In my previous blogs, I have mostly focused on unusual cat breeds that aren’t so common, but from time to time, I like to cover some more common and well-known cat breeds. One of them is a Persian cat breed, one of the most popular cat breeds in the whole world.
One of the oldest cat breeds, Persians are quite popular not only because of their appearance but also because of the easygoing personalities that make them such great pets. So, if you are considering getting a Persian cat or you just want to learn a bit more about this breed, keep reading!
Persian Cat Characteristics
|Fur color||White, black, brown, blue, gray, orange, golden, lilac, red, etc.|
|Fur pattern||Solid, smoke, shaded, tabby, bicolor, tortoiseshell, and color-point.|
|Fur length||Medium to long|
|Eye color & shape||Green, brown, or gold eyes that are large and round.|
|Weight||Males 7-12 lbs|
Females 5-10 lbs
|Expected lifespan||10-18 years|
|Temperament||Quiet, placid, intelligent, gentle, devoted, affectionate, loving, and occasionally playful.|
|Kids and other pets||Friendly towards children and other pets.|
|Sociable and cuddly||These cats enjoy company, but they need some time to start trusting strangers.|
Requirements & Traits
|Feeding||Twice a day for adult Persians and thrice a day for kittens. Food should be of high quality, meat-based, and can be wet or dry.|
|Grooming||Daily brushing/combing of the fur and regular face cleaning to avoid tear stains on the face. Nail trimming and dental hygiene are also important.|
|Hypoallergenic||No, Persian cats are actually one of the cat breeds that can cause more severe allergies than some other breeds.|
History and Origins
The first long-haired cats (that were the ancestors of modern-age Persian and Angora cats) came to Europe from Persia some 400 years ago. In the cold mountainous regions of Persia, a gene mutation happened, and it caused the first appearance of long-haired cats.
These mutations appeared spontaneously, and eventually, there were more and more such cats. Over time, people started breeding those long-haired cats. Since Persia was well-connected to the European continent at the time because of the ongoing trade, these long-haired cats eventually reached European soil.
The first documented arrival of long-haired cats from Persia happened in the 1600s. Pietro della Valle, an Italian traveler, was credited as the first person that brought Persian and Angora cats to the European continent. In his manuscript Voyages de Pietro della Valle, he named Khorasan, Persia, as the place of origin of these exotic cats.
However, other travelers continued bringing Persian and Angora cats to Europe, France in particular. From there, these cats would be taken to England and other European countries. For this reason, Persian and Angora cats were often called French cats.
Since they often traveled together, there was frequent breeding between Persian and Angora cats. Still, both breeds kept their characteristics, and by 1871, Angora cats were known as having a more slender build and tall ears, while Persians were known for their stocky bodies and rounded ears.
Popularity over time
At one point, Angora cats with their white fur were actually more popular, but eventually, Persian cats with their stockier build became more popular in the UK. This rise in popularity continued well into the 20th century. Especially popular were blue Persian cats, partially because Queen Victoria owned two such cats.
The situation was similar across the ocean. Persian cats arrived on the American continent in the late 1800s and quickly became popular. Even in the modern age, Persian cats remained the most popular pedigreed breed in North America.
Interestingly enough, in the UK, Persian, Angora, and Russian longhaired cats are all called Longhairs, with each color being considered a separate breed. However, here in the USA, Persian cats of all colors are considered to be one breed.
Persian Cat Personality
If you can’t handle overly active and energetic cats, then you have come to the right place. Persian cats are known for their docility, and they are often called “Fur furniture” or “fur carpets.” However, even though they aren’t as active and playful as most other cat breeds, Persian cats will still want to play occasionally, so don’t let that surprise you.
Persian cats are also quiet cats, so if you don’t want an overly vocal cat, this breed is right for you. When it comes to their intelligence, there is an argument about whether they are super intelligent or not intelligent. Some breeders and cat experts claim these cats are intelligent, while others claim Persian cats are kind of dumb.
