Cat Breed Spotlight: The Himalayan

June 04, 2018

Cat Breed Spotlight: The Himalayan

KYC: “Know Your Cat”

 

Ahh the Himmy, adorable as ever be, combines the best of two very different breeds (Siamese and Persian) to make this majestic breed. Just like their Persian lineage, Himmies has small ears, large round eyes, a snub nose and a sweet facial appearance. Himmies have a long, fabulous coat, which comes in seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, flame, tortoiseshell, blue-cream, cream, lynx points and many more colors and design motif, bringing Siamese qualities to a short, stocky Persian-like body.

Himmies are people-centered cats with the charming and laid-back personality of the Persians, the curiosity and helpful attitude (they are the kind of cats who will always try to get involved in what you do and, sometimes, have the penchant to help you too) of the Siamese, and of course the dazzling points and bold blue eyes of the Siamese.

He confers his emotions and feelings with his passionate eyes and his soft, tuneful voice. The warmhearted Himmies loves to sit on your lap, but if you are kind of busy and cat give him your full attention, he will be there to oversee what you do, probably while playing with his favorite cat toy mouse.

He is the timid kind of cat, who is not that active compared to Ocicats or Savannahs, and seldom jumps or climbs on things (he prefer to chill out on the couch or his cat condo most of the time), making him a good companion for old people.

Himmies are very adaptable and versatile enough to feel at home on the loudest of households, to even the most tranquil elderly homes as long as he have everyone's complete adoration.

The Himalayan, or Himmy for short, is a Persian in Siamese drag. Unlike its parent breeds the Persian and the Siamese, which are considered natural breeds, which means they weren’t created through human intervention, the Himalayan is a man-made breed developed by crossing Persians with Siamese to bring in the color points and blue eyes of the Siamese. If you love your pet cat you have to know your cat in order to understand them, Visit Cat Breed to help you know more about your Himalayan Cat.

 

Where It All Began:

 

Breeders began to work toward this goal in 1931, at first simply to work out how the colorpoint gene was passed on. Through selective breeding over a period of years, cat breeder Virginia Cobb and Harvard Medical School researcher Clyde Keeler developed longhaired cats with the distinctive colorpoints of the Siamese. The first kitten to be called a Himalayan was named Newton’s Debutante.

In the 1950s, British and North American breeders became interested in achieving a Siamese-pointed Persian. Starting with the Cobb-Keeler “formula” to get the colorpoint pattern, they then bred the cats back to Persians to formulate breed type. Once the cats bred true, recognition as a breed was sought.

Whether if Himmies are considered a variety of Persian or a distinct breed depends on which cat association you ask. The Cat Fanciers Association identidfy the Himalayan as a distinct breed in 1957, but in 1984 the CFA Board of Directors decided to reclassify the Himalayan as a color variety of the Persian.

The American Cat Association also acknowledge the Himalayan a color variety of the Persian, and The International Cat Association honor the Himmie as a member of its “Persian Group,” which includes the Persian and the Exotic Shorthair. In other registries, including the American Association of Cat Enthusiasts, the American Cat Fanciers Association, and the Traditional Cat Association, the Himalayan is classified separately from the Persian.

Himalayans may be outcrossed to Persians or, in some associations, Exotic Shorthairs, but the Siamese is no longer a part of the Himalayan breeding program. And today, no matter what he’s called, the Himmie is among the most popular of pedigreed cats.

 

Temperament and Personality

 

Just like their Persian relatives, Himalayans are gentle, easygoing cats. You are more likely to find them lying down elegantly on a couch than perched on top of their cat condo or cat tree (for your cat product needs, you may also like to check at online stores like the activefelinesolutions.com.au), but they are playful in a decorous kind of way and enjoy having a lot of toys in different varieties.

Certainly you shouldn’t expect a Himmy to be inactive. What these cats like best, though, is sitting in a lap or simply being in their person’s company. They are not really seeking for attention all the time and can do well on their own during the day, but a quiet meow and a speaking glimpse with those blue eyes will let you know if they feel neglected or alone.

Himmies are perfect in homes with older children who won't play with them rashly which sometimes resulting in pain for the cat or clumsily bop them on the head. They are not a big fan of playing dress-up, but they really don't mind riding in a toy buggy or being a guest at a little girl’s tea party or playhouse. A vacant couch where they can peacefully sleep or a spacy cat condo with a nice view of the entire room is the best place for them to sleep and laze around. 

Himmies are intelligent, although they are not always given credit for it. Challenge their mental acuity and physical prowess, and keep him interested in life by teaching him a few tricks and providing, playing with him using a mice toy connected to a string so that he can practice his hunting skills, and give him puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns how to manipulate them.

Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises them in the home and handles them from an early age (so that they are already used to being handled). Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments. 


