BREED PROFILE:
Chocolate Delights Without the Calories!!!

By Brenda Wood
KITAO Havana Browns

Havana Browns may be unknown to many, but once you get one,
like chocolates, they are hard to live without!

Photo ©Brenda Wood"Chocolate Delights Without the Calories!!!" is my favorite description for the Havana Browns that have shared my life for the better part of the past 20 years. I acquired my first Havana Browns in March 1991 and have never looked back. On the evening that I picked up my first pair of kittens, a brother and sister, I was told by CFA judge and Havana Brown breeder, Norma Placchi, that when she first got her own Havana Browns, she'd been told that once you've had a Havana Brown, you will never want to be without one. I have come to the conclusion that she was absolutely correct. I have had Himalayans/Persians, Abyssinians, a Turkish Angora and an American Shorthair over my 35+ years in the pedigreed cat fancy, but the Havanas have my heart.

Havana Browns are a man-made breed created in England by Siamese breeders after WWII. They were striving to re-create a solid brown cat with green eyes that was reported to have been imported from the Orient in the late 1800s. The first Havana Browns were imported into North America in the mid-1950's and were recognized for Championship competition in CFA in 1964.

The cats that were imported into America as Havana Browns were eventually recognized by the British Registry, GCCF, as Chestnut Foreign Shorthairs. In North America, the Havana Brown is a breed with physical features distinctly different from its Oriental Shorthair cousins who come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including Chestnut (chocolate brown). Where Oriental and Foreign Shorthair bodies are long and slinky with very straight head profiles, Havana Browns are very medium in body type with a series of changes in direction from the forehead to the stop in the nose to the very square muzzle. A Havana Brown head is often described as having the appearance of a corn cob or a Coca-Cola bottle stuck onto a baseball.

What really glues me to the Havana Brown is the personality. Like every person, every cat has it's own individual personality. I also love the rich, shiny mahogany brown coat and simply cannot resist the alluring green eyes. No wonder we affectionately refer to these cats as "Brownies." In my opinion, there is something magical about the Havana Brown.

Photo ©Brenda WoodI currently live with a 4 year old adult female, CH Kitao's Jubilatte (Jubi) and her two 1 1/2 year old sons, GC, RW Kitao's Kokayo (Kayo) and GC Kitao's Brunard Kallibeau (Beau or more often Bad Beau!!!). Undoubtedly, Jubi rules the roost and her mood swings are dramatic ... anything from sweet, loving and coquettish to "I AM Queen and all of you MUST obey my every command or else..." She always has the last word.

The Boys ...

I showed the boys at CFA shows frequently from mid-January 2009 through the end of April 2010. During that time their differing personalities really came through. Kokayo is even-tempered and easy-going, preferring to curl up and sleep. He was an excellent cat for the show circuit, handled long car trips well, and especially enjoyed overnight stays in various motel rooms around the country. He was always alert and up front in the judging cages and loved to play on the judging table. GC, RW Kitao's Kokayo is one of the sweetest cats with whom I have ever had the privilege of sharing my life.

Photo ©Brenda WoodBeau, on the other hand, also has a sweet temper, but is very high strung and busy. Beau follows me everywhere and finds ways to get my attention if he thinks I'm ignoring him. He is always first onto the toilet seat so that I must pet him before I make him get off. In the morning, he always beats me to the kitchen where he leaps on top of the food canister so that I must pet him before I push him off so that I can get a scoop of food for the communal bowl. If Beau thinks I've spent too much time on my laptop or watching TV, he is sure to stomp across the keyboard or sit in front of the TV screen. Since it's only a 22" flat screen, I have no choice but to pay attention to him.

Beau achieved his grand champion status in CFA, but just barely. His last 2 shows were a challenge because he decided to let everyone who would listen know that he didn't think much of cat shows. It seemed to distress him to find out that cats came in various shapes, sizes and colors. He has since been neutered and may be shown in Premiership, a class for neutered or spayed pedigreed cats, if he behaves himself. Ferocious is not a reputation that I want Beau to set for the breed. This boy, who has a ridiculously tiny squeak of a voice most of the time, can sound very ominous, whether he means to be or not. Inevitably, there are deep purrs and head butts for me.

Havana Browns are usually very devoted to their "person" and like to be close by at all times. I am always greeted by Jubi and "The Boys" whenever I come home. Both Jubi and Kokayo love to play wildly and to crawl under the covers and snuggle close, whereas Beau prefers to be where he can keep an eye on everything while still being nearby. I must confess, I truly enjoy their company and their "monkey cat" antics and will endeavor to keep a Havana Brown in my life for as long as possible.

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