The final answer probably depends on the individual cat. After all, even if Persian cats aren’t really intelligent, that doesn’t make them any less cute, and they are still great pets. It’s not like you’ll need your cat to solve complex algebra problems for you!
Although shy at first, Persian cats are quite affectionate, gentle, and loving once they get to know you. They are fiercely devoted to their owners and enjoy being petted and cuddled.
Persian Cat Appearance
When mentioning Persian cats, most people think of their long and lush furs. However, it is not enough for a cat to have long fur to be considered a true Persian. Let’s take a closer look at the general body characteristics of the Persian cat breed:
Persian’s fur can be up to two inches long, and it’s longer on their bellies. Facial fur is also longer, bushy and full, and it grows downwards. Overall, Persian fur is soft, lying close to the body, and semi-dense. When it comes to the fur color and pattern, basically every color and pattern is allowed, but some are more common than others.
The most common colors of Persian cats are brown, gray, blue, lilac, white, black, orange, red, etc. Their fur coloring can be solid, tabby, smoked, shaded, color-point, tabby, tortoiseshell, etc.
Persian cats have large and round eyes that are quite expressive. The eyes are deeply set, with the space between them being approximately one eye wide. The brow area is thick and bushy. These eyes can be golden, brown, or gooseberry green.
Although their stocky bodies can make them look bigger, Persian cats are actually medium in size. As usual, males are larger than females. Male Persian cats are between 7 and 12 pounds heavy, and their average body length is between 15 and 18 inches. On the other side, female Persian cats weigh between 5 and 10 pounds, and their body length is between 12 and 16 inches.
Other Body Characteristics
As I already mentioned, Persians are known for their stocky bodies. Their shoulders are prominent, strong, and wide. The back goes slightly upwards towards the hips, which are also prominent and of medium width. The chest is broad, and there is a visible primordial pouch.
The legs are muscular, strong, and long, with the hind legs being slightly longer. Feet are large and rounded, with fleshy, almost round toes. The tail is bushy and relatively short and can be surprisingly articulated with numerous kinks and curls.
The head is square-shaped, with a strong chin, full cheeks, broad muzzle, and rounded whisker pads. Ears are medium-large, wider at the base, slightly tilted outward, and rounded.
Doll-Face Vs. Peke-Face
Another interesting characteristic of Persian cats that also caused controversy is their face depth. Traditional Persian cats are often referred to as doll-face. Their heads and faces are rounder than in other cat breeds, but they still look “normal.”
On the other hand, there are modern Persian cats that are selectively bred to have a so-called Peke-face. Peke-face was developed from a spontaneous mutation that appeared in the late 1950s. This mutation caused the affected cats to have flat faces, similar to Pekinese dogs (this is how the name Peke-face was coined).
Flat-faced Persians became popular among breeders and at various cat shows. As a result, their flat features became even more prominent after generations of selective breeding. As you probably already know, animals with flat faces are prone to various respiratory issues, so the ethics behind breeding Peke-face Persians is questionable, at the least.
While the breeders continue to breed Peke-face Persian cats, it seems that the general public prefers Doll-face Persians. This gives us hope that the breeders will eventually switch back to breeding healthier Persians.
Persian Cat Variants In The UK and Mini Version
I already said that here in the US, every color variation of a Persian cat is considered a part of the Persian breed. At the same time, in the Uk, it is a slightly different story. Different color variations are considered different breeds.
Additionally, Exotic Shorthair and Himalayan cats are considered variants of Persian cats, while they are considered separate breeds here in the USA.
Finally, there are toy and teacup versions of Persian cats that are often called “palm-sized,” ”pixie,” “mini,” and “pocket.” The breeding of these mini-Persians is still not officially recognized or regulated in any way.
Unlike dogs, which can produce miniature offspring due to naturally occurring mutations, cats have a strong genetic buffering mechanism preventing such mutations. The breeders that still want to produce unusually small specimens resort to unethical breeding practices that involve repetitive inbreeding.
