You’re lounging on your couch, watching TV, when suddenly you feel a warm weight on your chest. You look down to see a Himalayan cat perched on you, staring up at you with big, blue eyes. You try to push her off, but she’s too darn cute. You’re stuck.
This is the magic of the Himalayan. They’re not just cats, they’re little balls of fluff with personalities as big as their coats. They’ll follow you around like a loyal dog, but with the grace and elegance of a true feline. They’re the perfect balance of playful and chill.
And let’s talk about their looks. That long, silky fur. Those piercing blue eyes. They’re like walking works of art. You’ll find yourself staring at them for hours, mesmerized by their beauty.
But don’t be fooled by their delicate appearance. These cats are tough as nails. They can handle anything life throws their way, whether it’s a rowdy dog or a rowdy toddler. They’ll take it all in stride, with a calm and collected demeanor that will make you wonder how they do it.
The Himalayan Cat
Many people consider the blue-eyed, long-haired Himalayan to be the perfect indoor cat. Himalayans are well-suited for indoor living due to their calm and gentle nature, making them great companions for those living in apartments or other small living spaces. The Himalayan’s thick, luxurious coat would become easily tangled and matted if they were to spend much time outdoors, making indoor living a more suitable environment for their grooming needs. Additionally, outdoor exposure to dirt, debris, and insects could negatively affect the health and appearance of their coat. Their thick coat also makes them comfortable in cooler indoor temperatures.
They are not only beautiful, but make excellent companions, with their friendly and playful nature. They are one of the most docile and affectionate cat breeds, often seeking out attention from their owners. This breed is known for having a laid-back personality, and are often content to just relax and cuddle with their humans.
Both the Persian and the Siamese are natural breeds, but the Himalayan was created through human intervention. Their coat is long and luxurious, like that of the Persian, but they have color points like the Siamese. Nicknamed the “Himmie”, they bond well with humans, and much prefer companionship rather than being left on their own. A lovable cat, the Himmie is generally friendly with everyone.
History of the Himalayan
The Himalayan cat is a relatively new breed, developed in the 1930s in the United States through the cross breeding of a white long-haired Persian and a Siamese cat. Therefore, Himalayans are a manmade breed..
The idea was to create a breed with the long, luxurious fur of the Persian, but with the striking blue eyes and color points of the Siamese.
The breed was originally named the “Himalayan Persian,” but was later shortened to simply “Himalayan. In fact, Himalayans are still sometimes called the “Colorpoint Persian”.
The first Himalayan cat was named Newton’s Debutante, and she was born in 1935. It was not until the 1950s, however, that the breed became more popular and was officially recognized by cat associations.
Although some countries still classify the Himalayan as a subset of the Persian breed, it is now widely recognized as a distinct breed in its own right. Known for their stunning colorpoint markings, striking blue eyes, and affectionate nature, Himalayans have become a popular choice for cat lovers around the world. They have been bred to accentuate their unique characteristics, which has helped to establish them as a separate and highly sought-after breed.
While the Himalayan cat may have a relatively short history, their unique and striking appearance has made them a beloved breed among cat enthusiasts around the world.
The Himalayan’s Appearance
The appearance of Himalayans is very similar to the long-haired Persian with the exception of their blue eyes and their point colorations, which comes from the Siamese cross-breeding. While the bulk of the fur on the body of a purebred Himalayan is usually white or cream, there are 6 main types of coats for purebred Himalayans:
- Blue point – The blue coat color is only seen on the feet, ears, tail and face mask.
- Lilac point – A brighter version of the point. The body color is also usually whiter and brighter than a blue point.
- Seal point – The seal brown coat color is only seen on the feet, ears, tail and face mask.
- Chocolate point – Chocolate brown color (which is lighter than the seal brown) on the points. The body color is white and brighter than the seal point as well. Chocolate point Himalayans have pink paw pads while seal point have dark brown paw pads.
- Red or Flame point – The red coat color is only seen on the points.
- Cream point – Cream and flame points can be very similar in color, however the body color of the cream is whiter and brighter.
The Himalayan’s coat color is determined by temperature-sensitive enzymes, meaning their fur is darker on their extremities and lighter on their body.
Himalayans are medium-sized cats that usually have a weight range between 7 and 12 pounds. They are generally big-boned, and because their fur is so long, they can look quite large. They have a round body with short legs. Because of their short legs, they usually can’t jump as high as other breeds of cats.
The Himalayan’s Face
Himalayans have one of two types of faces – either a “doll-face” (traditional) or “peke-face” (extreme), which has a flatter face and nose.
