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Himalayan Cat

Height: 10-12 inches
Weight: 7-12 pounds
Lifespan: 9-15 years
Colors: Cream with points in chocolate, seal, blue, lilac, red, blue-cream, cream tortie, chocolate-tortie, chocolate-tortie lynx, tortie lynx, lilac-cream, seal lynx, blue lynx, lilac lynx, red lynx, lilac-cream lynx, cream lynx, blue-cream lynx, and chocolate lynx
Suitable for: Quiet households looking for a laidback and affectionate cat
Temperament: Sweet and gentle, affectionate with their families, loves attention but not overly demanding

As one of the most popular cat breeds in the U.S.A., the Himalayan combines a stunning pointed coat with the body shape and appearance of the Persian. These sweet, gentle, and affectionate cats are a great choice for households looking for a laidback cat that loves attention but isn’t going to be in your face about asking for it.

They might be popular, but that doesn’t mean you know everything about this breed! Himalayans are super laidback, but they do suffer from a higher incidence of health conditions than many other breeds.

If you’ve been considering the Himalayan, also sometimes nicknamed the Himmie, as a possible new addition to your family, then read on to discover everything there is to know about these eye-catching cats.

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Himalayan Kittens — Before You Buy

Himalayan Kitten
Image Credit: MidoSemsem, Shutterstock
Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

Himalayan kittens are incredibly cute, but don’t expect to see their pointed coats right away! These sweet kittens are born white or cream, and their darker points will start to come in by the time they’re due to go to their new homes. It can be tempting to sign up for a kitten without truly thinking about the consequences, but we definitely advise against that!

Himalayan cats are quite low-maintenance in terms of the amount of attention that they require daily. But they can suffer from quite a few different health conditions, partly due to their flat faces. This can lead to breathing difficulties, dental issues, and eye problems.
Before you sign on the dotted line and bring one of these sweet kittens home, here’s more information to help you decide if they will be the perfect new addition to your family.

What’s the Price of Himalayan Kittens?

Himalayan cats are one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.A., and this can be reflected in the higher price that breeders can charge. You should budget for around $1,000-$2,000 for your new kitten. While you might find them advertised for less than that, we recommend doing your research before thinking that you’ve got a bargain.

Make sure any breeder, no matter the price they charge, can provide all the information that you need to make sure your new kitten has been ethically bred and is as healthy as possible. We recommend asking for:

  • References from previous clients
  • Health tests from both parent cats
  • Any health tests that the kittens may have
  • A tour of the facilities
  • Meeting both parent cats

A reputable breeder will be more than happy to provide all this information and more. If a breeder seems reluctant to do so, then it’s highly likely that they’re not an ethical breeder.

Blue Point Himalayan
Image Credit By: Asilverstein, commons wikimedia

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3 Little-Known Facts About Himalayan

1. This breed is named after the gene responsible for their coloration

The Himalayan breed is found in cat breeds with the pointed coloration, which is a pale coat across the body with darker “points” on the extremities. The gene responsible for this coat coloration is known as the Himalayan gene. It’s found in Siamese, Ragdoll, Ragamuffin, and Himalayan cats, but it can also be found in rabbits, dogs, sheep, and more!

This gene causes temperature-sensitive albinism. All Himalayan kittens are born white or cream due to the consistently warm temperature of their mother cat’s womb. As they mature, their coats will start to adjust to the outside environment, and their pointed coats will become evident.

Warmer areas of your kitten’s coat will remain white or cream. On colder areas, like their faces, ears, legs, and tails, their coats become colored.

2. Himalayans are descended from one of the oldest cat breeds

Himalayan cats are descended from the Persian breed, which is one of the oldest known cat breeds. Persian cats have been shown in hieroglyphics dated from 1684 B.C.

The Himalayan breed was created by Virginia Cobb and Dr. Clyde Keeler in 1931. The first Himalayan kitten was called Newton’s Debutante. In 1957, the American breed associations recognized the Himalayan breed.

3. Himalayan cats can have breathing difficulties

Their flat faces may look cute, but this face shape can also cause health problems for your Himalayan cat. Brachycephalic face shapes, also seen in dog breeds like the Pug, can make it harder for your cat to breathe. This can be especially evident in warm or humid environments.

This is also one of the reasons that Himalayan cats are more placid and laidback than some other breeds — they simply can’t breathe as easily when they have to exert themselves. Himalayans prefer cooler temperatures, so if you live in a hot or humid climate, they will need air conditioning in order to stay comfortable.

Himalayan Cat
Image Credit By: fcatus1, pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Himalayan

Himalayan cats are well known for their sweet and gentle temperaments. They will be quite happy sitting on your lap and getting plenty of attention, but they are equally happy to entertain themselves if you need to go out for the day. They can be a little stand-offish with strangers, reserving their true affection for close members of their families.

Himalayans aren’t great jumpers, so you won’t come home to find their pawprints on the kitchen counters or over the top of your highest pieces of furniture. The couch is about as high as a Himalayan is willing to jump!

