Cats in Thailand are as much a part of life as Football is in Europe. And that is saying something.
But, they are not the exclusive property of the King or worshipped in Temples!
How relevant to Thai cultures are their national treasures? How abut Stamps!
Or Cats used to decorate 100 year old Restaurants Signs!
Or a Cat Cafe?
Copyright 2013. The Thai Cat Center. All rights reserved.
One hundred years ago, when Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, and Korats first arrived to the America and England, people made up stories about their life in Thailand. They were beautiful cats and people created beautiful stories to go along with them. However, creative, the back "stories" were just plain old wrong.
But the biggest reality is that Thai people are kind to cats. They are kind to them in the streets, in the Temples, at the markets, and in their homes. The reality is that cat is a big part of Thai culture, people love cats, and they love their national treasure... the amazing coat color mutations that popped up in Thailand long ago. These beguiling cats appear in the historical record as long as 700 years ago. For sure they were a prominent part of Thai culture before that, but, paper does not last long in the Thai heat and humidity. The fact that there are written records that survive that long is a feat in and of itself.
There are two principle myths associated with these imported cats. The most popular was that they were the exclusive property of the Thai King….. and they had been smuggled out of Thailand, without his knowledge. Not true. Thai cats were never the exclusive property of the King of Thailand.
Reality? Wealthy people are more likely to keep pets than poor people. For this reason, its likely that wealthier people, in Thailand, kept them as pets.
The other popular myth is that these cats were worshipped by the Thai people, so much so, they had temples dedicated to them. Also not true. Thai people never worshipped these cats and never dedicated temples to them.
Reality? Thai Buddhism encourages kindness towards animals, and, Buddhist temples act as a kind refuge for cats that don't have homes. The monks feed the cats as an act of kindness. And, if a person can no longer keep a cat, they drop it off at a temple…. They know it will be fed.
Though they were never the exclusive property of the King, nor worshipped, Thai people do love the unique cats that sprung up around them and do see them as a national treasure. They have kept this breed alive for hundreds if not thousands of years. Historical Thai documents mention these unique cats and this suggests they may be the oldest Natural Breed of cat around.
Why have Thai people keep these cats as pets for possibly thousands of years? For the same reason we do. They come in a dazzling array of colors and, they make excellent companions. When you have a Thai cat, you have a friend waiting for you when you get home. One that is always happy to see you. Maybe a little too happy!
If you want to know more about Thai cats in Thailand, check out this fantastic book, "Siamese Cats Legends and Reality," by Martin Clutterback. This book is fantastic and tells you everything you could ever want to know. Legends and Realities!