Monday, June 16, 2014

Cat Breeds: Havana

The Havana (once called the Havana Brown) has its origins in the early 1950s. Hoping to breed what was essentially a dark Siamese, breeders crossed Siamese cats with black domestic shorthairs and even a few Russian Blues. The results were varied for a while, but eventually Elmtower Bronze Idol, the first of the Havanas, was born. He was the result of a controlled crossing between a black domestic shorthair and a Siamese. Then in 1958 the breed was recognized by the Governing Council of Cat Fancy, but it was listed as the Chestnut Foreign Shorthair. The name Havana Brown would be adopted in 1970, and later (1983, specifically) the 'brown' portion of the name was dropped entirely.

There are really two lines of cats these days. English lines are more oriental looking, but American lines tend to have a more angular look and are more in keeping with the original appearance of the Havana.

The Appearance of the Havana

This medium-sized cat has a body type that seems foreign and familiar all at the same time. Weighing no more than ten pounds, the Havana is a firm and muscular cat. This makes him both powerful and graceful. The muzzle of the Havana is unique in that it just seems to stop, leading to a blunt appearance. The ears tend to be larger than the norm, but not so large as to seem ridiculous.

There is only one acceptable eye color--green. The Havana comes in two colors, lilac and brown. Some associations still only recognize the brown, but the lilac cats are just as lovely. Kittens are sometimes born with tabby markings, but these disappear as the cat reaches adulthood. Whiskers should match the coat color. Grooming is easy because the hairs are short and flat. A weekly brushing to remove loose hair is all that is usually required. If you want your cat to gleam like those show cats, rub him with a chamois cloth. I know, I know. They're for cars (and you typically buy then at auto supply store). But they are also for cats. Try it and you won't be disappointed.

The Personality of the Havana

Some cats are so people-oriented that they can't bear to be deprived of attention. The Havana falls squarely into this category. They really can't be left alone all day while you're off at work. They need affection and companionship. If you think you might leave your cat alone, get a companion cat or two. A group of three Havanas does better than a single cat left home alone.

This cat will follow you around and investigate everything you do. They tend to be a little vocal, so you'll know when kitty isn't getting enough attention. This is the cat who will sit on your paper or lay on your computer until you play with him. You'll want to invest in cat toys and cat trees to keep this active breed busy. But this still won't be enough. The Havana needs interaction, so you can't buy a bunch of cat trees and expect him to entertain himself all the time. Play with him or you'll end up with a neurotic kitty on your hands (and under your feet).

The Havana is a robust and healthy cat, one that makes a terrific house pet for individuals or families who are home often. If you want a cat who will play with you, sleep on your pillow, and basically stalk your every move, the Havana might be for you.

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