Persian cat origin theories tend to suggest the native land to be Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. It is known that an Italian – Pietro della Valle, in the early 1600s, brought several long-haired cats from Persia, now known as Iran, to Italy. A few years after that a Frenchman – Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc – was visiting Angora (“Ankara”) in Turkey and also brought back with him some long-haired cats.
In the 1800s, England started breeding these Persian cats and so became known as the “second motherland to Persian Cats” even though the cats were then known as French cats. In England they were referred to as ‘long-haired’ rather than Persians and even now the British Cat Fanciers Club ruling is that each colouring is referred to as a separate cat breed.
Around the 1800s the long-haired cats were split into “Turkish Angora” and “Persian” and simply “long-haired”. The Turkish Angora has a long flexible body, with a silky but less thick coat and large pointed ears. The Persian on the other hand is considered a massive cat with a large round head and small ears, but was only referred to as Persian if it was blue in colour.
In the late 1800s in America, the Persian was known as a Persian in their Cat Clubs, unlike the UK, and all the long-haired cats were referred to as “the Persian cat”.
Persian cats have a gentle and sweet personality. With their long hair and cute flat faces they are a very attractive cat. Persians love people and don’t require your constant attention unlike other breeds, the Siamese for example.
Persian cats are expected to live between 8 – 11 years. Pedigree cats are more likely to suffer from hereditory conditions, one for Persians is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). PKD is an inherited kidney disease. Another that affects the heart is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), and this too is inherited from an infected parent.
Although the occurrences are very low, Persians do inherit a tendency for developing cataracts.
The flat face of a Persian means their teeth deteriorate at a much quick rate than other breeds. Keep an eye on their teeth and ensure they are kept clean.
Food and Diet
It is extremely important not to over feed your cat. if you have a house cat, they will definitely not be as active as a cat that goes outside on a regular basis. Keep an eye on your cat’s weight and measure out their food to ensure they stay fit and healthy.
Persian cats need grooming at least every day, sometimes you may find the need to do a quick groom in between! Their thick long coats will matt if not combed on a regular basis and if matts are allowed to form they will cause your cat severe discomfort and will in extreme cases need to be cut off. You will notice in the winter that your cat’s coat will thicken up quite considerably so more grooming will be required. Grooming will also help to prevent the dreaded hairballs.
If you would prefer not to groom on a daily basis, some owners opt for a short coat and the style is referred to as a lion cut, with the head, legs and some of the tail left unshaven, whilst the body fur is shaved fairly short.
If you have a Persian with a light coloured face you will notice tear staining. Keeping tear staining at bay is a challenge, daily or even hourly wiping won’t necessarily remove the staining.
As well as brushing and combing, you should also check your cats nails and their ears for foreign bodies. Indoor cats won’t wear their nails out as much as outdoor cats and nails shouldn’t be allowed to become too long. Clipping them will also help to prevent your furniture being scratched.
Static fur can sometimes be a problem, if your cat suffers from this try the following:
- use metal combs and brushes – avoid plastic ones;
- lay a wet paper towel on the fur during grooming;
- buy an anti-static spray from reputable pet store;
- before touching your cat’s fur, rub some handcream into your hands.
Persians are not noted for their energy, so it is essential that you play with your Persian to ensure they get the adequate exercise to stay fit and healthy. Although Persians are more than happy to play with you, play with interactive toys, chase balls etc., you will need to keep reminding and encouraging them to do, it isn’t something they will do automatically on a regular basis! However, having said that they do exhibit sudden bursts of lively activity – quite kitten-like – running around the room and rolling about.
Cats are independent creatures and will only respond to training by using a quite calm voice and lots of stroking. Persian kittens are no different to any other cat and require the same patience as any other pet.