What happens if the glamour puss of the cat world meets feline royalty? The Himalayan, of course! This cat is a remarkable cross between the Persian, the World’s most popular glamour kitty, and the Siamese, also famously known as the “Royal Cat of Siam”. Known as gentle and sweet, energetic and intelligent, this kitty truly meets the best of two worlds. Dear hooman, this is the story of your darling Himalayan.
Himalayan is a medium-sized kitty whose appearance reflects both of its parent breeds. The body is typically round and stocky with distinctly short legs, similarly to the Persian’s. Their face can resemble either the Persian’s traditional “doll-face” or the ultra-typed face of a “pushed-in” appearance. Texture and length of the coat are identical to the Persian’s, but its pointed coloration comes from the royal Siamese.
Cat Fanciers’ Association considers the Himalayan to be simply a color variation of the Persian rather than a separate breed, although they do compete in their own color division. The accepted Himalayan colors are the same as those of the Siamese cat and include the blue, lilac, seal, chocolate, red and cream point. Texture of the point can be tabby, lynx or tortoiseshell. Himalayan also inherited the Siamese’s captivating deep-blue eyes.
Some Himalayans may have a more athletic build and longer noses, as typically seen in its Siamese relatives, but these variants are usually not accepted on cat shows.
The first formal breeding program that aimed to establish a new cat breed, later recognized as the Himalayan, began in the 1930s at Harvard University. This breeding program involved crossing the Persian with the Siamese cat with the goal of creating a cat that would be as fluffy and glamorous as Persians while sporting the color pointed coat and blue eyes of the Siamese. The results of this program were published by 1936, but unfortunately, the new breed was not recognized by any major fancier groups at the time.
In 1940s, Brian Sterling-Webb developed a similar, but independent, breeding program in the UK. The new cross, which was created over a period of 10 years in this program, was officially recognized as the “Longhair Colourpoint” by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 1955.
Around the same time, breeding efforts in the US began too, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) officially recognized the breed as the “Himalayan” in 1957. In the beginning, the Siamese was introduced only to retain its coat and eye colors, but the breed was maintained through outcrossing to Persians (in an effort to retain the Persian physical traits).
In 1960s, some breeders started reintroducing more Siamese cats into the program, resulting in less “Persian-style” Himalayans. In 1980s, some registries decided to merge the Himalayan into the Persian breed and register it as a color variant (e.g. CFA). This was done in an effort to reestablish the breed more closely to formal Persian lines.
The Himalayan is a cat worthy of a Queen! This is a very gentle, affectionate and devoted cat. They typically choose one favorite hooman with whom they bond the most and whose love they don’t share very happily. But, in return, they will remain the most faithful and loving companions you could ever dream of. The Himalayan is as easy going and quiet as the Persian, but it has retained some of the spiky energy of its Siamese relatives. These kitties are typically feistier than Persians, and they will require a bit more physical activity. They are also very intelligent, patient and trainable.
Health and care
If well taken care of, the Himalayan cat can easily live a long, healthy and happy life. However, being very close relatives of the Persians, they can be susceptible to similar health concerns. Himalayan cats are at a higher risk of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and progressive retinal atrophy. They are also associated with a higher incidence of various ocular problems.
Woah! You’re a celebrity!
Royalty and glamour will naturally get you in the public eye. So, the Himalayans are no strangers to all the glitz, fame and cameras! These gorgeous cats have made many memorable appearances in popular culture, of which we picked and chose our five favorites:
1. Mr. Jinx is a Himalayan cat, and the pride and joy of Jack Byrnes’s (played by Robert De Niro), in the famous movie “Meet the Parents“. This cat, who knows how to wave and use the toilet, was one of the most memorable stars in the movie. Interestingly, the cat was actually played by four different cat actors.
2. Beethoven, Mozart and Bartók are a Martha Stewart’s memorable trio named after the famous composers. They appeared in Stewart’s “Kmart” commercial, on her “Martha Stewart Living” TV show and in her magazine.
3. Colonel Meow is the holder of the “Longest Fur on a Cat” Guinness Record. Colonel Meow sadly passed away in 2014, but his record was never surpassed. His fur was measured at 22.87 cm (9 in).
4. Luna the Fashion Kitty is presumably the biggest fashion star in the cat world with a large following on Social Media. Her hooman parents post her daily outfits and share valuable information on cat care and rescue.
5. Monkey and Stewie are Jeff Lewis’s two Himalayan cats who often starred in his reality TV Show “Flipping out“.
Himalayan is a beautiful, furriendly companion who we often prize for its soft, silky coat and deep blue eyes. In Europe, people call these cats the Colorpoint Persians, in honor of the combined features of its parent breeds. We all know them to be very sweet, gentle, energetic and highly intelligent, however. What is the story of your darling Himalayan? Share with us via Social Media! For more about cat breeds, please follow the tags below.