Himalayan (Colorpoint Persian)
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If you’ve ever seen the movie Meet the Parents, you probably couldn’t help but notice Jinx, one of the most famous Himalayan cats in movie history. Jinx, like all other Himalayans, is a thick, medium-size cat with a flat face and beautiful, long, cream-color fur with darker points. Himalayans like Jinx are actually close relatives of Persians (some breed registries include them in the Persian class) and share their loving personalities.
Himalayans look a lot like a Persian wearing a mink coat. Their long, creamy fur provides the perfect contrast to their contrasting “points” (darker fur on ears, face, legs, ears, and tail). Point colors include seal, blue, lilac, chocolate, flame, and cream, as well as tabby, lynx, and tortoiseshell. Their deep blue eyes are the icing on the cake for this gorgeous breed. Like Persians, Himalayans also have flat faces, small ears, and rounded heads. Himalayans have long, thick coats that require regular grooming, but the extra work they demand is more than worth the effort because these popular kitties are simply fun to have around. They are loyal, curious, and super affectionate.
Just because you aren’t likely to find your Himalayan climbing your curtains, doesn’t mean your cat is boring. In fact, Himalayans are fun to have around and love to play chase games with toys and lasers. Yet, they are smart enough to know when to quit and just look regal. Himalayans get along with everyone, even the family dog, if introduced when young.
They’re relatively quiet, too, so you won’t have to use earplugs when your kitty is hungry. Himalayans will be fine left alone and be at the door to greet you when you get home. Or, they’re just as happy with another kitty or two as roommates. It’s all the same to them because Himalayans are pretty easygoing and take life as it comes. Again, early socialization is as important with Himalayans as it is with any other breed.
Although they look regal, Himalayans really don’t care where they live. They’re just happy to be around you, whether you live in a big house or a tiny apartment. Himalayans aren’t terribly athletic either and are not big jumpers, but will enjoy a good cat tree for vertical viewing and will really love a padded window shelf to take in the sights outdoors. They also enjoy other cats but don’t have to have a feline roommate to be happy. Himalayans are truly “go along-get-along” kind of kitties.
Himalayans also make great lap cats, which is ideal, since you do need to spend time every day or so combing out their long coats. Think of your lap as a cat hair salon and groom your pet while you watch TV. Also, keep in mind their thick coats make Himalayans susceptible to warm temperatures so keep your pet in an air-conditioned space. Himalayans also like a good felt mouse or plastic ball to bat around when bored, so scatter some toys around the house to keep your pet occupied.
Clearly, with a Himalayan, his long, gorgeous coat is what needs the most attention. Because their coats are so thick, it’s important to groom them almost daily to prevent matting and tangles. Mats are not only unsightly, but they can be painful for the animal. Regular bathing also helps keep the coat clean and shiny. Start bathing your cat when it’s young so it gets used to the water and won’t panic once you turn on the faucet.
Ingrid Johnson, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant, Cat Groomer, and author of Fundamentallyfeline.com recommends doing research on this breed before you buy, as it requires 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.
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 breeder. Also, because of their long coat, Himalayans can develop hairballs so it’s a good idea to speak with your veterinarian about prevention early on.
The Himalayan is a relatively new breed, with early attempts at crossing Persian cats and Siamese cats beginning in the 1920s and ’30s. Two early developers were Doctor Clyde Keeler of Harvard University and Virginia Cobb. After making a number of crosses they finally created a Himalayan-type cat called Debutante. It was after WWll, however, that Marguerita Goforth perfected the breed, creating the Himalayan we recognize today. It 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.
- Himalayans are good on camera. Jinx, the most famous 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 Captain Meow set the Guinness record for having the longest hair.