Highlander Health: What You Need to Know About This Unique Cat Breed

If you are looking for a cat that is both exotic and friendly, you might want to consider the highlander cat. This breed is a cross between the desert lynx and the jungle curl, resulting in a large, muscular cat with curled ears and a bobbed tail. Highlander cats are also known for their playful and affectionate personalities, making them great companions for families and other pets. In this blog post, we will explore some of the characteristics, history, health issues, and care tips of this fascinating feline.

Characteristics of Highlander Cats

Highlander cats are medium to large in size, weighing between 10 to 20 pounds. They have a sturdy and athletic body, with long legs and large paws. Their coat can be short or long, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The most distinctive features of highlander cats are their ears and tail. Their ears are curled back at the tips, giving them a unique appearance. Their tail is short and thick, usually ending in a pom-pom or a tuft of fur.

Highlander cats have a friendly and outgoing temperament. They are very active and curious, enjoying games and toys that challenge their intelligence and agility. They are also very loyal and affectionate, bonding closely with their owners and seeking attention and cuddles. Highlander cats are not shy or timid, and can get along well with children, dogs, and other cats.

History of Highlander Cats

Highlander cats are a relatively new breed, developed in the United States in the early 2000s. The breed was created by crossing the desert lynx and the jungle curl, two breeds that were derived from domestic cats and wild cat hybrids. The goal was to create a cat that resembled a wild lynx, but had a gentle and domesticated personality.

The breed was originally called the highland lynx, but was later renamed the highlander to avoid confusion with the Scottish wildcat. The breed was recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2008 as an experimental breed, and later achieved full recognition in 2018.

Health Issues of Highlander Cats

Highlander cats are generally healthy and robust, but they may be prone to some health issues that affect their parent breeds. Some of these issues include:

  • Polydactyly: This is a condition where the cat has extra toes on one or more paws. This is not a health problem per se, but it may affect the cat’s grooming and nail trimming needs.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): This is a heart disease that causes the heart muscle to thicken and impair its function. This can lead to heart failure, blood clots, or sudden death. HCM can be inherited or acquired, and may not show any symptoms until it is too late. Regular screening by a veterinarian is recommended for highlander cats.
  • Ear infections: Due to their curled ears, highlander cats may be more susceptible to ear infections than other breeds. Ear infections can cause pain, itching, discharge, odor, or hearing loss. To prevent ear infections, owners should check their cat’s ears regularly and clean them gently with a cotton ball or a soft cloth.
  • Tail problems: Highlander cats have short tails that may be prone to injury or infection. Some highlander cats may also have spinal defects that affect their tail movement or sensation. Owners should monitor their cat’s tail for any signs of pain, swelling, bleeding, or paralysis.

Care Tips for Highlander Cats

Highlander cats are easy to care for, as they do not require much grooming or special diet. However, owners should follow some basic care tips to keep their highlander cats healthy and happy:

  • Brushing: Highlander cats with short coats need minimal brushing, while those with long coats need more frequent brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Brushing also helps remove loose hair and distribute natural oils on the skin.
  • Bathing: Highlander cats do not need frequent bathing, unless they get dirty or have skin problems. Bathing should be done with mild shampoo and warm water, followed by drying with a towel or a blow dryer.
  • Nail trimming: Highlander cats need regular nail trimming to prevent overgrowth or splitting of the nails. Nail trimming should be done with a sharp clipper or a file, avoiding the quick (the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves).
  • Dental care: Highlander cats need daily dental care to prevent plaque buildup and dental diseases. Dental care can be done with brushing, dental treats, or water additives.
  • Feeding: Highlander cats need a nutritious diet that meets their energy and protein needs. Cats are carnivorous creatures, so they need a high-quality dry kibble that contains at least 32.0% protein in their daily diet. Owners should also provide fresh water and avoid giving human food or milk to their cats.
  • Vaccination: Highlander cats need regular vaccination to protect them from common diseases such as rabies, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and feline infectious peritonitis. Vaccination should be done according to the veterinarian’s recommendations and the cat’s age, health, and lifestyle.
  • Spaying/neutering: Highlander cats should be spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduce the risk of reproductive cancers, and improve their behavior and health. Spaying or neutering should be done before the cat reaches sexual maturity, which is usually around six months of age.


Highlander cats are a unique and beautiful breed that can make wonderful pets for anyone who loves a cat with a wild look and a sweet personality. Highlander cats are playful, loyal, and affectionate, and can adapt to any environment and family. However, owners should be aware of the potential health issues and care needs of highlander cats, and provide them with regular veterinary checkups, grooming, feeding, and love. If you are interested in adopting a highlander cat, you can contact a reputable breeder or a rescue organization near you.

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