Persian cats are beloved all around the world for their beauty and adorable personalities. They come in a variety of colors with each variety being exquisite and marvelous. Each Persian cat brings something a little different with their uniqueness. These little balls of fur melt the hearts of millions and it’s no wonder the breed is so popular among cat lovers. From the time they are kittens to becoming full grown felines, they are beautiful and majestic cats that are sure to win over the hearts of many. In middle eastern countries, this beauty may also go by the name of the Shirazi cat or the Iranian cat.
History of Persian Cats
For over 150 years, these majestic felines have been carefully bred into the beauties they are. Breeders not only played careful mind to their physical characteristics, but also their temperament, which is gentle and calmly serene. The first cats that were identified as “Persians” go back all the way to the 1800’s.
In the mid 1800’s, traveling diplomats who visited middle eastern countries decided to bring the long-haired beauties back to their families in the United Kingdom. Persians get their namesake from Persia, which it was once so commonly called and is now more commonly referred to as Iran. As the gorgeous felines made their way into England, they soon also gained popularity in close neighboring countries such as France and Italy. They become a hugely in demand breed of cat and were quite exotic, as most cats in these countries at the time were of a shorter-haired domestic variety. People were instantly in love with Persian cats. Though around the middle 1800’s is when the history of this cats is noted, they actually date back much further than this, but in the mid 1800’s is when their popularity and demand grew. The beauty of this breed of cat did indeed draw many people to them, but their sweet and gentle nature is the stronghold that captured the hearts of so many.
Archeological findings note that the beginnings of cats as a whole back as far as 4000 years ago in Egypt. This is cats became domesticated. Cats began to hang around people in villages for food and humans and cats began to befriend one another. Cats, of course, were nice little friends to have around, as they kept mice at bay. This was very important, as mice and rats brought with them many undesirable illnesses and diseases. Romans introduced the first felines into other countries throughout Europe and later Australia. Cats were quickly beloved by many, and can be traced back to ancient Egypt, as they were depicted in ancient art and even mummified and honored in their death.
Europeans and Americans began to breed the traits of various cats that they found most attractive. The traits of the Persian and other breeds were refined and perfected through the art of breeding. In 1871, the world’s first cat show was held in London. It was held at the Crystal Palace and brought together cat enthusiasts from many countries. Cat clubs came to be, where individuals could carefully document cat lineages and keep track of breed information.
There are some breeds of cats which have been carefully melded into the Persian breed, and this includes the beautiful Angora as well as the original Persian cat. Angora cats were noted to have had silky, finer hair while the original Persian was documented to have had larger, more round eyes. It also had a heavier skeletal makeup, denser fur, and larger head, and ears that were not as pointy as the Persian cats we see today. Angoras were generally solid white, while Persians were more commonly black and blue.
The first pure bred Persian to make its way to the United States was a solid black longhair cat who came all the way from Spain. The second one came to Chicago, imported by a Mrs. Clinton Locke. Wendell, a pure white Persian, was brought straight from Persia. People at this time took great pride in having imported some of the first Persian cats in their country. Others would later argue that it was they, in fact, who imported the first Persian cats, such as Frances Simpson, who wrote “The Book of Cat.” In it, she claimed that she imported a pair of blue-eyed and white haired Persians in 1869.
In 1895, the United States held their first cat show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event was a success, drawing to it 176 cats and their proud people. Though other countries across the ocean had already held popular cat shows, the first one in the United States was a great success. Other cities in the United States, such as Chicago, also had cat shows. The first Persians at these shows were noted to be pure white. They were presented by Mrs. Clinton Locke and Mrs. Josiah Cratty. They were so popular at the shows that they were the center of attention.
The Persian’s long hair is most likely the result of a natural mutation in the gene pool. Thought breeders would love to claim this characteristic as their own responsibility, it is more likely that is is simply a result of mother nature herself. The earliest Persians caught the eye and attention of the great Italian 17th century nobleman and traveler, Pietro Della Valle. Some believe that he is the first traveler to have brought the Persian cat back to Europe in the year 1626.
Personality of a Persian: Gentle and Serene
This gorgeous beauty also has a beautiful heart. Their calm, gentle personalities win over the hearts of whoever is lucky enough to cross paths with one. Apartment dwellers will find that living with a Persian cat is purrfect, as their personalities are quiet and sweet. The docile, lovely beauty is also playfully inquisitive about her surroundings. She loves to spend her day sitting in a lap and watching the world go by, content to quietly rest close to her beloved human. She certainly makes her home look pretty with her gorgeous appearance, but she also brings a lot of love and happiness to a home with her sweet personality.