Doll-Face (Traditional Himalayan)
The doll-face Himalayan cat has a more moderate or traditional appearance. Their facial structure is less extreme compared to the peke-face variety.
A Doll-Faced Himalayan
They have a slightly flatter face compared to other cat breeds, but it is not as pronounced as the peke-face Himalayans. Their nose is usually less pushed-in, giving them a more natural and open facial expression.
Peke-Face (Extreme Himalayan)
The peke-face Himalayan has a more extreme facial structure. They are characterized by a flatter face and a very short, pushed-in nose. This gives them a distinct appearance, resembling the facial structure of the Pekingese dog breed. Their noses are extremely flat, and their eyes are set wider apart due to the flatter face. The overall effect is a more compressed and rounded facial shape.
It’s important to note that the term “peke-face” is sometimes used interchangeably with “ultra-typed” or “extreme” Himalayan cats. These variations in facial structure have been achieved through selective breeding to enhance certain physical traits.
While both types share the same breed characteristics and temperament, the extreme facial structure of the peke-face Himalayan can sometimes result in health concerns. The flatter face may contribute to breathing difficulties, eye problems, and dental issues. Regular veterinary care and attention are crucial to ensure the well-being of these cats.
A Seal Point Peke-Faced Himalayan
Ultimately, whether you prefer the doll-face or peke-face Himalayan is a matter of personal preference. Both types make loving and affectionate pets, so it’s important to choose a cat based on their personality and compatibility with your lifestyle, in addition to their physical appearance.
As they are better suited to being indoor pets, Himalayans have a relatively long lifespan of approximately 14-15 years. However, they can be predisposed to Polycystic Kidney Disease, due to their Persian ancestry. A genetic test can be performed that will reveal whether the cat carries this gene or not.
Himalayans are generally prone to dental issues, so regular teeth cleaning and veterinary check-ups are important for their health.
They are also prone to the same health problems as the Persian, especially the peke-faced variety, such as sinus and breathing problems, due to their flatter face, which gives them shortened sinus cavities. But overall, they are generally a healthy breed.
Himalayans love to be petted and caressed, so there is no problem grooming them – they love it! Which is a good thing, because they will need to be groomed often! If they are not groomed every day, tangles and knots can form which can cause the cat a lot of pain.
They will also be prone to getting more hairballs when grooming themselves, if their coats are not groomed daily. It is recommended to brush them with a steel comb. They may also need to have their face and eyes wiped every day if they have a peke-face.
Himalayans have the sweet, docile, quiet nature of the Persian cat. They are intelligent and make excellent indoor companion animals. They are usually non-destructive; but they have a playful side, as well, which comes from their Siamese heritage. They love to play fetch and toys will keep them entertained for hours.
They are typically well-mannered and are known for their good behavior indoors. They tend to be less mischievous or destructive compared to some other breeds, and are usually respectful of their surroundings and have a natural inclination towards cleanliness.
Himalayans are typically very loving and enjoy being close to their owners. They often seek out cuddles and enjoy being petted and groomed. They form strong bonds with their human companions and thrive on attention and affection.
These cats have a laid-back nature and tend to be quite relaxed in their demeanor. They are not known for being overly active or hyperactive, preferring to lounge around and observe their surroundings. Himalayans are most content with a serene and peaceful environment.
Himalayans are generally patient and tolerant, making them well-suited for households with children or other pets. They are not prone to aggressive behavior and are known for their calm and gentle nature.
While Himalayans are not as vocal as their Siamese relatives, they may still communicate through soft meows or purrs to express their needs or contentment. They are not known for excessive vocalization and tend to be fairly quiet cats.
Although Himalayans enjoy the company of their owners, they also have an independent streak. They can entertain themselves and do not constantly require attention. However, they do appreciate a consistent routine and may show signs of affection when they crave attention.
While these traits are generally associated with Himalayans, there can always be variations among individuals. Proper socialization, a loving environment, and regular interaction with their owners can help bring out the best in a Himalayan cat’s personality.
The Last Meow
Himalayans are beautiful cats. They are gentle, intelligent indoor companions with a playful streak inherited from their Siamese ancestry. They are respectful of their surroundings, enjoy cuddles and form strong bonds with their owners. Patient and tolerant, they are well-suited for households with children or other pets. While generally quiet and independent, they appreciate a consistent routine and regular interaction with their owners.
So, next time you’re in the market for a new cat, consider the Himalayan. They may just surprise you with their charm, their beauty, and their unbreakable spirit. Plus, they make such great couch companions!