Highlander Cat: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

Highlander Cat: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

The Highlander is a strong and muscular cat that is very affectionate towards humans and that makes a great family pet. They are robust and require little specialist care. Their coat resembles a wild cat but they are completely domesticated and can even be taught to walk on a leash.

This fun-loving breed will enjoy a game with you and is not afraid of water so they will happily accompany you into the bathroom! Read on to get the basics on the fun-loving Highlander kitty.

Highlander cat sitting

History of the Highlander Cat

The Highlander cat may look like an ancient wildcat but it has only been in existence since 2004. It is the product of a cross between two hybrid breeds, namely the Desert Lynx and the Jungle Curl.

Initially, it was called the Highland Lynx, but this was changed to Highlander in 2005.

Quick facts about the Highlander Cat

Here are some quick facts about the Highland lynx cat that you should know!

  • They like water

Very few breeds of cats like water but the Highlander is one of them! They are fascinated by it and do not mind getting wet. Be prepared to find your Highlander in the bathroom or in the kitchen sink.

  • They will walk on a leash

The Highlander is one of the most dog-like breeds and they are happy to walk on a leash. You will need to teach them to do this when they are young.

  • They can curl their ears

One of the most striking characteristics of the Highlander is that they can curl back their ears. Some individuals can do it more than others. Highlander kittens are born with straight ears but gain the ability to curl them at about two weeks of age.

  • They have extra toes

If you want a cat with polydactyl paws – look no further! The Highlander has extra toes which makes them even more special.

Highland cat in a chair

Things You Should Know About the Highlander Cat

The Highlander is a strong, muscular cat that can grow up to 16 inches in height and to a weight of 20 pounds. They may look like a wild cat but they need all the care and attention that all domestic cats require. Here’s what you need to know before you invite a gorgeous Highlander to live with you.


In general, the highlander cat breed is very healthy and has no recognized medical considerations. They do well on high-quality commercial cat food and most are active enough to avoid obesity.

They simply require the usual routine veterinary care and vaccinations. Their curled ears can get a buildup of wax and this is perfectly normal. If they develop an unpleasant smell, it may indicate ear mites.

You can keep their ears clean using special ear drops. Do not be tempted to poke anything into their ears. Simply wipe them with a soft cloth.

Related Post: Cat Ear Cleaners


Most Highlanders do not need a special diet and will thrive on any high-quality commercial cat food. If you are concerned that your cat is not taking in enough fluid, you may want to try a wet cat food rather than a kibble. Cats need plenty of protein from animal sources such as lean chicken or lamb.

Some Highlanders may need high fiber cat food to keep their gut healthy. The fiber content of each cat food will be clearly described on the label. Your vet can advise you on what to look out for.

If you transition your Highlander onto a high fiber diet, this must be done gradually to prevent stomach upsets.

Related Post: Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Highlander kitten


Your Highlander will need exactly the same care as other domestic cats. Check with your vet to find out which vaccinations are required for cats in your area. This is a breed of cat that can be taught to walk on a leash so this is something that you may want to start when your cat is young.

They are a very physically active cat and so it is likely that they will want an outdoor lifestyle. This puts them at risk of infestation by fleas and intestinal worms. Make sure that you regularly treat them for both. Also, be on the lookout for injuries that may have been caused by other cats.

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Highlanders can be quite fussy about their litter trays and will need a bigger tray than most domestic cats. Make sure that it is regularly cleaned out.


The Highlander fur can be solid or lynx and they can also have a spotted coat. Short-coated individuals need very little grooming. A simple brush once a week with a soft brush will be sufficient. Cats with longer coats will need more regular brushing to prevent them from getting furballs and to stop your furniture from getting coated in hair.

Related Post: Brush For Cats

Be warned that they may not like it at first! Therefore, it’s important that you start grooming them at an early age. Use treats and plenty of praise to help them get used to it.

Related Post: Cat Treats


This breed is suitable for all kinds of households. They will love living with a family that have young children and will get on with other pets.

Don’t let their appearance deceive you. They are not as wild as they look – their personality is gentle and affectionate. At the same time, they are social and playful and will love to interact with family members. This confident and energetic cat needs a lot to keep them occupied so you will need to stock up on toys and games.

Highlander cat sleeping on the window

The Last Word

The Highlander is a strong and muscular breed that looks like a wildcat but which is actually an adorable household moggy. They are very dog-like in their personality and love to be with humans. They can even be taken for a walk on a leash so if you can’t decide between a cat or a dog, the Highlander could be the answer!

Sharon Parry

Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!

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