The Havana Brown Cat Breed Title

Photo Credit: Dave Scelfo via Wikimedia Commons

Wouldn’t a mix between chocolate and cats be awesome? Two of the best things ever combined into one? There is a cat breed that comes close – the Havana Brown. These kitties have a beautiful chocolate colored coat and super sweet personalities to match!

A Rare Beauty

Taco, Havana Brown

Photo Credit: Rikki’s Refuge via Flickr

The Havana Brown cat breed is most known for its signature chocolate-brown coat. The color has a reddish hue, more mahogany than black, and is even throughout the cat’s body. Even their whiskers are brown! This coloring makes a beautiful contrast with the Havana Brown’s gorgeous green eyes. When you run your hand through a Havana Brown’s hair, it feels a mink coat. The coat is short, plush, and dense. It requires minimal grooming, just some regular light brushing. North American Havana Brown cats also have a very unique face. The head is longer than it is wide with large, wide-set ears that are tilted forward. The muzzle is a corncob shape with a rosy brown nose leather and round, distinct whisker pads. Under the bottom lip, the hair is a bit sparse revealing a hint of the Havana Brown’s pink skin. Overall, the Havana Brown is a medium sized cat with an elegant look. These cats are firm and muscular. They are often much heavier than they look!

The History of the Havana Brown

The origins of the Havana Brown cat breed began in ancient Thailand. Solid brown cats with green eyes are listed in the Cat Book Poems which were written between 1350 – 1767 AD. These poems described the cats that were found in Thailand and the role of each “breed” of cat’s in relationship to the Thai people. The solid brown cats were said to be able to protect their owners from evil.

Brown Blue and Green

Photo Credit: Lil Shepherd via Flickr

Solid brown cats with green were present at the first cat fancier shows in England in the late 1800’s. They were all a part of the collection of cats that came to England from Thailand (then known as Siam). It is likely that these cats were not representative of just one breed, but a few different breeds of oriental origin. They were solid brown versions of the Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, and what would become the Havana Brown.Over the years, cat fanciers’ tastes regarding all brown cats would waiver. When first presented with the all brown cats in the late 1800’s, they were considered a delight. Soon after the all brown cats seemed to disappear a bit in the shadows of other marvelous breeds. Then in 1928 there was some interest in all brown cats resurfacing again. There was even an award for the cat with the “best chocolate body.” After that award was given, the all brown cats lost favor once again.

Finally, in the early 1950’s a group of English breeders set out to create a cat breed with solid, chocolate colored hair and green eyes. In breeding trials, it was found that the gene for chocolate brown hair in cats is recessive. This would mean that both parents would have to carry the chocolate brown hair gene in order for the kitten to have chocolate brown hair. Chocolate Point and Seal Point Siamese cats were bred with black haired Domestic Shorthair cats and Russian Blue cats to create the perfect genetic pool. The breed became known as the Chestnut Foreign Shorthair.

In the mid-1950’s an American breeder named Mrs. Elsie Quinn was able to receive a few of the Chestnut Foreign Shorthair cats from English breeder Baroness Von Ullman. The cats that Quinn received began the breeding program of the Chestnut Foreign Shorthair cats in the United States. In 1970, the name of the breed was changed to Havana Brown. No one knows for sure how that name was chosen. The two most popular explanations are:

  • The Havana Brown was named after the Havana Rabbit which is the same color.
  • The color of the Havana Brown is reminiscent of the color Havana cigars.

Standards for the Havana Brown breed in the United States changed slightly from the European standards. In Europe, the Havana Brown continues to have an angular face like its Siamese relatives. The Havana Brown breeders in the United States value a rounder face with a distinct, corncob-shaped muzzle. Using either standard for the breed, the Havana Brown breed is quite rare.

A Chocolatey Sweet Personality

Blue, White - And Brown!

Photo Credit: Lil Shepherd via Flickr

Havana Brown cats make wonderful companions! They are very people-oriented, affectionate and will want to interact with everything that their humans do. Should a Havana Brown feel that they are being ignored, it is likely that the will reach out a paw to touch the human that is not responding to them the way they would like. This behavior is also done to objects when the cat is curious about an object. These cats are great with other cats and dogs, but human company is their favorite. They do very well with children!

These cats love to play! Havana Brown cats are considered to be moderately active, intelligent and mischievous. Fetch is  a great game to try with them! They love to walk around with their toys in the mouths. When playtime is finished, but they will partake in their second favorite activity – napping. You may even find them curled up with you in bed when you are sleeping.

If you are thinking about adding a Havana Brown cat to your family, please check out the adoptable Havana Brown cats on PetFinder!

Have you ever met a Havana Brown cat?

Sources & Digging Deeper

Havana Brown – VetStreet

Havana Brown – CFA

Havana Brown Cat – PetFinder

Havana – TICA

Havana Brown – Animal Planet