This blue-eyed, long-haired cat breed is the perfect indoor companion, according to cat fanciers.
Devoted and dependent on human companions, the "Himmie" craves constant attention, grooming and a good head rub.
A popular choice for a pet cat, Himmies get their fair share of attention: Featured in films such as "Meet the Parents," "Meet the Fockers," "Date Movie" and "Homeward Bound," Martha Stewart also showcases her two cats in her TV commercials, magazine and TV show, and Jeff Lewis of Bravo TV's "Flipping Out" also gives his two Himmies air time.
The Himalayan cat was the creation of a scientist and a cat breeder. In 1930, Dr. Clyde Keeler of Harvard Medical School and Viginia Cobb of the Massachusetts-based Newton Cattery teamed up to blend a Persian cat and a Siamese cat.
The first Himalayan cat was born during the fourth generation of cross-breeding attempts. The name of the breed was chosen based on the color of the cat, which mimicked that of rabbits and goats living in the Himalayan Mountains.
While the International Cat Association considers the Himalayan a breed of its own, others, such as the Cat Fanciers' Association, group the Himalayan as a shorthaired version of the Persian cat.
Himalayan cats are known for their sweet temperament, intelligence and playful interaction.
Much like Siamese cats, the Himalayan breed enjoys a good game of fetch and can usually be entertained for hours with a simple scrap of balled-up paper or a cat toy.
These cats bond well with their families, preferring to spend more time in their company than on their own.
A Himalayan looks like a Persian cat, with the exception of its blue eyes and color variation of its fur.
The breed has long hair that requires daily brushing in order to keep it tangle-free and healthy. While the fur coat of a Himalayan is either white or cream-colored, the tips — also known as "points" — can be one of a variety of colors: black, blue, lilac, chocolate, red, cream, tabby or tortoise-shell.
Himalayan cats — like Persians — tend to have a round body with short legs, making it difficult for them to jump as high as other cats. However, some Himalayans are born with more of a Siamese-like body and can jump as high as seven feet.
There are a few breed-related health problems affecting the Himalayan cat. This breed is prone to similar health problems as the Persian, such as sinus and breathing problems caused by the foreshortened face, snub nose and shortened sinus cavities.
In addition, there are some eye, skin and liver problems that seem to occur more commonly in Himalayans than in other breeds or mixes. Your Himalayan should be routinely screened during bi-annual veterinary exams for the onset of these health issues.
Due to their Persian ancestry, some Himalayans may be susceptible to Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a congenital kidney disease where cysts form in the kidneys and gradually increase in size as the cat ages. The disease can be managed by special diets that help reduce the workload of the kidneys; however, progression of the disorder may lead to terminal kidney failure.
While these may be common medical conditions, your Himalayan cat will not necessarily develop those listed. Be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.