Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Havana Brown Cat Article

Pedigree Cats - Havana (Brown)

The Havana Brown noted for its warm, chocolate brown colour originated in Great Britain.  Brown cats have been known for centuries.  Their origins were probably from South East Asia as a branch of the Royal Cats of Siam.  They first arrived in Britain in the 19th century along with the importation of the Siamese.  The Havana is loving, lively and an extremely clever cat.  The original name for the Havana is Chestnut Brown Foreign Hair, which also describes the colour of its fur.  They are very sleek cats with coats as smooth as glass (requiring minimum grooming), long-legged and swift. Their eyes are bright green or possibly chartreuse, oval shaped and close to their noses and their large ears appear to be transparent.  With eyes that twinkle with curiosity, glow with mischief or narrow to pure contentment, they can captivate you with their permeating, discerning gaze. Havana kittens sometimes have white hairs mixed into their brown coats which disappear as the kittens mature.

The Havana Brown not only has a unique appearance, but also a truly unique personality.  They are gentle and affectionate, people-oriented, soft voiced cats and are very loyal and loving toward people. They remain playful, even when adult cats and are very active and energetic.  Sometimes they have the unusual habit of using their sense of touch to investigate strange objects, instead of relying on their sense of smell.  One of their endearing qualities is their typical greeting of stretching out one paw to touch their owner.  They are perfect for people who want an affectionate and intelligent feline friend.  This breed is known to take well to a harness and lead.  They are very playful, stealing pencils, pens, jewellery or whatever they can get into their mouths, much to the amusement and frustration of their owners.  Most love to play with wads of paper and some have learned to retrieve.   Havanas seem to be natural shoulder sitters; fortunately, claws are rarely used.

The Havana Brown cat was developed in the 1950s by crossing a British Seal Point Siamese with another black shorthaired cat of Siamese descent.  An accidental breeding between a black shorthair and a seal point Siamese produced a self-chocolate male kitten named Elmtower Bronze Idol, the first Havana Brown to be registered in England and the forerunner of the present day breed.   In the mid-1950s in the USA, Mrs. Elsie Quinn of Quinn Cattery, imported the very first Havana Brown from England, a female named Roofspringer Mahogany Quinn, bred by Baroness von Ullman in London. She was bred to Laurentide Brown Pilgrim of Norwood, also an import, and produced the very first Havana Brown (Quinn's Brown Satin of Sidlo) to achieve grand champion status in CFA.  All Havana Browns in North America today can trace their heritage to this cat.

Once American breeders started developing and raising these cats, the British and United States varieties began to take on different characteristics.  In England, the Havana has followed the Siamese type by breeding back to the Siamese and the word "brown" has been dropped from the breed name. In North America, the breed is medium-sized and muscular and has retained the original look of the early imports.

There is recorded history of solid brown cats in "The Cat Book Poems" dating back to between 1300 and 1767 from early Siam (now Thailand). These ancient manuscripts were written in the city of Ayudhya, between the time the city was founded and before the city was burned by invaders.  Ayudhya was Siam's capital for 417 years (three dynasties and 33 kings) and was finally a glorious, opulent city of more than a million people. This rich centre of palaces, temples, and libraries was razed to the ground by the Burmese on April 7, 1767. Nearly all books and records were burned. However, a few treasures were taken to safety, among them books about cats, dogs and birds, and, although the identity of the artists who created these books will never be known, their work remains to give us knowledge and the joy of their observations.  Seventeen "good luck" cats are described including solid brown cats, which the Thai's considered very beautiful and had the ability to protect them from evil.

Several theories exist as to how the breed got its name.  Some historians insist it was named after the rabbit of the same colour; however, most Havana fans choose to believe that the breed name refers to the colour of a fine Havana cigar.

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