Himalayans are perhaps the most beautiful of the cat breeds. They are a blue eyed cat with the round head, short nose, large round eyes, small ears and heavy boned, cobby body of the Persian coupled with the Siamese colouring.
Experimental breeding of Himalayans took place in the United States and England as far back as the early 1920's when the Persian and Siamese breeds were bred together, but actual recognition as a pure-bred cat did not come until 1957 in USA.
They were given the name Himalayan because their coat patterns were similar to that of the rabbits and goats with the same colouring found in the Himalayans in Asia. The kittens are cream-coloured at birth, with pink noses, foot pads and ears. The mask and points start to darken at about 4 days old but the final colour may not be complete until 18 months of age. Recognised colours include seal point, chocolate point, blue point, lilac point, tortie point, blue-cream point. One of the most striking characteristics is the eye colour which is vivid blue.
The coat is long and thick, and requires approximately 20 minutes grooming per day, so this is not an easy care breed. They are also best kept as indoor cats. If the coat is neglected it very quickly becomes matted and the only option may be to have the cat¹s coat shaved off. This should only be done by a veterinarian or experienced groomer. The colour points on the Himalayan are caused by the body¹s extremities being a cooler temperature than the rest of the body. When the cat is shaved this cools the hair follicles on the body and the result is that the coat will grow through brown or grey and remain that way until the cat undergoes a full moult.
Along with their striking appearance, Himalayans have a wonderfully outgoing and engaging personality being extremely affectionate, playful and endearing. They are generally a calm breed but can sometimes be very self-opinionated! Unlike their very vocal ancestors, the Siamese, Himalayans have quiet melodious voices.
With beauty and personality it is little wonder that the Himalayan cat is the most popular breed in USA and rapidly winning hearts elsewhere.