As a result, they get smaller cats, but those cats also have weaker immune systems. They are much more prone to various health diseases and conditions that fill their short lives with suffering.
Daily Life With Persian Cat
Before choosing a pet breed that will be perfect for you, it is important to know its daily needs. That way, this cat will be able to fit into your life, and you will be able to provide it with everything it might need.
For example, if you don’t have the energy or patience to play with your cat every day, avoid getting a highly active cat. Also, if you don’t spend much time at your home and you plan to get a cat that requires a lot of attention, you can see why that might be a bad idea.
As with other cat breeds, Persian cats need to eat meat-based foods that are rich in proteins. They prefer wet foods, but you should also include dry foods in your Persian cat’s diet. Wet food will keep your Persian cat hydrated, while dry food will help clean its teeth.
Of course, no matter which type of food you choose for your Persian cat, it is important that you buy high-quality brands. You can also offer your Persian cat a slice of raw meat every now and then, but only if you are 100% that said meat contains no pathogens.
Alternatively, you can cook the meat and serve it to your cat, but don’t add any spices. Cats shouldn’t eat spicy and salty foods because their kidneys are sensitive and can easily get damaged. This is also why you should avoid sharing your food with your cat.
Avoid feeding your Persian cat (and any other cat) with candy, dairy, fruits, and veggies. If your cat shows interest or desire to eat some fruits and vegetables, you can give it steamed broccoli, carrots, cucumber, asparagus, and peas, but in small amounts.
Feeding frequency and Portions
When it comes to feeding frequency and portion size, keep in mind that Persian cats are prone to obesity, so you should be careful with how much they eat. Persian kittens will need to eat thrice daily because they are still growing and need extra calories to sustain that growth.
Adult Persians, on the other hand, should eat two times a day. The exact portion size depends on your cat’s age, size, gender, etc. It is best to consult your vet to help you determine how much food is enough.
You can also estimate how much food your cat needs through observation. Give your cat food and look if it asks for more or if it leaves some food uneaten. This will be a good reference for the average portion size.
When it comes to grooming, Persian cats are quite demanding. Their thick and lush furs can easily become tangled, and this breed is known for shedding a lot. To avoid knots in their furs and to reduce shedding, you should comb and brush your Persian once a day.
Use stainless steel combs and brushes. First, start with a comb and carefully untangle the fur wherever you notice some knots. Then, after you have taken care of knots and made sure the fur is detangled, brush it. This will help you collect all the hairs that would fall off very soon, which will significantly reduce the amount of shedding on the floors and furniture.
Additionally, regular brushing helps distribute the oils from the cat’s skin into its fur, which makes both the skin and the fur much healthier. Some Persian cat owners bring their pets to professional groomers every now and then, and maybe it could help you with your cat’s grooming needs.
You should also bathe your Persian cat every 4-6 weeks. Use a gentle pet shampoo and warm water. You can also use this as an opportunity to trim your cat’s fur if you feel confident enough.
Nail trimming is also an important aspect of your cat’s hygiene. Trim your cat’s nails every two weeks. Don’t forget about dental hygiene, as proper teeth cleaning can prevent many dental and other health issues. Use toothbrushes and toothpaste specifically created for cats. Offer your cat some teeth-cleaning snacks every now and then.
Finally, use a wet cotton cloth or paper towel to clean your Persian cat’s face, especially if you have a Peke-faced Persian. Due to their flat faces, the tears from their eyes often leave trails on the facial fur. Clean these stains with warm water to help your cat stay clean and pretty.
If you got overwhelmed by reading about Persian’s grooming needs, you can take a breather now. Persian cats are known for being docile and not as active as most other cat breeds. They will be content sitting or lying somewhere in your home, and very rarely will they run, jump, or participate in some other physical activity.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Persian cats require no activity and physical exercise, but they are called “fur furniture” for a reason. To satisfy their modest activity needs, get your Persian cats a cat scratching tree, one climbing cat tree, and several toys.
