Other names: Chestnut Brown Foreign, Chestnut Oriental Shorthair, Chestnut Havana
The Havana Brown is a beautifully elegant house cat with a soft, shiny coat of a rich mahogany brown. Its name probably comes from a breed of rabbit whose fur is exactly the same colour, or it could have been inspired by the famous Havana cigars. These cats are sociable, affectionate and intelligent.
Key facts about the Havana Brown
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Origins and history
Havana Browns are originally from Thailand, formerly known as the Kingdom of Siam. They are the result of a cross between the Tonkinese and Burmese breeds. At the time, it was said that they brought luck and protection against evil spirits. They disappeared from Europe after they were imported there because of a preference for cats with blue eyes, such as the Siamese.
After the Second World War, the Baroness Miranda Von Ullman wanted a chocolate Brown cat. With the import of Burmeses to England, the interest in this kind of colour was growing. Breeders began to pursue new reproduction programmes that crossed chocolate Siameses with black cats, Russian Blues or black Persians, thus introducing the plain chocolate brown pattern. From then, the English Siamese Cat Club would only accept Havana Browns with green eyes.
It was in 1952 that the first Havana Brown, called Elmtower Bronze Idol, was born, serving as ancestor of all Havana Browns that followed since. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) recognised the name Chestnut Foreign Shorthair in 1958, but in Europe they are known by the name Havana Brown. Their arrival in California dates back to 1976.
The Siamese type, elongated and muscular, was developed by the English, whereas the original, rectangular and muscular type was developed by the Americans.
Physical characteristics of the Havana Brown
Female : Between 9 and 11 in
Male : Between 10 and 12 in
They reach their adult size between the ages of 12 and 18 months.
Female : Between 4 and 7 lb
Male : Between 7 and 9 lb
Chocolate / mahogany
Only one colour is accepted by the breed standard: a beautiful, solid mahogany brown that is deep and chocolatey, with no white fur.
Type of coat
Short and soft, shiny and silky
The most intense green possible, but all shades are accepted.
The Havana Brown is an average-sized cat, with a robust, firm and muscular body that is rectangular in shape. They have compact, oval paws and long legs. Their foot pads are pink. Their tails are average length and fine all the way along. They have a well-balanced, proportional head that is longer than it is wide with a flat forehead. Their eyes are large, oval and always green. Their ears are large and long, pointing straight forward.
They have a distinctive square, well-defined muzzle with a broad nose and a pronounced indentation between the forehead and the nose. This indentation is called the stop, and makes it looks as though their snout has been stuck on. The whiskers match the colour of their fur beautifully.
Good to know
Havana Browns are very friendly cats and remain loyal to those who give them affection. They are a relatively rare breed.
These are extremely loyal cats which grow closely attached to the humans they spend time with. They seek physical contact and affection. They will easily spend an afternoon on your lap but they don’t like to be scooped up in your arms, so leave them to come to you when they feel like it.
Chestnut Brown Foreign, as they are also known, love to explore their environment and need an average amount of daily activity to use their energy.
After the daily activity necessary to keep them happy, these kitties need moments of calm, and will return to peacefully snuggling in their favourite spots.
These are very intelligent cats - they are lively and curious and enjoy learning through exploration games. You can teach them tricks with techniques recommended by behavioural experts.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Their curious nature means that, in general, these cats are not particularly wary of strangers. However, they can sometimes be a bit shy.
Havana Browns live quite happily as the only animal in the house as long as their humans are there, but they also enjoy the presence of other pets.
Behaviour of the Havana Brown
These cats do like to chat from time to time, but the most surprising thing is their characteristic, squeaky meowing. Their purring is also remarkably intense, which is probably linked to the unique structure of their snout.
Need for exercise / Sporty
These felines need to use their daily energy to maintain their firm and muscular form, but they aren’t ultra active.
Tendency to run away
Not inclined to run away, they appreciate their home and are quite unadventurous.
Greedy / Gluttony
This kitty is more of a nibbler and they don’t tend to eat in excess.
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Havana Brown and cats
They adapt easily to the presence of other cats and accept their peers.
Havana Brown and dogs
They enjoy the company of dogs with a calm temperament. It’s best to avoid large dogs.
Havana Brown and children
They are affectionate and gentle with children as long as the child treats them with respect and doesn’t try to pick them up against their will.
Havana Brown and the elderly
When they are adults, Havana Browns make good companions who will curl up with and stay loyal to less active people who offer them company and affection.
On average, the purchase price of a Chestnut Brown kitten is around £300, with some variation according to lineage, breeding, age or even sex. For your monthly budget, you should allow around £25 per month to meet their needs by giving them a quality diet and ensuring they stay in good health.
Swiss Mountain Cats don’t need any specific kind of grooming. A polish once a week with a flannel or cloth is enough to keep their beautiful coat silky and brilliant.
They shed very little fur.
Nutrition of the Havana Brown
They require high quality food.
Health of the Havana Brown
Havana Browns can live between 15 to 20 years if you provide the necessary care for their wellbeing.
Strong / robust
They are resistant and don’t suffer from any diseases in particular.
Havana Browns are, however, sensitive to the cold and enjoy the warmth and comfort of their home.
Tendency to put on weight
These kitties shouldn’t have any tendency to put on weight if they are given the correct food, in the right quantity for their size.
There are no known hereditary diseases, and no particular conditions are associated with this breed. However, they can eventually develop the same conditions as all other cats, such as oral diseases.
When bred, these cats produce litters of around 3 to 5 kittens. They cannot be paired with individuals of other breeds.