5 Things to Know About Havana Cats

Havana cats are beautiful, rare cats with a unique muzzle and matching whiskers.

1. Key Characteristics

  • Weight: 8–10 pounds for males, 6–8 pounds for females
  • Life Expectancy: 10–15 years

Havana cats (sometimes called Havana Brown cats) are medium-sized, muscular cats with a smooth, short coat.

They are considered a rare breed. Colors include brown or lilac with matching whiskers, a unique feature.

Also unique is the shape of the muzzle; some say the sides of it resemble corncobs or little light bulbs. The eyes are oval and green, and the ears tilt forward, giving the appearance of alertness.

These muscular cats are surprisingly heavier than they appear.

2. Where They Came From

Details vary on the origin of the Havana.

Brown cats appeared in England in the early 1800s, but the Havana was not confirmed until the 1950s.

The breed was created (or re-created, depending on the theory) by breeding chocolate and seal point Siamese cats with black domestic shorthairs and a limited cross with Russian Blues.

The breed name, changed from “chestnut foreign shorthair” to Havana in 1970, was rumored to be named after the Havana cigar or the Havana rabbit.

Havana cats came to the United States in the mid-1950s and were recognized as a breed in 1983.

Havana cats can be talkative and full of mischief. By: Eric Isselee (Top: Stephen Orsillo)

3. How Friendly Are They?

Havanas are curious, intelligent, social cats who like to be around people.

They can be talkative and want to be involved in everything you do. They can also be mischievous, creating an interesting home environment.

They are good with cats, dogs and other pets. Havanas are adaptive to most situations, and this could be a benefit for families moving around often.

4. Is This the Right Cat for You?

Exercise Needs

Low

LOW: Havanas are moderately active indoors and maintain a muscular and trim physique. If you notice your Havana is acting sluggish or lethargic, it may be time to see the veterinarian.

Grooming Needs

Low

LOW: Low shedding is a great quality of this breed. Brushing once a week is usually sufficient, and they should be bathed only as necessary.

Bathing the cat while they are young will help them become accustomed to being handled and wet, and it might just save some serious scratches.

Trim the nails once a month or as needed to keep the shredding to a minimum. We also suggest providing a scratching area for your cat.

Overall health can also be greatly improved by paying attention to your cat’s dental hygiene and cleaning the ears regularly.

 

Health Problems

Low

LOW: Havanas are a hardy breed, and there are just a few genetic concerns when it comes to health.

One is the likelihood of stones in the urinary tract.

Although this breed is active indoors, there is a concern about obesity. Choose a quality cat food and encourage play and exercise to help combat this possibility.

Watch these beautiful Havanas play:

5. Where to Adopt One

If you consider getting a Havana, please check adoption resources first — even purebred cats can end up in shelters and rescues. Try Petful’s adoption page. (Select the “Cats” tab.)

If you go with a breeder, beware that kitten mills do exist. Arm yourself with the knowledge of what to look for in a breeder to avoid becoming an accidental supporter of kitten or puppy mills.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, has been researching dog and cat breeds for nearly a decade and has observed the animals up close at dog shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the book One Unforgettable Journey, which was nominated for a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. In addition, she was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. Kristine has researched and written about pet behaviors and care for many years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, another bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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