Are you considering adding a Himalayan to your family? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Himalayans are one of the most popular breeds of cats and make wonderful family pets. The breed is the result of crossbreeding Persian and Siamese breeds. They were named the Himalayan after a rabbit that had a similar color pattern.
Himalayans are a breed of cat that originated in the mountains of Asia. They have long, silky fur and large eyes that give them an exotic look. Their fur is usually white with a variety of colors, including black, gray, and brown. Himalayans have a sweet personality and are very affectionate. They love to be around people and enjoy being petted and cuddled.
Himmys have friendly and outgoing personalities, making them great for living with one owner, a couple, or an entire family. They should be considered an indoor cat because they don’t do well in the hot summer heat. The other thing they don’t enjoy is loud noises, making them a better cat for families with older children. Himalayans are incredibly loyal and loving pets but are very independent, and many don’t like to be held or cuddled.
Due to their thick coat, Himalayas are fairly cold tolerant. In the summer it’s a good idea to keep your house on the cooler side to keep them comfortable. They’re known to be quite affectionate and will follow family members around hoping to receive attention.
Looking at a Himalayan cat, you will see bright blue eyes and a long, thick coat similar to a Siamese’s coloring. Himalayan cats have high grooming needs because of their long beautiful fur. They will need to be brushed regularly otherwise their fur can mat. Even with their high grooming needs they are still a wonderful family cat!
Himalayans are an ideal breed for new cat owners because they are relatively low maintenance compared to other breeds. They don’t require much grooming or exercise and are content to spend most of their time lounging around the house.
Himalayans are also known for their good health. They have a long life span, usually living up to 15 years with proper care. They are generally healthy cats and don’t suffer from many of the common health issues that other breeds do.
Himalayans are a great choice for anyone looking for a loyal and loving companion. They are affectionate, intelligent, and low maintenance, making them the perfect pet for any family. If you’re looking for a cat that will be your faithful friend for years to come, then the Himalayan is the perfect choice!
- Average Height: 10 to 12 inches
- Average Length: 17 to 19 inches
- Average Weight: 7 to 14 pounds
- Coat Type: Long length
- Coat Appearance: They have a long, dense, and shiny coat
- Coat Colors: Red, blue, chocolate, cream lynx, lilac-cream with shades of white and fawn.
- Grooming Needs: High
- Shedding: High shedding
- Brushing Requirements: Daily
- Sensitive to Touch: Fine with family but not so much with strangers
- Excessive Meow: No
- Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Cold yes, heat no.
- Good Pet: They are friendly and calm, so yes!
- Safe with Children: With training, yes!
- Good with Other Cats: Yes
- Good with Other Pets: Yes
- Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
- Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes but high grooming needs could be a concern.
- Exercise Needs: Medium need
- Weight Gain: High
- Health Concerns: Fading Kitten Syndrome, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Pericardial effusion, heat sensitivity, and certain respiratory and dental conditions.
- Allergies: None
- Average Life Span: 9 to 15 years
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Physical Appearance of Himalayans
The Himalayans look a lot like the Persians with the exception of their bright blue eyes and coat color which looks similar to the Siamese cats. They have a medium-sized body that looks heavy. They have a muscular body that looks heavier than what it actually is. This is because their body is covered with a dense layer of fur. They have a round head with large round blue eyes. Their head is supported by a short thick neck.
Their ears are small for their size, and their short nose doesn’t stick out nearly as far as other breeds. They have short, thick, and strong legs with firm paws. The tail is short and proportionate to the size of their body. Depending upon the characteristics of their face, there are two types of Himalayan cats – traditional or extreme. The Extreme Himalayan has a flat face and the Traditional Himalayan has a somewhat pointed face with a nose that extends like other cat breeds.
The Himalayan cat has a long, thick, and shiny top coat which gives it a unique texture. The length of hair is long all over the body but is especially fluffy between the front legs, ears, and toe tufts. They have a dense undercoat which is what keeps them so warm all year around.
Their top coat can be a variety of colors. The most common colors are ginger, steel, chocolate, cream lynx, and lilac-cream. The cat’s coat has a solid and light-colored texture on their body with darker shades on the face, ears, paws, legs, and tail. As they grow the shade on their coat usually darkens.
Temperament of Himalayans
The Himalayan is a people-friendly cat with a calm, sweet, and stable personality. They are affectionate and obedient with their family. They enjoy spending time as a lap cat just sitting with their owners and receiving affection. If they’re looking for affection or feel neglected they may follow your family around the house or meow at you.
