If you're trying to decide between a Siamese cat or a Himalayan, you're making a decision about more than hair length. These breeds have differing personalities, too. Do you want an active, vocal cat or one more laid-back and quiet? The former is the Siamese, the latter his Himalayan cousin.
The Siamese Cat
The National Siamese Cat Club refers to the breed as "a living, breathing work of art." This long, sinuous feline with the mesmerizing blue eyes and double-colored coat was first imported to Great Britain from his native Siam, now Thailand, in the late 19th century. The Siamese's coat consists of a lighter color on the body with darker points on the head, ears, legs and tail. While the seal-point Siamese -- a cream or fawn base color with dark brown points -- is the classic example of the breed, other colors include chocolate with lighter brown points; bluepoint, with a light gray body and dark gray points; and lilac point, light gray points on a white body. The Siamese is a short-haired breed that requires little grooming unless he competes in cat shows.
The Himalayan Cat
A cross between the Siamese and the Persian, the Himalayan first came to prominence in the 1950s. In the United Kingdom, the breed is called the long-haired colorpoint. The Cat Fanciers Association refers to the breed as the Persian Himalayan because without occasional outcross breedings to Persian cats, the basic type changes. Other cat fancy organizations recognize the Himalayan as a separate breed, claiming they do breed true to standard. Feline politics aside, the Himalayan looks like what breeders sought in a Siamese/Persian cross: a long-haired cat with the colorpoints and blue eyes of the Siamese. In addition to the Siamese points, Himmies also come in coat colors of flame point, tortie point (females only), lynx point, cream point and other variations.
Siamese cats want to be involved in your life -- all aspects, whether you want them to or not. They also want to discuss things with you, although the conversation can get a little one-sided. They're active, athletic, interesting felines, but if you want a quiet cat that's content to sit in your lap for hours, the Siamese probably isn't the breed for you. However, the Himalayan might be. Typical Himalayans are mellow, friendly kitties that love to be groomed. And grooming is a necessity in this breed. Himalayans don't meow as much as Siamese, but that's something that can be said of virtually every other cat breed.
There's no question that a Himalayan requires more care than his Siamese counterpart, thanks to the length of his hair. If you're not up to daily grooming, the Siamese is the better choice. If you don't groom your Himalayan regularly, not only will he look unkempt but he could develop mats. Left untreated, mats eventually grow into the skin, causing infection.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.