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Despite what their name suggests, Himalayan cats do not originate from the Asian mountain range. Instead, this beautiful, fluffy feline is a crossbreed between the Persian and the Siamese, combining the Persian's long, silky coat with the Siamese's colour-point pattern and blue eyes.
Himalayan cats were first produced in the USA in the 1930s. Shortly after, British breeders also began producing this hybrid, known today as the Colorpoint Longhair. They were recognised as their own breed in the 1950s, and since then, their popularity amongst cat lovers has grown immensely.
Meet the Himalayan
Himalayan cats, affectionately known as "Himmies", are medium to large size felines. They have stocky bodies with solid bones, short legs, broad chests, and rounded bellies. As fully grown adults, Himalayan cats usually weigh between 8 and 12 pounds. When well cared for, most Himmies will live for 8 to 12 years, with some living up to 15.
Himalayan cats inherit the best qualities of the Persian and Siamese breeds. They have a long, silky double-layer coat with a colour-point patterning. The majority of the fur on their body is white or cream, but the points can be one of several shades, including seal, red/flame, blue, chocolate, or lilac. Because they have a dense undercoat and long outer hairs, their fur can tangle and mat easily. Therefore, you should brush or comb it every day to keep it in top condition.
Like Persians, Himalayan cats have a round head with a "doll-face" and flat nose. However, some Himalayan cats are bred from peke-faced Persians, so they have more squashed-like facial features. What's more, Himmies inherit the Siamese's striking blue large, round eyes.
The temperament of a Himalayan cat
Himalayan cats are super friendly and affectionate, and like their Persian parents, have a sweet and gentle nature. Still, due to their Siamese heritage, they are social, intelligent and have a very playful side, too. They are significantly more active than Persians but calmer than Siamese, creating an even-temperament, which is what makes them a fabulous indoor kitty.
Thankfully, Himmies did not inherit the Siamese's highly vocal trait, and they are generally pretty quiet felines. They do crave attention from their owners, though and love to be petted. This love of physical contact makes daily grooming a breeze, as it becomes a ritual that they look forward to.
Being a hybrid of both a calm and an active breed means that Himalayan cats can go from one extreme to another. For example, this kitty could be lying in the sun, relaxed one minute, and then suddenly go crazy and start running around. Even so, their playful bursts are generally short, and they only require a couple of quick play sessions each day. Plus, they are easily entertained, so provided they have plenty of toys and scratch posts, Himmies are pretty good at keeping themselves entertained.
Himalayans often become incredibly loyal to their owners and love to lay on the laps of their humans. They are also a very adaptable breed with a good amount of independence. They generally do okay when left alone for short periods, but they do get lonely too. How long you can leave your Himmie alone will depend on their specific personality.
10 reasons to add a Himalayan to your family
- They are the perfect mix - Himalayan cats possess the Persians and Siamese best traits, which results in an idyllic temperament and appearance.
- They are incredibly glamorous - Their long, silky coat combined with their gorgeous colour-point pattern makes one beautiful, elegant-looking feline.
- They have so much love to give - Himmies are full of affection and are not afraid to share it. Plus, as they have a reasonably calm nature, they enjoy sitting on their owner's lap and snuggling up on the sofa.
- They are not aggressive - Thanks to their Persian heritage, Himalayan cats are pretty docile. They do not act aggressively towards anyone, including children and other animals. If they feel threatened, this breed will run and hide rather than lash out.
- They will entertain you with their energetic bursts - Himmies love to play, especially as kittens, and you'll have many laughs watching them go crazy with a toy mouse or ripping up a piece of cardboard.
- They won't jump on your kitchen counters - Due to their short legs, these cats aren't jumpers and prefer to stay on ground level. Therefore, they won't jump up onto the table while you're eating or knock down all the books on your shelves.
- Their colouring comes as a surprise - Himalayan cats are not born with their colour-point but develop it as they grow. As a kitten, it's hard to see their exact shading, but their complete colouring is visible by the time they reach 2 years.
- The climate can also determine their colouring - Interestingly, how light or dark a Himmie's colour-point is, depends on the temperature of their environment. Those who live in colder climates tend to have darker colour points.
- They are quiet felines - If you love Siamese cats, but their loudness puts you off, a Himmie makes an ideal alternative as they are much quieter!
- They love to be part of the family - Himalayans may be wary of strangers, but they develop strong bonds with their owners and love to be involved in family life.
Best homes for a Himalayan cat
Being friendly, social, and adaptable felines, Himalayan cats do well in most types of homes. They do not have high exercise or playtime needs, but they do require grooming every day. Even so, a quick comb through their luxurious coat is usually sufficient, and once you get into the habit of doing it, you'll find it doesn't take too much time or effort.
Because they are so affectionate and love to be petted, Himalayan cats are ideal for someone looking for a furry friend to relax and watch the evening soaps with. However, some Himmies can display the shyness of the Persian breed, so they may not enjoy living in loud, busy environments. What's more, some Himmies are not too fond of strangers and visitors to the house.
Since Himalayan cats are pretty docile, they generally get along with other well-behaved cats and dogs. They do not display any aggressive behaviour toward other animals or children. In fact, as they are so affectionate, they tend to welcome attention from young kids, as long as they do not roughly handle them.