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Diamond dazzler’s winning ways

CHIANG RAI: The owner of seven diamond-eyed cats has refused to sell her precious felines, despite offers as high as 35,000 baht for a kitten. The owner, 53-year-old Suk Namwong, has been breeding cats out of her small mom-and-pop store in Chiang Rai’s Muang district for 20 years. But she had never seen anything quite like Jao Yok, a regal, black-striped tom with striking, pale-blue eyes ringed with a dazzling perimeter that shines like diamonds. The eyes are not the only thing special about Jao Yok, who has already sired several litters of kittens that share his strange qualities. On religious holidays, the cat faces north and holds his mouth open to reveal a marking on the roof of his palate which resembles a bodhi tree, an important symbol in Thailand as the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. K. Suk refuses to sell any of the remaining cats, for, like the goose that laid the golden eggs, Jao Yok has another special ability: he can predict lottery numbers. She explained a strange ritual she goes through with Jao Yok, in which she calls to him in the high-pitched, cloying voice used by so many cat owners, “Jao Yok, your food is all gone, na ja!”. By means which are not clearly elaborated, this exchange somehow inspires Jao Yok, who then conveys to his doting owner the final three digits in the coming lottery draw. K. Suk claims she wins on just about every draw. Although she refuses to sell more kittens, K. Suk does plan to present two three-month-old kittens to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Diamond-eyed cats – maew khao manee – have a long history with the Thai Royal Family. King Rama V, one of the country’s most revered monarchs, even offered diamond-eyed cats living quarters in his palace.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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