The Havana Brown is a rare cat breed best known for its rich chocolate coat and charming personality. These intelligent, playful cats make exceptional family pets and lifelong friends.
Siamese and oriental
Havana Brown History
The origins of the Havana Brown may date back as far as the late 19th century. According to historical records, breeders entered chestnut-colored cats in the Siamese class of European cat shows in the 1890s. But these uniquely-colored cats disappeared until the post-World War II resurgence of cat breeding.
In the 1950s, some British cat breeders decided to bring back the rich brown color. So, they crossed black domestic shorthair cats with chocolate point and seal point Siamese cats to produce the Chestnut Foreign Shorthair. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy recognized this new breed in 1958 and changed its name to Havana Brown in 1970.
Fancier Elsie Quinn imported the first Havana cats to North America in the mid-1950s. All North American Havanas descend from Quinn's original breedings.
Today, there are two types of Havana. The English continued breeding their Havanas back to Siamese, so they have the Siamese's flared ears and wedge-shaped heads. But North American Havanas have retained the breed's original look—including upright ears and angular profile lines. Both types are extremely rare.
Havana Brown Traits
The Havana Brown is medium-sized with a rich, solid brown coat. These muscular cats weigh more than they seem and have an elegant, graceful appearance.
Coat and Coloring
Havana Browns have short, smooth, glossy coats. They come in an even shade of warm, reddish-brown (mahogany). A lilac (pinkish-grey) coat is also acceptable under The International Cat Association breed standard.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Havana Browns have very distinctive muzzles, often described as a corncob or rolled cigar shape. Their large, round-tipped ears tilt forward, giving them an alert appearance. They have medium-sized, oval eyes that come in vivid shades of green—one of their defining features.
Havana Brown Temperament
Havanas are alert, affectionate, people-oriented cats. Because they thrive on human companionship, they need a home where people will pay plenty of attention to them. (And don't worry. They'll let you know if they feel they're being ignored.) They also get along well with other cats, dogs, and kids.
Curious by nature, Havanas often explore whatever catches their eye by reaching out a paw to touch it. They also run toward loud sounds to investigate what's going on. If there's excitement in the house, they want to be part of it.
Though not overly active, Havanas love a good play session. They enjoy toys and games of fetch or chase. But they're also happy to simply follow their humans around the house and chat in their soft, chirpy voices. No matter how they keep themselves entertained, they always make sure to leave plenty of time for napping—preferably at the side of their favorite person.
Havana Brown Care
Havana Browns require a high-quality diet. Because nutritional needs vary for kittens, adults, and senior cats, opt for a formula that's age-appropriate for your pet.
Havanas tend to devour their food. And if there is another dish of cat food close by, they'll eat that too. So, if you have more than one cat, you may need to feed them separately to keep your Havana from double-dipping.
Because of this hearty appetite, it's also important to monitor your Havana's calorie intake to prevent obesity. Measure out their food to avoid overfeeding, and keep treats to no more than 10% of their daily calories.
Finally, all cats need easy access to fresh, clean water around the clock.
The Havana's coat requires only minimal grooming. Though they don't shed much, weekly brushing with a soft rubber brush will remove any loose hair. It also makes these cats happy. Havanas love the attention they get during grooming sessions.
Most cats' nails require monthly trimming to prevent them from getting too long. Long nails are more likely to snag on something and become torn or damaged. They can even grow into your cat's paw pads, leading to pain or infection. In addition to clipping, providing a scratching post will allow your cat to do some nail maintenance themselves (thanks to their instinct to scratch).
Dental care is also essential to your cat's lifelong health. From a young age, your Havana should follow a dental routine that includes at-home teeth brushing and professional exams and cleanings.
Roughly one out of every three cats in the United States is overweight or obese. And those extra pounds can contribute to other health risks—such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart problems. Your veterinarian is the best resource for tips on managing your cat's weight.
Reviewed February 23, 2021 by Annette Louviere, DVM