Persian cats and kittens do much better in a quiet, gentle household. If children are around them, they must be gentle and know how to handle cats. Sudden or jerky movements can frighten this docile, fragile feline. Persians are happy to be gently brushed and will even be happy to be pushed around in a baby pram or stroller by playful children.
This breed can sometimes be quite shy and may prefer to preserve their affections and attention for their select family members and possibly a few special visitors. They may be apt to run and hide under the bed when guests who they don’t know stop by for a visit. The sedate and serene feline definitely does not prefer loud, noisy environments. This will leave them anxiety-ridden and will make them want to run away, taking cover under a bed or in a closet. It’s best not to expose these cats to loud and noisy environments, as this can lead to stress and isn’t good for them.
The voice and meow of the Persian cat has often been described as soft and even that of a musical nature. While they are not demanding, they will use their melodic meow to let you know they need a nice meal and some nice attention. Some catnip, a toy mouse, and a feather chaser are all appreciated by this breed, who enjoys playtime from time to time on their terms. They are happy to oblige in play or for a nice cuddle with the ones they share their home with. Like many cats, the Persian is self-sufficient when she becomes an adult and can easily take to a chair or comfy bed to rest and relax until you come home from a busy day of work to admire her and feed her.
It’s not uncommon for this beautiful breed to exhibit short, sudden bursts of energy while she runs and plays. Even well into their adult years, they may seem kitten-like at times when these bursts of energy take place. After some much-needed playtime, they will lay down for a nap again once they’ve exhausted themselves. They appreciate an engaging person who will help them to make the most of these bursts of energy, throwing a toy mouse around or whirling a cat toy in the air for them to tackle and chase with their front paws. These are generally friendly cats who appreciate affection and will happily curl up next to you in bed or in your lap. It’s important to keep in mind that all cats display their own individual personalities and some Persians may be more shy, while others are more outgoing.
Kitten Cuteness and Health Considerations
It’s no secret that kittens are adorable, and a beautiful Persian kitten is definitely a ball of cuteness. Persian cats can live to be from 10 to 15 years old as a general rule. Before bringing home this precious ball of fur, it’s important to take some of their needs and health complications into consideration. Persians are known for having some breathing difficulties due to their flat noses. They may have excessive tearing in their eyes, also due to their flat faces. This may mean they require to have their eyes gently wiped and your veterinarian may prescribe eye drops to be used from time to time to keep their eyes clear and moist.
With their thick coats, a Persian kitten or cat can actually look much bigger than they really are. These thick coats also lend themselves to heat sensitivity. Polycystic kidney disease runs in this breed. A genetic test is available. They also have a predisposition to ring worm, which is not uncommon in cats and kittens. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can easily spread to other cats and even people by handling a cat that has ringworm. However, it is easily treated and can be cleared up with medicated shampoo or topical ointment which needs to be prescribed by a veterinarian. Seborrhea oleosa also runs commonly in the Persian breed. This condition can caused redness of the skin, itchiness, and hair loss. It can be treated with the help of a veterinarian and regular monitoring.
Persian kittens, like all kittens, are playful and require love and care to help thrive and grow. They enjoy having a playmate and will need to be kept with their mother until at least eight weeks of age. Taking a kitten away from their mother before this age can result in many problems down the road and they may not learn to properly use the litter box, an important function of being a cat. Kittens must be left with their mothers until this age so they can thrive and grow into healthy young cats, as being able to nurse from their mother will provide them with essential nutrients that will help them fend off disease and illness. It will help them grow into healthy cats that are robust and strong.
It should be noted that many respectable breeders will not make a Persian kitten available to go to a new home until around twelve and even as much as sixteen weeks of age. This is when they are fully ready to leave their mother and litter mates and go off to their new homes. After twelve full weeks of life, kittens have received their first set of vaccines and are healthier and stronger, leaving them less likely to fall sick. At this age in their life, they have also developed appropriate social skills while being around their mother and learning valuable lessons from her. They have also learned this by playing with their litter mates.
