Cat Breeds: The Persian Cat

Cat Breeds: The Persian Cat

The distinctively sophisticated looking Persian cat is a calm and sweet tempered breed with a lineage going back hundreds of years. Their beautiful flat face and luxurious coat has kept them as a continuously popular breed for decades. Although they’ve lost their top spot in the cat breed chart in the UK over recent years, the Persian is still the most popular cat breed in the US.

Where does the Persian cat come from?

Although we know this breed has been around for hundreds of years, no one is completely sure how they first came to be. As there are no wild cats with a naturally long coat it’s generally thought they’re the result of a naturally occurring mutation. These cats first started appearing in Europe in the 17th century coming over from what was then Persia (Iran) before making it to British shores in the 19th century. Queen Victoria is thought to be a significant contributor to their popularity taking an interest in the breed and adding to their regal air.

The breed has changed a lot over the past few centuries with cat fanciers enhancing the flat face features, the round head and small ears. All this has contributed to the Persian being generally considered the most popular cat breed in the world.

What should a Persian cat look like?

The Persian cat has an incredibly distinctive look with their short legs, round heads, thick tails and large eyes. However, their most distinguishing feature is their flat face with their short noes and full cheeks, their appearance is enough to win anyone over.

Their luscious, long coat comes in a variety of colours and patterns and the Persian can have orange, green, blue or mixed coloured eyes. The males don’t usually grow much larger than 14lbs and the Persian cat will have a full, thick tail.

What sort of personality does the Persian cat have?

The Persian is a demure, calm cat that suits a less chaotic household. Whilst they certainly have their playful side, they’re happiest being able to keep an eye on their human companions from a comfy watching post as you go about your day. They’re generally considered a very affectionate breed and are the very epitome of the lap cat. When no suitable laps are available, you’ll usually find your Persian lounging on the comfiest piece of furniture or enjoying a nice sunbeam.

They play to the old stereotype of the cat being the superior being in the house, they’re more likely to stare at you with their expressive eyes whilst you figure out what they want rather than meow or trip you up.

Whilst there are other breeds of cat more suited to a busy family home, a Persian can get along well with children and dogs so long as they’re treated with respect and everyone acknowledges they’re not a plaything.

What health problems are common with Persian Cats?

As with all brachycephalic animals, the shorter nose can make the Persian more predisposed to breathing problems and eye conditions. Whilst this is more common with the flatter faced Peke-face Persians, Doll-face Persians can also experience eye and breathing issues.

Persian cats are more predisposed to kidney illnesses like Polycystic kidney disease which can result in kidney failure after the development of cysts. Like many known cat illnesses associated with specific breeds, screening is available and is always undertaken by any responsible breeder before they allow their cats to reproduce. Although this testing is thankfully making these diseases rarer, if you’re considering bringing a Persian kitten home from a breeder, you should always ask to see proof of the PDK certificates of your kitten’s sire and dam.

One last thing to consider with a Persian cat is their coat and the assistance they’ll need keeping it in tip top condition. Knots and matts aren’t just unsightly, they’re very uncomfortable for your cat so you’ll need to set aside time every day to give them a brush. Younger Persian kittens will soon get used to bath time but if you’re adopting an older adult, you might need some patience. Although most cats don’t love water as a rule, your Persian will soon come to view their baths like spa pamper sessions, enhanced by spending time with their beloved owner.