The Persian Cat is a muscly, heavy-boned, medium- to large-sized cat with short, thick legs, big paws, large shoulders, a short neck, broad chest, and relatively short tail. They have large heads with animated, wide-set eyes and a short nose.

There are quite a number of sub-breed variations possible in the Persian Cat, including Traditional (which aims to replicate the appearance of the original Persian Cats), the “peke-face” Persian (named after the flat-faced Pekingese breed of dog), Himalayan (a colourpoint, longhaired varation resulting from a Siamese/Persian cross), Exotic Shorthair (which has been come to be known by many associations as a separate breed), toy/teacup Persians and the Chinchilla.

Persians have long, thick coats and come in a wide array of colours in a wide array of patterns. Solid Persians come in white, black, blue, red, cream and lilac; shaded and smoke Persians come in black, blue, cream, red and tortoiseshell; Chinchillas come in silver and gold; Tabby, Himalayan, bi-colour and parti-colour variations are also available. Their eye colours vary depending on their coat colour – solid-colour cats have dark blue or copper eyes, while Chinchilla Persians have green or blue eyes.

Persians can weigh between 4 and 8 kg and stand around 25 – 38 cm tall. Their lifespan is 15 years and over.

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Personality and Temperament

Persian Cats are known for their gentle, quiet, docile nature. They are very sweet cats, but can be discriminating in their affection, only giving their attention to people they trust. As they are quiet cats, they enjoy quiet environments, and for this reason aren’t recommended for noisy households, though they can make great companions for older people or singles and don’t mind being left alone from time to time.

Persians thrive on consistency – regular meals and a little playtime is enough to satisfy them. They’re happy to relax on the couch or bed and watch you as you go about your day.

Common Persian Diseases & Conditions

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

  • Breathing issues. Peke-faced Persian Catshave a compacted snout and airway and as a result itmay suffer shortness of breath or noisy breathing.
  • Entropion is a condition which can occur in Persians and causes the eyelid to roll inwards, which can lead to irritation or injury of the eyeball. Signs include rubbing or scratching around the eye area. It can be treated surgically if necessary.
  • Cherry eye is, you guessed it, a condition affecting the eye, causing the third eyelid to well and cause irritation. It generally appears as a red mass (hence the name cherry) on the corner of the cat’s eye. It is treated with surgery.
  • Polycystic kidney disease. PKD is a condition that is inherited and symptoms can start to show at a young age. Polycystic Kidney Disease causes cysts of fluid to form in the kidneys, obstructing them from functioning properly. It can cause chronic renal failure if not detected. Look for symptoms like poor appetite, vomiting, drinking excessively, frequent urination, lethargy and depression. Ultrasounds are the best way to diagnose the disease, and some cats can be treated with diet, medication and hormone therapy.
  • Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This inherited disease is difficult to diagnose and often the first symptom is sudden death. It is caused by the thickening of the heart’s walls. It mostly affects older male cats, but can occur in younger cats too. Some cases may not be lethal and can be treated with medication if diagnosed via an echocardiogram. Signs of this disease include anorexia, lethargy, difficulty breathing, coughing, fainting and paralysis of the legs; however some cats may show no symptoms.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a family of eye conditions which cause the retina’s gradual deterioration. Night vision is lost in the early stages of the disease, and day vision is lost as the disease progresses. Many cats adapt to the loss of vision well, as long as their environment stays the same.
  • Primary seborrhea is a skin condition in which the skin becomes greasy, scaly and smelly due to the overproduction of skin cells. It is treated with medication and special shampoos.

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The Persian Cat is one of the oldest cat breeds in existence today. Their early history remains largely unknown, though most agree that the cat (or at least its ancestors) came from Persia (now Iran) and Turkey.

Italian explorer Pietro della Valle is credited with introducing the breed to Europe in 1620, and within the next two centuries the Persian cat had established itself as a popular breed across Europe. They were first brought to the US in the late 19th century and quickly established themselves as one of the most popular breeds.

As of 2013, the Cat Fanciers Association ranked the Persian Cat and its cousin the Exotic Shorthair as the 1st and 2nd most popular cat breeds in the USA, respectively.

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Persian Facts!

  • Persians have had featuring roles in films such as Cats & DogsStuart Little, Babe, theJames Bond and Austin Powers film series, and Over the Hedge.
  • The famous comic character Garfield is an Exotic Shorthaired Persian.
  • Cee Lo Green and Kim Kardashian have both owned Persians.
  • A Persian named Colonel Meow currently holds the Guinness World Record for longest fur on a cat, at 22.87 cm.

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