The Himmie, which is a shortened term for Himalayan cat, is an intriguing breed that was created by breeding a Persian and a Siamese cat. These felines are often referred to as “Persians in disguise” due to their long Persian fur and Siamese-like color points on their ears, faces, tails, and paws. The calm and gentle nature of Persians and the friendly and lively disposition of Siamese cats are both inherited by Himalayan cats. Their beautiful blue eyes, cute pug-like faces, and silky coats are among the characteristics that make them highly admired. Himmies have become increasingly popular among cat enthusiasts, owners, and even in pop culture. Discover 20 fascinating facts about these lovable cats in this article!
The Himalayan cat has a captivating history that can be traced back to the crossbreeding of Persian and Siamese felines. Unlike other breeds that were created through Siamese crossbreeding for their attractive appearance and friendly disposition, the Himalayan cat was born out of genetic research. In the 1930s, Dr. Clyde Keeler, a Harvard Medical School researcher, explored the gene responsible for color pointing in cats, which pertains to the distinct coloring found on the face, ears, paws, and tails of certain cats like Siamese. Together with Virginia Cobb, a cat breeder from Newton Cattery, Dr. Keeler started breeding Persian cats with Siamese to achieve his goal. After several attempts, they finally succeeded in producing a kitten called Newton Debutante, which had long, luxurious white fur with color points, a flat face, and striking blue eyes.
Following World War II, the breeding of Himalayan cats continued in the United States and the United Kingdom. Margaret Goforth, an American cat breeder, mixed Persian and Siamese cats to create a new breed, which she named the Himalayan cat in 1957. Despite not being related to the Asian mountain range, these cats resembled the thick white-haired foxes and rabbits that lived in the Himalayans. The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed in both the US and UK that same year. However, in 1984, the CFA reclassified the Himalayan cat as a sub-color of the Persian cat. Nevertheless, the breed is still referred to as Himalayans in the US while in the UK and Europe, they are called Persians. In shows, the Himalayan cat competes in separate color categories of Persians and is referred to as Himalayans by the American Association of Cat Enthusiasts and the Traditional Cat Association.
Himalayan cats, often affectionately called “Himmies” by their owners and fans, have been known by different names over the years, including Persian-Siamese and Longhaired Colorpoints. Today, they are more commonly referred to as the Himalayan Persian or Colorpoint Persian in Europe. Despite their fluffy appearance, these cats are actually of medium size with a strong build and big bones. They typically weigh between 7 to 12 pounds, with males being heavier. Himalayan cats have a round face, short and thick neck, and a well-rounded body. Their legs are short, and their tails are full, fluffy, and straight.
The Himalayan cat is widely recognized for its striking pointed fur and distinctive facial features. The breed’s face is particularly unique, sporting a flattened appearance reminiscent of a pug’s visage. The head is round, featuring captivating circular blue eyes and pointed ears set far apart. The color of the face matches that of the points, while a skin-colored nose, or “cobby,” finishes off the look. There are two types of Himalayan cat faces: Traditional and Exotic. The Traditional face, also called “Doll Faced,” is rounded with a nose that is longer and positioned lower. Meanwhile, the Extreme face, also known as “Flat Face” or “Peke Face,” is pushed in and flattened, bearing a resemblance to a Pug dog.
The Himalayan cat is renowned for its magnificent fur, serving as the defining feature of the breed. Breeding for this feline was achieved through the study of the color point gene in Siamese cats. The result is a stunning creature with luscious, lengthy hair that’s typically white or cream-colored, similar to a Persian cat, and with color points on its face, ears, paws, and tail like a Siamese. Color points don’t appear on Himalayan kittens at birth, but typically materialize as they age, around the age of two. Originally, only four color points were available for Himalayan cats, namely seal (black), chocolate, blue, and lilac. However, subsequent research showed that producing colors like chocolate and lilac were more challenging. Both parents have to carry the color point gene for their kitten to have it. Nowadays, there are 20 color points for Himalayan cats, including combinations. These felines have soft, flowing fur cascading down their bodies, with a ruff encircling their necks and fluffs on their ears, front legs and toes. The Himalayan’s full, fluffy tail adds to its aesthetic appeal.
