If you think that all cats are the same, this is like saying that all humans are the same. There are so many different varieties and breeds out there, and they all have variations in their appearance, character traits, health, and grooming amongst other things. In this blog post, we are going to take a closer look at the Havana Brown – and there is certainly a lot to talk about. But this may well prove to be a breed that you have never even heard of, let alone know anything about. This may be largely down to the fact that this is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.
Whether you are thinking of adopting one yourself or you already have a cute Havana of your own, the information in this guide will be of interest to you. As well as looking at their history and key facts, we will also talk about the ways in which you can properly care for your little furry friend. So, let’s get started!
History of the Havana Brown
Unlike other cat breeds where we have a clear idea of their backstory, the same cannot be said for the Havana Brown. Some people believe that there was no intentional breeding behind the Havana Brown, and they merely occurred through separate breeds mating, while others think it was intentional. The first chocolate brown Havana Brown was born in 1952 in England, while four more followed the following year.
Their name comes from their rich brown color, which closely resembles a Havana cigar. But due to the name, many people mistakenly thought that the breed has come from Cuba. The name ‘Chestnut Brown’ was floated, but it proved to be the Havana Brown one that stuck. In the 1950s, English breeders mated the cat with Siamese kitties, but American breeders did not follow suit, which has resulted in two different-looking versions of the same cat with the same name.
Today, the Havana Brown is one of the rarest breeds in the world – and it is even on the verge of extinction. Efforts are being made to protect it, which may mean the outcrossing of Havanas with other cats. So, if you get your own Havana Brown, you may notice other breeds in their pedigree, which can result in variations in their appearance and personality traits.
Quick Facts About the Havana Brown
The Havana Brown is named after their beautiful mahogany color, which resembles the world-famous cigar from the capital of Cuba. However, other people claim that they are named after a rabbit, which first appeared in the Netherlands in the 19th century. We’ll let you decide which story you would prefer to believe!
Their green eyes stand out against their coats, which can be chocolate or lilac in color. If you look at one from the front, you would think that their head looks triangular in shape, with narrow cheekbones and pointy ears. But when you look at one from the side, you will notice that their head looks more rounded than you had initially thought.
They are fairly small cats. The males weigh between 8 and 12 lbs, while the females can be under 8 lbs. Their coats require a moderate level of upkeep. Generally, they will live between 8 and 13 years.
Havana Browns are such a rare breed of cat that there may only be around 1,000 living in North America at one time. If you are a Havana owner, you can count yourself as part of a very exclusive club. Many people have never even heard of this breed, let alone seen one in real life!
Havana Browns can be described as ‘self-grooming’ as they don’t require a huge amount of upkeep in this area.
Things You Should Know
If you are going to bring a Havana Brown into your household, there are a few things that you should know beforehand. The care of a cat should centre on their specific breed, as well as the individual personality traits of your feline. Let’s begin by discussing their health.
Both the pedigreed and mixed-breed varieties can suffer from genetic health issues. As the gene pool is not particularly diverse, this can mean that genetic issues are more common than in some other felines. While Havana Browns are generally healthy cats, they do have a tendency to suffer from upper respiratory infections, which tend to be more common in their youth.
Obesity is a problem in many house cats these days, and this is often due to the overindulging of the owners. You should make sure to keep your cat in trim condition. Heart diseases are more common in overweight felines. If you do suspect that your cat is suffering from a heart condition, it is better that you catch it early as this will help to limit its effects. Consult with your vet if you are at all worried as they will be able to conduct tests and tell you whether or not anything needs to be done.
You need to remain more vigilant as your cat gets older as it is more likely that they will suffer from health problems. Kidney disease is more prevalent, as is hyperthyroidism. Look out for symptoms including vomiting, excessive drinking or urinating. Again, treatment is best if caught early.
Other possible problems include allergies. Skin allergies are often signalled by a lot of licking or itching. Also, there is the problem of food allergies and environmental allergies. If you are not sure what is the cause, your vet is in the best position to help out.
Obesity is a growing problem in cats in modern households, so you need to be especially careful to watch their calorie intake and control their nutrition appropriately. Havana Browns are well-known for their slim and muscled appearance, and this is the way that they should stay. But a good diet also needs to be accompanied by a decent exercise regime that keeps them in good shape. Just as it does in humans, obesity can result in numerous health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which can end up shortening the expected lifespan of your kitty.
When you pay so much to get your hands on one of these cats, it doesn’t make sense that you skimp on the food that they need to maintain their good health. Many owners decide on a moisture-dense fresh food diet. In general, cats have evolved to require a diet that is packed with protein, generally from meat-based sources. Look for the food that is made with real meat as opposed to meat by-products. When you are feeding your cat, you should also make sure that you put fresh water down. Cats who don’t get enough H2O are more likely to suffer from GI and urinary issues. Plus, there is the obvious problem of dehydration as well. This is an even greater risk if your cat is on a mainly dry food diet, so take special care to refill their water bowl on a more regular basis.
For more guides on choosing the right cat food, you may wish to check out our reviews of the best wet cat food, senior cat food, hypoallergenic cat food, cat food for sensitive stomachs and cat treats.
