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Birman or Himalayan, which cat breed is best for you
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Birman or Himalayan, which cat breed is best for you

There are some very beautiful colourpoint breeds around and none are more attractive than the Birman and the Himalayan. If you have set your heart on sharing your home with a colourpoint and just can't make up your mind, this article compares both breeds which could help you decide whether a Birman or Himalayan would best suit your lifestyle.

Birman country of origin

Birmans were thought of as Sacred Cats with the breed being steeped in myths and legends having been offered as gifts from a Goddess to a priest. However, the actual origins of the Birman remain a bit of a mystery although by the 1930s, similar seal point feral cats were seen in Burmese temples where they were protected by the locals. The breed was recognised by the GCCF in 1966 and have remained a popular choice as family pets and companions throughout the world.

Himalayan country of origin

Himalayans are an ancient breed, but they only appeared outside of Malaysia during the twenties when they were called Malayan Persians. However, the breed then disappeared only to reappear in the fifties thanks to the efforts and dedication of two breed enthusiasts who set about recreating the breed. The Himalayan was finally recognised by the GCCF in 1955 and have remained a popular choice with people the world over whether kept as companions or family pets.

Birman personality

Birmans are gentle, affectionate and playful cats by nature loving nothing more than to be in a family environment. They thrive on human company and are known to be very talkative although the sound they make is very bird-like. They are social cats which means they usually get on well with other animals and cats. However, they can be a little demanding and don't like to be left on their own for any length of time which in short means they are better suited to families where one person stays at home when everyone else is out.

Being highly intelligent, Birmans like to be kept busy and love to explore the great outdoors, but cats should only be allowed to go outside if it is safe for them to do so. They adore playing interactive games, but are just as happy to relax with the people they love on a sofa when the mood takes them which is why they make such wonderful companions for older people.

Birmans are also a good choice as family pets because they are known to be good around children. As previously mentioned, they are social by nature and tend to get on with dogs they have grown up with in the same household. However, it would be a mistake to trust a Birman around smaller pets, just to be on the safe side.

Himalayan personality

Sweet natured, playful, energetic, sensitive and loving, the Himalayan has a lot going for them whether they are kept as companions or family pets. They are less likely to climb up the curtains than their Birman counterparts preferring to keep their paws firmly on the ground.

They are known to be very sensitive to their owner's moods and form strong ties with the people they love. Being so intelligent, the Himalayan learns new things quickly and adore playing interactive games. They are not as talkative as the Birman, but will hold a quiet conversation with their owners. Himalayans are not as demanding which means they are not so bothered when left on their own, but this should never be for too long.

They thrive in a family environment loving nothing more than to be involved in everything that goes on around them which makes them a great choice as family pets. Because they are so gentle by nature, they make lovely companions for older people too. Himalayans get on with dogs they have grown up with in the same household and some also get on well with pet birds as well as smaller animals, but it's best to keep an eye on them when they are together.

Birman health

Birmans suffer from certain hereditary health concerns which includes the following:

  • Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - stud cats should always be screened for this disorder

Himalayan health

Himalayans also suffer from certain hereditary health concerns which includes the following:

  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) - breeders should have stud cats tested
  • Breathing issues and sensitivity to heat
  • Sensitive skin (Feline hyperesthesia)

Birman life expectancy

The average life span of a Birman is between 12 and 16 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.

Himalayan life expectancy

The average life span of a Himalayan is between 10 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.

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