Breed of the Week - Persian

The Persian cat, named after its place of origin, is one of today’s most popular breeds. They are known for their large round heads, short muzzles and wonderful personalities. They are one of the oldest breeds and one of the most sought-after. Persian cats have become very popular in the United States, as well as France and Britain.

They make great pets for all different types of families. They do very well in apartments, being that they are relatively quiet cats and are comfortable with strangers. They are an extremely affectionate breed and will not be well suited for an outdoor life. They prefer to be around people and are very clean cats. They would rather lounge around the home, acting more like a decoration than to be in the harsh outdoors.

Persian cats come in several different colors and at cat shows they are separated into seven different divisions of colors. The divisions are as follows: solid color, silver and gold, shaded and smoke, tabby, parti-colored, bi-colored and Himalayan.

Their coats require a lot of care, which will be easier to handle if the cat is kept indoors. They have very thick and dense coats that they need help maintaining, so it is important to brush your Persian cat daily with a metal comb to help reduce matting and tangles and to help prevent hairballs. Some people even bring their Persians to professional groomers to have them shaved. A popular cut for the Persian is referred to as: “The Lion Cut” - where the cat is shaved except for the head, legs and the tip of the tail. It can be done because of the weather or to remove mats and reduce grooming time

In order to keep their coats in prime condition, it is also important to bath them from time to time with a shampoo and conditioner appropriate for cats. Be sure to comb through their entire coat BEFORE bathing and to dry your Persian off completely after the bath. They will also need their nails trimmed and their ears and eyes cleaned regularly to help prevent build up.

It is also important to feed your Persian cat healthy meals which are also well balanced. Their foods must contain appropriate levels of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, as well as, minerals and vitamins! Cats usually have an easy time digesting animal proteins and fats but can have difficulties digesting starches. Feeding your Persian a high quality food can also help keep the coat in top quality. It is also very important to have clean drinking water available for your cat at all times!

Persians live typically around 10-15 years, although some Persians have lived well into their 20s! They are known for their cute shortened faces and noses - but this also causes health problems for the breed. They can be prone to breathing difficulties. Their large eyes cause some tearing, which is normal. A daily face wash is suggested. Polycystic kidney disease or PKD is also common in adult Persians. PKD is when cysts develop in the kidney and can cause kidney failure later in life. Due to DNA screening, many catteries have removed affected cats from the breeding pool therefore reducing and nearly eliminating the disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is also a common heart disease seen in all cats. And with larger cat breeds (such as the Maine Coon and the Persian), hip dysplasia is sometimes present, but because of their still small stature, they aren't as affected.

It is always important to discuss health issues with your breeder. Many Persian breeders truly dedicate themselves to the breed and strive only to breed, raise and adopt out healthy, happy kittens, adults and senior cats. If rescuing a Persian, speak to your veterinarian about common feline aliments and be sure to bring your darling Persians to their yearly check ups!

It is important to neuter or spay your companion cat and to provide them with appropriate surfaces to scratch! Maintaining and encouraging their natural instincts and characteristics will help ensure that you and your cat will live long and happy lives together!

To find out more about Persian cats and many other pure breed felines, check out The Cat Fanciers’ Association website.

written by Stephanie Teed