The list of the 17 good luck cats and more pictures from the original manuscripts.


The following pictures, from the National Library of Bangkok, and the Smud Khoi are kindly provided by Mrs. Daphne Negus
The translations of the verses on each cat's pictures comes from that of Ianthe Cormak
The footnotes (#) are from Ianthe Cormak with the addition of some from Daphne Negus (marked with DN)

Verses from the "Introduction"

"I bow to you with my head and my hands(1) instead of using flowers, incense and golden candles:
For you, I will try to describe the forms of the cat as they were believed to be in myth and legend
All cats were created by two skilled Heremits: The cats that bring good luck
were created by Ka-La-I-Ko-Te: those of good pedigree(2) by eyes of fire(3)"

On the left, is the original title page of the "Tamra Duu Laksara Maew"
published on the cremation of Phra Putthajan, abbot of Wat Anongkaram

the first picture is of the cat called NIN-RAD (black jet of jewel)

"A cat of jet black pedigree has a black body;
teeth, eyes, claws, tongue, all are black
her tail is so long
that it will touch her head"


"Her neck, stomach, ears and tail
are as white as the cotton flower
her paws are white (and) her eyes are green.
Her name is "beautiful" (and) her body is black"

The third picture is of the cat called SU-PA-LAK (4)
or THONG DAENG (Copper)

"Of magnificent appearance with shape the best,
coloured like copper this cat is beautiful:
The light of her eyes is as shining ray(5)
she protects you from all danger, saves you from all evil,
and brings you happiness"

The fourth picture is of the cat called GOW THEEM (Nine Marks)(6)

"She has on her neck, her head (and) her rump a spot
two on the tips of her shoulders two on the front of her thighs:
the whole of her front paws must be covered with black:
in nine places she must be black the rest of her body
an even, sleek white"

The fifth picture is of the cat named MA-LAID or DOK-LAO(8)

"The cat Ma-Laid is of an even colour:
her coat is as the flower of the pampass grass smooth and orderly:
the base of each hair is the colour of a cloud(9)
and her eyes are like the dew when dropped on the leaf of the lotus"

"The cat Mal-Ed has a body colour like "Doklao"
The hairs are smooth with roots like clouds and tips like silver
The eyes shine like dewdrops on a lotus leaf(10)

The sixth picture is of the cat called SAM-SART (Blue Roan)*

"All over the body the hairs are paired black with white:
The body is slight the shape fluid:
The tail is tapered the effect is of great beauty:
Her eyes are like the light of the firefly(11) picked out with liquid gold(12)"

* Shorthaired Shaded Silver? (DN)

The seventh picture is of the cat called RA-TA-NE GAM PHON
(Crystal, also wool cloth and flannel)

"Fittingly named this cat has a coat the colour of a conch shell(13)
she is called ratane gamphon.
She is girdled with black around the breast and back
and her eyes are like gold(14)"

The eighth picture is of the cat called WI-CHI-AN-MAAD(15) (Diamond) (Siamese?)

"The upper part of the mouth, the tail, all four feet, and the ears,
these eight places are black
The eyes are reddish-gold in colour
the cat called Wichianmaad has white fur."

The ninth picture is of the cat called NI-LA-CHAK (Jet Circlet)

"Her name describes her beautiful appearance:
her coat is black as the crow's wing:
Around her neck she wears a band of purest white.
Great care should be taken of this cat."

The tenth picture is of the cat called MU-LI-LAA

"This cat is called Mulilaa
Her ears are like white embroidery(16)
Her eyes are the colour of the yellow chrysanthemum
And her tail and legs, body and head are all black"

The eleventh picture is of the cat called GROB-WEN (Eyeglasses Rim)
or AN-MAAR (Saddle)

"The cat called Grob-wen has a white coat
The fur around her eyes is black as if it has been dyed(17)
upon her back she has the appearance of a saddle
It looks beautiful as if encircled in ink(18)"

The twelfth picture is of the cat called BUT-SE-WEIS (White Ridge)
or BUT-TA-LON(19)

"Butse-weis has white fur
from the end of her nose to the tip of her tail.
This cat is rare.
Her eyes are like gold dust set with topaz."

The thirteenth picture is of the cat called KRA-JORK(20)

"The cat called Kra-jork has a rounded body:
The coat is black:
She has white fur around her mouth: it looks like a floating cloud.
Her eyse are the colour of golden sap(21)."

The fourtheenth picture is of the cat called SINGH-HASEP (Lion eater)

"Singh-hasep has a black coat
With white around the mouth:
White fur encircles his neck and white on the end of his nose.
His eyes are the colour of gamboge(22)."

The fifteenth picture is of the cat called GARN-WAEK(23)

"Black-coated is the cat called Garn-waek
Her eyes are the colour of bright gold(24).
On her nose is a ridge of white
So precise as to have been painted by an artist(25)."

