Persian Cat Breed

Known for its distinctive coat and large, generally flat face, the Persian has long ruled the popularity charts.
By: PawCulture Editors
Persian cat breed

About the Persian Cat Breed

Known for its distinctive coat and large, generally flat face, the Persian has long ruled the popularity charts and has been registered with the Cat Fanciers Association since the 1800s.

Persian Physical Characteristics

The Persian is a large to medium-sized cat, with a well-balanced body and a sweet expression on its face. It has a huge and round head, small ears and a comparatively short tail. The breed was originally established with a short (but not non-existent) muzzle, but over time this feature has become extremely exaggerated, particularly in North America.

Color(s)

While solid silver is the most popular color for the breed, there are more than 80 colors available today including black, blue, cream and smoke.

Coat

The Persian is also famous for its long, silky coat, which shimmers. 

Persian Personality and Temperament

Activity Level

Low

Positives

A Persian makes for an ideal companion, especially if you’re looking for a sweet and docile cat. While it is extremely affectionate and enjoys being petted, it is not the sort of cat that will pester you for attention.

Things to Consider

The Persian is a cat that requires a considerable amount of maintenance. In addition to its grooming needs, it may develop breathing problems and other health issues related to its short muzzle.

Persian Care

Ideal Living Conditions

The breed can remain inactive for long periods, and has been called “furniture with fur” because of this characteristic. However, this is an ill-deserved reputation, as Persians and are extremely intelligent and love to play, but lack the same amount of curiosity that other cats possess.

Special Requirements

It needs daily grooming to keep its beautiful hair in place and free from mats. Some owners even trim the Persian long hair, especially around the anus, which keeps it free from feces.

Persian Health

Persians with short muzzles are susceptible to a number of health problems because of this characteristic, specifically affecting their sinuses and breathing. In addition, the Persian with short muzzles have dust and debris accumulate inside of the nostrils, making it difficult to breathe.

Persian History and Background

The Persian participated in shows as early as 1871, when the first modern cat show was held at Crystal Palace in London. At this gala, organized by Harrison Weier, “father of the cat fancy,” many representatives of the breed were present, easily placing it among the favorites.

The Persian was first registered with the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1871, when the association first kept records. Although its long-haired ancestors were reported to have been spotted in Europe as early as the 1500s. They were probably brought to the continent by Romans and Phoenician caravans from Persia (now Iran) and Turkey, according to documents of the era. It is also widely believed that the recessive gene for long hair appeared naturally in the cats living in the mountainous area of Persia.

Some of these Persian cats were imported into Italy in the 1600s by Pietro della Valle (1586-1652), an Italian traveler. In his manuscript, Viaggi di Pietro della Valle, the Persian was described as a gray cat with long, silky hair. More Persian cats were brought from Turkey into France by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, an astronomer, and later came to Britain by way of other travelers.

By the early 1900s the Persians reigned supreme. Blue Persians were especially sought after, as Queen Victoria owned two of them. Also in the 1900s, the British Governing Council of the Cat Fancy decided that the Persian (as well as the Angora and Russian Longhairs) should be known simply as Longhairs, a policy that continues today.

The Persian was not imported into North America until the 1800s, where they were quickly accepted. There was also an attempt in the United States to establish the Silver Persian as a separate breed called the Sterling, but it was rejected and Silver and Golden longhaired cats are now judged in the Persian category of cat shows.

Regardless of the Persian color, there is one thing for certain – it is a luxurious-looking cat with a great personality.