This breed is more if an indoor cat than an outdoor one. They are not very streetwise and may be too trusting when outdoors. They may not sense danger as some cats do. For this reason, it’s best to keep these cats indoors. Especially as kittens, Persian kittens should be kept indoors, keeping them safe from harm. Keeping your Persian cat indoors will also keep them safe from a variety of diseases and illnesses among cats. Cat illness and disease is widely and easily spread among cats. Other cats your cat may meet outdoors may not be vaccinated and can carry with them a wide array of viruses that your cat can easily pick up just by being in close contact with the other cat. Persian cats should be treated as a rare treasure, and therefore should be kept indoors away from harm, as many breeders would recommend. With good nutrition and quality care, your Persian kitten can easily be expected to live from fifteen to as much as twenty years of age with excellent care.
General Health and Care
Before bringing a Persian cat into your life, you must be willing to take on a commitment of brushing them every single day. These long-haired beauties require daily brushing and grooming to avoid mating and tangling of their beautiful coats. This is not a low-maintenance cat in this regard. Long-haired cats are more prone to mating, which can be painful and cause them distress. Gentle, yet thorough brushing and combing is a daily requirement of the Persian cat. They will greatly appreciate the extra time you take every day. It’s imperative to be gentle, as grooming time should be a pleasant experience. If brushing is not gentle, this docile feline may dread this time and it can become something unpleasant for them, which is something that would be tragic. Brushing regularly will prevent any mats from occurring in the first place. Mats can be a very negative experience for your precious feline, causing them pain. Removing the mat can be traumatic, so prevent them from happening in the first place with daily and thorough grooming. It only takes a few minutes out of your day and will make all the difference for your gorgeous Persian cat.
Because Persian cats have such beautiful long fur, this also means from time to time that litter can become lodged in between their paw pads, where there is long hair. It can also become stuck around their behind. If these two things become uncomfortable, it can lead them to stop using their litter box. Regular bathing, at least once a month, is necessary along with regular brushing. This will help keep your beautiful Persian cat healthy and comfortable. It’s best to keep this gorgeous goddess indoors, as she isn’t a scrappy type of feline. As already mentioned, this type of cat is not naturally suspicious and this may lead her into trouble. She may be too trusting of strangers and simply isn’t made for the outdoors as some cats are that fare better making frequent trips to the great outdoors.
Wiping their eyes softly with a damp cotton round or soft cloth will also help their eyes to stay tear free. The facial and skeletal makeup of the breed has a large and rounded skull with flat face and nose. This can lead to breathing complications. Skin, eye, and birthing problems are also not uncommon in the breed. They may have shortness of breath due to their skeletal makeup and may also have malformed tear ducts, which again makes them prone to tearing. It is necessary to softly wipe their eyes every day to keep them free of staining and the discomfort that can come with tearing. Washing their face daily with a soft cloth is also recommended because their flat face leaves them prone to getting their entire face wet. With their face getting wet in their water bowl so often, it can leave them prone to bacteria getting on their face. Cats can also get feline acne, a result of bacteria on their chin and around their mouths. Gently wiping their face each day will help keep this bacteria away.
Polycystic kidney disease is unfortunately common among Persian cats. It can lead to kidney failure, which is a progressive illness in cats and requires subcutaneous fluids and dietary measures to treat it and keep the cat comfortable. Feline kidney disease is not treatable, but can only be maintained through fluid therapy and changes in the diet. Polycystic kidney disease causes cysts to grow on the kidneys. This in turn causes the kidneys to become enlarged and the cysts replace the kidney tissues. Polycystic kidney disease is seen in approximately 36-49% of the breed. Kidney failure is the later, terminal stage of the disease and develops later in the cat’s life at around seven to ten years of age.
It’s important to know the signs of kidney disease so you can help protect your cat and treat the disease early if they develop it. Prevention is key and treating kidney disease early on and spotting it in the early stages can not only lead to a better outcome for your cat, but it can increase their quality of life. Kidney disease can be a very uncomfortable illness, so treating it early on is important. Symptoms include drinking more water than normal. It may seem as though your cat is always thirsty. Drinking and urination may be excessive in a cat who has kidney disease. They may also have reduced appetite and weight loss. It’s important to understand that when you see your cat every single day, it may be harder to spot weight loss. For a cat, even one to two pounds is a huge weight loss due to how little a cat weighs. Regular checkups at the veterinarian are very important even when your cat is healthy. Your veterinarian is able to carefully keep track of your cat’s weight. Weight loss is a key symptom of disease and illness in cats. Cats with kidney disease as well as other illnesses may also exhibit depression. They may sleep more than normal and may not be interested in playing or other activities they used to love and enjoy. Depressed cats may not show affection. On the other hand, they may be more clingy than normal when they don’t feel well. Sick cats often become reclusive and hide by themselves. This is a survival instinct. Your cat who once loved to be around you in the evenings when you get home from work, for example, may no longer join you as you lounge on the sofa or cuddle with you in bed.