Let’s take a closer look at the fascinating topic of color points in Himalayan cats. Nowadays, these beautiful felines are available in a stunning variety of 20 different color points. While their body fur remains white or cream-colored, their face, ears, paws, and tails can feature a range of hues, from black to red. The distinctive color on their face is like a “mask,” covering the area above their eyes, sweeping across their cheeks, and extending down their chin. Their ear markings extend both inside and out, while their paw markings reach all the way to their pads. Today, you can find Himalayan cats in a wide variety of color points, including seal, chocolate, blue, lilac, fawn, red (flame), silver, tortoiseshell, tabby, lynx, and more. Recent studies have shown that a cat’s color pointing can be influenced by a variety of factors, including temperature, enzyme production, and genetics. Specifically, melanin is the pigment that produces color in the skin and fur. When combined with body temperature and environmental temperature, pigmentation develops in the cooler areas of the body, which explains why Himalayan cats’ color points extend to their ears, paws, and tails. Additionally, scientific research has found that Himalayan cats living in cooler regions tend to have darker color points than those living in warmer climates.
When considering the health of your Himalayan cat, it’s important to be aware of a few key points. Unfortunately, this breed carries a gene that can lead to PKD, a condition also found in Persian cats. Early testing can identify if your cat has this gene, and if so, it’s best to have them spayed or neutered rather than bred. Feline hyperesthesia syndrome is another potential issue for Himalayans as it’s a disorder of the nervous system. The flat face of your Himalayan can also impact their dental, eye, and breathing health, so regular vet visits and vaccinations are crucial. Providing your feline friend with a healthy diet and access to clean water is essential, and as a high-energy breed, Himalayans require ample exercise to burn off excess calories. With proper care and attention, your Himalayan cat can enjoy a lifespan ranging from 8 to 15 years.
Looking after a Himalayan cat’s fur can be quite the task, given its long and thick coat that requires constant brushing to prevent it from matting. To keep their skin and hair oils in check, it’s important to brush them on a daily basis. This also helps to limit shedding, which can be a problem for this breed. Fortunately, Himalayan cats love being groomed, and would gladly sit on their owner’s lap while being brushed. Apart from regular brushing, it is also recommended to give them a bath once a month to maintain their shiny, silky, and healthy coat. However, it’s worth noting that despite your best efforts, the Himalayan cat is not hypoallergenic and may not be suitable for those with allergies.
Taking care of your Himalayan cat is crucial as they have a unique flattened face which can lead to tear duct issues. To avoid any potential buildup and blockages in the tear ducts that could cause health problems, it’s important to wipe your pet’s face and eyes daily with a clean, damp cloth. Your Himalayan cat requires a nutritious diet to obtain all necessary vitamins and minerals, and it’s essential to prevent them from gaining weight as they are typically inactive. However, they do experience high-energy bursts and need proper calorie intake. Additionally, ensure that your Himalayan has access to fresh water at all times.
The Himalayan cat’s personality is a mix of its ancestors, the Persian and Siamese breeds. They have a laid-back and gentle demeanor like the Persian, and enjoy basking in the sun or lounging around the house. However, they also have the outgoing and social traits of the Siamese breed, relishing the company of their family members and engaging in various activities. If socialized early, they can get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats, and are excellent with kids. Although they are welcoming towards strangers, they form deep connections with their primary owner and are known for being devoted and loving companions. All in all, the Himalayan cat is an ideal choice for individuals and families seeking a loyal and affectionate pet.
The Himalayan cat has gained immense popularity in the entertainment industry. It has made various significant appearances, such as being the sarcastic and witty feline, Sassy, in the “Homeward Bound” films of the 1990s, voiced by Sally Field. In the same decade, the “Meet the Parents” trilogy showcased Mr. Jinx, a clever peke-faced seal-colored Himalayan, who could even flush the toilet. Gaylord Focker, played by Ben Stiller, tried to conceal Mr. Jinx’s absence by painting another Himalayan’s tail black. Other than movies, the Himalayan cat has also been seen on TV shows like “Heathcliff,” “iCarly,” and films like “Date Night.” The ginger-colored Himalayan, Crookshanks, was a prominent character in the “Harry Potter” series, portraying an intelligent yet grumpy cat. Furthermore, the Himalayan cat has featured in several Japanese and Korean Anime stories.