Take at least several minutes out of your every day to play with your Persian. That should be enough playtime and exercise for them. Of course, not every Persian cat is like this, and be prepared to get a Persian that needs more activity.
Persian cats also enjoy the company of other cats and cat-friendly dogs, but you need to socialize with them from an early age. Persian cats prefer the company of other cats and pets that have the same activity levels. This way, your pets will be on the same “wavelength” when it comes to the playing-resting ratio.
Most Common Persian Cat Health Issues
Another thing that you should know before getting a Persian cat is that they are prone to various health diseases. Of course, this doesn’t mean your cat will get ill necessarily, but stay cautious. The health of your Persian cat will depend on several different factors, including its genetic makeup and how you take care of it.
Knowing which problems you can expect will help you be prepared for them if they ever appear. Of course, we all want our pets to be healthy, but it is important to be prepared for when they get sick. For that reason, let’s take a look at some of the most common Persian cat health problems so that you can try to avoid them or at least treat them properly.
Also known as Idiopathic Seborrhea, this disorder is characterized by the overproduction of oily and waxy substances by skin glands. These substances become clumpy and get stuck in the fur. The clumps can even give off a bad smell.
Over time, the skin becomes red, itchy, and irritated. The affected cat becomes restless and anxious and can even become lethargic and lose appetite. If you notice your cat scratching excessively, you regularly find clumps in its fur, and the fur smells bad, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Idiopathic seborrhea can’t be cured, but it can’t be managed and kept under control. Your vet will prescribe you shampoos and conditioners that will help control the amount of oil buildup while calming the itchy skin. Antibiotics and antifungals are also sometimes prescribed for this condition. Finally, vitamin and fatty acid supplements, as well as a well-balanced diet, can help your cat experience fewer symptoms of this disorder.
Flat-faced Persian cats often suffer from Brachycephalic syndrome. This syndrome is manifested by snoring, coughing, difficulty breathing, and even difficulty eating. Flat-faced animals, including both cats and dogs, have narrow airways and short tracheas.
As a result, less air can enter their noses and, subsequently, their lungs. The affected animal needs to make more effort to breathe to get the same amount of oxygen needed for normal functioning. Flat-faced cats often have elongated soft palates which are too long for the length of the mouth. As such, they further obstruct airways and make breathing even more difficult and less effective.
Since cats affected with Brachycephalic syndrome breathe through their mouths more easily than through their noses, mouth breathing should be your first sign that your Persian cat might be suffering from this syndrome.
Additionally, if your cat makes unusual noises while breathing, or you can hear it snore while sleeping, this is another sign of obstructed airways. Coughing, gagging, vomiting, and retching are other symptoms of Brachycephalic syndrome.
Besides making breathing difficult, Brachycephalic syndrome can cause other health issues down the road. Increased breathing efforts can put a strain on the heart muscle, and prolonged mouth breathing can lead to various infections of the respiratory system.
The first step towards treatment for Brachycephalic syndrome is making sure your cat has a healthy weight, as obesity can significantly worsen the symptoms. The therapy can consist of corticosteroids, oxygen therapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In more severe cases, surgery will be required.
Due to their lack of activity, Persian cats are often obese. Obesity is a serious health issue that can cause many other health issues and lower your cat’s overall life quality and life expectancy. If you notice your Persian cat becoming unusually inactive, or if you can’t feel ribs and hip bones while you pet it, it is probably obese.
Take your Persian to the vet so that an expert can determine whether it is truly obese or just stocky. Your vet will also be able to come up with the best diet plan that will help your cat lose weight while getting all the necessary nutrients. They will also probably recommend more exercise and activity.
Runny eyes are quite often among Persian cats, especially among those that are flat-faced. Since their muzzle is shortened, the eye discharge can no longer drain into the nose. As a result, this eye discharge runs down the cat’s face, where it makes visible stains.
