Facts about Himalayan Cats
Himalayans are considered a breed in their own right in some parts of the world, while they are only considered a color variety of Persian cats in the United States. It's generally accepted that Himis are the result of initial crossbreeding between Siamese and Persians.
The Persian Connection
In theory, a Himalayan should have the same body type, coat and personality as a Persian cat. In fact, it was routine interbreeding with Persians to preserve that body type that led the Himi back to inclusion in the Persian breed. Some Himis do look a bit more like longhaired Siamese cats, but the ideal Himi has the rounded body and flat facial features of the Persian.
The distinctive coloring of the average Himalayan is the result of a color point pattern that produces darker coloring on the face and extremities and lighter coloring on the body. Ambient room temperatures can affect the depth of that coloring. Cooler temperatures can cause darkening of the extremities while warmer temperatures can cause a temporary lightening.
There are actually a number of colors recognized by associations that consider the Himalayan a breed in its own right. In addition to the flamepoint pictured left, other colors include all the standard Siamese colors as well as tabby-marked Himis.
Tortie Point Himalayan
This coloring reflects a combination of two color patterns, the colorpoint and the tortoise shell. Together, they create an unusually attractive feline.
Blue Point Doll Face
In addition to having numerous color points, Himalayans can display two different facial types. This blue point Himalayan has what is known as a "doll" face or traditional Himalayan-Persian face.
Seal Point Peke Face
Himalayans that have a more pronounced "squashing" of their facial features are said to be "peke" face or ultra-type face. This seal point Himalayan has a peke face.
The points on these new kittens will likely grow darker as they age until they reach their true color. While now they are nearly light enough to be lilac points, they will likely eventually reach blue point.
In temperament, the Himi is true to its Persian heritage. These cats are quite docile and affectionate. Somewhat lazy by nature, they love to be petted and tend to get along well with other felines in the home.
While Himalayans are known for their laid back personalities, they can be playful as well, particularly when young. Don't be surprised to see a Himalayan getting into mischief if left to his own devices.
Although the Himi's beauty and temperament make it seem like an ideal family pet, these cats do require a substantial amount of grooming due to their long, full coats. Daily brushing is advised to prevent matting, and these cats should be bathed several times a year as needed. It is also necessary to wipe out the facial folds of cats that display the flattened, fleshy faces common to their Persian ancestry.
If you enjoyed this slideshow, visit Types of Siamese Cats to learn about the other side of Himalayan ancestry.