If you're looking for a gorgeous, long-haired cat with a laid-back temperament, the Himalayan fills the bill. This color-pointed breed, a cross between the Siamese and the Persian, combines the best qualities of both breeds. Himmies like nothing better than hanging out with their person, unless you include eating.
Himmies are a relatively recent breed. While some proto-Himalayans were created in the 1930s by crossing Persians and Siamese, breeding didn't really get underway until the 1950s. Not all purebred cat registries recognize the Himalayan as a stand-alone breed -- the Cat Fanciers' Association calls it the Himalayan-Persian. Breeders still may infuse the Himalayan with occasional Persian blood, but further crossing with the Siamese no longer is acceptable. The breed has about as much connection with the Himalayan Mountains region as it does with Mars. However, the color point patterns are found in similarly-named animals, such as the Himalayan rabbit.
Your Himmie inherited the sweet disposition of his Persian ancestors along with the inquisitive nature of the Siamese. He's a happy medium, not too lazy like some Persians and not too nosy like the Siamese. One behavior he didn't inherit from the Siamese side of the family is the constant meowing. Instead, he's fairly quiet and not as demanding as his Siamese cousins. He craves affection and believes his true place in life is on your lap.
As in all things, Himmies like to play in moderation. You can teach your cat to play fetch and he may chase some string if you pull it along, but he's not likely to swing from the curtains or bounce off the walls. His main form of exercise is following you around. He wants to be with you no matter what you are doing, just waiting for you to sit down and create a lap. Since Himmies require a great deal of grooming to keep their long coat tangle- and mat-free, your arms will get quite a bit of exercise while he relaxes.
Kids and Other Pets
Himmies make great cats for older kids. Your Himmie is perfectly content to sit in a youngster's lap for petting and affection. Since he's a basically docile, live-and-let-live type of feline, he generally gets along well with other, well-behaved cats and dogs. He's not aggressive and, needless to say, he must live indoors where he can't come upon strange animals.
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.