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Fun Facts About Himalayan Cats - Friendly, Energetic Companions


Written by Wag! Staff

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 08/21/2023, edited: 08/29/2023

Everyone loves a Himalayan cat, don’t they? If you’ve ever cradled a Himalayan cat or a Himalayan kitten in your arms, you probably know how it feels to experience the warm bliss of pure love. These unique rascals are a stunningly beautiful, intelligent breed who make wonderful pets. A cross between a Siamese and a Persian, the Himalayan tends to have blue eyes, cream fur (though dark brown in parts), and a round head.

Whether you’ve always had a soft spot for these gorgeous creatures or you fell in love with them because you saw one immortalized in the movies Homeward Bound or Meet the Parents, you’ll know the unique feeling of caring for this special fluff ball of cuteness.

Long of hair and short of leg, the Himalayan cat is one of the most instantly recognisable breeds in the world. To celebrate them, we’ve compiled nine facts about their colorful lives.

1- Its white parts are warm, its dark parts are cold

Himalayan cat colors are uniquely interesting. Like a living heat map, the colors on a Himmie’s body are governed by their body temperature. Like us, their extremities – their paws, their tail, their nose, for example – are colder than the central parts of their bodies.

Unlike us, this means that the extremities are darker in color than the main parts. When you think about it, it’s a little like our fingers and noses going red when it’s cold, but that situation is a permanent one.

The Himalayan’s sensitivity to heat does mean that it prefers cooler temperatures; its shortened muzzle is what brings its body temperature up, though this characteristic can lead to potential health complications in the respiratory department. Like all breeds, the Himalayan cat does have potential health issues, so pet insurance is always highly recommended. A wellness plan, to cover routine vet appointments and vaccinations, can also be beneficial.

2 - It borrows its name from a rabbit

It might seem to make more sense that the ‘Himalayan’ was geographical in origin – that the Himalayan cat breed was so-called because it heralds from the Himalayas. But there is no Everest in this breed’s family tree; it’s called the Himalayan because its dark markings resemble those of the Himalayan rabbit.

We have Margaret Goforth to thank for this moniker. She followed in the footsteps of Clyde Keeler, Jean Mill and Brian Sterling-Webb, who, in the 1930s, 40s and 50s respectively, worked on combining the traits of Siamese and Persian cats. Mill was creating Himalayan cats by 1948 but she wasn’t calling them by that name; Sterling-Webb called his successful crossbreed Longhaired Colorpoints; but it was Goforth who opted for a snazzier and easier-to-remember name: Himalayans. Would this breed be in the world-famous, adored position it is now if it had been called something else? Yes, but this name is better.

3 - You won’t find them jumping over fences

All cats are pretty athletic and flexible but in the Feline Olympics you wouldn’t necessarily pick the Himalayan cat for the high jump. Or the long jump. Or any kind of jump, for that matter. Whereas there are many cat breeds with slender, long, supermodel bodies (they don’t call it a catwalk for no reason), the Himalayan is a smaller, stockier breed, with legs that are short and thick – even stumpy, some might say.

In fact, the smallest cat ever recorded is said to have been a male blue point Himalayan-Persian named Tinker Toy. He was owned by Scott and Katrina Forbes from Illinois and was born on Christmas Day in 1990. Want to know how small he was? Well, he was a mere 7.5 inches long and only 2.75 inches off the ground. This was, of course, when he was fully grown.

Because they’re not the most athletic of cat breeds, Himalayans may shy away from a lot of exercise, preferring to lie on your sofa or in your lap. This means that their diet will arguably become more important than it would otherwise; you need to ensure that your beloved cat does not become obese. Head over to our friends at Cat Food Advisor to ensure you’re treating your Himalayan to the best food, and therefore the best life, that you possibly can.

4 - They have unforgettable faces

The Himalayan is no different from the Persian, a breed of which it is technically a subtype, in that it is divided into two categories: those that are ultra-typed or peke-faced, and those that have a doll face.

