Himalayan Cat Health Problems

The Himalayan cat is a beautiful breed, but it comes with breed specific health problems. The Himalayan cat's health problems are largely related to their pug face appearance. While the Himalayan pug face is prized by breeders, the constricted structure of the Himalayan's sinuses and nasal passages can lead to breathing problems. Here's what you should know about Himalayan cats and their breed specific health problems.

History of the Himalayan Breed

Dr. Clyde Keller of the Harvard Medical School and Virginia Cobb of the Newton Cattery began developing the Himalayan breed in 1930. They sought a breed that combines the body type of the Persian cat with the seal point coat of the Siamese. In 1957, their Himalayan breed was accepted as a standard breed by the Cat Fancier's Association. In 1980, the Himalayan breed was officially designated a member of the Persian breed, and Himalayan cats now often have Persian cat ancestry.

Characteristics and Temperament of the Himalayan Breed

The Himalayan cat has a large, round head, a short neck, short legs and large feet. The eyes of the Himalayan are set somewhat far apart, and the body is large and wide across the hindquarters. Himalayan cats have either long, flowing coats or medium length, thick coats. The CFA recognizes a number of color points for the breed standard, including red-tortie, cream, blue and chocolate. Himalayan cats have blue eyes and pug faces.

The Himalayan cat is a famously easygoing cat, but also a very active and playful one. However, most owners and breeders claim that Himalayan cat's aren't mischievous; they just like to play from time to time.

Health Problems Associated with the Himalayan Breed

The Himalayan cat is known for its breathing problems, associated with the flat pug nose. Himalayan cats often have breathing problems due to the compression of their sinuses and nasal passages. Himalayan cats may have difficulty breathing and may be more vulnerable than other breeds to upper respiratory infection. Himalayan cats often have watery eyes, and you may need to clean your Himalayan cat's face gently with a warm, wet cloth to remove mucus and other secretions from the eyes. 

Like other long haired cats, Himalayan cats are prone to hair balls. While hair balls often don't amount to a serious medical emergency, they're usually unpleasant and cause your cat discomfort.

However, if hair balls grow too large inside your cat's stomach, they could create a life threatening intestinal blockage that could require emergency surgical removal. Because Himalayan cats have such long, thick hair, they're more prone to dangerously large hair balls than many other types of cats. Protect your Himalayan from hair balls by grooming him daily and by feeding him a hair ball preventative that can help the hair balls pass through his digestive tract. Add a teaspoon of mineral oil to his food twice a day, or try a commercial hair ball preventative. 

Some Himalayans could be prone to joint problems and major organ deformities as a result of inbreeding. Buy your Himalayan from a reputable breeder.