Highland Lynx kitten
(Picture Credit: lisegagne/Getty Images)


The Highlander cat is a distinctive and striking breed known for its unique appearance and playful demeanor. Characterized by its wildcat-like features, this breed typically has curled ears, a bobbed tail, and a robust build. The distinctive curled ears are a result of a genetic mutation, adding to the breed’s charm. The Highlander cat’s coat can vary in length, but it is often dense. These beautiful felines come in a variety of colors and patterns. Despite their wild appearance, the Highlander cat is known for its affectionate and sociable nature.

With a love for interactive play and exploration, Highlander cats are intelligent and adaptable. They thrive in environments that provide mental stimulation and physical activity. They are often described as energetic and agile, displaying a playful nature that persists into adulthood. While the breed is relatively new, having originated in the early 2000s, it has gained popularity among cat enthusiasts who appreciate its distinctive look and engaging personality. Highlander cats make wonderful additions to households that can provide them with the attention and activities they need to stay happy and fulfilled.

When considering a Highlander, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a cat in need. However, if you decide to purchase, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the breeder follows ethical practices and prioritizes the well-being of their cats. Reputable Highlander breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their cats, conduct necessary health screenings, and provide a nurturing environment for the kitties. This active approach ensures that you bring home a healthy and happy kitty while discouraging unethical breeding practices.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: United States
  • Size: Medium to large
  • Breed Group: Shorthair or Longhair (two variations)
  • Lifespan: 7-15 years
  • Coat: Shorthaired variety has a dense, short coat, while the longhaired variety has a medium-long, silky coat. Both have a variety of colors and patterns, including tabby, solid, and ticked.
  • Temperament: Playful, energetic, affectionate, intelligent, social, loyal, loves to learn, can be trained easily
  • Exercise Needs: High
  • Training: Easy to train, often learn tricks and enjoy playing fetch
  • Grooming: Weekly brushing, with regular bathing for longhaired cats
  • Health: Generally healthy, but prone to some genetic conditions
  • Distinguishing Features: Lynx-like appearance with curled ears, a long, sloping forehead, a blunt muzzle, wide set eyes, and a bushy tail. Shorthaired variety has a bobbed or short tail.
  • Some Highlanders may be polydactyl, but this is not a breed standard.
  • The Highlander is considered dog-like, and will even wag its short tail when playing. They can also learn to play fetch and other tricks.
  • Highlanders, or Highland Lynxes as they are otherwise known, love to play in water.

Highlander Pictures

Highlander History

The Highlander was originally developed by a breeder named Joe Childers back in 1993. The intention was to produce a domestic feline that combined a striking wild cat look with social and playful personality traits. Despite originally having the word Lynx in their name, the mixed breed doesn’t actually contain any wild cat genes in their makeup. The Highlander was officially acknowledged by the International Cat Association (TICA) in the year 2008. These days, you may find Highlanders in shelters or in the care of rescue groups. So make sure to consider adoption if you decide that this is the mixed breed for you!

Highlander Size

The Highlander is a medium-to-large-sized cat. As is always the case, exact size standards might vary. Most Highlanders weigh in at 10 to 20 pounds. That said, some may be smaller or larger than average.

Highlander Personality

Highlander cats are athletic and energetic felines. You’ll need to be able to provide a large enough living space for them to run around in, along with adding interactive toys to the environment. The Highlander is a very intelligent cat–in many cases they can be taught to play fetch and pull off tricks! Balancing out the Highlander’s upbeat side, these cats are also very social and loving. They enjoy being around humans and interacting with them, and despite the big cat angle to their heritage, they’re affectionate towards the people in their life. The cat also does well around children, acting like a new play friend. Unlike most other cat breeds, the Highlander also likes water, so don’t be surprised to see them playing with water in the bathtub or from a running tap!

Highlander Health

Highlanders are generally considered to be healthy cats; although, they can be predisposed to the same conditions that the Desert Lynx and Jungle Curl breeds face. As always, it’s important to schedule regular wellness visits with your cat’s vet. There aren’t any known breed specific health problems associated with the Highlander, but always keep an eye out for signs that your cat might be in distress or pain.

Highlander Care

As with all cats, it’s important to keep up your Highlander’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your cat healthy.

Beyond scheduling yearly wellness visits with your vet, you’ll want to add a scratching post to your Highlander’s living environment. This can help promote healthy scratching and keep the cat’s nails in good condition.

The Highlander’s ears should also be examined regularly for signs of dirt building up or possible infection. It’s also advisable to talk with your vet about starting a regular teeth brushing regimen that will suit your Highlander. Your vet can advise you about specific brands and techniques.

It’s important to underline that the Highlander mixed breed needs a higher than usual amount of exercise, so make sure to add at least one cat tree or piece of interactive furniture to your home before adopting one.

Highlander Coat Color And Grooming

The Highlander is a mixed breed of cat that you’ll see in a wide range of colors and patterns. It’s common to see them with solid coat colors or with tabby or lynx point markings.

When it comes to grooming, most Highlanders are fairly low maintenance, with their short hair requiring only a quick weekly brushing. This will help lessen the likelihood of hairballs and mats forming. Although it should be noted that some Highlanders are long haired felines–in which case you’ll need to aim for closer to daily brushing sessions.

In terms of climate, the Highlander is generally an adaptable breed of cat. Although you should always make sure that there’s enough shade and fresh water available during the hotter months.

Children And Other Pets

The Highlander is a super friendly and outgoing feline who does very well with young children. Just be sure that early socialization takes place and boundaries are properly set on both sides, and supervise early interactions between kids and cats.

When it comes to other household pets, the Highlander fares well with many domestic animals, including dogs. Always supervise early interactions between the new cat and existing pets.

Ultimately, early socialization really pays off with this mixed breed. Make sure to reward your Highlander for good behavior when you bring them home to your family!

Highlander Rescue Groups

It may be hard to find a breed specific rescue for Highlanders because they are a mixed breed. However, you may want to try shelters and rescues that cater to all types of cats, including Highlanders, as well as your local shelter. Here are some nonprofit rescues you can try:


Life Span
10 to 15 years
Medium to large
10 to 20 pounds
Country Of Origin
United States


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