Hip dysplasia is common in large breed dogs, but it is also common in large breed cats. Persians are included in this group of cats. This can sometimes be seen in Persians. Veterinarians are able to spot hip dysplasia. Other skeletal problems in Persians are an incorrect bite, or malocclusion. This can make it difficult for a Persian cat to pick up food in their mouth as well as chew it properly. Additionally, their flat face can already make it difficult for them to pick up and grasp food. Some pet food companies have carefully tailored breed specific kibble for Persians so they are able to pick it up and chew it more easily.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is common among any breed of cat. It is thought to be most likely hereditary among Persians. In this disease, thickening of the left chamber of the heart is seen. In some instances, this can cause a sudden death in cats with the disease. The documented rate of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats is 6.5%. Sometimes this disease is not spotted until later on in life. To detect this disease in cats, regular testing must be done in order to effectively target and track the disease.
More Care Requirements of Persians
Aside from regular grooming and wiping of the eyes, Persians require annual veterinary checkups to make sure their health is in top condition. Veterinarians monitor any weigh changes, may run blood tests, and give vaccines as needed. Bathing once a month is necessary to keep litter out of paw pads and keep their coat free of debris. Some Persians may have sensitive skin and coats, requiring special shampoo that won’t irritate their delicate skin and fur.
It is best to always feed your Persian out of a ceramic, glass, or stainless steel dish with low sides. Stainless steel and ceramic bowls are less likely to irritate their skin and they are more hygienic. Plastic attracts bacteria and should be avoided. Their flat face makes feeding time something of a challenge. If ceramic becomes chipped, it should be replaced as chipped ceramic can also attract bacteria and can quickly become an unhygienic option.
It is important they can easily pick up food. They need feeding time to be as easy for them as possible, as that cute face comes at a price at times with making eating and drinking more difficult. Their face may often become wet due to drinking with a flat face. Coffee cup saucers are also a good option, as they are flat and don’t require a Persian cat to dip their face into the bowl, competing with any rim which will make it harder to pick up food and ultimately get in their way.
Litter must also be taken into careful consideration due to the long hair of this breed. Litter boxes must be kept clean or clumps of litter can become stuck within their fur. Unclean litter boxes may also make your cat want to do their business somewhere else, as this breed appreciates clean and tidy litter boxes, as all breeds of cats do. Wood pellets instead of traditional litter make a good option for long haired breeds. Wood pellets don’t track litter and they are free of the stickiness that comes with some clumping varieties. The litter is less likely to “stick” to the cat’s fur, which leads to mating and clumping in the fur.
It is important to become familiar with regularly grooming your beautiful Persian’s coat. Grooming can be time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be if regular grooming is done. Regular grooming is something your Persian will appreciate, as she will be free of mats and tangles that can cause great discomfort. Mats can pull at the skin, causing pain and will usually need to be shaved off by a veterinarian. If you invest the time with good grooming tools for your Persian, it means you won’t have to take her to the groomer as often as you do the maintenance and keep her coat in top condition.
Long-haired cats such as the Persian cat are prone to hairballs. Their beautiful thick fur means that when they groom themselves, they often ingest fur. It has no place to go but up. Regular brushing also helps prevent fur balls, but not completely. A healthy diet complete with healthy oils for a cat will help to keep hair balls at bay, but don’t be surprised if your Persian still has them from time to time.
Like all cats, Persians require good scratching surfaces. Cats have an innate habit of scratching. It is something they need to do. Since your Persian cat is recommended to be kept indoors, it is imperative to supply them with scratch posts or surfaces. Many cats enjoy being up high so they can look down over their territory. Your home will be their kingdom. Since they won’t be going outside where they can scratch and climb tree, a scratch post or cat tree is ideal for these lovely felines to entertain themselves while safely indoors. Having proper scratching surfaces will also prevent them from damaging furniture or being tempted from scratching other surfaces which you probably don’t want them scratching. It is also imperative to keep them entertained during their life indoors with a variety of toys, such as toy mice that they can safely toss around and chase while indoors.
Coat Color of Persians
This glorious breed comes in a wide variety of coat colors and variations. Their coats are that of luxury and their faces have a pansy-like, open appearance. Complementing their gorgeous, long fur comes a variety of dazzling hues that make them stunning. Solid colored varieties of this breed are referred to as the solid division. In this division comes beautiful solid hues of pure snow white with copper colored or eyes of a deep shade of blue. Some pure white varieties may also have one blue eye and one copper or green eye.
