The Persian cat has been cherished for hundreds—if not thousands—of years, tracing its origins to the deserts of Persia and Iran. Today, the Persian cat is the most popular pedigreed cat breed in the U.S.. The Persian cat is a medium- to large-sized breed. The trademark characteristics of the Persian cat are a round, flat face shaped like a pansy and a profuse, long coat. The coat comes in almost every color and pattern imaginable, including solid shades, silver and golden, smoke and shaded colors, tabby patterns, particolors and bicolors, and pointed colors (Himalayan).
OTHER NAMES: None.
PERSONALITY: Sweet, gentle and affectionate.
WEIGHT: About 7 to 12 pounds.
LENGTH: About 14 to 17 inches.
COAT LENGTH: Long all over the body and thick, with an immense ruff around the neck, deep frill extending between the front legs and very full brush tail. Glossy, with a fine texture.
COAT COLOR: Solid (blue, black, white, red, cream, chocolate or lilac), silver and golden (chinchilla and shaded), shaded and smoke (including cameo and tortoiseshell patterns), tabby, particolor, calico and bicolor, and Himalayan (pointed colors).
EYE COLOR: Varies according to coat color, but may be copper, blue, green, blue-green, hazel and odd-eyed.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 15 to 20 years.
ORIGIN: Persia and Iran.
Characteristics of the Persian Cat
The Persian cat is known and loved for its very sweet, gentle, calm disposition. Though Persian cats are quite friendly, they require gentle handling, which means no roughhousing or grabbing from young children. They get along great with kind, respectful kids, but would rather be stroked and admired than engage in strenuous activities. Persians also enjoy the company of other cats and gentle dogs. Persians love to sprawl out in favorite spot in the home with good vantage points to keep an eye on the goings-on in the household, be it a plush chair or sun-filled window ledge. Persians are homebodies. It’s best to keep them indoors to prevent overheating or tangling up their profuse, long coats. Persian cats love their human families, but they don’t mind being left alone for short periods of time as long as they are in their own homes where they feel comfortable and safe.
|Tendency to Vocalize||Low|
|Amount of Shedding||Medium|
History of the Persian Cat
The earliest written history of the Persian cat dates back to the early 1500s, but some breed fanciers believe that the Persian may be even older than that. Ancient hieroglyphs found in the region show longhaired cats that may have been the ancestors of what became the Persian cat breed. The earliest examples of what eventually became the Persian cat were exhibited at the very first cat show, which took place in London in 1871. Queen Victoria, who was a big animal lover, became enamored with the exotic-looking cats with long coats. She owned several Persian cats, which in turn led to the breed becoming popular with other royals and the upper-class British. The breed found its way to the United States in late 1800s and early 1900s. As in England, the Persian won over the American people, who fell in love with the Persian cat. The International Cat Association recognizes the Himalayan, which has a light-colored body and darker “points” of color on face, ears, legs and tail, as a separate breed within the Persian breed group.
The Persian was recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in 1906 as one of the foundation breeds. The International Cat Association recognizes the Himalayan, which has a light-colored body and darker “points” of color on face, ears, legs and tail, as a separate breed within the Persian breed group. In the CFA, cats with Himalayan coloration are judged with the rest of the Persian colorations.
Persian Cat Care
The Persian cat’s profuse, luxurious, flowing coat requires a lot of grooming—perhaps the most in all of the cat kingdom. The coat is long and very thick. Brushing alone is not enough. To prevent mats from forming, a Persian in full coat needs daily combing with a wide-toothed metal comb, followed by daily brushing with a soft slicker brush. When combing, Persian cat owners must take care to part the hair and ensure they are combing all the way down to the skin, or mats will sneakily form underneath the long hair. Regular bathing is also necessary to keep the coat clean, something that can also help prevent mats. After a bath, the coat should be carefully dried with a pet hair drier that runs cooler than a human hair dryer so you don’t burn your cat’s sensitive skin or cause it to overheat. Persian cats also need their faces washed daily (the large, round eyes are prone to tearing), their nails trimmed weekly or every other week, and their ears checked and cleaned if they become dirty.
If a Persian cat’s coat becomes matted, it is very difficult to demat. Dematting is a process that is tedious and can be uncomfortable for the cat. Sometimes, mats must be cut out (always by a professional groomer or your veterinarian). Due to the difficulty of upkeep, some Persian cat owners opt to have their cats professionally groomed. The groomer can shave a Persian cat’s belly to take off some bulk and eliminate the issue of mats forming on the stomach and under the armpits. Another option is a lion trim: the body of the cat is shaved short, leaving fluffy hair on the head, legs, and tail.
Persians are fairly sedate cats, though they enjoy playing with feather wands or other teaser toys. Engaging your Persian cat in play sessions a few times a day can provide a bit of exercise to keep your cat physically and mentally stimulated. Scratching is another physically engaging activity that cats naturally want to do. Encourage scratching in the right places by setting up approved scratching areas in your house. Be sure to use both vertical scratchers (such as tall posts or cat trees) and horizontal scratchers (such as cardboard or sisal scratchers that lie flat on the ground), because these can provide an outlet for your cat to scratch in different ways.
Common Health Problems
Some purebred cats are more prone to developing certain breed-specific diseases. Persians (as well as Himalayans and Exotic Shorthairs) are genetically predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart), numerous eye problems including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and trichiasis, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), and respiratory problems. Reputable Persian cat breeders have their adult cats screened for these problems prior to breeding them to keep from passing unwanted health traits on to kittens.
The Persian is a medium-to large-sized cat with short, muscular legs, a short back, a cobby, sturdy body and a deep chest. The Persian cat is immediately recognizable by its very flat face with full cheeks, large round eyes, a short muzzle and a short snub-nose, round cheeks, a firm chin, medium-sized ears, and large, round eyes. All of these facial components give the Persian cat a very sweet expression that is almost human-like. The Persian cat’s coat is extremely long and profuse, with a dense undercoat that provides a lot of volume. The Persian cat comes in many different colors and patterns.
Diet and Nutrition
Because the Persian cat is heavily built, the breed may become overweight if allowed to eat too much. For all cats, staying lean is healthier, and it can prevent the cat from developing obesity-related health issues like diabetes and heart disease. To manage your Persian cat's food intake, feed measured meals twice a day instead of filling up the food bowl all the time (a practice called free feeding). Young kittens should eat three times a day. If you’re not sure what to feed or how much food your Persian needs daily, talk to your veterinarian or breeder for advice.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Persian Cat
The Persian is the most popular pedigreed cat breed in the U.S., so if you have your heart set on bringing home a kitten, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a great breeder nearby. The Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association both list active Persian cat breeders on their respective websites. You can also find adult Persian cats in animal shelters and through cat rescue groups, if you would rather rescue a cat. Local Persian cat breeders might also know of someone looking to re-home their adult Persian.
Happiest when at home, the Persian cat is neither needy nor aloof, but a mixture of quiet affection and calm independence. Persians tend to be fairly quiet, but when they vocalize, they have sweet, musical voices. They love to cuddle or hang out next to you, and will happily greet you at the door when you come home.
Mellow and sweet personality
Affectionate and friendly with adults, gentle kids and other pets
Doesn’t mind hanging out alone occasionally
Doesn’t enjoy loud and boisterous activity
Need daily face washing to combat tear stains
Coat requires daily combing and possibly professional grooming
More Cat Breeds and Further Research
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