The Himalayan is known for its uniquely flat face when compared to other cat breeds. It looks similar to a Persian cat, but has the coat colors of a Siamese cat. It is also known as the colorpoint longhair in some areas of the world. This cat breed has a distinctive look, and can be hard to find unless you buy one from a breeder. Here's how to select a Himalayan:
- Understand the breed's temperament. Himalayans are known as sweet, gentle cats. However, they can still become upset when in a home with young children, especially when these children pull their hair or tail.
- Commit to the breed's requirements. Himalayans have long fur and will need to be brushed daily, so be sure you're up for this commitment. This will keep their hair from tangling, and also reduces the amount that they will shed on your furniture and elsewhere in your home.
- Choose a breeder. The breeder you select should be willing to show you the kitten's parents and the breeding area. This area should be clean, and all cats you see there should look healthy, not just the kittens up for sale. Reputable breeders will be concerned about their cat's new home, not just about the money, and should require a written contract. The majority of reputable breeders are active in the cat community through breed clubs and showing their Himalayans in competitions. Do not buy a Himalayan through the pet store, where you have no idea where the kitten came from.
- Consider your options. You can expect to pay at least $300 for a purebred Himalayan cat, or more if you want a show-quality cat rather than one meant strictly as a pet. Most Himalayans sold by breeders will be kittens. Choose one that's at least 12 weeks old. Some breeders will sell kittens as young as 5 weeks, but this is not good for the cat. It's best to leave your Himalayan with its mother for as long as possible.
- Ask about health conditions. A responsible breeder will guarantee that their Himalayans are free from feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), two potentially serious viruses for cats.
- Inspect the cat. Visit the breeder's premises, and pick up any kittens or cats that interest you. Check for good muscle tone, and inspect the cat for illnesses. Signs of illness include sneezing and eyes with runny discharge. The ears should be clean and pink inside. Check for fleas or flea dirt, which shows up as little black specks in the Himalayan's fur. The fur should be long and soft, with no knots or mats. It should have no bald patches, and the skin underneath the fur should not be dry or flaky.
- First vet visit. Once you select a Himalayan, take it to your veterinarian as soon as you can. The vet can confirm the cat's health and treat any problems before they get worse. This is especially important if you are introducing the Himalayan to one or more cats you already own. You don't want the Himalayan to bring any feline diseases home to your other pets.
Himalayans are some of the calmest cats, and they make great pets for those who don't want an overly playful cat. These loving pets do require some special grooming, though, because of their long coats. Make sure that the Himalayan's temperament and special care requirements will work in your household before you select a Himalayan.