Himalayan Cats – contents:

  • Introduction
  • History
  • Colours
  • Health
  • Practical Information
  • Breeders (selected) + Standard (links to)

Introduction

Himalayan cats (“Himmies”) are called “Colourpoint Persians” in Europe, whilst “Himalayan” is an American term. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) classify this cat breed under the “Himalayan Division” of the Persian cat. It is therefore a pointed Persian cat.

They are a cross (a hybrid) between Siamese and Persians. Hence the classic color markings at the “points” of the body and the slightly more lively demeanor than a pure Persian. Ayla the cat featured on this page is a Red Point Doll Face Himalayan. Dani Breeds traditional cats. The Helmi Flick photograph (below on blue background) is of an Ultra (extreme or peke faced – resembling the face of a Pekinese dog) Himalayan. This cat breed “shares a common breed standard”1 with the Exotic Shorthair and Persian. See breeding history.

Apparently the name “Himalayan” was chosen as the pointed coats of this cat resembled the coat pattern of goats and rabbits in the Himalayan area of Asia2. I don’t know if this is true.

Afina Pallada’s Aphrodite del Mar (Ayla) copyright © Daniëlle Rozeboom. Ayla lives with Daniëlle Rozeboom. Daniëlle runs the Cattery Yeri Shaes (opens in new tab or window).

Himalayan Cats have the temperament of a Persian and the coat coloring of a Siamese. So, the coat is white (off white) with a range of colors for the points such as, for example, blue, brown, chocolate (the most rare color), tabby (see tabby coats generally), tortoiseshell and cream. Being essentially Persian cats, Himalayan cats, are registered as Persians with the main cat registries.

The health and grooming issues are as for Persian cats. Grooming is essential. The genes that give these characteristics to the individual breeds are recessive, which means that only 6% of offspring have the desired combination of traits. Look out for the blue eyes and long colourpoint fur.

History Himalayan Cats

The early history the Persian and therefore the Himalayan cat are inextricably bound up with the Angora cat

Early history of the creation and development of Himalayan cats
DateEvent
1930’sUSA – One cat breeder and one scientist/physician (Miss. Virginia Cobb and Dr. Clyde Keeler) get together (in Boston, USA or nearby I believe) to commence an experimental breeding program to breed a long haired cat with points (Siamese like coat). They succeeded after 5 years and then stop having been successful. The technique was published. The first Himalayan cat was called Newton’s Debutante2.
1950’sUK – Two cat breeders (Brian and Mrs Harding) get together to breed a colorpoint long haired cat having been inspired by a stray color pointed long haired cat
1950’sCanada – A cat breeder who must have heard about the development of this breed imported several cats from Brian (UK) above and started his own program
1950’sUSA – A cat breeder took care of a colorpoint long haired cat for a friend and started her own program.
1955UK – GCCF recognize the colorpoint Persian and the cat remains a Persian cat.
1957USA – CFA recognize the Himalayan as a new breed. The question mark hanging over this decision was would it have been better to call the cat a colorpoint Persian rather than a different breed? The early colors are seal, chocolate, blue and lilac. You can see these on the Traditional Siamese (TICA – Thai) page.
1987Up to 1987 the range of colors for the points was extended and accepted by the CFA.



The Colours

  • 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



Health Issues

These are covered under the Persian Cat pages on this site. Click here to see the page.The most obvious (visible) problem of these issues discussed in relation to ultra typed Persian cats (on the above link) is tear duct overflow. Also this cat breed is more prone to respiratory infection than normal because the rounded head of the modern Himmie leads to a smaller area of mucocilary blanket which lines the nasal cavity acting as the cat’s first line of defence against infection.

You can see a larger picture of this ultra Persian Cat demonstrating this condition, by clicking on the adjacent image>>>.

This cat has no association with Dani Rozeboom. This is a slightly shocking image (and I apologize for that) but a real one. The facial anatomy that deals with tear drainage has been altered by selective breeding, the objective of which is the flatened face. Paradoxically the breed stanard requires that the head be round but also specifies that the face should be flat (read about the gradually transformation of the Persian face). The tear staining can be dealt with tear stain remover for cats, which hasn’t happened, it seems, with the cat illustrated. Perhaps more than once a day would be prudent. It is not all beautiful in the Himalayan cat world.

