Himalayans are gorgeous cats with the body and coat of a Persian cat, but their colour, pattern and stunning dark blue eyes are of the Siamese cat. A man-made breed, this cat breed is named for the pointed pattern that is recognized as Himalayan in many other cat breeds. It is one of the most well-known cat breeds and comes in a wide range of pointed colours. Considered as one of the most recognizable and oldest cat breeds, the Himalayan are part of the Persian Breed Group that includes the Persian and the Exotic Shorthair breeds. These cat breeds share the same body type but differ in their coat type. The Exotic Shorthair has short, coarse hair, while the Himalayan and the Persian have massive hairs. These beautiful cats are known for their flat face, large rounded eyes and fat cheeks.
Gentle and calm, the Himalayans chose to be in a quiet environment. They are very relaxed and prefer lounging on a sofa with their human companion. Himalayans communicate with their expressive eyes and their soft, harmonious voice. They are an adaptable cat breed and will love living with any family with lots of love and attention to give.
Compared to the other breeds in the Persian Breed Group, the Himalayans are docile and will display sudden bursts of kitten-like actions. You can see them napping in one corner then suddenly bursts into action, running and rolling around the household. This cat breed loves to play with interactive toys, catnip mice, and chase balls. And because of their laidback personality, you have to encourage them to exercise daily.
Himalayans will love to be next to their human companion. You can frequently see this cat sleeping in bed or in the lap of their human companion when they are in the mood for some love and attention. Himalayans don’t mind any changes in their routine – just make sure that you provide them plenty of love, interaction and attention.
These cats are considered the “gentle giant” in the cat world. Despite their large size – due to their long hair – they have a sweet, mild, yet playful nature. If you are considering a low-maintenance cat breed, this breed may not be the right companion for you. Their long and silky coat needs daily care.
- Grooming: Everyday 10/10
- Shedding: High 2/10
- Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
- Activity Level: Low 2/10
- Playfulness: Medium 6/10
- Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
- Friendliness to children: High 10/10
- Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
- Vocality: Low 2/10
- Intelligence: Medium 6/10
- Independence: High 10/10
In 1931, cat breeders Virginia Cobb and Dr. Clyde Keeler started an experimental breeding program and produced the first Himalayan kitten named "Newton's Debutante". In the 1950s, Ben Borrett led a similar breeding program to produce a longhair Colorpoint cat in Canada. While in 1955, the GCCF recognized the Himalayan as a Colorpoint Longhair.
Marguerita Goforth obtains permission from a friend to use a longhaired cat with seal point colouring named "Princess Himalayan Hope " to start her breeding program to produce a Persian type cat with Siamese cat markings. She was the pioneer in getting the Himalayan breed recognized for Championship and American associations in 1957 as the Himalayan.
Himalayans are medium to large cat with a short cobby body that is correspondingly massive across their shoulders and rump. Their large head is round and smoothed domed with an excellent range of skull sets on a short, bushy neck. Himalayans must have perfect tooth occlusion and a robust and well-developed chin. Their boning should be heavy. Their large eyes are round and set far apart, which gives the cat a sweet expression. Their short nose is snub and broad with a break centred between their eyes. Their small ears are rounded at the tip and set far apart and low on their head. Their tail should be short and dense but well-proportioned to their body. The Himalayan is compact but not fat, with a general appearance of soft roundness. Their coat is long and flowing and needs constant grooming because their undercoat can mat if not maintained and cared for. This cat breed demands a serious time obligation to keep their coat looking its best, and it takes information, tips and practice to do it correctly.
The points consisting of their ears, feet, legs, tail, and face mask should display the cat's primary colour. Their body colour should be uniform in colour, but delicate shading and darker shaded areas on older cats' coats are permitted. However, there still must be a certain contrast between their body colour and point colour. The Himalayan is accepted in The International Cat Association in all colours and divisions. These pointed colours include cream, red, chocolate, blue, seal, tortoiseshell, blue-cream and lilac. This cat breed also has various pointed patterns, including solid point, bicolour point, tricolour point, tortoiseshell, tabby or lynx point, shaded point and smoke.
The Himalayan is a composed, affectionate and sweet cat breed. These gentle cats are calm and warm. They prefer to cuddle with their human companion rather than climb up or perch on higher grounds. The Himalayans are receptive to their human companion’s moods and emotions. They are very bright. Some breeders say that the Himalayans tend to talk more, but nothing close to their Siamese cousins.
These cats are not known to be climbers or leapers. They are frequently seen lounging or napping when they are not playing with their toys or having some quality time with their human companion. For families with children, the Himalayans are ideal as family pet because they are known to be great with children. While they are docile, they sometimes burst into kitten-like actions. One minute, they are napping; next thing you know, they are running and rolling around the house. They will stretch next to their human companion, sleep in a bed or snuggle in their lap when they are in the mood. What’s great about the Himalayans is that they are fine with routine changes and are generally welcoming to everyone.
