Origin & History
The Havana Brown came to be like many other man-made breeds, by crossing a Siamese with other breeds. Their ancestors are the solid brown Siamese cats, known under the moniker of Swiss Mountain Cats in England and Europe in the late 19th century. These cats fell out of favor with breeders in the 1920´s, when it was decided that only blue-eyed Siamese were desirable.
Just as all seemed lost for the full brown variety of the Siamese, a group of dedicated British breeders started crossing the remaining chocolate- and seal-point Siamese with black domestic shorthairs and Russian Blues. The result was an adorable, eye-catching brown cat with emerald green eyes. It is said that they adopted the name “Havana Brown” due to its color resembling that of the exclusive sought after Havana cigar. The Cat Fanciers Association officially gave the Havana Brown cat breed championship status in 1964.
The Havana Brown is a very rare breed with fewer than a 1,000 cats in existence. As such, the genetic diversity and continued existence of this breed are threatened.
In Britain, there is also a breed called the Havana Brown, but this is a variety of the Oriental Shorthair with a different body and head type than it´s US namesake.
Coat, Colors & Appearance
The coat, as you can imagine, is chocolate colored (or tobacco brown if you will) for the Havana Brown. The color tends toward a red-brown (mahogany) rather than black-brown. The Breed also has a TICA recognized lilac variety, because of this, TICA has decided to drop the “Brown” from the breed name. This breed is the only one whose whiskers are defined as brown in the breed standard for the Havana Brown variety. The lilac variety has lilac whiskers.
Much like its Siamese ancestors, it has a medium sized dynamic and muscular body covered by a short, silky smooth coat. The nose and paw pads are brown with a rosy flush.
They have an alert appearance because of their larger, round-tipped ears that tilt forward.
The kittens and young Havana Brown cats can have ghost tabby markings.
The information above is compiled using the information from the Breed Standard taken from the Cat Fanciers Association.
The personality of these cats can resemble the Siamese, although they are generally not as talkative as their Siamese cousins and their voice is softer. They are intelligent cats that need stimulation so make sure you have enough toys or other cats to keep them occupied as well as spending time with them each day.
They bond closely to their owners and like to follow them around so they are perfect as a companion cat or family cat. Because of their tendency to bond with owners, it would be a good idea to consider getting another cat to keep them company if you are away often during the day.
They are energetic cats that love to play and run, but they aren´t extreme “swing from the chandler” type of cat and won´t ruin too many things around the house unless they are bored.
Grooming & Care
The short coat of the Havana Brown requires little grooming, although it is recommended to brush your cat at least weekly and to trim their nails bi-weekly. See below for the grooming checklist:
- Brushing the coat a couple of times a week at least is recommended. If you can do daily brushing, that is great!
- Daily Dental hygiene is recommended, at a minimum once per week.
- Checking the ears once per week and keeping them clean is recommended.
- Trimming the nails once every other week is advised.
- You should clean the area around the eyes with a damp cloth periodically.
What Makes The Havana Brown Different?
The most string difference between Havana Brown and others breeds is its unique appearance. Their unique muzzle shape, unique color matching between the coat and whiskers along with its brilliant and expressive eyes gives this breed a look that is comparable to no other breed. The fact that there are so few left in the world also makes these cats a rarity to come across.
Havana Brown cats are generally healthy cats but they may be prone to developing calcium oxalate stones in the urinary tract. . No matter if it is a mixed or a purebred all cats can develop genetic health problems, so if you are buying from a breeder, make sure they are serious and the lineage and health history in the line is well documented. It is also a good idea to get a written health guarantee that the cat you are getting is in examined and in good health when you make the purchase.
Buying a Havana Brown
Since there are so few Havana Browns left in the world, Breeders can be few and far between. So few in fact, that we could only find 2 registered TICA/CFA breeders in the US.
We do not recommend that you buy from a pet shop as it is difficult to really know the background of your cat, even though you will probably not find a Havana Brown cat at your local pet store anyway.
Adopting a Havana Brown
Your best option here is probably to look at the two catteries listed above and see if and when they put some adults up for adoption when they are retired from breeding. Another option is to look at organizations like https://www.purebredcatrescue.org/
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