Highlander Cats

Highlander cats - pictures of cats
photo strictly © copyright Helmi Flick
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


Highlander cats are registered (2008 – things change) with TICA as a Preliminary New Breed. This is a rare and interesting purebred cat and proof that a cat is a genuine Highlander can be obtained by reference to TICA registration. Ask about this when considering purchasing.

Highlander cat
Baby Max – the photo is strictly copyright Magic Whiskers cattery and published here with their permission 1


The origin of this breed is interesting. Development began in 2004. The development of this cat originates in the Highland Lynx and has evolved since through selective breeding. It is useful to briefly look at the history of the breeds that make up the Highlander.

The Highland Lynx (no relation to the wild Lynx) was in turn first created on July 1st 1995 by crossing a Desert Lynx and Jungle Curl cats….

The Desert Lynx is a wild cat hybrid, a cross between the American Bobcat and a domestic cat; one of the following: American Lynx, Maine Coon, American Bobtail, Pixie-Bob or Manx.

The Jungle Curl cat is a curled eared wild cat hybrid. A cross between the African Jungle cat and a curled eared domestic cat, either the American Curl or a Canadian cat called the Hemingway Curl plus a mix of other genes from outcrosses to domestic shorthair cats such as the Serengeti, Bengal cats, Abyssinians and Jungle cat hybrids.

The Hemingway Curl is curled eared version of the famous Hemingway cats a number of which had more than the usual number of toes (polydactyl  – see also American Polydactyl cat). The curled eared Hemingway cat occurred because of a spontaneous genetic mutation (naturally occurring mutation). A number of cat breeds have been created this way such as the Dwarf cats and Devon and Cornish Rex. There are others.

Another cat with unusual ears is the Scottish Fold (flat ear flaps or pinnae). Another purebred cat that is a Jungle cat hybrid is the Chausie.

The African Jungle cat is a medium to small wild cat found in countries such as Egypt, Asia, India and Sri Lanka (see Jungle Cat Range). The African Jungle cat lives off small animals such has rodents and frogs. This is similar to other smaller wild cats such as the Serval and the Ocelot.

Highlander cats - pictures of cats
photo strictly © copyright Helmi Flick

Highlander cats – Appearance

With a wild cat in the Highlander ancestry, it is no surprise that this is a bigger than average cat with a wild look. On my calculation the average weight between males and females would be in the order of 14 lbs (based on Magic Whiskers cattery figures). This puts Highlander cats in a similar bracket to a Ragdoll or RagaMuffin cats in terms of size (but not in terms of temperament). They are solid cats. Compare cat weights (opens a new page dedicated to domestic comparison and domestic cat to wild cat comparisons).

Highlander in competition
Highlander in competition. Photo: facebook.com/HighlanderCats

This cat breed has short or long hair and belly spots are de rigueur. The cat’s profile is “boxy” (blunt) and the ears are as you can see curled. As is the case for the American Curl the ears curl during the early days of the kittens growth. Breeders say that the curled ears are different to the American Curl cat. The curl of the ears is not usually as tight apparently but can range from tight to loose. The curl affects the top third of the ear. It is believed that the curl originates in the mutated gene carried by the Hemingway Curl cat mentioned above.

I shouldn’t forget that the tail is “short and thick”. This is a bobtailed cat.

Highlanders cat
Highlander Kitten photo copyright Magic Whiskers


The Highlander is a classic loving domestic cat like any other that likes to show off and greet you at the door. They are relatively quiet. Some cats are more vocal e.g. Siamese cats. They are a relatively high energy cat. This means a little more input from the person keeping this cat. A low input cat would be the Persian, for example.

Highlander cats - pictures of cats
photo strictly © copyright Helmi Flick


It would seem that the mutated gene that produces the curled ears does not bring to the cat other unwanted physical characteristics that would be termed defects. The health of this cat is therefore good in terms of underlying health. This cat would also seem to be less tightly bred than some other purebred cats, which would encourage better underlying health.

Highlander cats - pictures of cats
photo strictly © copyright Helmi Flick

Are Highlander Cats Hypoallergenic?

I have never heard on my many travels on the internet that this cat breed is hypoallergenic. I am sure that they are not. If anyone has heard to the contrary please leave a comment. People, often cat breeders, do like to try promote their cats in some way or another and so some breeders might claim the Highlander is hypoallergenic.

Highlander cats – Breeders

This is quite a rare cat as mentioned so I would expect a relatively small number of breeders. I would like to recommend:

Magic Whiskers – link broken 10th March 2013.
Located in the USA they also breed LaPerm Cats.

Magic Whiskers were kind enough to ask me to write about Highlander cats and allow me to use their photographs for which I thank them.

Northshore Cats
Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. TICA registered.

38 thoughts on “Highlander Cats”

  1. Hello, My son loves the Highlander and would very much like to own one. But I have a few concerns/questions that I am hoping someone can answer for me. My son has muscular dystrophy and can no longer move his arms or legs.My concern would be that a cat of this size could potentially hurt him by jumping on him and not getting off of him when my son told him to. I have been told that the Highlander is intelligent, does this mean that the kitten could be trained to stay off of my son. My second concern would be my young grand children, are these cats gentle with children? And we own a large dog, how well do these cats do with dogs. I am hoping that I can get some answers. We have fostered many cats in the past and my daughter has a Maincoon, but this is the first time I have encountered a Highlander. Are they as good with people as I have read.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Pauline, thanks for visiting and asking. Sorry to hear about your son. I wish him well.

      The Highlander is a rare cat breed and like all cat breeds the main factor as to whether the cat is friendly with dogs is how the cat was raised – socialised. All cats of any breed should be fine with dogs and children but you should check with the breeder. Also it depends in the individual cat to a large extent whether they get along with any individual dog. There is a chemistry thing going just the same as for humans.

      As to being gentle with children, once again the answer is yes they can and should be gentle with children but it does depend on how gentle the child is with the cat.

      The only slight concern I have is that there is some wild blood in this cat which normally makes domestic cats slightly less domesticated. If you want a placid, docile cat then another breed might be preferable (e.g. Ragdoll or traditional Persian). You son likes some wild cat in the cat it seems or a cat that looks more wild. The Ocicat is pure domestic cat but looks like a wild cat and is also rare. He might consider this breed as well.

      Here is a link to the breed:


      When you buy from a breeder you should meet the breeder and her facilities and reassure yourself they are good and the cats superbly socialised. The better socialised the cat the better he/she will be in terms of behavior towards your son.

      This may be a problem as there are not many breeders of this cat.

      Certainly the Highlander can be trained to get off or stay off your son or anything you desire. It might take a bit of patience and thought but it can be done.

      Here is a page on clicker training:


      There are many other pages on PoC on cat training an aspects of it.


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