The sixteenth picture is of the cat called JA-TOO-BOT (Four legged)

"Ja-too-bot has short fur.
The hairs of her body are black as thought smeared with ink:
Her legs are white.
Her eyes are yellow - yellow as the yellowest flower"

The seventeenth picture is of the cat called KORN-YA-JA

"With fine black fur all over her body(26) from neck, stomack, legs,
And eyes the colour of the budding yellow flower(27)
This cat is called Kornyaja.
Her mouth and tail are sharply tapered and her legs are as graceful as those of the lion."

Verses from the "Conclusions"

"The cats of these seventeen qualities
Should be sought after.
They will bring you honour and prosperity
You will grow richer and richer if you keep any of the cats with these qualities"


  1. A Thai pun. It refers to the Wai but also to the fact that he is thinking about the poems and then writing them.
  2. Actually, the purebred cats as opposed to the 'Good Luck' and 'Good Pedigreed'.
  3. I had a thought about 'Eyes of Fire'. Count the cats with yellow or gold eyes
  4. Sharpely. Translates as as 'good conformation' or 'good feature'.
  5. Impossible to translate accurately since it refers to a Thai concep of the quality of light, for which there seems to be no English equivalent.
  6. Actually translates as spots (i.e. pimples) or daubs.
  7. Apart from myself, Luang Paripon, Deirdre Curtis-Cook, my Thai teacher - and Ruen (Khunying Abhibal) checked all of these and passed them as accurate if different! - I have had these verses translated by 3 Thai language experts (native English speakers), 4 everyday-Thai Thai speakers, and 2 Thais who speak the Royal or formal Thai in which the original was written. Not one of them agrees with any of the others.
  8. I've had 7 different translations of this, but pampass grass (Ruen), and reed blossom (the Thai/English plant names expert) win hands down, and I think they're the same flower. We picked some of this on the road to Chantanaburi and matched it to one of our Korats. The colour was rather paler but I was struck by the silkiness of the flower and the smooth way it lies, and wonder if it is not actually that the allusion is to the form and not the colour here.
  9. After this line (well, actually in it... Thai has a habit of using one word where we would use six and contrarywise twenty where we have one) there follows (according to Ruen and my Thai teacher) a totally untranslatable bit about the hair colour changing towards the tip "like an old man's when he begins to go grey". Mr. Sunti's translation of this brought the old Irish ballad to mind, "silver threads among the gold" (DN).
  10. The translation used by us since 1967 in KCFA Inc. material sent to me by Mr. Sunti Sriskoon from his uncle, Khun Prasit Sahakorn (DN).
  11. Fireflies in Thailand have a greenish glow.
  12. Refers to the real gold (goldleaf) with which Buddha images and statues are adorned.
  13. Means pearly, opalescent white. But pearly, opalescent white didn't scan.
  14. To be stricly accurate, the word used describes ONLY 14 carat gold.
  15. Original Siamese had dark points. Reddish gold might refer to eyes glowing red when they catch the light. I have heard them called "Ruby-eyed" (DN).
  16. Applique, or satin stitch. (think about it).
  17. Stencilled.
  18. I feel that the "beautiful" aspect of this cat, as it comes over in the poem, is related to the precision of the markings. There should be no shoading in the change from black to white; no blurring of the edges. The effect is as if the colour had been painted on.
  19. B said like P.
  20. This translates as a verb meaning to spill or splash out. (A messy meeder?)
  21. Amber?
  22. The only male cat in the book. Apparently, the pigment for gamboge comes from a Thai tree.
  23. The common Thai translation is naughty/mischievous.
  24. Quality of the gold not specified this time (as for Seventh Cat, note 14).
  25. A bit of artistic license (mine). Actually says: "as precise as the stroke of a brush".
  26. "Fine" as in "thin", I think. Translation back into Thai of the word fine leads to vast confusion, so I have stuck with that which pleases me most in this context.
  27. I simply must track down this "yello flower". I think it's the False Oleander (yellow), but I will try to 'prove' it. If it is, the whole thing is impossible. Its flowers are the colour of a 'buttercup'. (how about Champa? DN)

Additional note from DN re the 5th cat:
The Fifth Cat - Mal-ed means seed, and is a popular name for a male Korat. Doklao is a popular name for a female Korat. The seed referred to is a mingling of greyish green and grey in colour and is the seed of the Look Sawat. It has a hard, glossy shell. The Look Sawat grows wild and is non-edible. Korats are also called Si-Sawats. Si means colour. Korats can only be this one colour - the mingling of grey and green - with the important overlying silvering. Korats are silver blue from birth to death and exist in no other colour (DN)


with translation of the verses by Martin Clutterbuck from "The legend of the Siamese Cats"