Apparently a good diet can help reduce tear overflow. Some people use Felidae, which contains no corn or wheat, but a lot of people have suggested Dick van Patten’s duck and potato (US market, I believe). They also have breathing problems due to the anatomical defect that has been bred into her. My personal view is that if a breeding program is going to cause health issues then don’t do it. The priority is health, obviously. In fact the underlying CFA breed standard (non cat breed specific) states that no breeding should result in health issues. There would therefore seem to be a clash between the Persian breed standard and the underlying standard.

Himalayan Cat Rescue



Update on health issues:

At some point under an unknown analysis eye cataracts were seen in both eyes of a Himalayan kitten.(src: Robinson’s Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians 4th Ed.). The authors say that this condition was possibly due to a single inherited gene (monogenic). PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) has the potential to affect all cat breeds but is seen more frequently in Persians and cats bred from Persians, which includes Himalayan cats.

If every cat was ultrasound scanned for PKD at the age of 9-10 months and if positive not used in the breeding program, the disease could and should be gradually eliminated. Cats with this disorder should not normally be euthanized. PKD is a late onset disease a final test should be carried out at aged one or older.

Information from Himalayan Cat keepers

This is often practical but unscientific information. Tortie Point Himmies are only females or very nearly only females due to the sex linked gene. As for Persians they come in Ultra (extreme) and Traditional. Himmies are calm, gentle and sweet natured but can playful.

Their character is a major attraction – a really nice personality. Caveat: as is the case for people, Himalayans aren’t all sweet and lovely. If your Himmie is more aggressive than expected then it could be because of the Siamese in him/her or some other reason such as health or stress.

Apparently some can have a delicate digestive system. They need, as is expected, a lot of grooming, particularly the rear end – daily is best. You might consider getting your Himmie shaved (including the rear end) on a regular basis. They are usually tolerant of this. They shed a lot so there is lots of fur in the home to get up. I use a thing called a “bizzy brush” to get fur off furniture etc.. This is a brush which has velvet running in one direction. I have found it very effective on fur and highly durable.

Due to their placid temperament, Himalayan Cats are suited to being indoor cats and “the experts” recommend it. Himalayan cats do well with other pets and family members including children. Males can breed from 6-7 months old to one year. Females at one year is best. If you are buying, I would gently challenge the breeder as to the pedigree i.e. the lineage and breeding practices. Seek or assess answers for honesty.

A good breeder will be happy to give transparent answers. Himalayans range from $300 (pet)-$2500 (show quality) in price (as at mid-2007). Remember to read about Persian health issues. I’d ask the breeder about DNA testing for PKD, Polycystic Kidney Disease. Most if not all will have this test done.

I’d prefer to re-home a rescue Himalayan. Have your cat spayed or neutered. Don’t breed cats until you know all the issues and there are many including moral issues. Do Himalayan cats feel the heat because of their long coat? – “no” it seems.

Breeders + Standard (links to)

At 2008 (things change) – Selected as independent websites from the first 2 pages of listings, on a Google search. These links open in new windows. These link will gradually die over the years as people retire.

YewCats Cattery
The rank first in Google search but don’t say where they are located. It’s USA though. They also breed Traditional Siamese.

Boutique Kittens
Located Colorado, USA. Breed Doll Face Himmies, Napoleons (dwarf cat) and a cat I have never heard of “Ragaper”.

Kasiakatz
Located in Upstate New York, USA. Breed Ultra Himalayans.

Wonderfluf Cattery – the link to this cattery is broken 21 April 2013
Located in Nebraska, USA. They breed Doll Face Persians and Himmies.

Karen’s Cat House (broken 2012)
Located Essex, Ontario, Canada. Breed Doll Face.

LAPEYROUSE HIMALAYANS & PERSIANS
Located at Bexar County TX Between San Antonio and Converse.

Burton’s Persians
The cattery of Monica Burton. You can contact her by email from the website.

Breed standard
CFAstandard
TICAstandard
Cat (Felis catus)



Note:

1. Legacy of the Cat by Gloria Stephens and Tetsu
2. http://web.archive.org/web/20131002180720/http://leclubfur.com/history.htm

Source:

  • www.pandecats.com for history (thanks)
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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