Breed Introduction: Persian Cats
The Persian cat is a long-haired breed of cat characterized by its round face and short muzzle. It is also known as the Persian Longhair. In the Middle East they are widely known as Iranian cat and in Iran they are known as Shirazi cat. This cat is an ornament to any home where she can enjoy sitting in a lap being petted by those who are discerning enough to recognize her superior qualities, and playing house with kind children who will gently comb her hair, wheel her around in a baby buggy, then serve her tea at their parties. Persians are affectionate but discriminating.
The Persian is an old breed. To those who love this elegant cat, it will come as no surprise that the longhaired beauty originated in the cradle of civilization: Mesopotamia, which was later known as Persia and is now modern-day Iran. The breed’s long hair was probably the result of a natural mutation, and its striking appearance attracted the attention of 17th-century Italian nobleman and world traveler Pietro Della Valle, who is credited with bringing the first longhaired cats to Europe in 1626. At that time, the cats had shiny, silky gray fur, but thanks to selective breeding Persians are now found in a kaleidoscope of colors, including bi-color.
In the United States, where they were first imported in the late 19th century, they also became favorites, edging out the longhaired Maine Coon cat, which had once held pride of place as an American sweetheart.
This is a medium-size cat. Persians usually have a weight range of 7 to 12 pounds.
The dignified and docile Persian is known for being quiet and sweet.
The most important thing to understand about caring for a Persian is the need for daily grooming. The long, beautiful coat doesn’t stay clean and tangle-free on its own. It must be gently but thoroughly combed and brushed every day, and regular bathing—at least once a month.
The Persian has a distinctive appearance: a large, round head; large, round eyes; a short nose; full cheeks; and small ears with rounded tips. The head is supported by a short, thick neck and a deceptively sturdy, muscular body. A Persian’s legs are short, thick and strong with large, round, firm paws. The tail is short but proportional to the length of the cat’s body.
Persians aren’t the best choice for a houseful of boisterous children and dogs, but they have no objection to being the object of a gentle child’s attentions or to rubbing along with a friendly dog that doesn’t chase them or otherwise cause them anxiety.