Not to be confused with the Himalayan Mountain Cat, Himalayan Cats are a unique breed first developed in America during the 1950’s. A cross between a Siamese and Persian, the fluffy breed is known for its affectionate, loving personality.
The cats are quite docile compared to other, more jumpy breeds, and make for great lapcats. They love to cuddle, bond with their owner, and will spend hours lying in their favorite spots around the house.
That being said, they do need a bit of exercise every now and then. That will not only prevent them from putting on weight, but it also ensures they are properly stimulated.
The breed comes in a range of colors and gets along with both humans and other pets.
Other Names: Himmy
Origin: United States
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
Life Span: 9 to 15 years
Colors: Lilac, seal, blue, chocolate, tortoiseshell, hot cream, red
1. Personality & Temperament
Himmies are incredibly docile pets, especially when compared to other cat breeds. The Himalayan Cat personality is pleasant in every sense of the word. They love people, do great with children, and show a lot of affection to those they trust.
While they can run from time to time, Himalayans prefer to spend most of their time lounging in the sun or their owner’s lap. They will cuddle with you for hours if you let them. They don’t mind being on their own, but will meow when they want or need attention.
Himmies also tend to be a bit shy or skittish. They love calm households and do not like being around loud noises. They may also take time to trust houseguests they do not know.
2. How to Care for a Himalayan Cat
Himalayans, though not as active as other felines, like to eat. A well-balanced diet packed with protein and vegetables helps the breed keep their shiny coat and goes a long way towards maintaining health as they age.
Any high-quality food brand, including fixing your own mix at home, is perfect for a Himalayan Persian kitten. However, due to the breed’s thick coat, it can be beneficial to buy your Himmy special hair-ball resistant food as they age.
Two small meals a day should be more than enough for your feline. Even so, if your cat is active or runs around town, you may want to up the amount of food they get during their meals.
Even a short haired Himalayan cat sheds quite a bit. The cats are known for their luxurious fur. While it looks great, it can also be a bit of a pain to upkeep.
Daily brushings are essential here. Not only will that keep your cat mat-free, but it will also prevent hair from building up around your home.
Nail trimming and dental care go a long way with the breed, and it is important to routinely check their eyes for any excessive tear production. If you notice build up, wipe down their face with a damp cloth.
Himalayans are not a particularly active or playful breed. That doesn’t mean they can’t run around; it simply means they would rather sleep than chase a ball or toy mouse.
Even so, the breed does enjoy playing games from time to time. A quick fetch or wand session once a day is a good way to keep them healthy They may not always jump at the chance to play, but do not neglect their natural urges when they get hyper.
Himalayan Cats, while loving, tend to be a bit of an independent breed. As such, they do not respond well to any traditional methods of obedience training, and they are not able to learn tricks.
However, they are quite easy to litter box train. A little bit of positive reinforcement, such as a tasty snack, will get your cat using their box in no time.
3. Common Health Issues of the Himalayan Cat
The Himalayan Cat lifespan stretches anywhere between 9 to 15 years. That shows their natural health, but it does not tell the whole story. The following conditions are important to track as your kitty ages.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Common in most felines, polycystic kidney disease causes multiple cysts to grow on a cat’s kidney. When that occurs, the sacks fill with fluid over time. Eventually, the kidney can no longer function properly and shuts down.
Early detection is critical when it comes to this condition. There is no cure, but a quick diagnosis can give your cat a better life. While there are no clear signs for PKD, it is best to get your Himmie taken in for a screening while they’re young.
Himalayans have flattened faces. That gives them their distinct appearance, but it also makes them vulnerable to a slew of respiratory issues.
Always monitor the way your cat breathes and take note if they suck in air in an uncomfortable way. Also be aware of how easily they swallow food. Cats with severe respiratory issues, even ones below the surface, may also not be able to run for long periods of time.
If you notice any such problems with your Himmie, it is best to take them in for a check-up.
Himalayans’ long, beautiful coats are not the easiest to groom. Even if you are diligent with brushings, the breed is quite susceptible to ringworm.
Despite its name, the condition is a fungus that grows in red, scaly spots all over the skin. Always check your pet for such markings. If you see any, take them in for immediate treatment to catch the infection before it becomes too serious.
4. Children & Other Pets
As noted above, Himalayan cats are a loving breed. They not only enjoy adults, but are also quite patient with kids. So much so, that they don’t mind joining children in a game of fetch or chase.
The other reason the breed is great with kids is because they love to cuddle. The cats do not mind lounging with children while they watch TV or read on the couch.
Just note that, while a bit of extra squeezing is ok, Himmies can become aggressive if roughhoused too much. Always teach your child proper boundaries when handling animals.
Himmies, despite their independent streak, can do well with dogs or other cats if introduced to them while young. If you plan to have another pet alongside your Himalayan, it is best to raise the two together.
5. The History of the Himalayan Cat
Himalayan Cats are sometimes known as the Himalayan Persian, and sometimes they are known as the Himalayan Siamese Cat. That is because the breed is a mix of both.
Himmies first came about during the 1950’s when breeders sought to create a Persian/Siamese hybrid. Using blueprints first set up in the 1930’s, the group used selective breeding techniques to create the modern Himalayan Cat we know today.
That breeding led to a wide variety of cats, including the Seal Point Himalayan, Blue Himalayan Cat, White Himalayan Cat, and Black Himalayan Cat. Those distinct looks helped the felines gain popularity throughout the United States and beyond.
The Cat Fanciers Association eventually labeled the Himalayan as a distinct breed in 1957. However, they changed the classification to a type of Persian cat in 1984.
6. The Regular Expenses of Owning a Himalayan Cat
You will typically find Himmies for between $500 and $1300. However, Himalayan cats for adoption typically go for a bit less and ones from specialized breeders go for a bit more.
7. Himalayan Cat Rescue Groups
Himalayan cats are not an incredibly popular breed, but there are still quite a few that do not have proper homes. Many organizations help such Himmies get to loving owners.