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What is a Himalayan Cat?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The Himalayan cat is a mix of Persian and Siamese. It has the Siamese's color points and the Persian's long hair. The Himalayan is considered a type of Persian cat rather than a separate breed. Outside the United States, the Himalayan cat, or "Himmy," is known as a Color Point Persian.

The main body color of the Himalayan is creamy white and the point color varies, with seal point being the most common. Blue point, lilac point, chocolate point and tortoiseshell points, or tortiepoints, as well as other color point combinations are possible for Himalayan cats. The Himalayan cat is known for its bright blue eyes, color points on the face, paws, tail and ears, rounded cheeks, small eyes and large build.

The Himalayan type of Persian cat was developed in 1930 by Dr. Clyde Keller and Virginia Cobb. They succeeded in developing a Persian cat with Siamese color points with the birth of their Himalayan cat, named Newton's Debutante. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognized the Himalayan as a separate breed in 1957, but in the 1980s it reclassified the cat as a type of Persian instead.

Due to its short nose, the Himalayan cat may have breathing difficulties. This type of cat is also known to tear more as the tear ducts are more compressed in short-faced animals. Himalayans need a bath once a month as well as both combing and brushing every day. Himalayans' coats are usually a little softer than Persians and their fur may mat less, but daily care is still required to get rid of dead fur and help minimize hairballs.

The Himalayan cat is said to have a gentle disposition like other Persian cats, but may clown around more to get attention and affection from their human companions. Himalayans may also be more active than most Persians due to the Siamese element in their background. They may destroy household objects if left alone too much due to boredom. Himalayans are said to like to be involved in their humans' daily lives and chores.

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Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Dec 07, 2014

Be prepared to use the brush! A lot. Himalayans are a hoot, but you have to stay on top of that coat. In the summer, I've taken mine to the groomer for the equivalent of a puppy cut. She's much more comfortable in the heat and humidity without all that hair!

I got my sweet girl from the shelter. Apparently, she wasn't perfect enough for her original family. She's perfect to me, though. Every cat is different, even within a breed. She picked me. She's a sweetheart and I love her dearly.

By Pippinwhite — On Dec 06, 2014

Himalayans are great cats and they do attract a lot of attention with their beautiful coats.

If you get one, look for an adult that doesn't have a really flat face. That can absolutely cause problems with breathing and eating. Look for one whose eyes are clear and bright, with not a lot of discharge. There's going to be some, but there shouldn't be too much.

Also, if you get a Himalayan from a rescue, that's a good thing because they will probably be pet quality, not show quality, which really means their faces won't be as flat and they may be less prone to other health problems.

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