A beautiful Himalayan laying outside


The Himalayan cat, often called Himmy, is a sweet and fun-loving cat that will enjoy spending time with their owners. The breed is the result of crossbreeding the Persian and Siamese breeds. 

Himmy cats have friendly and outgoing personalities, making them suitable for living with one owner, a couple, or families. This could be considered to be an indoor cat, who requires protection from both extreme temperatures and loud noises.

Looking at a Himalayan cat, you will see bright blue eyes and a long, thick coat similar to a Siamese’s coloring. Note that this breed does have high grooming needs, but medium exercise needs. 

Due to the thick coat, Himalayans are fairly cold tolerant. This same trait does not protect them from the heat, so care must be taken to ensure proper shade and hydration in the summer months. This breed is known to be quite affectionate and will follow family members around, looking to receive attention.

Himalayans Information

  • 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: With family fine but not so much with strangers
  • Excessive Meow: No
  • Good 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
  • Suitable for First-Time Cat 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

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. The cat has a round head with a ring-shaped large eyes. The head is supported by a thick and short neck. 

Their ears are small for their size, and their short nose doesn’t stick out as far as other breeds. They have short, thick, and strong legs with firm paws. The tail is short and in proportion 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.

The Himalayan cat has a long, thick, and shiny coat which gives it a unique texture. The length of hair is long all over the body with it being especially fluffy between the front legs, ears, and toe tufts. 

Their coat comes in 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 the body with darker shades on the face, ears, paws, legs, and tail. As they grow the shade on their coat usually gets darker. 

a Himalayan laying on a bed resting

Temperament of Himalayans

The Himalayan is a people-friendly cat having 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 getting affection.  If they’re looking for affection they’ve been known to even follow people around the house. 

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 can be selective about interacting with strangers.

a Himalayan watching something moving around

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.

As long as you have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside you should have no problems with them using it.  Just remember to keep it clean as this is the main reason why a cat may not use the litter box.

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but do not punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they use the litter box. This will help them to understand what kind of behavior is expected of them. 

To take care of their scratching habits, set up scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or any other object, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. This will take care of their scratching habits and also prevent damage to your furniture. It may take time for them to get used to it in the beginning but 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, observe their behavior.  If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in and tell them no.  You want to do this before an existing pet tells the new one for you.

Their Compatibility with Children

Himalayans get along really well with children. The 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 make some kids have allergies.  If you see your children coughing or sneezing frequently while playing with the cat, it may be because of the fur. To deal with it, you may want to speak to your doctor or consult your vet to see what might be causing the allergies.

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. This is because 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 the Himalayan cats. Their thick coat helps them to 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.

a Himalayan kitten laying on a couch

The Attention a Himalayan Needs

A Himalayan cat develops strong bonds with the family members and always seeks 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 to you looking for affection.

Since they are fond of human companions you will find them making an effort to be a part of the activities you are doing or just follow you inside the 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 toys.

In addition to toys which will have them running around, you can also buy 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, so  take care of both their physical and mental agility.

a beautiful Himalayan laying in the grass watching something in the distance

Health Issues

A Himalayan cat can suffer from diseases of varying nature. The most common are respiratory and eye-related diseases. Some Himalayan cats may have constricted nostrils which can cause difficulty in breathing. Frequent coughing or sneezing could be a sign of this condition. 

Another common condition is dental malocclusion which happens when there is a misalignment of the teeth of the two dental arches. Tooth extraction may help to deal with it. Your vet would give you the best advice after examining their teeth.

Some cats can have Pericardial effusion which is a heart condition that interferes with the regular pumping of blood in the heart. This is a rare condition and very few cats will acquire it. 

Cherry eye is an eye condition which can cause dry eyes or also result in incomplete closure of eyes. A similar eye condition found in these cats is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) which can lead to the gradual loss of vision. PRA is a hereditary condition.

Other common diseases are fungal infection and heat sensitivity. 

Fading Kitten Syndrome is another disease that some kittens may get. This happens when a kitten dies within 5 to 6 weeks after birth. This is the age when they are most vulnerable to suffer from hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and other infections. For pet owners this one should not be a problem because they generally do not leave their mother until about the 12th week.

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. 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. This will help to 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 helps the cat to stay cooler when the temperature starts increasing outside, especially on days when you don’t run the air conditioner. 

Trim their nails once every week. For dental care brush their teeth with a toothpaste approved by your vet. You will have to brush the teeth of Himalayan 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 it is dirty use a moist cotton ball to softly clean only the visible part of the ears. Their pointed ears are prone to infection. If you see redness or smell anything foul, you should call the vet immediately. 

Some Himalayan cats have a condition that leads to excessive tearing. As needed use a soft cotton cloth to remove the stain. 

a Himalayan laying down
a large pile of multi colored cat food

Feeding A Himalayan

The Himalayan cats need ⅓ to ½ cup of dry food every day, split between two meals. Always serve them the recommended amount to prevent them from gaining weight.

The cat 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. If you are not sure whether your cat food has this nutrient you can consult your vet on which food to serve.

Related Questions:

Is a young Himalayan kitten born 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 you have an open fence. 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 the cat to jump. By nature, the Himalayan cats are quiet. You usually will not find them jumping on anything higher than your couch. They are quiet and would rather enjoy themselves on the couch than jumping around the house.

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