Himalayan Breed at A Glance
One of the oldest and most recognizable cat breeds, the Himalayan is part of the Persian Breed Group, which also includes the Persian and Exotic Shorthair breeds. They share the same body type, but the Exotic Shorthair’s short coarse hair differs from the massive hair of the Persian and Himalayan. Known for their sweet, flat face, large, round eyes and fat cheeks, they get along with everyone. Find out more about this breed and if a Himalayan is right for you and your family.
- Temperament: Quiet, Gentle, Sweet
- Size: As with all cats in the Persian Breed Group, Himalayans are medium sized, but appear larger than they really are due to their massive fur. Males are larger than females.
- Colors: All color pointed cats (a light colored body with darker points and blue eyes) with Persian type are called Himalayan. Possible pointed colors include: red, cream, seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, tortoiseshell, and blue-cream. Himalayans also appear in a variety of pointed patterns, including solid point, tortoiseshell, bicolor point, tricolor point, tabby or lynx point, smoke and shaded point.
- Life Expectancy: The Himalayan is a very healthy breed and can be expected to live between 8-11 years.
About the Himalayan
Gentle and quiet, Himalayan cats prefer being in a calm environment. They are very easygoing and prefer lounging on a sofa with their families. Himalayans communicate with their expressive eyes and his soft, harmonious voice. They are an adaptable breed and will enjoy living with any family as long as they love them and treat them gently.
As with all members of the Persian Breed Group, Himalayans are placid and exhibit bursts of kitten-like activity. They will be sleeping in the sun one minute and suddenly explode into action, running through the room and rolling around. Himalayans like to play with interactive toys, chase balls, and catnip mice, but you might have to keep after them to exercise on a daily basis.
Himalayans will stretch out next to you, sleep in your bed, and sit on your lap when they are in the mood. They do not mind changes in routine and are generally friendly with everyone.
TICA Regions, Clubs & Rescues
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The Himalayan coat requires daily attention. Cats must be brushed and combed in order to keep the coat from tangling. In addition, the flat face must be cleaned regularly and carefully as tearstains can be deposited on the face.
Nails should be trimmed more frequently (once a week) when they are kittens and less frequently (every 2-3 weeks) as an adult. As with any cat, regularly brushing teeth is recommended. Talk to your vet for instructions and suggestions.
Similar to any cat, the Persians and those in the Persian Group need proper protein and nutrients. A high-quality diet is recommended. After altering (spaying/neutering), they have a greater tendency to become overweight, as with any cat. Owners should be aware of both the quality and quantity of foods being fed.
Fresh water should be available at all times. Water bowls should be washed and refilled with fresh water daily. As with all cats, it is important to give your cat fresh, clean water daily so they don’t hesitate to drink. If you worry about your cat drinking enough water each day, here's a tip from some cat behaviorists: place the water bowl at least three feet away from any food. Cats’ noses are sensitive and an overwhelming smell of food may cause them to drink less. Many Persians do better with water fountains. It helps keep the hair on their chin and chest drier.
Owners of Persians, Himalayans and Exotic Shorthair breeds should check with their breeder and veterinarian to ensure their cat has been checked for the following: Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), respiratory problems, eye problems, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
Virginia Cobb and Dr. Clyde Keeler began an experimental breeding program in 1931 and produced the first Himalayan kitten named "Newton's Debutante" In the 1950's in Canada Ben Borrett began working on a similar breeding program to create a longhair Colorpoint cat. In 1955 GCCF recognized the Himalayan as a Colorpoint Longhair.
Marguerita Goforth received permission from a friend to use a longhaired cat with seal point coloring, named "Princess Himalayan Hope, " to begin her breeding program to create a Persian type cat with Siamese markings. She was a major pioneer in getting the Himalayan recognized for Championship and American associations recognized the breed in 1957 as the Himalayan.
Did You Know?
The Persian breed is one of the oldest cat breeds and can been seen depicted in hieroglyphics as early as 1684 B.C.
Persian breeds made their American debut in the early 19th century.
Persian and Exotic Shorthair
Siamese, Balinese, Oriental Longhair, and Oriental Shorthair
From the Breed Standard
The ideal Himalayan breed is a strong cat with excellent boning and musculature, a well-balanced cat, giving the impression of robust power. The face should be round with a sweet, pleasant expression and large, round expressive eyes. The cat should be well-balanced physically and temperamentally, gentle and amenable to handling.
Click here to read the full TICA Himalayan Breed Standard.
Additional information and an introduction to the Himalayan breed can be found in the links below:
Accepted For Championship in TICA in 1979