Few breeds in the history of the cat fancy have both fired the imagination and captured the adulation of cat lovers like the Himalayan. With its striking coat pattern borrowed from the Siamese and its physical conformation matching the Persian, the Himalayan combines the best qualities of both breeds in one exemplary feline.
From the beginning, the dream was to produce a cat of Persian type and coat, with the colour of the Siamese. Because of this, the Himalayan is one of only a few breeds that has a clearly verifiable history. Work began on establishing the breed simultaneously on several continents. In the USA, Miss Virginia Cobb and Dr Clyde Keeler began the work of crossing Persians & Siamese. This work was later taken up by Mrs Marguerita Goforth.
In Britain, feline geneticist Brian Sterling-Webb was brought the famous “churchyard” cat, “Bubastis Georgina”,which apart from her colouring, possessed no Siamese characteristics and was reasonably Persian in type. This cat fired his imagination and under the Briarry prefix, he set about crossing Persians to Siamese and keeping the solid coloured offspring carrying the Siamese (Himalayan) coat factor. These solid coloured cats were known as CPC’s,(Colour Point Carriers) as they carried the recessive genes for producing the Siamese (Himalayan) coat pattern. The pointed Longhairs which resulted from these breedings were then bred back to Solid Persians again in the quest for improved type. He also bred the churchyard cat, to a Siamese male, Henry of Abingdon, retaining Pointed cats carrying genes for Longhair. After several years his ?Colourpoint? Longhairs were finally recognized and allocated the breed number 13b by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1955, two years prior to Mrs Goforth achieving recognition for her new ?Himalayan? breed with ACFA in 1957.
Brian Sterling Webb continued his work with the tremendous support of Mrs S.M.Harding of Mingchiu cattery, working simultaneously with Sealpoints and Bluepoints, and Seals and Blues carrying Chocolate and Lilac. Briarry, Mingchiu and Kala cattery cats were exported to all corners of the globe and thus began the worlds love affair with the new Colourpoint or ?Himalayan? patterned Persian.
Kala Jacaroo (sealpoint male) and Kala Ranee (Bluepoint female) were the foundation cats of most of the early colourpointed Persian cats bred in New Zealand, and can be found on the pedigrees of cats from many of New Zealands most famous catteries associated with the Colourpoint, such as the ?Puihi? cattery of Mrs Vera Caton and the ?Sharella? cattery of Mrs Karen Caine. A line-bred male ?Puihi Meshak? went on to sire the first consistent multiple Best In Show winning and siring Colourpoints, including such cats as Gr Ch.Lanang Blaise and Ch.Lanang Bartholomew(bred by Hazel Hornell) and Ch.Simply Spartacus (bred by Olwyn Smithson).
Mrs Bev Douglas of “Sarona” cattery continued with the hard work of developing the Chocolates and Lilac series cats in New Zealand, while Mrs Karen Thomson and Mrs Cathy Gill contributed to the development of the Smokepoints. The bluepoint, Gr.Ch.Lanang Blaise, became the first colourpoint in New Zealand to achieve the unimaginable, National BEST CAT. This feat was followed soon after by a seal lynxpoint Spartacus grand-daughter, Db.Gr.Ch.Imperatus Thumbelina, who was PPCF Kitten of the Year and New Zealands first Colourpoint Double Grand Champion of any colour. Another bluepoint grandson of Spartacus did the unthinkable a second time when Db Gr Ch.Benjer Reigal Tekani, was the second Himalayan to take out top National honours.
Over the years, further imports added to the ever increasing gene pool. In the late seventies, Ch.Bernette Fingles (UK), then in the eighties, Gr.Ch.Glenmeadows Mangas Coloradas (Imp USA), only to be followed by a plethora of new cats from USA lines imported into New Zealand via Australia in the late eighties and nineties. These have included superb Tuam cats from Queensland and lines carrying famous US cattery names such as Kitclass, Sherpaw, Twinshire, Prancenpaws and others. During this time, Himalayan cats have featured consistently in top awards and continue to capture the hearts of cat fanciers everywhere.
CATZ Inc. recognises the Himalayan independently to the other Persian type cats as a Hybrid Breed of Persian type. This superb breed can now boast type equal to that of any solid coloured Persian, but with a glamourous silky flowing coat, with contrasting point colour and blue eyes – an almost unbeatable combination! The Himalayan has gained the intelligence of the Siamese and the placid nature of the Persian, making it a most loving companion cat that should be admired for its personality as much as its beauty.