By Dr. Becker
Himalayan cats are a hybrid breed developed by crossing the Persian and Siamese breeds.
“Himmys” as they are often called, are built more like Persians than Siamese and have the Persian temperament of preferring naps to exercise.
If you’re thinking of adding a Himalayan to your family, be sure to check your local shelters and rescue organizations first to see if there’s an adoptable cat available.
8 Cool Facts About Himalayan Cats
- Himalayans Are Hybrids
The beautiful and unusual-looking Himalayan is a blend of the Persian and Siamese breeds and was developed through human intervention. Some cat fanciers think of the Himalayan as a distinct breed; others consider it a variety of the Persian breed.
Himalayans have the characteristic flat, open faces of Persians. The eyes are a beautiful bright blue, and the ears are small and perky. There is a distinctive ruff around the neck that looks similar to a lion’s mane. Their bodies right down to their paws are large and fluffy.
The Himalayan is often referred to as the “Himmy,” and has been called “a Persian in Siamese drag.”1
- Himalayans Are Built More Like Persians Than Siamese
Despite the Himalayan’s Siamese lineage, he’s a medium-sized cat of from 7 to 12 pounds, with a sturdy, muscular build and large bones.
However, unlike this fellow in the tree, most Himalayans, in true Persian fashion, aren’t particularly active or athletic. Chances are you won’t find your Himmy doing much spontaneous leaping or climbing. He is unlikely to climb up your drapes, jump up on your kitchen counter, or scramble to the top of your refrigerator. Instead you’ll find him napping on a nice soft pillow, or even better, your lap.
- Himalayans Are Picky About Who They Bond With
The Himalayan is a calm and somewhat reserved breed. They tend to share their affection and cuddles only with immediate family members, and they do best in a peaceful, low-key environment.
Himmys shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time, as they crave human contact and companionship.
- The Himalayan’s Coat Is High-Maintenance
It’s extremely important that your Himalayan’s coat is groomed daily. It must be gently but thoroughly combed every day, and regular baths, at least monthly, are also recommended.
Unfortunately, that luxurious coat also traps litter, especially in the paws. If the cat and her litterbox aren’t kept scrupulously clean, your Himmy is more likely than other breeds to just stop using the box.
Other daily care should include wiping the corners of the eyes to prevent under-eye stains, and teeth brushing.
- Himalayans Are Prone to Certain Health Conditions
The Himalayan is an exotic breed with certain health problems primarily associated with their flat facial structure. These include difficult or noisy breathing, dental malocclusions, excessive tearing, eye conditions (e.g., cherry eye, entropion), hyperesthesia syndrome, and heat sensitivity.
Other health problems of Himmys include polycystic kidney disease, and skin conditions.
- Himalayans Are Intelligent
The Himmy is intelligent, although she’s not always given credit for her smarts. Challenge her brain by teaching her tricks and offering puzzle toys that reward her with treats when she learns how to solve them.
- Himalayans Tend to Get Chubby
Since your Himmy is by nature a lounger rather than an athlete, it’s important to feed him in way that will prevent him from growing overweight or obese. I recommend a balanced, raw, and species-appropriate diet made with organic, non-GMO ingredients, served in two portion-controlled meals per day.
If you’ll be offering treats, make sure to factor those calories into kitty’s daily caloric intake.
- Himalayan Kittens Are Often as Mellow as Adult Cats
Himalayan kittens are not quite as rowdy and rambunctious as many other breeds. Even very young Himmys typically have the gentle, mild temperament of an adult.
Kittens often don’t look much like Himalayan adults. They are born a solid white or cream color and don’t develop their markings for a few weeks. It also takes time for their long, luxurious coats to grow in, and young Himmys don’t take on their full adult appearance until their second year.