The Persian is an old breed. To those who love this elegant cat, it will come as no surprise that the longhaired beauty originated in the cradle of civilization: Mesopotamia, which was later known as Persia and is now modern-day Iran. The breed’s long hair was probably the result of a natural mutation, and its striking appearance attracted the attention of 17th-century Italian nobleman and world traveler Pietro Della Valle, who is credited with bringing the first longhaired cats to Europe in 1626. At that time, the cats had shiny, silky gray fur, but thanks to selective breeding Persians are now found in a kaleidoscope of colors, including bi-color (a color plus white).
|Life Span||10 – 15 years||Other Names||Persien|
This is a medium-size cat. Persians usually have a weight range of 7 to 12 pounds.
|Kid Friendliness||40%||Affection Level||60%|
The dignified and docile Persian is known for being quiet and sweet. She is an ornament to any home where she can enjoy sitting in a lap—surely her rightful place—being petted by those who are discerning enough to recognize her superior qualities, and playing house with kind children who will gently comb her hair, wheel her around in a baby buggy, then serve her tea at their parties. Persians are affectionate but discriminating. They reserve their attention for family members and those few guests whom they feel they can trust.
Loud environments aren’t a Persian’s style; they are sedate cats who prefer a serene home where little changes from day to day. With large, expressive eyes and a voice that has been described as soft, pleasant and musical, Persians let their simple needs be known: regular meals, a little playtime with a catnip mouse or feather teaser, and lots of love, which they return tenfold. This is one cat who is unlikely to climb up your curtains, jump on your kitchen counters, or perch on top of your refrigerator. She is perfectly happy to rule her domain from the floor or more accessible pieces of furniture. When you are at work or are busy around the house, the Persian is content to adorn a chair, sofa or bed until you are free to admire her and give her the attention she willingly receives but never demands.
The Persian has a distinctive appearance: a large, round head; large, round eyes; a short nose; full cheeks; and small ears with rounded tips. The head is supported by a short, thick neck and a deceptively sturdy, muscular body—a type known as “cobby.” A Persian’s legs are short, thick and strong with large, round, firm paws. The tail is short but proportional to the length of the cat’s body.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Although they are beautiful and sweet, Persians are prone to a number of potential health problems, most commonly related to their facial structure:
- Breathing difficulty or noisy breathing caused by constricted nostrils
- Dental malocclusions, meaning the teeth don’t mesh well together
- Excessive tearing
- Eye conditions such as cherry eye and entropion
- Heat sensitivity
- Polycystic kidney disease, for which a genetic test is available
- Predisposition to ringworm, a fungal infection
- Seborrhea oleosa, a skin condition that causes itchiness, redness and hair loss