Breed of the Week: Himalayan

We’ve done a lot of dog breeds the last few weeks, so let’s take a look at one of many a cat person’s favorite breeds of cat, the Himalayan.  If you’re not a cat person and not familiar with the Himalayan, just picture Sassy from Homeward Bound.  Yes, that feisty, sarcastic feline voiced by the lovely Sally Field is a Himalayan.

The Himalayan is a cross between a Persian and a Siamese, basically a cat with Siamese coloring and blue eyes and the Persian’s long, luxurious coat.  There are many variations of the Himalayan.  There are those with differing coat colors such as the blue point, lilac point, seal point, chocolate point, red or flame point, and cream point.

Besides coat color, the Himalayan can also vary in face conformation.  Some take after their Persion ancestors and have a flat face; these are known as peke-faced Himalayans.  While others take more after their Siamese ancestors and have the face of a more traditional-looking cat.  These are known as doll-faced Himalayans.

Much like the Persian, Himalayans have a sweet disposition, though they are discriminating about who they spend their time with.  Family members and friends of the family they trust may be the only ones Himalayans will accept within their circle.  They prefer a quiet, slower-paced environment where they can sun themselves in the window or curl up on a warm lap.

Himalayans are not cats to be found climbing the curtains, jumping on tables or counter tops, or perching high on the refrigerator.  Rather, Himalayans can usually be found on more accessible furniture or sprawled out on the floor in a beam of sunlight.  They enjoy and require only minimal amounts of exercise (unless one has a cat prone to putting on weight, like our Merlin – who is not a Himalayan, just saying 😛 ) through playtime with a catnip mouse or a feathered teaser or even fetch with a crumpled ball of paper.  Yes, you read that right.  Himalayans, like Siamese cats, often enjoy the game of fetch!

What Himalayans enjoy most, however, is the attention of their people.  They are devoted companions who crave their humans’ affection and will ask (rather than demand like most Siamese will) to be petted with a gentle, pleasant, and musical voice and some hinting rubs around their humans’ ankles.  They’ll even play house with the children if the children are gentle, allowing themselves to be groomed, pushed about in a baby stroller, and served “tea” at parties.

If you want a quiet, gentle, beautiful, calm, and loving cat, the Himalayan might just be for you!  However, if you are interested in purchasing or adopting a Himalayan cat, please do your research!  They are wonderful cats, but high maintenance where it concerns their grooming needs.  To prevent tangles and mats in their fur, Himalayans require daily brushing and a bath once a month is recommended to help keep their long coat clean and shiny.  The litter box can also become an issue if not kept clean or if the grains continuously get stuck in the fur between a Himalayan’s paw pads.  This might cause them to stop using the litter box at all.  For Himalayans it might just be better to get larger, pellet-type litter rather than the sand or gravel-type.

Fun Fact:  Martha Stewart owns three Himalayan cats named after famous composers, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bartók.

Do you or have you owned a Himalayan?  Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

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