Many Havana Brown owners decide to keep their cat indoors to protect this rare breed from harm. There are criminals out there who may try and target your feline for theft. And it is easy to see why as Havana Brown kittens can typically cost $1250 or higher! Other risks include attacks from other cats and dogs, while there are also cars to think about as well. If you can enclose your backyard, this is ideal in giving your kitty some outdoor time, while also ensuring that they are adequately protected.
Feed your cat a couple of times a day with wet or dry food – or a combination of both. Choose a place to feed them where they can have a bit of privacy as cats don’t like to be watched while eating as they feel vulnerable. Make sure that they always have access to fresh water. This is especially important if they are on a dry food diet as they will not be getting any moisture from here. Clean out their food bowls on a regular basis. Cats are naturally hygienic creatures and should have something clean to eat out of.
Choose a different spot for their litter box, away from where they eat. You should make a special effort to keep the litter box clean as cats like to have somewhere clean to go to the bathroom.
While you may typically associate dogs as being the pets that require the most interaction, Havana Browns crave a lot of attention from their human owners. Sometimes, they enjoy playing on their own, but it is also worth investing in some toys that you can enjoy together to keep that bond going strongly. If possible, you should avoid leaving your cat at home for extended periods of time as they are going to get lonely. But for those owners who can’t help but be out of the house, adopting a second cat can help to give your Havana Brown the companionship they crave.
Havana Browns rank somewhere in the middle in terms of how much grooming they require. A weekly comb of their short, smooth coat should be enough. You should be looking to get rid of any loose hair and dirt. Knots and tangles shouldn’t really present a problem due to the length and type of their coat. Baths aren’t really necessary as cats keep themselves very clean anyway. Plus, they usually hate going anywhere near water! If you want your cat to look their very best, you could even polish their coat with a chamois. Many Havana Browns enjoy the grooming experience as all your attention is firmly on your furry friend, and we have already talked about just how much they love being the heart of your household!
Preventing dental disease is a responsibility that many cat owners overlook. You should get into a habit of brushing their teeth on a regular basis. Daily brushing is best, but many owners decide on weekly brushing as it is easier. Bear in mind that your cat is much more likely to suffer from dental disease or tooth loss if no action is taken. Other grooming activities that you can conduct include trimming their nails every couple of weeks. You should also provide them with a scratching post so they can do their own nail care activities. Otherwise, you are likely to find that it is your furniture or some of your treasured possessions that end up paying the price!
Also, you should pay attention to your cat’s eyes and ears. Use a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge from their eyes. Use a separate cloth each time as this will help to prevent any diseases from spreading. As for their ears, you can give these a quick visual inspection every week. If they look dirty, you can clean them with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth. However, you should remain wary of cotton swabs as these can damage the inner ear of your kitty.
Establish these grooming regimes from a young age and your cat will become used to them and are more likely to submit to them willingly rather than offering up any kind of problems or resistance. It may take some patience at first, but the grooming activities that you undertake now will help to prevent problems occurring in the future regarding their health. And, of course, you want your cat to look their very best all the time!
Havana Browns have been likened to puppies in the way that they behave. You may find your little kitty trotting around the house after you! They are known for their social and playful natures. Unlike other breeds of cat, you can train your Havana Brown – and you can even get them playing fetch! But their loving nature means that it can be difficult to leave them alone for long periods of time. It is not something that they enjoy, so you should consider this carefully before getting such a social cat.
For many owners, the social nature of the Havana Brown is a delight. For others, they may find this to be too much.
Havana Browns are intelligent cats who enjoy mental stimulation, so you could try getting them some teaser and puzzle toys to play with. Like many cats who come from a Siamese background, Havanas often like to vocalize their wants and desires. After you have owned one for a little while, you may even be able to work out what they are trying to tell you! Often, they use their paws for investigating the world around them in much the same way that human beings use their hands. And you may find your cat pawing at you in order to get some attention as well.
And at the end of a long and tiring day, there is nothing that a Havana Brown enjoys more than curling up in your lap and getting their forty winks. You may even find that your kitty wants to sleep with you in bed, which many owners like as they are so warm and cuddly!
Havana Brown cats have plenty of positive qualities including their playfulness, affection, and charisma. However, this does tend to tip them towards the demanding edge of the scale when it comes to felines, so bear this in mind before getting one of your own. This is not the kind of cat that will be happy whiling away the hours sleeping on their own. They are going to want to be near you, and they need plenty of interaction and mental stimulation. Grooming is not too much of a problem and neither are care and feeding, which makes them relatively easy to look after in these respects.
As we have talked about throughout the blog post, Havana Browns are extremely rare cats, so it is not going to be easy to find a kitten of your own. So, it is especially important that you only get one from a reputable source – whether this is a cattery or an independent breeder. If you can, you should try to meet one or both of the parent cats as this will give you a better idea of your new kitty’s likely character traits and temperament. But you should be warned that the breed’s rare status means that there is often a very long waiting list that requires a great deal of patience. So don’t expect that you can rush into getting one. A more affordable option may be to find an adult cat who is ready for adoption. But if you think that the wait is worth it, you will find yourself with a rare and wonderful feline companion!
- About the Havana Brown – CFA