If you've never heard of flame point Himalayan cats, you aren't alone. This lesser-known color pattern has a unique look and playful personality, according to insider tips from a specialty breeder of "Himis."
Himalayan Cat Personality
A Himalayan cat's personality is very similar to that of the gentle Persian. "Compared to other breeds, Himalayans are calm. They will spend time lounging near you and follow you from room to room like a puppy dog," said specialty breeder Mary Burkwit. Some common personality traits of Himis include:
- Playing and interacting with you with cat toys and even playing fetch.
- Getting along with other pets and family members.
- Greeting you at the door as soon as you walk in the door and scratching on something to express happiness at your return.
- Snuggling with you above, or under, the covers at night.
While they are a very affectionate and playful breed, they can become overly attached to their human so they're not a good choice if they're to be left alone a lot.
More About Flame Points
While flame point Himis share all the qualities of the more common colorings of the breed, they do have some unique qualities.
Flame Point Personality
Burkwit noted that flame point Himalayans have a very appealing "outgoing personality," which "keeps people laughing at their antics." They tend to be very "humorous," and "the silliness combined with the calm, warm personality of the Himalayan makes for a wonderful companion."
Flame Point Coloring
Flame point Himalayans are also unique in that while their body coat remains white, their red color points do not spread as they grow older unlike other Himalayans. With most other Himalayans, the color of their points along with a rich cream color eventually spreads to other areas such as their back as they get older. With flame points, the point coloring tends to remain in place, including on the mask of the face, ears, paws and tail.
Advice About Choosing a Kitten
If you are able to purchase a kitten from a breeder, Burkwit advised this to be the best option, "because you can learn about the conditions in which the kitten was raised." She outlined several criteria to use to evaluate closely a Himalayan breeder.
Age of Kittens
Kittens should live with its natural mother until they are at least 12 weeks old. This allows them to learn from their mother and littermates and learn appropriate play and body language. It also gives them a chance to build up their immune systems.
The kitten should grow up interacting with their father and other cats in the household in social family activities.
- Kittens learn how to interact with people by watching how the cats in the household relate to humans from eight weeks and older.
- Some breeders lock up their intact male cats because they spray, so they rarely interact with the kittens in a family setting.
- Said Burkwit, "A social father cat is a great indication that you will get a social well adjusted Himalayan kitten. One really great resource on this is The Influence of the Father on Kittens' Temperaments by cat writer Sarah Hartwell."
A breeder should welcome you to the actual location where they raise their kittens.
- Burkwit warned prospective buyers to, "Be suspicious of breeders who do not disclose a true address because if a problem occurs later, you cannot proceed. A good breeder will let you come over and look at their general environment."
- If a breeder restricts you from specific areas for health reasons, this is not unusual and is often done for rooms where newborn kittens are.
- You should also ask to see where the males are kept. They should live in an area with natural sunlight, and it "is unacceptable to house breeding cats in a basement of a house." Not only does this cause stress to the cat, but it can make breeding cycles irregular.
- If the breeders keep their cats in quarters outside the home, do the breeders bring them indoors to interact with a typical family environment? This is important for learning if the kittens have been properly socialized or not.
A breeder should feed quality foods which is, according to Burkwit, "the best investment breeders and cat owners can make in their Himalayans."
- Himalayans have a sensitive digestive tract and it's very important to feed your kitten the same food as the breeder when you bring them home.
- You can switch them eventually to another food but do it gradually to give the cat's digestive system a chance to acclimate.
- "The breeder should educate you about this and be able to explain why they selected the foods that they use," said Burkwit. A good breeder will also ask you questions about whether you are willing to follow their feeding instructions.
The vaccinations a breeder recommends is also important.
- According to Burkwit, "Himalayans should remain indoors so in my opinion there is no reason for them to receive a vaccine for Feline Leukemia or FIV. The FIP vaccine is not recommended."
- She also recommended against the Chlamydia portion of the four part booster, "because it is not very effective and tends to cause reactions."
- In her opinion, "the only three things that should be in your vaccine are Panleukopenia, Rhinootracheitis, and Calici."
- She also cautioned that, "no surgery or rabies vaccine should be administered within two weeks of each other. It is unacceptable that both a rabies and distemper vaccine are given in the same visit or combined with surgery. It is an unnecessary risk, and a good breeder should educate new owners about this."
Himalayan Health Issues
A good breeder will also provide you with information on common health conditions associated with Himalayans. If they don't, you should educate yourself about these health risks so you're prepared to recognize them if they occur later on in your Himi's life.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
One genetic risk is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). "Responsible Himalayan breeders should submit their breeders to a simple DNA test to rule PKD out of their breeding cats," said Burkwit. You also can do the test yourself by swabbing the cheek of your cat's saliva and sending the collected DNA to a laboratory for analysis.
Breeder Health Guarantees
When purchasing a Himalayan, be sure to get a health guarantee for your cat or kitten.
- The guarantee should state your kitten is free of PKD, Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) with supporting proof that the parents are negative. Since the kittens are raised in a "closed cattery", there is no chance that these disorders can enter.
- Look for a health guarantee that promises that none of the cats in the cattery have ever been exposed to Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and that their laboratory titer level for the Coronavirus is low or even 0. A cat can live a normal life with the Coronavirus, but if it mutates, it can become FIP which is a slow death where there is no cure and can take months of expensive testing to make a proper diagnosis.
- Kittens should also be guaranteed against upper respiratory infections, fleas, worms, ear mites and fungus for a determined amount of time after purchase.
- In addition, Burkwit believed each cat/kitten should have a one year from date of birth replacement or refund guarantee against hereditary or congenital defects that affect the life of the cat.
Burkwit asserted that, "Declawing a Himalayan can be very detrimental to their health" for several reasons:
- Himalayans use their claws to remove dead hair from their thick fur. Grooming is essential for Himis because they have a thick undercoat of fine fur that needs daily combing. "Declawing Himalayans takes away their natural grooming tools."
- She noted also that, "Himalayans and most cats communicate with people in their scratching behavior. Scratching behaviors are very important and give people a way to communicate directly with your Himalayan, so declawing is very damaging." In fact, the behavioral and grooming aspects of keeping a cat's claws intact are so important that you are not allowed to bring a cat into a CFA show if it is declawed.
Cost of a Flame Point Himalayan Kitten
Flame point Himalayan kittens cost around $600 to $1,000 from a good breeder. A show quality cat may cost substantially more. You can find Himalayan breeders through the Cat Fanciers' Association and The International Cat Association websites.
Choosing a Flame Point Himalayan Kitten
If you've researched the breed and believe this is the perfect fit for your household, take your time to review breeders carefully. Follow Mary Burkwit's excellent advice to inspect thoroughly your potential breeder's cattery and ask them critical questions. Likewise, be open to answering all of his or her questions. Your ideal breeder should be a resource for you on bringing home and successfully raising your lovely new flame point Himi companion.