They adore being petted but do not demand it like some cat breeds. However, if they are not getting adequate attention, they will surely let you know with their soft meows and expressive looks from their big blue eyes. They also enjoy playing with toys, whatever toy they can find, whether it is the most luxurious toy or just a balled-up scrap of paper.
Due to their low to moderate energy level, you may need to encourage your Himalayan to do their training sessions or daily exercise. It is best to start them young, as kittens are known to have the energy to do activities. You can begin teaching them simple tasks such as using the scratching post and the litter boxes. As they mature, you can teach them to play games, interact with toys and follow simple commands. They may look easygoing, but they are smart. Give them puzzle toys and interactive toys to keep them active. Don’t forget to reward their good behaviour with their favourite kibble or treat.
Remember, when your Himalayan is correctly trained and familiarized with different people, animals and environment at an early age, they will blossom into a well-bred, well-behaved and well-rounded feline companion perfect for any home.
The Himalayan’s coat needs daily attention. They require daily brushing to keep their longhaired coats from forming tangles and mats and eliminate dirt, dust and debris that clings to their coat. Moreover, their flat face must be wiped daily and carefully using a damp washcloth as tearstains can be left on their adorable face. As early as possible, train your Himalayan kitten to get used to daily grooming. Start by brushing the coat of your Himalayan using a very soft brush as not to pull their kitten hairs or hurt their skin. If they experience something unpleasant during a grooming session, your cat may have difficulty relaxing and grooming them may become a challenge for you. As they mature, they need the right tools to accommodate their coat needs. So, if you and your cat did not come across any problems, you can upgrade your brush. As part of their training, remember to reward your Himalayan if they behave well during the grooming session.
Dedicate time each week to examine your cat’s ear. Himalayan’s pointed ears are prone to capturing dirt that can lead to ear infection and other issues. If you find dirt on your cat’s ear, use a vet-approved pet ear cleaner and clean cotton balls to remove it gently. Never use a cotton swab as this may cause serious damage to the fragile inner-ear structures. If you notice inflammation, or it is filthy or smells funny, call your veterinarian immediately for care and treatment.
Like their ears, make time each day to examine your cat’s eyes for stains and discharges. Use a clean and soft cloth to gently clean the area to remove eye discharges. Just be careful not to poke or hurt their eyes. As you clean the area of the eyes, make sure to use a different part of the cloth to avoid eye infection.
Weekly brushing is sufficient to keep your Himalayan’s teeth healthy and away from any tooth and gum diseases. Protect your skin and your furniture by trimming your cat’s nails regularly using a vet-approved clipper. Make sure to examine their paws weekly to keep them healthy and injury-free.
For their bathroom hygiene, make sure to keep and maintain their litter boxes clean. Himalayans, like other breeds, are very meticulous about it. Not only that it will make them use another place in the household to do their bathroom business, but dirty, clumped litter may stick to their long silky coats. So, make sure to keep a watchful eye on their litter box and their longhaired coat to safeguard that your cat is not accumulating any debris that will result in health and coat issues.
Lastly, it is best to keep your Himalayan an indoor cat. This will protect your Himalayan cat from acquiring feline diseases that it can get from wandering the outdoors. Should you allow your Himalayan to explore the outdoors, make sure to supervise it. It will help avoid any unpleasant encounters such as mishandling from a stranger who may find your cat very irresistible or from an animal attack that they may be able to fight for themselves. In addition, due to their heat sensitivity, going outdoors may do more bad than good for your Himalayan.
Himalayans are prone to several potential health conditions, most commonly related to their facial structure:
- Excessive tearing
- Breathing difficulty or noisy caused by constricted nostrils
- Heat sensitivity
- Dental malocclusions – a condition where their teeth do not mesh well together.
- Eye conditions such as cherry eye, entropion and progressive retinal atrophy
- Seborrhea oleosa – is a skin condition that causes itchiness, redness and hair loss.
- Feline hyperesthesia syndrome – is a nervous system disorder.
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Predisposition to ringworm
Himalayans are calm, easygoing and welcoming. They love playing and interacting with their human companion. Because of these traits, they are becoming a popular choice for families with children and other pets. The Himalayan prefer older children as they prefer quiet environments rather than the noise coming from younger kids. So, make sure to oversee any interaction between your children and your Himalayan to avoid any accidents like scratching, coat and tail pulling that may hurt not only your cat but also your children.
Himalayans are happy to live with other cats, especially their kind and cat-friendly dogs under one roof. Just remember to introduce them gradually and in controlled areas to make sure that they learn to get along well together.