Himalayan cat breed information and advice
The Himalayan cat was created in the USA in the early 1930s. Also known as the Himalayan Persian or Colourpoint Persian, it’s a sub-breed of the Persian cat. The Himalayan breed has the long-haired coat of a Persian cat with the blue eyes and point colouration of a Siamese.
Their name comes from the goats and rabbits found in the Himalayan Mountains that share the same colouration. Nicknamed the Himmy, these cats are sweet natured, intelligent and make great a great companion pet.
Himalayan cat facts
intelligent, generally sweet natured, sociable
white or cream coats with different
point colours of seal (or black),
blue, lilac, chocolate, red (flame), and cream
Unexpected accidents, diseases, and breed-related problems can happen at any time. Having Himalayan insurance for your cat can help cover the costs and put your mind at ease. Our cat insurance can help get your cat back on their paws as soon as possible.
Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance
Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance is available for Himalayan cats from 8 weeks of age. If the insurance policy is taken out before your cat is 10 years old and you continue to cover them with Sainsbury’s Bank, their cover will be continued year after year, providing you keep renewing your policy.
How to care for a Himalayan cat
Himalayans, while intelligent cats, can be high maintenance. You’ll need to do some homework and know how to care for a Himalayan before you bring them home.
Feeding and nutrition
If you get your Himalayan kitten from a breeder, ask them what they’ve been feeding your kitten and at what time. You’ll want to ease your kitten into your home with a familiar diet to avoid them feeling unwell. You can gradually make changes to their diet over time.
Himalayans can be prone to putting on weight, so you should follow the advice of the breeder on how much you should feed your cat. You can also ask your vet for tips or follow guidelines on cat food packages to prevent overfeeding. If your cat does become overweight or obese, this can lead to health problems. You should speak to your vet about how to get them back to a healthy weight.
Being long-haired, Himalayans will need grooming every day to keep their coats tangle and mat free. To keep them looking good, as part of their grooming routine you should wipe their faces with a damp cloth to prevent tear stains. You should also brush their teeth with a vet-approved toothpaste to prevent dental disease. Regular baths may be needed, so it’s best to get them used to be bathed as a kitten.
Himalayans aren’t naturally inclined to be active so they might need some encouragement to exercise. However, when the mood takes them, they can have bursts of energy. You can provide interactive toys and make sure they have playtime each day to help keep them in good condition. Himalayans are heavily boned with short legs so avoid toys that include jumping or climbing.
Himalayans are intelligent breeds so can be easily trained. If you set out their litter box and clean it regularly, they should pick it up no problem.
Temperament and behaviour
Like their Persian ancestors, Himalayan cats are placid and generally sweet-natured, sociable and devoted to their owners. They can be more talkative than Persians but less vocal than Siamese cats. Most of the time, they’re happy to lounge around and sit on your lap. They're best suited to living the life of an indoor cat.
Common health problems
Himalayans, like Persian breeds, are brachycephalic which means they have shortened, flattened faces. You will find extreme versions of this and more traditional versions where the face is not as flat. Being brachycephalic can lead to several health problems.
Other health issues for Himalayans can include facial dermatitis, polycystic kidney disease, and seborrhoea. Himalayan insurance ensures that your furry friend is taken care off should they need medical care.
Brachycephalic upper airway obstruction
AD-PKD or PKD causes cysts to form in the kidneys. It’s an inherited condition that’s been reported to affect Himalayan cats due to their Persian ancestry. Most cats are around 7 when they start to show signs of the condition. While there’s no cure, some treatments may help to improve their quality of life. A DNA test can identify cats that carry the gene responsible for the condition. It’s a good idea to check that your breeder has tested their cats for this condition and only breeds from PKD-negative cats.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (commonly known as HCM) is a disease that affects the heart muscle. In HCM, the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. This reduces the amount of blood flowing through the heart, so the heart doesn’t work properly. The condition is likely inherited in certain cat breeds including some Bengal lines.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a DNA test available at the moment to identify those at risk. Screening of cats using echocardiography (a scan of the heart using ultrasound) is recommended for Bengals. If the condition is recognised early enough, long-term medication and other measures can slow the disease down.
This is a rare condition that can affect Himalayan cats, common signs include black, waxy exudate on the face and chin. The disease is slowly progressive, so if you notice these signs, long-term drugs and topical treatments will be required.
Seborrhoea is a skin condition that causes dry, scaly skin, which can also be greasy and bad smelling. Himalayan breeds with a severe form can show signs as young as 2-3 days old. With milder forms, cats will show signs from around 6 weeks of age. It’s an inherited condition and affected cats should not be bred from.
How long do Himalayan cats live?
Himalayans generally live to 15 years if they are well cared for. If they become overweight, they can be prone to health problems that might shorten their lifespan.
Do Himalayan cats shed?
With their long-hair, Himalayans are high shedders. They’ll need grooming daily to remove loose hairs and any tangles or mats. This means they are not the best cat to be in the presence of someone who suffers from cat allergies.
Are Himalayan cats friendly?
Himalayans are friendly and sociable if they’re treated with care. They can be wary of strangers and can take a little longer to warm up to visitors to their home.
Are Himalayan cats mean?
No, Himalayans are gentle cats. Their flat faces may give the impression that they are somewhat disgruntled, but they have very sweet personalities and are good-natured..
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