Himalayan (Colorpoint Persian)
|life span|| |
|good with|| |
|shedding amount|| |
|activity level|| |
|coat length|| |
|other traits|| |
A mix between the Persian and the Siamese, the Himalayan is a long-haired beauty. Also called the colorpoint Persian, these cats are easy to recognize by their smooshy flat faces, long fur, and signature markings. And these cats aren't just looks—they're easygoing, laid-back, and described as "dog-like" in that they are extremely affectionate toward the humans they love.
Himalayans look a lot like a Persian wearing a mink coat. Their long, creamy fur provides the perfect canvas for their contrasting "points," which are darker sections of fur on their ears, face, legs, and tail. These points can come in a wide range of colors, including seal, blue, lilac, chocolate, flame, and cream, as well as tabby, lynx, and tortoiseshell patterns. Their deep blue eyes are the icing on the cake for this gorgeous breed.
These medium-sized cats aren't that big, but their ultra-long fur makes them look a lot larger than they are. Full-grown Himalayans typically weigh between 7–12 pounds and stand 10–12 inches tall.
Like Persians, Himalayans also have flat faces, small ears, and rounded heads. Their long, thick coats require regular grooming, but the extra work they demand is more than worth the effort because these popular kitties are a joy to have around.
The typical Himalayan temperament is gentle, loving, and incredibly intelligent, says Pam Nichols, DVM, president of the American Animal Hospital Association. And just like their Persian cousins, Himalayans are laid-back cats who are content to spend their day snoozing in your lap.
"They adapt well to any lifestyle, but are very much lap pets," Nichols says. "They will be as lazy as you expect them to be."
But just because you aren't likely to find your Himalayan climbing your curtains, this doesn't mean your cat is boring. In fact, Himalayans are fun to have around and love to play chase games with a variety of toys.
Himalayans get along with everyone, Nichols says, even the family dog, especially if introduced when young.
"They're great family pets," Nichols says. "[They have a] great even-keeled temperament. … They are like dogs in that they are very affectionate."
Himalayans are the epitome of chill. They're also relatively quiet, so you won't have to use earplugs when your kitty is hungry or drink extra cups of coffee because of 3 a.m. zoomies. These cats will be fine left alone for a few hours at a time and be at the door to greet you when you get home. They're just as happy with another kitty roommate or two; Himalayans are truly "go along-get-along" kind of kitties.
Although they look regal, Himalayans don't require a palace—they're just happy to be around you, whether you live in a big house or a tiny apartment.
Himalayans aren't terribly athletic and aren't big jumpers, but they will enjoy a good cat tree for vertical viewing. And they'll really love a cat hammock by the window to take in the sights and chatter at birds.
Himalayans also make great lap cats, which is ideal because you'll need to spend time every day combing out their long coats. Also, keep in mind their thick fur makes Himalayans susceptible to warm temperatures, so always keep your pet in an air-conditioned space when it's hot outside.
If you ever leave him alone for the day, leave some felt mice or plastic balls for him to bat around so he doesn't become bored.
With a Himalayan, his long, gorgeous coat is what needs the most attention. Because his coat is so thick, it's important to groom him daily to prevent matting and tangles and to keep shedding (relatively) under control. Mats are not only unsightly, but they can be painful. Give him frequent, thorough brushings—think of your lap as a cat hair salon and groom your pet while you watch TV. Regular bathing also helps keep the coat clean and shiny. Start bathing your Himalayan when he's young so he gets used to the water. He might grow to like bath time!
Ingrid Johnson, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant, cat groomer, and author of Fundamentally Feline recommends doing research on this breed before you buy a Himalayan kitten, as these cats require some extra care.
"If you don't like hair on your furniture, don't get a long-hair cat," she says. "Himalayans also need special care for their eyes."
Cats such as Himalayans and Persians have flat faces (called brachycephalics) that prohibit tears from draining properly. This overflow of tears is called epiphora. They have "eye goo," Johnson says. "Their tear ducts create a reddish-brown staining beneath the eyes." So, you'll need to wipe their faces regularly with a tissue to remove the staining.
Like all other cats, flat-faced or not, you need to keep his nails trimmed, his litter box clean, and his teeth free of plaque.
Himalayans are a relatively healthy breed. Some issues that can flare up include polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and some may even develop breathing issues due to their flat faces. But these potential ailments are more the exception than the rule, especially if you buy your kitten from a reputable Himalayan breeder. Also, because of their long coat, these kitties can develop hairballs, so speak with your veterinarian about prevention early on.
Like other cats, Himalayans require regular dental and nail care, as well as trips to the vet for vaccinations and exams. And all cats of this breed should be spayed or neutered and kept safe indoors.
The Himalayan is a relatively new breed, with early attempts at crossing Persian cats and Siamese cats beginning in the 1950s. After WWll, Marguerita Goforth perfected the breed, creating the Himalayan we recognize today.
The breed was accepted into the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1957. Since that time, some cat registries give the Himalayan its own breed status while others have combined it into the Persian group. But whether Himalayans are considered a separate breed or not really doesn't matter if you're looking for a gorgeous, loving, easygoing pet for your family.
- A Himalayan's good looks make him camera-ready. Jinx, perhaps the most famous Hollywood Himalayan, played a starring role with Robert DeNiro in the hit comedy Meet the Parents. Sassy was the smart-aleck kitty voiced by Sally Field in two of the popular Homeward Bound movies: The Incredible Journey and Lost in San Francisco.
- Martha Stewart has had several Himalayan cats over the years. In February 1999, three of them were featured on the cover of Martha Stewart Living magazine.
- In 2012, a Himalayan named Colonel Meow set the Guinness record for having the longest hair.