Thai Street Cat
Thai street cats are feral, domesticated cats that live in rural villages and cities throughout Thailand. Though not a distinct breed, many Thai street cats have evolved together over time and share genetic similarities.
Thai Street Cat History
Thailand has produced some of the oldest and most recognizable cat breeds in the world—including the Siamese, Burmese, and Oriental Shorthair. Many Thai breeds can trace their roots back to the original Thai landrace cat, known as the Wichien-maat (or "Moon Diamond" cat).
Selective breeding of the Wichien-maat produced the pedigreed cats that now enjoy global popularity. But natural reproduction of these cats has continued on its own for centuries.
Today, Thailand has a massive population of street cats. Though these feral cats vary in appearance, many display similar characteristics to the Wichien-maat—such as color-pointed coats and elegant, elongated bodies.
Local efforts to reduce the number of stray cats and encourage responsible pet ownership are currently underway.
Thai Street Cat Traits
Thai street cats can come in all shapes and sizes. But many share common ancestry with the Siamese.
Signs of a life-long street cat—versus a stray cat who may be lost—include a clean, well-kept coat, protective body language, and lack of eye contact. Because they are intact, male street cats may have thick necks, muscular bodies, and scars from fighting.
Coat and Coloring
Thai street cats' coats can come in all colors, patterns, and lengths. It's not uncommon for Thai street cats to be color-point, which means they have darker colors on the face, legs, tail, and ears.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Thai street cats do not follow a breed standard. So, any combination of features is possible. That said, traditional traits of native cats from Thailand include wedge-shaped heads, long, lean bodies, large ears, and almond-shaped eyes.
Thai Street Cat Temperament
Thai street cats often live in groups and congregate near food sources and shelter. Though they may live in densely populated cities or towns, they are not typically accustomed to human contact. Many are fearful of being handled or confined. But some may adapt to interactions with people and learn to live indoors.
Thai Street Cat Care
A Thai street cat's diet typically consists of whatever they can find—scraps from trash cans, birds and rodents, handouts from kind strangers, and so on. If you're leaving food out for a street cat, they will benefit from the same commercially prepared diets as pet cats.
Street cats are typically fastidious groomers that keep their coats relatively clean. If you've taken in a street cat that will tolerate it, regular brushing and nail trims will help keep them in tip-top shape.
Thai street cats are susceptible to the same diseases as pet cats—including rabies, distemper, feline immunodeficiency virus, and feline leukemia. They are also at risk for numerous internal and external parasites and health issues associated with poor nutrition.
Reviewed February 23, 2021 by Annette Louviere, DVM