The Highlander cat breed has become increasingly popular for their wildcat-like traits, including their ear cartilage fold and short natural cropped tails. But among the most unique features of the Highlander is their polydactyl paws. With having extra toes, they commonly get into mischief as they have great dexterity.
All of these characteristics give the Highlander, also known as the Highland Lynx, a very unique and wild demeanor.
|Highlander Breed Overview|
|Height||10-16 inches (25-40 cm)|
|Weight||10-20 lbs (4.5-9 kg)|
|Colors||Varies between tabby markings, solid points, and lynx points|
|Suitable For||Families with children, elderly, multi-pet households|
|Temperament||Affectionate, gentle, social, and playful|
|Breed Traits Overview|
History Of The Highlander Cat Breed
The Highlander is a newer breed as it was not until 1993 that Joe Childress decided to create the cross. Childress desired to create a cat that had the look of a large wild cat while maintaining the personality of a domestic breed of cat.
To manage this, he crossed the Desert Lynx and the Jungle Curl, both of which are hybrid breeds. This cross resulted in the mixed breed Highland Lynx. After some time breeding the Highland Lynx, it was decided to drop the “Lynx” and instead name the breed Highlander. This decision was made because
The lynx directly references wild cats or a specific fur pattern type that the Highlander does not always have.
Since this is such a unique breed, it’s registered with the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry; however, there are not any major cat associations that have registered the breed. It was not until 2008 that The International Cat Association allowed the Highlander to begin showing up in cat competitions, but only in the Preliminary New Breed class.
How Much Does The Highlander Cost?
When purchasing from a high-quality licensed breeder, the average Highlander will cost between $800 and $1,000. This equates to €670 to €1,680, £580 to £1440, and A$1060 to A$2660.
Keep in mind whenever purchasing a cat, however, that this initial cost will not cover spaying or neutering your kitten, or the vaccinations and veterinary care they will need right away. After purchasing you should bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible to get routine work done.
You can sometimes find these cats and kittens in shelters as well so it’s always recommended to look there first and adopt when possible. If you adopt, you should expect to pay around $300, €250, £216, A$400 total which includes the spaying or neutering of your cat as well as initial veterinary care that is done within the shelter.
Personality Traits Of The Highlander
Highlanders will bring a lot of fun into any home and since they’re generally quiet, with very little vocalization, they’re great for apartments and other shared spaces.
While they can be great in smaller spaces like apartments, they will also do well in a setting that provides access to both indoors and outdoors. If you want your cat to access your yard, be sure that you have ample fencing and safety precautions in place, such as a playpen. It’s also not recommended to put your Highlander outside if you live in an extremely cold or extremely hot climate.
However, for short periods of play outside they will be able to regulate their body temperature. Since the breed has been described as a cross between a cat and a dog, you can easily take them on walks outside on a leash, teach them how to fetch, and teach them how to swim!
Although they’re a large breed and can be very powerful, they’re great with kids. Most of the time they prefer playing with kids and will be very gentle and patient with smaller children. Your Highlander will fit right into the mix and enjoy playing with other animals whether they are cats or dogs. They very much enjoy being the center of attention and because of this, will play with any member of the household.
Despite their generally affectionate and gentle nature, the breed doesn’t make good lap cats and much prefers to be pet than to be cuddled.
It’s very important you provide them with plenty of activities and toys to play with to keep them entertained. Getting a cat tree specifically designed for large cats is crucial as their extra toes make them great climbers. Offer them toys that they can play fetch with and play with on their own as they will enjoy getting into their stash of toys even while there are no humans around to play with.
How To Take Care Of A Highlander
Although this breed is newer and more of a specialty breed than many other domesticated cat breeds, you will find that the care and maintenance of your Highlander are simple as they don’t have high-demand needs.
The most crucial nutrients for a cat to obtain in its diet are protein and taurine, both of which come directly from eating meat. Cats need a strict meat diet to get the proper balance of vitamins and nutrients so it’s very important to invest in high-quality cat food for your Highlander.
Since cats have very specific nutritional needs, be sure to consult your veterinarian about which cat food is best to be feeding your cat in the different stages of its life. It’s also crucial that you always have a bowl of fresh water out for your Highlander. Since wild cats get much of their daily intake of water from the prey that they eat, domesticated cats often don’t drink enough water as they have not fully adapted to the shift in the food source.