The cat is able to easily adjust to changes in daily routines or moving around the furniture inside the home. However one thing they absolutely do not like is loud noise. They really like a quiet home environment.
Occasionally they may show sudden bursts of kitten-like energy running around or rolling on the floor. This is nothing to worry about and it is not a display of aggressive behavior. This is just something they may do to burn off some energy, or to get someone’s attention so they get played with.
Mostly they like being occupied with their family members and they have been known to be somewhat timid with strangers.
Training a Himalayan
Cats may not be interested in training as they are more independent than dogs. But house training is something that is essential for all cats to learn. To train your Himalayan you have to keep the training sessions short and use a positive reinforcement approach.
You’ll want to have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside. As long as you can do that you should have no problems getting them to use it. Just remember to keep it clean because this is the main reason why cats stop using the litter box.
You may see a few accidents in the beginning but it’s best not to punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they do use the litter box. Positive reinforcement will help them understand what kind of behavior is expected of them.
Like most cats, they do enjoy scratching their nails on things. If you like your furniture looking new it’s a good idea to set up one or two scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or anything else, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. A scratching post will give them a place they can scratch anytime they have the urge and prevent damage to your furniture. Like teaching them anything, it may take time for them to understand the purpose of the scratching post. If you stick with it eventually they will learn.
If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets. After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, watch their behavior. If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in to interrupt the behavior. If you want your current pets to accept the new one it’s best to do this before an existing pet gets too annoyed.
Clicker training is becoming more popular now. We have an entire article that shows you how to train your pets with clicker sounds. Basically you make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully they will continue to do it.
Their Compatibility with Children
Himalayans get along really well with children, especially older, less noisy children. This cat is generally very affectionate and loves to play with children. You should be able to leave them alone with children without any worry.
The only concern could be their thick coat which can affect some kids who have allergies. If you see your children coughing or sneezing frequently while playing with your cat, it may be because of the fur.
Best Climate for Himalayans
They do not handle warm temperatures well. It becomes difficult for them to regulate their body temperature when it gets warm because of their double fur coat. They are not able to sweat like humans or pant efficiently like dogs to help them to cool down.
A cool and air-conditioned environment is best for Himalayan cats. Their thick coat helps them stay warm in a cool climate. Anything between 60 and 65 degrees is what is considered best for the Himalayan cat, but they will do just fine upto 80 degrees.
The Attention a Himalayan Needs
A Himalayan cat develops strong bonds with the family members and always wants their attention. Having them as a pet is like caring for another child. The cat loves to have lap time. If you are watching television or a movie expect them to come and sit beside you looking for affection.
Since they are fond of human companions they will make an effort to be a part of the activities you are doing or even follow you around your house. If you don’t have as much time as they would like for affection it might be a good idea to buy them some extra toys.
In addition to toys which will have them running around, you can also get some puzzle toys. If you put a treat inside they will figure out a way to get the treat out and eat it. Remember they are quite smart, and it’s important to take care of both their physical and mental needs.
A Himalayan cat can suffer from a number of diseases, both genetic and natural. The most common are respiratory and eye-related diseases.
Feline respiratory problems are common in cats and can be caused by various factors such as infections, allergies, and environmental irritants. The most common respiratory conditions affecting cats include feline upper respiratory infection (URI), asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
URI is the most prevalent respiratory problem in cats and is often caused by a viral infection that affects their nose, throat, and sinuses.
Feline dental malocclusion is a condition where a cat’s teeth don’t meet properly when they close their mouth. This can cause pain, difficulty eating, and speech impediments as well as other issues. It’s important to identify this condition early on in order to prevent further damage to your cat’s mouth and teeth.
The most common causes of feline dental malocclusion are genetics, trauma, or infection. Genetics is the most common cause and can be inherited from either parent. Traumatic injury to their mouth or jaw can also cause malocclusion. The injury can be caused by something as simple as a cat playing too rough or an accident. Lastly, infections in their mouth such as gingivitis or periodontal disease can lead to teeth misalignment.
Cherry eyes, also known as prolapsed nictitans glands, are a common eye condition in cats. The condition occurs when the cat’s third eyelid is pushed out of its normal place and begins to protrude from the corner of their eye. This protrusion can cause irritation and discomfort for your cat, as well as an unsightly appearance.
Symptoms of Feline Cherry Eyes
Common symptoms of cherry eyes include:
- Redness and swelling in the corner of their eyes
- Watery eyes
- A “bulging” appearance in the corner of their eyes
- Eye discharge
- Squinting or pawing at the affected eye
- General irritation
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a condition that affects a cat’s retina, the part of their eye responsible for detecting light and transmitting images to the brain. In cats, PRA is an inherited disease that can lead to blindness over time.