Health

Just as all people have the potential to inherit diseases, all cats have the possibility to develop genetic health problems too. Always avoid any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens (and also not showing or having any veterinary medical records from a legitimate vet) or a breeder who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons (possibility of having a severe or contagious disease is common on this scenario).


Himmies have some hereditary health issues that can be of great concern (See:  The Well Cat Book: The Classic Comprehensive Handbook of Cat Care Reissue Edition - amazon for more ideas and information). These include polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and other respiratory problems caused by deformities due to the breed's flattened face (just like pugs). There are ways that responsible breeders take to avoid these issues. Himalayans should be healthy and vigorous and be able to breathe normally.

Other potential health problems, most commonly related to their facial structure includes:

  • Breathing difficulty or noisy breathing caused by constricted nostrils.

  • Dental malocclusions, meaning the teeth don’t mesh well together.

  • Excessive tearing.

  • Eye conditions such as cherry eye, entropion and progressive retinal atrophy.

  • Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, a nervous system disorder also known as rolling skin disease, is a rare illness in domestic cats that causes episodes of agitation, self-mutilation, and a characteristic rippling of the skin when touched. It is often described as a seizure disorder but the cause is unknown.

  • Predisposition to ringworm, a fungal infection.

  • Seborrhea oleosa, a skin disorder in which the sebaceous glands of the skin produce an excessive amount of sebum. Seborrhea typically affects the back, face and flanks causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin.

    When large portions of a cat's renal parenchyma -- the functional tissue of the animal's kidneys which are normally differentiated -- are displaced by multiple cysts, the medical condition is referred to as polycystic kidney disease. A cyst is a closed sac that may be filled with air, fluid, or semi-solid material. Renal cysts  develop in pre-existing nephrons (the functional filtering cells of the kidney tissue) and in the collecting ducts of the organ. Invariably, the disease affects both of the cat's kidneys.

    Although polycystic kidney disease is usually not immediately life-threatening, it should be treated as early as possible to prevent cyst progression and development of secondary bacterial infection, either of which may lead to sepsis, the presence of pus-forming toxic organisms in the blood.

    While these may be common medical conditions, your Himalayan cat will not necessarily develop those listed. Be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.

    The Himalayan's flat pug-style nose, which makes its appearance so darn cute, is also one of its medical downfalls. The compression of the sinuses and nasal passages associated with this style of nose makes breathing more difficult and leaves the Himalayan more vulnerable to upper respiratory infections. Himalayans have shortened sinus cavities, which further increase the possibility of breathing difficulty.

    Even if Persians/Himalayans do not have any overt breathing problems, such flat-faced breeds are sensitive to heat. They need to live in air-conditioned comfort, protected from hot weather, which may cause respiratory distress or even death in stressful conditions.

    One of the common cat disease is obesity. Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from this disease. Keeping a Himalayan at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health, and as a responsible owner, you need to make the most out of your preventive abilities to help ensure your Himmy have a healthy and happy life.


    Grooming

     

    Beauty never comes easy, and usually comes with a price (like, literally). The Himalayan is a real prestigious kitty and like any star calls for the daily care of a devoted make-up artist. Ask your cat’s breeder for advice on the best way to care for your Himmy’s coat.

    Always comb the long, flowing coat daily with a stainless steel comb to prevent or remove mats, tangles and falling hair. A slicker brush can also be a good tool to have on hand. Remember to take your time in combing your cat or else you’ll quickly have a matted mess to deal with, and your Himmy will freaking hate you if you have to take him to the groomer for a lion trim.

    He needs regular baths to stay clean and sweet-smelling (since Himmy's long coat is a dust and dirt magnet, and eventually will affect his smell too). Introduce a kitten to bathing as soon as you bring him home and he will accept it readily (so that you don't need to have a wrestling match with your cat every time you take him for a bath).

    Some Himalayans have a problem with excessive tearing of the eyes. To prevent ugly staining and the formation of gummy secretion of the eyes, wash the cat’s face daily, particularly beneath the eyes and around the corners.

    The rest is pretty basic. Trim the nails as needed, normally once every week (or buy a cat scratching post so that your cat can keep their nails in check). Check the ears every week for redness, dirt and other residue or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleanser recommended by your veterinarian.

    Brush the teeth regularly with a pet toothpaste approved by your vet for good overall health and fresh breath and schedule veterinary cleanings as needed. Start brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing early so your kitten becomes accustomed to this activity.

    Well, that's pretty much it! Those are the basic things you need to know about Himalayan cats. As a responsible owner, you need to provide all the necessary needs of your cat, that includes the basics like nutritious food, warm shelter, clean water, attention and affection.

    Giving him a nice place to rest like a cat condo or a cat tree with soft surfaces will keep him away from the couch (that is if you don't want him to laze around the sofa if you are not around). Give your kitty an ample amount of playtime and solemn moments with him, and you will be surprised later on that your kitty will give back the attention and affection to you tenfold.