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Highlander Cat: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Krysha Thayer

By Krysha Thayer

highlander in a pile of leaves

Height: 14 – 16 inches
Weight: 10 – 20 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Colors: Tortoiseshell, bronze, tabby, smoke, blue, red, pure black, spotted
Suitable for: Multi-pet homes, those living in apartments, families with small children
Temperament: Affectionate, friendly, curious, playful, calm, and quiet

Not sure what type of new kitten to get? Say hello to the Highlander cat! Formerly known as the Highlander Lynx, this cat breed looks a bit like a wildcat but acts like a big ol’ teddy bear. Because they’re so intelligent, you can train a Highlander to sit, fetch, and even walk on a leash.

A cross between a Desert Lynx and a Jungle Curl, Highlander cats have unique curled ears, muscular bodies, and long legs that make them look like they’re ready to pounce, although they usually just want to cuddle. Let’s go ahead and learn more about this amazing feline.

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Highlander Kittens


If you going to go through a breeder, it’s always important to do your research. Is the breeder reputable? Do they have a history of breeding healthy and well-adjusted kittens? Do their Highlander kittens have complete veterinary and genetic records? Make sure you visit the breeder’s facility and meet the parents of your potential kitten before making a final decision.

You can also try your local rescue groups. Check if they have purebred Highlanders available. While you might not be able to choose your kitten’s parents, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re saving a life and giving a kitty a second chance at a happy home.hepper-cat-paw-divider

3 Little-Known Facts About the Highlander Cat

1. Highlander Cats Love Playing With Water

Unlike most cats, Highlander cats love to play in the water. You’ll often see them chasing water droplets across your bathroom sink, dunking their paws in the tub, and splashing around in water bowls.

2. Their Signature Curled Ears Are the Result of Crossbreeding

Highlander cats are known for their curled ears, which they get from the Jungle Curl part of their genetics. Better yet, it gives them a unique—and adorable—look.

3. Highlander Cats Are Extremely Trainable

These cats are very intelligent and receptive to training. In fact, many Highlander cat owners say that they act a lot like dogs. They can learn to fetch, sit, and walk on a leash.

Parent breeds of the Highlander Cat
The parent breeds of Highlander Cat: Left – Desert Lynx (Sam Carrera, Shutterstock) | Right – Jungle Curl (maxkrapiva, Shutterstock)


Temperament & Intelligence of the Highlander Cat

Highlander cats are super playful, and they love to participate in games, so be sure to offer tons of toys with things like bright colors, feathers, and bells to keep them entertained.

They’re not picky about how they get their exercise, either. You’ll often find Highlander cats bouncing around the living room, leaping to perches, and darting through cat trees.

Highlander cats are also very curious, which means they’re always exploring their surroundings. Some even like to pick up and play with small items, so some people kitty-proof their houses to keep the cat (and their personal belongings) safe.

While Highlander cats have lots of energy, they tend to be quiet. They don’t meow very often and rarely make a fuss.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Highlander cats are sweet, affectionate, and love being the center of attention. That’s why they do so well among families with children. Expect to find your Highlander curling up with your kids for snuggles, chasing each other, and sleeping in their beds at night.

As with any pet, you’ll want to introduce your Highlander cat to your kids gradually and supervise their interactions until you’re confident that everyone gets along.

Don’t forget to teach your little ones how to interact with a kitty properly. They should know how to pet a cat gently and never pull on their tail or ears.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

As long as you introduce them early, Highlander cats typically get along great with other pets in the household. They’re happy to play with anyone who wants to join, whether that’s a human, dog, or another cat.

Still, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your pets when they first meet to ensure that everyone gets along, especially if you have a dog. Make sure the dog isn’t too rough with the cat, and always offer a safe space for your cat to retreat to if things get too overwhelming.

We recommend keeping Highlanders away from small animals, like hamsters. Highlander cats may be sweet and friendly, but their predatory instincts can still kick in when they see a small, furry creature scurrying around.


Things to Know When Owning a Highlander Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

Highlander cats are typically not high maintenance when it comes to food. You can feed them quality dry kibble, and they’ll munch happily throughout the day. They also won’t turn down some wet food if you offer it.

Most cats, including Highlanders, need a diet rich in animal protein and balanced with carbs, fat, and minerals. Talk to your vet about how much food your cat should be eating each day and what type of diet they recommend. They should always have access to fresh, clean water, too.

a highlander cat lying on grass
Image Credit: SUSAN LEGGETT, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐈

Get ready for some serious playtime! These kitties are known for being super active, and they love to run, jump and hide.

A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 20 minutes of exercise a day, split up into a few sessions. You can do this by playing games like fetch or chasing around toys with feathers, bells, or lasers.

Training 🧶

Highlander cats are ridiculously clever. They definitely need adequate mental stimulation, so you should make training a part of their daily routine.

You can start by teaching them some basic tricks and commands. This will help them get accustomed to positive reinforcement, which you can use for any other training goals you might have in mind.

Grooming ✂️

Highlander cats have short coats that require minimal grooming. You don’t have to do much since they keep themselves clean and rarely shed.

However, you may want to use a damp cloth to wipe down your cat’s fur once in a while, especially if they like to roll around in the dirt outside. This will help remove any excess dirt, debris, or pollen that could cause allergies.

It’s also a good idea to get them used to being brushed. Not only does this reduce the chance of hairballs, but it also helps to form a bond between you and your cat.

Two highlander cats resting in a cat tower together
Image Credit: Patrick Hatt, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Highlander cats are generally healthy as long as they’re properly cared for and get plenty of exercise. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t watch for any signs of illness or injury.

If your cat starts to act strangely, like hiding more than usual, not using the litter box, or losing weight, take them to the vet right away.

Minor Conditions
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Fleas
  • Worms
Serious Conditions

Male vs. Female

Male and female Highlander cats are very similar in terms of personality and behavior. The main difference is that males are typically larger than females, with males averaging around 15–20 pounds while females only weigh about 12–15 pounds.

Highlander kittens reach maturity at around 6 months, during which they can start spraying if they’re not neutered or spayed. This is why it’s important to have your cat fixed at an early age. Otherwise, they may exhibit territorial behavior, such as urine spraying and roaming.


Final Thoughts

It’s hard to resist the adorably curled ears, playfulness, and affectionate nature of the Highlander cat. They’re gorgeous goofballs who love nothing more than spending time with their favorite humans and showing off all the tricks they’ve learned.

So, if you’re looking for a unique and loving pet, the Highlander cat might be just what you need. Be sure to only get a Highlander kitten from a trustworthy breeder to avoid any health or behavioral issues later on. Life with a Highlander cat is sure to be filled with lots of fun and laughter!

Featured Image Credit: SUSAN LEGGETT, Shutterstock

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