahajaya Ling Dum


(6) Supalak, Thong-Daeng or "Copper" Cat

The evening romp in Khunying Abhibal's gorgeous garden (8). The young male Seal Pt. standing 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 reciept of immunizing shots - dogs come down with distemper, cats with enteritis. It is known as "the Sunday Market








(7) Miss Taipei


 (8) Evening romp in the gardens



(9a) At Wat Jayapoomdaram 


(9b) Chinese girl holding Khun Mae 

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.

The little Chinese girl is holding Khun Mae (Honorable Mother) (9b), dam of Sanouk (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 and Sanouk, and *his* sire, Nin Yai. Noi means little or junior, and Yai means big or Senior (9d)






 (9c) Nin Noi, sire of Sunetra


(9d) Noi means junior, Yai means senior



The site 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.

Not far from Ayudhya (11) is Bangpa-In, thaditionally 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.

Celebrated 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 Boon-nam of Holiday (Imp) or "Sent by Fortune".



 (10) Ayudhya, capital of Thailand


(11) Bangpa-In


(12) Khun Luang Paripon Pochanapisuti


Mrs. 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.

The kitten is Nongchai of Si Sawat (14) (Imp), male kitten, at 7 1/2 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 refridgerator for their food.

I visited Dr. 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.


 (13) Mrs. Rutana Sundarodyan


 (14) Nongchai of Si Sawat and Sook Chai of Ko-Si


(15) Dr. Piyawat Poothongtong, D.V.M.


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.

"The 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; All harmful things will be driven away and all evils be converted to benevolence."

The ancient and famous "Smud Koi" (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 black cat. 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 his 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 so on.

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. Kuhn Sa-ang's first Korats 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.


(16) Smud Koi 


(17) Owned by Mrs. Sa-ang Suravadi 


(18) Khun Sa-ang's Korats


(19) Ma-dee of Si-K'iu


I took this shot of some 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 is not visible to the naked eye.)

I am holding Ma-dee of Si-K'iu (Imp) who came to the U.S. with two other beautiful females of Khun Sa-ang's... (19).



(20) Yani and Chalama 


(21) Ma-dee of Si-K'iu


(22) Stone statue of tiger and her cub

Yana and Chalama, two Korat females (20). Chalama had a notion 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.


Ma-dee of Si-K'iu (21) (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. Chinest stone sculpture.






(23) Chief of Customs, Mr. Chalaw Chowadee 

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.

Khun Chalaw knew that his cat, whom he had brought with him from Korat Province, was going away somewhere. Hearing of my search for 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 touching farewell.




(24) Chalaw Supp of Si Sawat

My ninth cat, Chalaw Supp of Si Sawat (Imp) (24).

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.

The nine cats traveled 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.


Biographical Note


 (25) Khun Sa-ang, center, seated with
Miss Malee, her sister, and myself.

Born in London, England. After working in film production in England and Europe, Warner Bros. "imported" me for an overseas film location for most of 1952. I settled in Los Angeles as a resident alien in 1953. Now a U.S. Citizen, married to Richard Negus who was also born in London, my interest in the Cat Fancy began in 1961-62, with Siamese and Burmese. While showing Burmese in 1964, I saw my first Korat cat, Arcadia's Jami, exhibited by Mr. and Mrs. Ray F. Gardner in Northridge, California.

I have been Secretary of the Korat Cat Fanciers Association, an unaffiliated breed society, since its inception in March 1965. In October, 1968, I set off for Thailand on a Korat quest - to find and bring back fresh bloodlines.