13. Well-Known Owners Celebrities have been known to express pride in owning Himalayan cats. Martha Stewart, for example, is the doting owner of three Himalayans named Beethoven, Mozart, and Bartók. She has featured them on her popular TV show “Martha Stewart Living,” showcased them in her magazine, and even included them in advertisements for her K-Mart product line. Interestingly, Stewart has actually owned a total of seven Himalayan cats. Jeff Lewis, the star of “Flipping Out,” also has two Himalayans, Monkey and Stewie, who have made appearances on his home improvement show. 14. Amusing Companions Himalayan cats, much like their Siamese counterparts, can be wonderful company. They are intelligent and take pleasure in learning new tricks. Although they have occasional bursts of energy, Himalayans love playing with a range of toys, including cat toys and plush toys. However, even a ball of crumpled paper can provide them with endless joy. What’s more, just like Siamese cats, Himalayans can be taught how to fetch. After lounging around, they may suddenly spring into action, running across the room or rolling on the floor. Overall, Himalayan cats are amusing and lively companions for those who choose to share their lives with them.
There are a couple of Himalayan cats that have made it to the record books for their unique attributes. Colonel Meow achieved fame in the 2012 Guiness Book of World Records for having the lengthiest hair among all cats, measuring an impressive nine inches. Despite his unapproachable face, he became an internet sensation in 2012. Sadly, he passed away two years later due to a heart condition. On the other hand, Tinker Toy, a blue point Himalayan, was declared as the tiniest cat in the world when he reached maturity at 2 1/2 years old. Born on Christmas Day in 1990, he was just 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long. Scott and Katrina Forbes from Taylorsville, Illinois owned Tinker Toy, and he lived for six years. As for Lux, a Himalayan house pet from Portland, Oregon, he is currently weighing in at 22 pounds.
Through the years, the Himalayan cat has maintained its wide appeal and popularity. Since its introduction, this breed has captured the hearts of many pet owners and has become a beloved feline companion. It is no wonder that it is currently the second most popular registered breed by the Cat Fanciers Association. Among the Persian color variations, it reigns supreme as the most sought-after one. Although primarily kept for companionship purposes, Himalayan cats are also showcased in competitions worldwide. They are easily recognizable and are the most common feline participants in cat shows. In different regions across the globe, including the United States, there are multiple Himalayan cat clubs established for enthusiasts to enjoy.
Paraphrased: 17. They’re Calm and Not Climbers Himalayan cats are popular for their gentle nature and non-destructive tendencies, which is a huge plus. Unlike other feline breeds, these adorable cats don’t climb or jump much, thanks to their petite legs. This means they’re unlikely to leap on counters or damage curtains. Despite shedding, Himalayan cats are peaceful creatures that don’t cause chaos in households. They won’t swing from drapes or hop on shelves or counters. 18. Ideal Indoor Friends Many people worry about keeping cats inside, but Himalayan cats make fantastic indoor companions. These cats have no interest in going outside and prefer to lounge in their cozy homes. They’re also social creatures that enjoy quality time with their human families and being part of the household’s activities. Therefore, if you’re searching for the perfect indoor cat, the Himalayan breed is an excellent choice.
If you’re looking to add a Himalayan cat to your family, it’s crucial to find a trustworthy breeder. It’s important to verify that the breeder is registered with a recognized cat fancier association, such as CFA, TICA, or FIFe. This guarantees that they follow ethical practices and have good bloodlines. You should take the time to visit local breeders and thoroughly research online options. A well-bred Himalayan cat can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500. Himalayan cats are excellent pets, as their owners will tell you. Apart from being incredibly beautiful with exotic features, they’re also highly intelligent, loving, devoted, and entertaining. The only downside to owning Himalayan cats is that grooming them is necessary because of their long, luxurious double coat of hair. However, the joy and companionship that a Himalayan cat would bring to your life make the effort worthwhile.