The former is the face you will see on the Himalayans that look mighty grumpy: their facial features are squidged and they don’t look like it was their idea. The doll-face Himalayans, meanwhile, probably get more of the limelight, and certainly more of the TV and film gigs: as the name suggests, they are cutesy and especially cuddly, and don’t have the perma-scowl that typifies the peke-faced variety.

5 - They’re docile, friendly, and love a cuddle

How would we sum up a Himalayan cat personality? It’s impossible to say that all cats of a certain breed will be of a certain character but Himalayans are generally known to be friendly, good with kids, and fond of a cuddle. Allegedly because of the Siamese in their DNA, they love cosying up to their pet parents and having a good snuggle.

Although they love to play, everything happens a little more slowly for a Himalayan, so don’t expect it to make too many sudden movements or leap into the air on command. It knows its mind. Make sure, as with every cat, that you don’t get lazy: it will need regular exercise and attention to keep its mind and body alert, of course.

6 - A Himalayan held the record for the world’s longest fur

This is a fun one. Himalayans are known for their majestic fur, of course, but the crowning glory is that a Himalayan cat was declared by the Guinness Book of Records to have longer fur than any other cat on the planet. The cat’s name was Colonel Meow – surely the greatest cat name in history – and he died at the tender age of two after heart complications.

In life, Colonel Meow made it into the 2014 book thanks to his nine-inch-long fur, then the longest on Earth. Not only has the Colonel passed on now, of course, but he no longer holds the record anyway: shortly before his death, in fact, he was gazumped by a Californian rescue cat called Sophie Smith. We don’t know which breed Ms Smith belongs to but her fur is 10.11 inches, which is all that really matters. Rest in peace, Colonel Meow.

7 - They should be with you for a little while

A Himalayan cat lifespan is in the 10-15-year range, which is respectable but not record-breaking for a cat. Though they do often suffer health consequences because of their facial features, Himalayans are often indoor cats, which does reduce the risk of them coming to any harm by way of other animals or collisions etc. You do not have to keep your Himalayan in the house, of course, but the breed is not famous for wanting to prowl around outside much.

8 - You’ll need to wipe its tears away

We hope that if you have a Himalayan cat it never has any cause to cry. But cats of all shapes and sizes do produce tears, and in this respect the Himalayan is no different. Where it is a little different, however, is that due to its flat face its tears can remain glued onto its face. In cats this phenomenon is called epiphora, as you probably know. The reason Himalayan and other breeds are disproportionately affected by tears in this way is that their tear film doesn’t drain efficiently due to a facial deformity they possess known as brachycephalics (it’s a condition that affects dogs, too).

In order to prevent any issues, make sure you’re wiping the tears away from that face as regularly as you can, ideally twice a day with a wet cloth. If this discharge is brown or red, your cat may have a yeast infection, which requires a visit to the vet; this is what pet insurance is for.

9 - They’re good enough for Martha Stewart

The celebrity chef’s three Himalayans (that’s right, three Himalayans) are called Beethoven, Mozart and Bartók. Almost as famous as Stewart herself, they appear on screen with her and share in her fabulous life. Stewart said that she gently bit her kittens on the face when they entered her life - in order to let them know that she was their mother.

And away from Stewart, Himalayan cats have a proud Hollywood pedigree: Sally Field voiced the iconic Sassy in the Homeward Bound films; the cat that Robert De Niro’s character owns in Meet the Parents is a peke-faced seal-point Himalayan called Mr Jinx; and, if you remember as far back as 1982, a Himalayan by the name of Dickens is central to the show Tucker’s Witch, in which he steals scenes and provides the titular witch Amanda Tucker with clues to help her and her husband solve mysteries. Yes; in case you had any doubt, there is nothing a Himalayan cat can’t do.

Comments (2)

candace kirkham


How do I get my blue himayalaya cat in the guiness world book of records???

Cat Exotica


I utterly loved analyzing the article on Himalayan cats on wagwalking.com. The exact records about these lovely tom cats and their special traits used to be each informative and engaging.

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