The Suphalak Cat is an extremely rare breed of cats with a typical solid brown to copper-colored coat that found its origin in Thailand almost 3 centuries ago. Often confused with the Havana Brown and the ebony colored Burmese cats, these cats are a natural breed of pure Thai origin, and the breed standards do not allow out-crosses with other non-Thai cats. When they are in the sun, their coat typically emits an almost reddish cast. Though in normal light, they look more towards the darker chocolate side. The color of their whiskers is also brown, and the nose leather is of rosy-brown color. The paw pads are light brown, having a pink tone, while their eyes are a bright yellow to golden in color.
|Alternative Name||Thong Daeng|
|Coat Type||Dense, soft, long, short|
|Coat Colors||Solid copper-brown|
|Life Expectancy (Lifespan)||General|
|Personality Traits||Loyal, affectionate, intelligent, playful|
|Country of Origin||Thailand|
|Breed Information||Breed Standards|
|Competitive Registration/Qualification Information||CCA, Alliance Féline|
The Suphalak cats were mentioned in pictorial and written descriptions for the first time in the ‘Tamra Maew’, which is supposed to have originated in the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which existed between 1351 and 1767 AD. These books discuss different breeds of the heritage cats from Thailand like the Suphalak, the Korat, and the blue-eyed, seal point Siamese cat named Wichienmaat. Among these the most well-known being the Korat that have established its popularity around the world, and also bred in Thailand for the purpose of preservation. Translated as ‘The Cat-Book Poems’, these are a collection of ancient manuscripts a dozen of which are preserved in Thailand’s National Library, while the rest are in the British Library and National Library of Australia.
In all these manuscripts, the name Suphalak has appeared time and again referring to the ‘magnificent’ characteristics of the feline. So is the name ‘Thong Daeng’ in the older Tamra Maew manuscripts, describing it as “copper colored”. One of these poems compares the rarity of these cats with that of gold. The cat has been described to have been having a solid-colored coat, while elsewhere in the scripts, their complexion has been depicted to be like ‘ripe copper’, which, most probably refers to heated copper that takes more to the reddish side. However, the English translation of these poems has not been completely clear. While still in other parts of these texts, the color of their coat has been defined as simply solid red, with the color of their eyes being like ‘thuptim’, which translates to ruby or pomegranate that ‘sparks’ and ‘shines’ like rays. Though, a cat with crimson eyes is not very common, however, the translation can be more accurate upon studying the pomegranates that are found locally in Thailand are studied. These fruits have skin which is flavescent to golden yellow. This might offer a clearer alternative interpretation to the color of the eyes that are found in the suphalaks today.
On 7th April, 1767, with the end of the Burmese Siamese war, the Siamese front lost the battle and all the royal treasures were stolen, along with the Buddha images made of gold. Their members of the royal household, along with the noblemen, were taken captive. When the king of Burma read about a brown cat named Suphalak in the Tamra Maew, he could learn that, these cats are ‘rare as gold’ and anyone who would possess these lucky cats would become rich. He ordered his men to bring all these cats to Burma. Till date, this legend takes round amidst the Thai people as a humorous explanation of the reason as to why the process of development of the Suphalaks has been so slow, and they are still so uncommon.
Temperament and Personality
The Suphalak cats are an active, interactive and assertive breed of cats that cherish the company of people. Being said so, it is needless to explain how dearly they are fond of their owners and family members. Being affectionate themselves, they expect the same love that they give to you. So, all that they hate is being left alone or ignored.
They are playful and zealous, and need a little bit of your time and attention, especially when it comes to an interactive play session. So it is a good decision to provide these active felines with cat toys, and a separate enclosure, dedicatedly meant for them to explore around during their moments of adventure.
This breed is intelligent, and would understand immediately what you want to say or express. Their prompt intelligence and communicative abilities often take on more to the dog-side.
The beauties in copper do not require extensive grooming, except for brushing their coats from time to time, may be a couple of times every week. This is primarily because of helping them get rid of dead hairs, stay clean, and maintain the shimmering luster of their elegant coat. However, like most other cats, they constantly keep cleaning themselves whenever they find themselves ‘dirty’.
Because this is a newly developed breed, the Suphalak cats have no known breed specific health issues at present. Although, genetic diseases that are common to almost all other domestic breeds of cat cannot be ruled out.
General cat training is recommended. Being intelligent and communicative, they would pick up commands and tricks easily. Teach them the basic home etiquette, and all the rules of your household that you expect your felid to know.
There are no dietary plans that are specific to this particular breed. Only general cat diet and normal cat food is enough to keep it healthy.
- Till date, only one solid copper-chocolate Suphalak has been exported from Thailand.
- The first Suphalak cat that was born outside of Thailand was a female feline, which was born in the USA on September 15, 2015.
- In Thailand, these chocolate felids have appeared at several cat shows including the 1st WCF Thailand National show, where these cats were presented and exhibited by Andreas Mobius, the WCF Temporary General Secretary.