Although this breed, like many of the oldest, have no definite “origin” story, it is generally accepted that the Persian cat originated in Persia (now Iran) and parts of Turkey. The first Persians were brought to Europe by returning Crusaders, and may have been crossbred with Angora cats in Italy by the 16th century. These cats were highly valued by European royalty, and did not make their way to the United States until late in the 19th century where their popularity spread rapidly.
Persians are the most popular of all cat breeds. They have gentle dispositions to match their sweet faces, and the capacity to blend into almost any household.
Persians are the most popular of all cat breeds. They have gentle dispositions to match their sweet faces, and the capacity to blend into almost any household once they have become accustomed to their surroundings. Persians are very much creatures of habit. Quiet cats with soft voices, they will even do well with households full of boisterous children once a routine has been established, but their natural preference is for more serene surroundings. Their stature does not make them especially active cats, but they are “posers.” A Persian cat always seems to know where they look the best, and that’s where they place themselves, almost as if they’re attempting to improve the look of the room. They make for close and loving companions, and respond delightfully to attention, giving their affections openly and sweetly. For these reasons, they make especially lovely pets for older, retired individuals.
Persians have short, stocky legs to support their equally short and broad bodies, which are “cobby.” Their overall chunkiness does not make Persians disposed to either jumping or climbing. The sweetness of expression associated with this breed is due in part to the large, round eyes and the cat’s short, flat nose. While some can look a little “cross” at times, their manner is so mild that misperception disappears rapidly. The Persian cat has a large, round head, and small ears that tilt slightly forward. They are regal cats, given to posing and to draping themselves over furniture. While not the largest of the cat breeds, the volume of their fur makes them appear much larger than they actually are.
Although white Persians have become something of iconic media stars thanks to various advertising campaigns, the breed actually offers a considerable variety of colors, with seven divisions eligible for competition: Solids, Silver and Golden, Shaded and Smoke, Tabby, Particolor, Bicolor, and Himalayan (which have the Siamese colorpoint pattern.)
Without question, a Persian is a strictly indoor cat. They have gorgeous long, flowing coats that must be maintained on a daily basis using both metal combs and brushes. It’s a constant challenge to remove dead hair, and to stay ahead of mats and tangles. Fortunately they require only the rare bath. Extra care does have to be taken to keep their eyes clean, and staining in the corners is a problem with show cats. The breed can be susceptible to clogged tear ducts if the eyes are not well maintained.
Photo credit: Ilja Mack/Wikimedia; Andry/Flikr; Si Griffiths/Wikimedia
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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