The Himalayan, also called colorpoint Persian and colloquially referred to as Himmy, is a breed of cat with extremely long, fluffy fur, and the blue eyes and the points of a Siamese. Himalayan is the American term, while in Europe they are referred to as colorpoint Persians.
They were bred from Siamese (for the markings) and Persians (for coat-length and temperament), and share the characteristics of both breeds. Himalayans are now considered the same breed in some cat registries (CFA) as the modern Persian show cat since they have the exact same conformation with a pointed coat. Although, other registries consider the breed as its own breed. (TICA)
The body of a Himalayan is white or cream, but the points come in many different colors: blue, brown, lilac, chocolate, flame, red and cream. The points can also be tabby or tortoiseshell-patterned. Both the chocolate and lilac point Himalayan are the most difficult to produce. These color traits are autosomal recessive, meaning both parents must possess the gene in order for any offspring to express the trait. The Himalayan cat has short legs which makes it harder for them to jump as high as other cats do. Also they have very round bodies and wiegh around 13 pounds on average.
These cats are sweet-tempered, intelligent and generally very social and good companions. Because of their heritage from the Siamese cats they tend to be more active than Persians. They are more prone to hairballs than other breeds. Due to the amount of inbreeding involved in breeding these cats commercially, they are prone to genetic deformities and have a greater likelihood for developing inherited problems such as joint problems, organ abnormalities, and particularly Polycystic kidney disease
among other diseases.
Like many long-haired cats, Himalayans need to be brushed daily to keep their coats looking their best and healthiest. In addition, they may need their face wiped daily, depending on the cat. Bathing a Himalayan is also recommended by some breeders, to help reduce the amount of oil on the cat's fur and skin.
Himilayans display a marked split in their facial features, as some (the "Peeked" or "Ultra-Face" variety) are incredibly Persian-like with a squashed "frowning" mouth, no break in the nose, and squinting eyes (see the Cream point cat at lower right) and yet some (the more traditional "Doll-Face" variety) have very large, round eyes, and display an almost Burmese or Tonkinese pointedness about their muzzle, with a definite break in the nose (see the Seal Point at upper right). This is due to the prominence of either Siamese or Persian genes which the cat was bred from, and both styles are considered equally "Himalayan", though the "Peeked" version is considered a recent development (1970's to 1980's).
Himalayan Cats In The Media
- Mr. Jinx was the pet Himalayan cat of Robert DeNiro in the movies Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004).
- In the movies Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) and Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996), one of the main characters is a Himalayan cat named Sassy (voiced by Sally Field).
- In the spoof film, Date Movie (2006) Mr. Jinxers is a parody of his Meet the Parents counterpart.
- The main character of the anime/manga Prince of Tennis, Ryoma Echizen, owns a playful, mischievous and surprisingly smart Himalayan cat named Karupin (or Kalpin in the English translation), to whom he's very attached.
- Martha Stewart owns seven Himalayan cats, all named after famous composers, such as Beethoven, Mozart and Bartok. The cats have been featured in her commercials for Kmart, on her television show, Martha Stewart Living, and in her magazine, such as the cover of the February, 1999, issue.