The blue solids, a gorgeous grey hue with a hint of blue, are a thing of beauty like a piece of artwork. Pure black Persians shine under lighting and have the glossiest of coats. Cream colored Persians are beautiful, with dilute red hue. There are also chocolate and lilac solids, which were introduced into the Persian breed by breeding them with Himalayan cats.
Silver and golden Persian cats feature an exquisitely beautiful white coat that shines beautifully. Their coat is finished off with black tipping evenly throughout their coat. Golden Persians features a base coat color of a warm and rich cream adorned with white or black tips. Shaded and smoked divisions of the Persian cat include tones of shell as well as shaded cameos with reddish accents. The shell varieties feature a white undercoat. Tortoisehells have black tipping and are accented with red-tipped hair. Shell and shaded varieties that feature a bluish-cream coat possess blue tipping.
Tabby Persians are the most extroverted varieties of their breed, preferring to be outgoing and friendly with their much-loved people. Three patterns are featured among tabby Persians: patched tabby, mackerel, and classic. Classic tabbies exhibit markings on the side of their body that resemble a bull’s eye. Mackerels feature a pattern much like narrow penciling. Patched tabbies may have a coat similar to the classic or mackerel pattern, but they also have reddish hues within their coat.
The Particolor division of this breed features a tortoiseshell variety, lilac-cream, chocolate tortoiseshell, and blue-cream. Tortoiseshells have a black base coat and a disbursement of red throughout their coat. The blue-cream particolor has a pastel hue and is solid blue-grey with patches of soft cream throughout their coat. All four of the varieties have eye color of a brilliant copper.
The bi-color division includes the beautiful calico Persian. These come in a variety of whites, smoke, and bi-color. The bi-color varieties can look much like a pansy flower with their flat faces and double shades of fur. Chocolate and lilac calicos feature white fur accented by rich chocolate, red, and lilac shades.
Himalayan Persians feature a cream coat accented with black and grey splashes of fur and a careful pattern on the face and black tipped ears. They are identified in chocolate, seal-point, lilac, blue, red, cream-tortie, blue cream, chocolate tortie, blue lynx, and red lynx. The color aside from the beautiful cream in their coat is strictly concentrated on their facial “mask,” as it is called among cat enthusiasts.
Persian Cats and Children
As the Persian cat is a quiet breed, they will be most content in a quiet household where they are free to happily relax in all their splendor in a peacefully and quiet environment. While some cats are more outgoing than others, the Persian is generally a quiet and docile breed. They can be shy, especially with strangers. Children must be taught to carefully handle a Persian cat. Jerky or sudden movements can scare a Persian cat and will most likely make them want to run away and hide. Unpleasant experiences will not be forgotten by a Persian, so one bad experience with your child may leave them avoiding them for quite some time. They may not prefer to be around your child if they are loud. Children must be taught to speak softly around the Persian cat, as loud noises and voices can leave them feeling unsettled and nervous.
Their docile and sweet personality means that they may put up with a lot, such as your child dolling them up and sitting them at the table for a tea party. However, it is always important to teach children the importance of being gentle and kind to the kitty. Most Persian cats will be happy to be gently held, will sit close by and gently stroked, and will even happily go on walks in a baby buggy while your child pushes them around and plays. Children should be supervised and not left unattended with your cat until they can be trusted to gently care for the cat.
Teaching children how to properly and gently handle the cat is also important if they are going to be allowed to play with the cat. A hand placed on the underside of the cat and another hand to support their back paws is the proper way. Also teach them how to properly pick up the cat as well as how to approach the cat, so as not to startle them. Your Persian cat should not be approached from behind, as this could make them jump and feel startled, leaving them more likely to run away out of fear. A gentle and quiet voice to greet them before picking them up will make them feel more at ease. Teach your children to let their presence be known before picking up the cat.
Persians do enjoy playing with their human friends and teaching your child how to play nicely with your Persian cat will be much appreciated. A game of throwing a toy mouse or other toy and gently whirling around a cat “fishing pole” toy will provide lots of fun for both your child and your Persian cat alike.
Persian cats are wonderful, sweet cats with loving personalities. While they do require more care and maintenance than a short-haired cat, their sweet personalities and tenderness will win over your heart. These beautiful and unique cats have won over the hearts of many for hundreds of years and it is easy to see why.