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Wat Arun Cats

three cats two in stone
Photo by IMP1

The above cats are described as "Wat Arun cats" by the photographer. The photograph was taken in Thailand. What are Wat Arun cats and how many cats can you see - yes three? There is a nice symmetry or harmony in this photograph. The stone cats are  mother and offspring, I suspect. The mother is washing her paw. The daughter is watching and waiting. The live temple cat behind them is also grooming itself and in a similar pose.

Wat Arun cats are temple cats and this is a Bhuddist temple at Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand. The full address is: Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand. The full name of the temple is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan (วัดอรุณราชวรารามราชวรมหาวิหาร) (try and pronounce that). This is where it is:


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The temple is a well known landmark in Bangkok and is also known as the Temple of the Dawn (as it reflects the early morning light). This website incidentally supports a group of temple cats in Phuket, Thailand through the Soi Dog Foundation. You see the donations here: Pictures of cats org donations.

What of the cats? Monks historically look after temple cats. As I understand there are many examples of temple cats.

There is a famous (well in the cat fancy the story is famous) legend about the creation of the Birman cat breed from temple cats. The Birman comes from Burma (Myanmar) where there are temple cats too.

It would seem, and I am guessing here, that the stone cat sculptures are of  temple cats at the time that the temple was built. Construction started in 1809.

Thailand was called Siam. Siam is the home of the Siamese cat, a white pointed cat. Some say the Thai cat is a more accurate representation of the original Siamese cats. The cat behind the stone cats is a moggie. This cat is actually a bicolor moggie - black and white - not a Siamese cat. The head markings are very symmetrical and they remind me of the Turkish Van, with the inverted "V" mark. Is there a connection? Quite possibly.

This page: Cat genetics includes a paragraph about the spread of domestic cat genetics throughout the world from the origins in the Mediterranean basin.

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