Early signs of PRA in cats can include dilated pupils, difficulty seeing in low light conditions, and increased clumsiness or reluctance to jump or climb. As the disease progresses, cats could become completely blind.
PRA can occur in any cat breed, but certain breeds are more susceptible to the disease. These breeds include Abyssinians, Bengals, Siamese, and Persian cats.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA in cats. There are things that pet owners can do to help their blind feline companions adapt to their condition. Giving them a safe and predictable environment, including keeping furniture and other objects in the same place, can help your cat navigate their surroundings more easily. Using scents or textures on different surfaces can also help your cat identify different areas of their home.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that affects a cat’s kidneys. It’s associated with the formation of multiple fluid-filled cysts in their kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure and other health problems.
PKD is caused by a mutation in the PKD1 or PKD2 gene, which produces proteins that help regulate cell growth and division. In cats with PKD, these proteins are not produced correctly, leading to abnormal cell growth and the formation of cysts on and in their kidneys.
Fading Kitten Syndrome
Feline Fading Kitten Syndrome (FKS) is a condition where newborn kittens fail to grow and thrive, leading to their eventual death. The cause of FKS is not completely understood, but it is believed to be related to their mother’s health and her ability to produce antibodies that protect her kitten from infection and other ailments. This can lead to poor nutrition, weight loss, dehydration, and ultimately death.
Periodontal disease in cats is a common problem affecting their gums and teeth. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth, which leads to bacterial infection in the surrounding gum tissue. The condition can result in pain, inflammation, tooth loss, and other serious health complications if left untreated.
Symptoms of Feline Periodontal Disease
The symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and could go unnoticed until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage. Some common signs to look out for include:
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Drooling or excessive salivation
- Loose or missing teeth
- Difficulty eating or reluctance to eat – Pawing at their mouth or face
- Swelling in their face or jaw
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a dental examination.
Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning
Their dense and beautiful fur has high grooming needs. The Himalayan cat sheds heavily and needs daily brushing to look their best and avoid matting. You should use a soft bristle brush to clean the soft fur of the cat. If they don’t clean themselves as well when they get older they may need baths to look their best.
Only if needed, give them a bath once a month to keep their coat clean. Use only a high-quality cat shampoo to bathe them. A bath can help maintain the smooth texture of the coat.
Some owners take them to a professional groomer at the beginning of summer to get their long hair cut. This can help your cat stay cooler when the temperature starts increasing outside, especially on days when you don’t run the air conditioner.
Trim their nails once a week. For dental care, brush their teeth with a toothpaste approved by your vet. It would be best if you could brush their teeth three to four times a week when they are young. As they start growing you can gradually decrease the frequency.
Check weekly for infections or dirt or wax buildup inside their ears. If their ears are dirty use a moist cotton ball to softly clean only the visible part of the ears.
Some Himalayan cats have a condition that leads to excessive tearing. As needed, use a soft cotton cloth to remove any eye goo or stains.
Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your cat while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.
Feeding A Himalayan
We recommend that you feed your Himalayan between ⅓ to ½ cup of high-quality cat food that is split between two meals.
The exact meal size will depend upon the activities that your cat does during the day. A high energy cat who spends a lot of time playing will need more food than a low energy cat who prefers to relax. Himalayans have a high tendency to gain weight. Monitor their activity level and how much you feed them and don’t feed them table scraps or people food.
The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you feed them has the necessary nutrients.
Are Young Himalayan Kittens Born all White?
Yes, Himalayan is born with a white coat. This is interesting and happens because of the presence of a particular gene in their hair follicles. This gene prevents the production of the coloring pigment in the kitten over a certain temperature.
Because the kittens are warm when they are born their coat is white. After they are born they will quickly cool off to below this temperature and their genes will go dormant for cooler parts of their body like their paws and face. Areas like the face, ears, paws, and tails are cooler than the rest of the body, these areas are where you will see them darken days to weeks after birth.
Should You Keep Your Himalayan Inside the House?
Yes, Himalayan cats are non-aggressive which might be a problem if they were exposed to other animals outside. Other animals could come and possibly attack your cat. Also, their fur is long and thick which can easily pick up dirt or insects like fleas. To keep them clean and safe you should keep them in the house.
Do Himalayan Cats Jump a lot?
No, their short and thick legs make it difficult for them to jump. They don’t usually jump on anything higher than your couch. They are quiet and would rather sleep on the couch than get into trouble jumping up onto higher surfaces.