If this eye discharge isn’t caused by respiratory or other infections, it is completely harmless, and it is more of a cosmetic problem. However, it is recommended that you take your Persian to the vet when you notice any eye discharge. This way, the vet will be able to determine the reason behind the discharge and the appropriate course of action for treating it.
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is particularly common among Persian cats, probably because purebred breeds are more susceptible to this condition. This is a progressive systemic disease that can manifest in many different symptoms and has a high mortality rate.
The condition is caused by a viral infection (feline coronavirus), and its most common signs are swollen abdomen/chest area due to abnormal liquid accumulation and inflammation in different body parts such as the eyes, nose, liver, kidneys, brain, etc.
If you notice your cat’s abdomen or chest area is swollen and the cat shows signs of lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite, take it to the vet. If the vet confirms that your cat indeed has FIP, they will probably try to help with prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs. However, even with treatment, FIP is fatal in most cases.
Persian Cat Name Suggestions
Let’s move on to more cheerful subjects now. For example, how to name your Persian cat? Some people choose names that perfectly represent the regal and elegant beauty and grace of Persian cats. Others prefer exotic names, while some people choose goofy or common cat names. If you still don’t have an idea in which direction you should go, take a look at some of my top picks:
Buying or Adopting Persian Cat
Since Persian cats are quite common here in the states, you will easily find one in the adoption shelter. Depending on several factors, including the cat’s age, gender, and health status, you will have to pay between $75 and $500 to adopt it.
Of course, you can always choose to buy your new Persian cat straight from the breeder for $1200-$1800. Make sure that you find a reputable breeder. You don’t want to buy cats from unethical breeders because that will only motivate them to further continue shady breeding practices.
Unethical and shady breeders often produce kittens with various health disorders. While every cat can eventually get sick, cats from unethical breeders are much more vulnerable and prone to getting sick. Their life quality is seriously diminished, so make sure to research breeders before you choose the best one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Persian cats are friendly and sociable, although they can be a bit reserved around strangers.
Persian cats are great house pets if you can meet their grooming needs.
Yes, a Persian cat can be left alone, but not for prolonged periods of time.
Persian cats are indoor cats, and as such, you should only let them outside under your strict supervision.
Some people claim that they are easy to train, while others claim the complete opposite. It probably depends on the cat, as some Persians are reportedly very intelligent while others are not.
Persian Cat Fun Facts
- Persian cats participated in the first world cat show in 1871, which was held at the Crystal Palace in London. Approximately 20,000 people watched a Persian cat win the “Best in Show” award.
- Persian cats were also one of the first pedigreed cat breeds. When the Cat’s Fanciers Association was formed in 1906, Persian cats were one of the first breeds that were registered.
- These cats aren’t vocal. They produce soft meows only occasionally, so don’t expect them to be as “talkative” as other cat breeds.
Persian Cat Alternatives
Do you want a cat similar to Persian cats, but you don’t want to deal with daily fur brushing? Do you have some other reasons why Persian cats aren’t right for you? Then you should consider getting an Exotic Shorthair or British Shorthair cat. They basically look like short-haired Persians with similar body shapes and sizes, and they are just as cute and well-mannered.
Additionally, you can choose Himalayan or Turkish Angora cats, as they are related to Persian cats. And, if you want to own an exotic-looking cat with a history equally fascinating to Persians, why don’t you get a Siamese cat?
Finally, remember that many modern cat breeds were derived from Persians. Some of these breeds are Scottish Fold, Selkirk Rex, Ragdolls, etc. You should consider getting one of these cats if you don’t want a Persian.
Persian cats have a truly rich history as one of the first pedigreed cat breeds. They took the European and North American continents by storm, and their popularity doesn’t seem to fade even in the modern age.
This shouldn’t surprise you because Persian cats are breathtaking. Their silky soft fur makes them look royal and exclusive. Additionally, Persian cats are well-behaved, quiet, and easy-going. That’s why so many people choose Persians, and you should too!