For cats that are eating wet canned foods, this is less of an issue; however, if you are feeding your cat strictly kibble you will find that they’re lacking in hydration. Encourage hydration and don’t be afraid to throw some wet food into their diet every once in a while, to give them that extra little bit of hydration they need to maintain their health.
Apart from the basics of cat food that are consistent across all breeds, this cat breed does not have any breed-specific nutritional needs that you will need to tend to. As long as you are feeding them quality ingredients, they will be healthy.
Many Highlander owners are surprised by how easy it’s to maintain the long hair of their cat; however, it’s true that the breed does not shed very much nor do they get many knots. Although their hair is long, they have very strong coats that are resilient to external factors. This is a trait they have held onto from their wild ancestors and makes coat grooming a breeze. Be sure to continue brushing them about once a week to keep up with their maintenance, but this won’t be a big job as they will maintain their coats on their own very effectively.
As with all other cat breeds, be sure to keep up with their dental and nail care. You can either brush their teeth a few times a month or bring them to the vet for cleanings when necessary. Just remember that the mouth is the starting place for all illnesses and diseases, so it’s critical that you check their teeth once a week to be sure they don’t have any problems.
With some cats, nail trimming can be a frustrating process, but if you begin at a young age they will get used to the process, making it quick and easy. If you check the length of their nails weekly and invest in good cat nail clippers you can ensure each session is short and easy as their nails will never get out of hand.
Since the Highlander is such an active breed with an amazing ability to jump and climb, keeping their nails trimmed will also bode well for your skin, furniture, and other household items that they will get into.
A great way to manage nail length in between clippings is by getting your cat a quality scratching post for large cats. This will keep them from scratching up the furniture and will maintain their paw health.
Since the breed is intelligent and enthusiastic, they can be trained just as easily as most dog breeds! When trained from a young age, you can easily get your cat on a leash for walks, playing fetch, and more! Highlanders are naturally curious about water, so if you introduce swimming to them, they’re likely to pick it up quite easily. These training sessions are great ways to increase exercise and make them easier to manage for you.
As long as you are providing them with ample scratching stations and places they can jump and climb, you can also train your cat to stay off of certain furniture to save your homeware.
They’re an incredibly healthy breed, with no specific medical issues to consider. Even with healthy breeds, it’s important to consider the general health concerns that can present in cats. It’s important to always stay cautious of overfeeding your cat as obesity in housecats is unfortunately very common.
You can avoid your cat gaining too much weight by keeping them active and setting feeding times for them. By tracking the amount of food you are offering, you will not accidentally overfeed.
It’s important to also stay on top of your veterinary visits to ensure your cat is up to date on vaccines and routine tests.
Physical Attributes Of The Highlander
With their more recent breeding with wildcats, the Highlander has many physical traits consistent with jungle cats.
- Head: Long sloping forehead and wide noses copy the wild cat look. Their heads are proportional to their bodies.
- Body: Their bodies are large and strong. Proportional to their head and leg length, they’re a large athletic breed.
- Ears: The top part of their ears has a loose backward curl caused by the development of their ear cartilage. This gives them a wild look while also having generally small-looking ears.
- Eyes: Eyes are wide-set and round to almond shape. Varying in color but usually hazel, green, or yellow tones.
- Legs and paws: With extra toes on every paw, this breed has very unique paws. Their legs are long in proportion to their large sturdy bodies, making them tall cats.
- Tail: The tails of Highlanders are naturally cropped, varying in length between one and six inches the tail is much shorter than the body size.
- Coat: This breed can either have long or short coats that vary greatly in patterning. Regardless of coat length, their hair is quite strong and does not shed much.
- Color: Highlanders vary in coat color and pattern, but can include tabby, tortoiseshell, or smoke patterning, as well as solid coloring or banded patterns around the legs.
Conclusion On The Highlander
Although they’re a more newly domesticated breed, it took little time for the Highlander to win over cat lovers with their high energy and playful nature.
This affectionate breed is versatile as they can live in almost any home environment and match the energy of their human family when playing. With very few specific care needs, this breed is easy to manage and will make a great addition to any home.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a Highlander cat cost?
Are Highlander cats rare?
How big do Highlander cats get?
Are Highlander cats hypoallergenic?
The Highlander cat breed hasn’t officially been identified as a hypoallergenic breed although some owners claim that they experience reduced allergic reactions.