Whether your cat is a purebred Himalayan, or a Himalayan mix, learning about this breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Himalayan and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.
Himalayan cats are easily recognizable by their striking blue eyes and luscious locks. They’re usually calm and friendly companions that love to play. These qualities may describe your cat, but there are some other fun facts that may surprise you about the breed.
It’s hard to miss this cat breed’s eye-catching appearance. Himalayans flaunt long, flowing coats with a point color pattern — meaning, they have light-colored bodies with dark features.
These medium-to-large cats are often described as “Coby,” which means they have a short and stocky body, Dr. Elizabeth Bales, VMD, a veterinarian at Tably, says. Their heads are large and rounded, with a short, flat nose and small ears that are rounded at the tip.
You might recognize that Himalayan’s physical features resemble that of a Siamese or Persian cat (like their piercing blue eyes). That’s because “the Himalayan breed originated in the U.S. around 1950 by crossing Siamese and Persian cats,” Dr. Bales explains.
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You’ll never see an all-black Himalayan, but their fur can have 20 different color combinations.
Himalayan cats have signature light-colored bodies and dark extremities called points — dark ears, legs, feet, tail and an adorable “face mask.” The points could be solid, tabby, lynx or tortoiseshell. Himalayans’ colored points can include:
And when it comes to taking care of a Himalayan’s fur, regardless of what color combination they have, you’ll want to help them feel their best by brushing them daily.
“Himalayan cats are typically calm, quiet, playful cats that enjoy human contact,” Dr. Bales says. “Their personalities are greatly influenced by both their genetics and their life experiences from conception to about 9 weeks old.”
Families looking for an easygoing, social cat might find a Himalayan to be a perfect addition to their home. With proper socialization and introductions, Himalayan cats can be great for families with children or other pets.
Himalayan cats are a perfect fit for first-time pet parents, too, just as long as they’re on board with their grooming needs.
If you’re a Himalayan cat parent or are considering welcoming a Himalayan cat into your home, it’s important to understand common breed conditions they’re more susceptible to developing.
According to Dr. Bales, Himalayans are prone to polycystic kidney disease (PKD), eye disease and respiratory disease. Fortunately, cats can be tested for PKD, so ask your veterinarian about screening options.
“Himalayan cats are a good candidate for multi-pet households,” Dr. Bales adds. But, like all pets, a slow and controlled introduction is key.
To introduce your Himalayan cat to other pets, dedicate a room just for your new cat. This allows your cat to adjust to the sounds and smells of the household. Then, swap objects for scent sharing and eventually introduce your pets through a gate or screen door.
“With your pets on leashes or another manner of control, allow the new cat and other household pets to interact,” Dr. Bales says. “If successful, gradually increase the amount of time you expose the pets to each other until they are relaxed enough to be off leash and fully integrated.”
Are you interested in adopting a Himalayan cat, a Himalayan cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.
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