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Himalayan cats can make wonderful family pets, but they prefer a quieter household. The hustle and bustle of a noisy and full house are likely to be slightly too stressful for a laidback Himalayan, especially if it means their nap time will be disturbed!

Gentle, older children can get along well with Himalayans, especially if they’re happy to play with them when your Himalayan cat is feeling in the mood for interaction but will leave them alone while they’re asleep or otherwise resting.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Himalayan cats can get along well with dogs, as long as they’re not too demanding. Most Himmies won’t be interested in playing with a dog, although they might be persuaded to take a nap with them. A boisterous dog who tries to bother your Himalayan cat may end up causing them anxiety if they feel like they can’t get away from them.

Himmies don’t have a high prey drive, so they can live happily with smaller pets like rodents, rabbits, and so on. While we wouldn’t ever recommend keeping them in the same area of the house or leaving them unsupervised together, it’s certainly easier to keep a Himmie with small pets than some other cat breeds.

Himalayan Cat on floor
Image Credit: Joseph Morris, Flickr

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Things to Know When Owning a Himalayan Cat

Deciding to become the proud new owner of a Himalayan cat means you’ll need to invest plenty of time and money in your cat’s future. Before you make your mind up one way or another, here’s more information to help.

Food & Diet Requirements

Himalayan cats are generally easy keepers and will thrive on a high-quality food with meat protein as the first ingredient. Due to their flat faces, they can have difficulty eating some shapes of kibble, so check that your cat isn’t leaving excessive amounts of food and still seeming hungry. You can buy specialist kibble shaped to be easy to eat for cats with flat faces, like Himalayans and Persians.

Due to their long coat, they may be more prone to developing hairballs than some other breeds. Ensuring that your cat’s food has enough fiber can help reduce the likelihood of hairballs becoming a problem, as can maintaining a regular grooming regime.

Exercise 🐈

Himalayans are quite placid and spend the majority of their time chilling out and napping. They are prone to sudden explosive bursts of energy, where they will suddenly get the zoomies or decide to chase their toys, but this will only last a few moments before the urge to take a nap overcomes them once more!

This means the Himalayan is more than happy to relax at home while you’re out at work, but you may need to encourage your cat to get more exercise if they’re starting to put on weight. Your veterinarian will be able to show you how to assess your cat’s body condition, and if they’re heavier than recommended, you may need to adjust their diet or encourage them to exercise.

Chocolate point doll-faced himalayan cat
Image Credit: Anne Richard, Shutterstock

Training 🧶

Himalayans will be keen enough to receive short training sessions, and they are intelligent and can pick up new commands quickly. They’re not as demanding as some cat breeds when it comes to mental stimulation, so keeping your sessions short and sweet will be the best way to teach your Himmie new tricks.

They can be trained to walk on a harness and leash, but they don’t necessarily enjoy long walks away from home. Many Himalayan cats are perfectly happy to live indoors.

Grooming ✂️

The long coat of the Himalayan breed needs to be carefully groomed every day to keep it free from knots and tangles. You may also need to gently clean your cat’s face, as they can become tearstained due to their flat shape.

Due to their long coat, cat litter can easily get stuck in your Himalayan cat’s coat and paws. Make sure you keep a close eye on your cat and remove any litter that may have attached itself to them! Keep their litter box extremely clean, or your cat may simply choose to do their business somewhere else.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Himalayan cats are prone to a few different health conditions. We’ve listed the main ones below, but you should always ask any breeder for more information.

Minor Conditions
  • Excessive tears
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Ringworm
  • Seborrhea oleosa
Serious Conditions
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Dental malocclusions
  • Eye conditions
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Feline hyperesthesia syndrome

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Male vs. Female

If you’ve decided that the sweet and chilled out Himalayan is the perfect breed for you, perhaps you’re wondering whether you should choose a male or female kitten. There are pros and cons of each, but we suggest waiting to meet the litter of kittens that you’re interested in before you make up your mind.

Choosing the kitten whose personality appeals to you the most will always be the best way to find your new friend, rather than choosing a kitten just because they’re male or female. Bear in mind that as a popular breed, you might not get a choice if most of the kittens have been reserved or you’ve been placed on a waiting list.

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Final Thoughts

Himalayan cats are well-loved for their gentle natures and kind personalities. They love nothing more than spending time with their families, but they won’t be demanding about catching your attention. They will love to curl up on your lap for a cuddle, but if you’re busy cooking dinner or doing chores, they’ll happily entertain themselves.

They might be laidback in terms of their personality, but due to their flat face shape, Himalayans can suffer from a range of health conditions, from temperature sensitivity to serious dental problems. You should be prepared for the fact that your cat may need a higher-than-average level of veterinary care.

But in return, they will shower you in affection — in a non-demanding way, of course! If you share your home with a beautiful Himalayan cat, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us using the comments section below!


Featured Image: Nattapong Pongpiyapan, Shutterstock, Fish Icon