United States & the United Kingdom
Himalayans are remarkably pleasant. They are smart, affectionate, and devoted. Himmies consider their pet parent’s lap to be a little piece of heaven, and while they can be left for long hours if you have to work, a Himalayan won’t be afraid to tell you if you’re neglecting them. Luckily, their meow has been described as melodious.
These kitties can be shy, and they prefer a calm environment. If you have children, be aware that Himmies love getting attention from kids – some will even let children push them around in buggies – but they do not like roughhousing. They dislike loud noise and are timid around houseguests.
There are rumors that Himalayans descended from Pallas’s cat, a small wild cat from central Asia with long fur and no spots or stripes. However, it’s commonly believed the breed got its start at Harvard in the 1930s when researcher Clyde Keeler, with the help of enthusiast Virginia Cobb, conducted a study on combining Siamese and Persian traits. They named their first success Newton’s Debutante. Keeler’s research was picked up again in the 1950s as people longed for longhaired feline friends with those classic Siamese blue eyes and colorpoint markings.
In the U.K. in 1955, Brian Sterling-Webb successfully crossbred what he named Longhaired Colourpoints. Two years later in the U.S. Margaret Goforth had similar success and named the breed Himalayans after the Himalayan rabbit who has similar markings.
Did You Know?
This breed may be quiet, but they sure are interesting! Check out these cool Himmy facts:
- In 2012, a Himalayan named Colonel Meow set the Guinness record for the cat with the longest hair.
- Himmies have made some notable appearances on the big screen, such as Sassy (voiced by Sally Field) in the popular ’90s Homeward Bound movies and Mr. Jinx in the comedy hit Meet the Parents.
- Himalayans love children and are known to become very attached to their human family members.
- Martha Stewart is a pet parent to three Himalayans – Beethoven, Mozart, and Bartôk – who have made many appearances in her commercials and on her TV show.
- At just 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long, the world’s smallest cat was a Himalayan named Tinkertoy.
Did you know cat hair isn’t the cause of reactions in people sensitized to cat allergens? The primary cause is an allergen produced in cats’ saliva. These allergens are spread to cats’ hair through grooming, which are then shed into the environment.
Appearance & Coat
Himmies have what is known as a “cobby” body type. This means that despite their round appearance, these kitties are sturdy and strong. They have short, thick legs and tail and a broad chest and shoulders.
Aside from those expressive blue eyes, a Himalayan’s face is distinct in that it can either be traditional or extreme. Traditional, also called doll face, is round with a longer, lower nose. Extreme, or peke-face, is that adorable squashy look similar to that of a Pug.
Of course, the most noticeable attribute is a Himalayan’s fine, glossy double coat with those quintessential colorpoints. The bulk of their body can range from white to fawn with the colorpoint markings coming in a wide array of hues, including:
- Red (flame)
- Hot cream
And “longhair” isn’t just a label with these silkies; it’s a way of life. Himalayans sport a ruff around the neck, a deep frill between their front legs, ear and toe tufts, and a full tail.