Let's talk Havanas

The Havana is a curious, playful, and people-oriented breed that wants lots of attention and returns it with great affection. This inquisitive, intelligent cat adapts to most situations, so long as their owner is nearby. Human companionship and interaction is a necessity for the Havana, also called the Havana Brown for their colour. Because the breed gets along well with other cats, dogs, and children, they make fantastic family companions. Bonus: the Havana is more than a lap cat; they want to be involved in all household activities.

Official name: Havana

Other names: Havana Brown

Origins: United States, England

Close-up of Havana in black and white

 

 Shedding level  Medium  Warm weather? Very low
 Energy Level*   Medium  Family pet?* High
 Compatibility with other pets  Very high    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 

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Side view illustration of brown Havana
Male
23 - 28 cm Height
3.6 - 4.5 kg Weight
Female
23 - 28 cm Height
2.75 - 3.6 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 4 months  
 Growing kitten age  4 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 12 years
 Senior age  From 12 years

Black Havana sitting on pink cloth background

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Get to know the Havana

All you need to know about the breed

Looking for a charming feline sidekick who wants to do everything you do? Look no further than the Havana, also called the Havana Brown and nicknamed the “chocolate delight”, a highly sociable breed related to the Siamese. This tobacco-coloured feline has a firm and muscular body, brilliant green eyes, a short and lustrous coat, and their most recognisable feature: a head shape that is longer than it is wide.

Whilst they aren’t as chatty as the Siamese, they’re known to converse in their own way - more of a soft, quiet tone. The Havana’s friendliness and easy-going temperament make them particularly well-suited to families with young children and other pets, especially if it means affection and playtime are offered in abundant supply.

This is also a very intelligent and curious cat who benefits from a little challenge, whether that comes in the form of a puzzle toy or a teaser. Moderately energetic, the Havana will thrive with a healthy balance of exercise (that includes solo play) and nap time (their second favourite pastime). Overall, the Havana is a low-maintenance, affectionate companion. Finding one, however, may prove to be difficult: this is among the world’s rarest breeds.

Havana walking across grass in front of blue sky background

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2 facts about Havanas

1. Matchy matchy!

Keeping with the theme of truly unique, the Havana cat’s distinctive colouring, which tends to be chocolate brown but can lean lilac, covers more than their coat. It extends all the way to their whiskers, making them one of the most colour-coordinated feline breeds around.

2. Not confused, just alert 

No, the Havana Brown isn’t perpetually in a state of confusion. The breed’s triangular head shape and rounded ears that lean forward give them instead an expression of alertness. It’s a physical characteristic befitting a cat known for their boundless curiosity and readiness to jump into activity at a moment’s notice.

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History of the breed

Numerous breeds have been crossed with the Siamese cat over the years and the Havana is yet another. There were solid brown cats identified in England and Europe in the 19th century, known as Swiss Mountain cats. But by the 1920s, they were no longer being bred.

It was in the 1950s that British breeders decided to experiment again to develop a brown cat by crossing a Seal Point Siamese with solid black domestic shorthairs and Russian Blues. These cats, with their chocolate brown fur and striking green eyes, were originally called the Chestnut Foreign Shorthair but the name was later changed to Havana (some say the updated name nods to the breed’s tobacco colour, not due to any ties with Cuba).

Some of these cats were imported to the United States in the mid 1950s and formed the standard for the American iteration of the breed. The British Havana was developed along the lines of an Oriental Shorthair and is today seen as a chocolate Oriental, whilst in North America the breeders maintained the original look. Consequently, the Havana is seen as a separate breed from the British and has been recognised since the late 1950s.

Havana sitting looking at camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Havanas

1. Ears

Large, round-tipped ears.

2. Head

Head longer than it is wide.

3. Eyes

Oval-shaped emerald green eyes.

4. Tail and Legs

Very long and lean tail and legs.

5. Coat

Smooth and lustrous brown coat.

Extreme close-up of Havana with green eyes

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Havana
Top side view of Havana lying down

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Caring for your Havana

Grooming, training and exercise tips

With very minimal shedding, the Havana cat’s silky coat is very easy to maintain and groom. A good weekly brushing should do the trick. The breed’s exercise needs won’t be too demanding on your time since the Havana exhibits moderate energy levels. Still, you should incorporate playtime using interactive toys where possible to keep your Havana challenged and fit. Should you wish to teach them to do tricks or walk on a leash, the Havana reacts well to clicker training with positive reinforcement (don’t raise your voice!).

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All about Havanas

Whilst no one knows for certain how many Havana (or Havana Brown) cats exist, we do know they are very rare. One estimate purports less than 1,000 Havana cats in the entire world! 

The Havana is not a hypoallergenic cat, contrary to what many believe because of their short coat.  A non-allergenic breed - one that contains no allergens at all - actually doesn’t exist in the cat kingdom. The Havana does indeed have an allergen, found in their saliva, as do many of their fellow felines, which can cause an adverse reaction in humans.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book