Monday 21 April 2008

Himalayan Cat Facts

Here are some pertinent and succinct Himalayan Cat Facts as I see them anyway. I've tried to stick to the major points and keep it as concise as possible:


The Himalayan is just like a Persian cat with the pointed coat and pattern of a Siamese Cat. This is because this purebred cat breed is a hybridization of the Persian and the Siamese. I am going to make a presumption here and say this must mean the Traditional Siamese, which has a more rounded face.

Because the Himalayan is so close to the Persian in appearance, conformation and character it is debatable whether she should have been a different breed. After all, the cat associations allow some cat breeds to have any type of color and pattern coat (e.g. the American Bobtail to name but one). It must have been a political decision to keep it separate from the Persian.

In order to achieve the colorpoint Persian (the UK name for this cat breed) there had to be a lot of selective breeding including interbreeding (this I think is inbreeding). Inbreeding is good and bad. It fixes a trait, the good ones and it throws up the bad traits more frequently. What happens to the cats with the bad traits? Apparently one of the difficulties in the breeding program was ensuring that the Himalayan had the right face and was not a long faced long haired cat.

Being a cross with the Siamese, the Himmie or Himmy is going to be a little more lively than the Persian who is known for her quiet demeanor. She is very much a people orientated cat.

She is as sweet natured as the Persian. It may be that this cat breed is sometimes too gentle as I have read that the Persian (and I presume therefore the Himalayan) can have litter box problems due to stress.


The Himmie is a very handsome or pretty cat. However, it depends on your viewpoint as to whether you are talking about the Traditional face or the Modern faced cat. The Himmie like the Persian can be seen with the same face as the "Ultra Persian", the Persian cat that has been developed over many years from the traditional. The Ultra has a squashed face. She has to have a squashed face these days (she didn't before but judges liked it) because the breed standard says so. The same rules apply to the Himalayan.

You'll see this cat bred with both types of face and the range of faces in between. On the Himalayan cat page of the main website you can see mainly Traditional Himalayan cats because they live with Dani Rozeboom and she breeds traditional cats and photographs them beautifully. And because I prefer the look of the traditional cat as in fact do the substantial majority of visitors to this website - see the poll results on this page (just scroll down a bit).


Himalayan Cat Facts cannot ignore the nitty gritty bits about this breed. The health issues surrounding the Persian apply equally to the Himalayan, which means, PKD (kidney disease that is fatal) and tear duct overflow (tears than don't drain away from the eye through ducts but instead drain over and down the face causing staining and requiring constant daily washing).

PKD is present in all cat breeds but more so in Persian cats and breeds that have used Persians in their development. It is inherited through a single sex related dominant gene (autosomal dominant). All cats of this breed should be scanned using ultrasound at aged 9-10 months to see if the kitten is affected or not. If the test proves positive the cat should be removed from the breeding program (this is called culling - it does not mean killing in cat fancy language).

That's the uncomfortable stuff. I wonder if breeders will now gradually drift back to the more traditional appearance over time to remove this unfortunate deficiency that simply need not be in existence. Tear duct overflow is a man made condition. Read about the development of the Persian and the flat face by clicking on this link.

It must be said to be fair that most breeders will do their best to avoid these problems and the author of the CFA article on this breed says it is possible to breed an Ultra Himalayan whose tears drain normally. One last health issue; apparently this cat can also suffer from a disorder called PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).

Apparently, cataracts have been observed in this breed due to an inherited gene(s). Both eyes are affected. A single gene is believed to be the cause.

As is the case for the Persian cat, the fur can be inordinately long. She is high maintenance. If you can't give some time to grooming and cat care I wouldn't take on a Himalayan cat.


The range of point colors for this breed is as follows:

  • chocolate
  • seal
  • lilac
  • blue
  • red
  • cream tortie
  • blue-cream
  • lilac-cream
  • chocolate-tortie

  • seal lynx
  • blue lynx
  • red lynx
  • cream lynx
  • tortie lynx
  • blue-cream lynx
  • chocolate lynx
  • lilac lynx
  • chocolate-tortie & lilac-cream lynx

This comes from Wikipedia - Martha Stewart the well known American television personality lives with seven Himalayan cats..........more Himalayan Cat Facts......

Himalayans are a popular cat but less popular than the Persian. In the popularity poll (scroll down the page when you arrive). She is outside the top 10 but about mid-range in popularity. The Persian is in the top 5 most popular cat breeds. Himalayan Cat Facts - Update at 18-6-08: This breed is ranked about 10th in popularity based on the website's poll. Further update: at 1-8-08 the Himmie is ranked 8th in popularity.

The Himalayan cat is a well established cat having been registered with the CFA since 1957. The Bengal cat was created in the mid 1970s so wasn't even a twinkle in the eye Jean Mill the Bengal founder at the time.

Himalayan Cat Facts to Himalayan cats

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