Origin: United States
Type: Cross Breed
Size: Medium to Large
Coat Length: Long hair
Body Type: Cobby
Appearance: The Persian is a medium to large-sized cat with short legs and a rather round appearance. Adult males weigh from 4kg to 6 kg and females between 3kg to 5kg. They have long and thick fur and come in various colours and patterns. The main solid colours are white, blue, black, red, cream, chocolate and lilac. Persians have small and rounded ears. The eyes are rather large and their colour depends on the colour of the coat.
Grooming Requirement: Daily
Activity Level: Low
Time Alone: 4 to 8 hours.
Attention: Needs a lot of attention
Temperament: Persians are kind, affectionate animals and they love to be around people. However they tend to bond with one or two “special people” more closely, rather than being friendly to anyone.. This isn’t the most playful breed, don’t expect to see them running around the house or climbing the curtains. The advantage of this is that you can safely leave them alone for periods of time. They’ll wait calmly on a chair or sofa rather than turn your house into a mess.
Interesting Facts: There are some breeds that have coat as long as 8in (more than 20cm). This has been done through selective breeding. Choose this type only if you really enjoy grooming cats!
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: Persians prefer quiet and calm households so might not be the ideal choice if you have house full of children, but that doesn’t mean that they are bad pets. They will still get along well other cats and dogs if they grew up together or if you socialise them. However, it is always a good idea to teach your children how to behave with animals, so no one gets hurt.
Common Health Problems: Persians can have numerous health issues some of which are dental malocclusions, breathing difficulty, excessive tearing, heat sensitivity, predisposition to ringworm, seborrhea oleosa, polycystic kidney disease and some eye conditions.
Lifespan: Average 10 to 15 years.
The elegant Persian cat comes from an ancient and mysterious past, lauded in legends and favoured by royals. A captivating fable tells that the graceful feline was created by a wizard who used a fire sparkle, the shimmer of two far away stars, and a curl of grey smoke to dream up the beautiful Persian. To breed fanciers, this will sound as a rather accurate description. Its real story is not less mysterious or interesting, indeed. The long-haired charmer originates from the cradle of civilisation – Persia (modern-day Iran), hence the name. More down-to-earth experts believe that today’s domestic cat is the descendent of Felis libyca – African wildcat that can still be found in Africa and Asia. Its adaptation to the environment brought about many early mutations, one of which was the development of the long-haired gene. Recent genetic research, however, suggests that even though the early Persian’s origin may indeed have been ancient Persia, present-day Persians are actually related to cats from Western Europe, not to cats from the Near East.
Persians were discovered and brought to Europe by an Italian traveller in the early 17th century. England is called the Persian’s second homeland for a good reason – in animal-mad Victorian Britain, Persians became very popular pets and were shown at the very first cat shows in the country, including the exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1871. Queen Victoria had two Blue Persians and due to her fondness of the breed, Persians had a special cachet.
Prior to the popularity of cat shows and selective breeding of the 19th century, all long-haired cats from Persia, Turkey, and Afghanistan were known simply as “Asiatic” cats and were often bred together. Selective breeding that moulded the modern-day appearance of the Persian, started in the late 19th century. Cat fanciers developed the breed into the beautiful feline with unique head, perky up-turned nose, chubby cheeks, tiny rounded ears, expressive eyes, and a sturdy body we know today. The breed is officially recognised by the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association (TICA).
Persians need a well-balanced diet, enriched with omega fatty acids to maintain their skin and coat healthy. Fibers constitute an essential part of their diet, as Persians swallow a large quantity of hair during grooming. Fibers stimulate intestinal transit and naturally limit hairball formation. Avoid cat formulas available at supermarkets and opt for high-quality dry and wet grain-free food in pet stores instead. Wet food diet prevents the risk of dehydration and urinary tract infections and crystals. Cats often don’t drink enough and it is a good idea to stimulate your Persian to drink more by placing two or three bowls of water in different spots around the house or to purchase a water fountain, as cats typically prefer fresh running water. Don’t feed your Persian table leftovers – their digestive system is much different from ours and their stomachs can be easily upset.
Although breeders have made continuous efforts to eradicate the polycystic kidney disease (PKD) from the gene pool, it is still relatively common among Persians – between 36% and 49% of the Persian cat population suffers from the disease. Symptoms begin developing between 3 and 10 years of age and include depression, apathy towards cleaning, weight loss due to a dwindling appetite, and frequent drinking and urination. Take your Persian to the veterinarian at the first signs of such symptoms. If you’re concerned your cat may be suffering from PKD, a DNA screening or ultrasound have to be carried out to determine the condition with accuracy. Another common health problem specific to the breed is breathing difficulty. Check your Persian regularly for nasal obstructions. Severe issues related to their noses may make them liable for surgeries, involving their enlargement. Common colds and sinus infections affect negatively the Persian’s nasal passages, as well. Some snorting and sneezing are normal for the breed, but if they become excessive, you need to see a veterinarian.
Daily brushing and combing and regular bathing are prerequisite to keeping a Persian’s coat tangle- and mat-free. The breed sheds year-round even more than other long-haired breeds. It is best that Persians are kept inside to protect their long beautiful coats from parasites and other threats of the outdoors, such as dirt, leaves and stickers. Litter may stick to the Persian’s coat and paws, so keeping the litter box meticulously clean is essential, as the Persian is more likely than most breeds to simply refuse using the box. Persians are prone to excessive tearing and need to have their eyes wiped clean daily to prevent under-eye staining.
Persian cats would much rather grace the window sill and soak up the last of the sun rays instead of engage in physical activity. While this makes them the perfect pets for flat living, especially in families with children or elderly people, it can lead to weight management issues. Keep their bodies healthy with regular interactive activities. Even a simple play with a ball or a crumpled piece of paper is a much welcomed mental and physical stimulation. Draw up the blinds so they can watch the world outside or leave the TV on to keep their minds occupied.