The Himalayan cat is a medium-sized cat, very similar in appearance to the Persian cat and maintains many of its features, such as a round body and short legs.
Himalayans differ from Persians in their eye colour and coat variations – the Himalayan eye colour is blue and it has a white/cream coat with black, blue, lilac, chocolate, red, cream, tabby or tortoiseshell colourpoints, a result of crossing with the Siamese cat.
As with their Persian cousins, the Himalayan cat has two facial variations:traditional/doll-faced, or peke-faced (named after the Pekingese dog with squashed-looking features).
Himalayans usually weigh around 5 kg, but females may weigh less and males may weigh more. They generally stand between 25 and 30 cm tall and have a lifespan of 9 – 15 years.
HIMALAYAN CAT HISTORY
The Himalayan cat was created by Dr. Clyde Keeler and Virginia Cobb in the 1930s by crossbreeding a Persian and Siamese cat. The first Himalayan cat was a result of the fourth generation of these crossbreedings. Keeler and Cobb named the new breed the Himalayan after its coat which resembled that of rabbits and goats living in the Himalayas.
In the 1980s, efforts were made to strengthen the Persian side of the Himalayan, leading the breed to frequently be listed as a Persian sub-breed. The International Cat Association recognises the Himalayan as a separate breed, but the Cat Fanciers Association sees it as a shorthaired Persian variation.
The Persian cat was ranked the number 1 most popular cat in the US by the Cat Fanciers Association, and it is possible that the Himalayan’s popularity as a sub-breed helped contribute to that of the Persian.
HIMALAYAN CAT TEMPERAMENT
Himalayans make great indoor pets. They possess the best characteristics from the Siamese and the Persian. Their activity levels lay between that of the Siamese and Persian, so they’re equally happy to play as they are to relax, making them great family pets
They are loyal and affectionate cats who require lots of attention and love but tend to play favourites among their owners. They are very social, sweet and intelligent, and have been known to be quite talkative.
COMMON HIMALAYAN CAT DISEASES & CONDITIONS
Polycystic kidney disease
PKD is a condition that is inherited and symptoms can start to show at a young age. Polycystic Kidney Disease causes cysts of fluid to form in the kidneys, obstructing them from functioning properly. It can cause chronic renal failure if not detected. Look for symptoms like poor appetite, vomiting, drinking excessively, frequent urination, lethargy and depression. Ultrasounds are the best way to diagnose the disease, and some cats can be treated with diet, medication and hormone therapy.
Peke-faced cats have a compacted snout and airway and as a result it may suffer shortness of breath or noisy breathing.
Cherry eye is, you guessed it, a condition affecting the eye, causing the third eyelid to well and cause irritation. It generally appears as a red mass (hence the name cherry) on the corner of the cat’s eye. It is treated with surgery.
Progressive retinal atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a family of eye conditions which cause the retina’s gradual deterioration. Night vision is lost in the early stages of the disease, and day vision is lost as the disease progresses. Many cats adapt to the loss of vision well, as long as their environment stays the same.
Entropion is a condition which can occur in Persians and causes the eyelid to roll inwards, which can lead to irritation or injury of the eyeball. Signs include rubbing or scratching around the eye area. It can be treated surgically if necessary.
Primary seborrhea is a skin condition in which the skin becomes greasy, scaly and smelly due to the overproduction of skin cells. It is treated with medication and special shampoos.
Ringworm is also known as dermatophytosis and it is the most common fungal skin infection that affects cats. It is a parasite that invades the dead outer layers of the skin which includes claws and fur. Long haired cats are more susceptible to ringworm than short haired cats. Ringworms can be passed from cats to humans and vice versa. Ringworm appears as round patches of rough, scaly skin with a red outline and bald patches may be present.
Himalayans may also be prone to excessive tearing (an eye condition), feline hyperesthesia syndrome (which affects the nervous system) and heat sensitivity.
INTERESTING HIMALAYAN CAT FACTS
- Martha Stewart owns a number of Himalayan cats, each named after composers, including Bartok and Vivaldi. Her cats have been featured in commercials for Kmart, her television show Martha Stewart Living and in her magazine.
- A Himalayan-Persian cat named Colonel Meow currently holds the Guinness World Record for longest fur on a cat.
- Luna the Fashion Kitty is a Himalayan cat and internet celebrity known for sharing her outfits online. She has over a million likes on Facebook.
The Atlantic Himalayan Club: http://www.himalayan.org/index.php
Himalayan Cat Pet Insurance Quote
Getting pet insurance for your Himalayan Cat will help ensure you can always afford the best vet care for them. Bow Wow Meow offers a range of flexible pet insurance options including cover for accidental injury, illness and routine care.
Wondering how much it would cost to insure your Himalayan Cat if you got one? It’s quick and easy to get a pet insurance quote.
(Note: cats must be over 8 weeks old to take out insurance, so please enter a birth date to reflect this when getting an indicative quote.)