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The Persian is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world. As denoted by its name, this long-haired cat is widely recognised as having originated from Persia (now Iran). It started making its way to the Western world after seventeenth-century explorers smuggled the Persian out of the Middle East. It quickly became the feline of choice amongst royalty in England, France, and Italy, thanks to its glamorous appearance and ways.
Known for its pansy-like face and lounging habits, the Persian is now one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. It has a gentle and sweet personality, and thrives best in a secure and serene environment. As the Persian can live peacefully with other dogs, cats, and children, it does excellently as a family cat. However, the Persian is never meant for the outdoors. Although intelligent, centuries of pampering have made this breed devoid of street smarts. Whilst its long, luxurious coat needs daily pampering to keep matting at bay, the Persian is actually one of the most low-maintenance feline breeds.
The Persian’s exact origins is said to be shrouded in mystery. Hieroglyphics dating back to 1684 B.C. have made reference to the exquisite breed, though. However, it was only about a thousand years later that the Persian made its foray to the western hemisphere from its Middle Eastern origins. The earliest documented ancestors of the Persian were reportedly brought to Italy from Persia (modern-day Iran) by Pietro Della Valle in 1620. At about the same time, another explorer brought Persians from Turkey to France. They were then called Angoras, which was the name of the Turkish capital city at that time (presently Ankara).
Recent research has since revealed that the Persian, although known for its Middle Eastern origins, actually share similar genetics with Western European cats. After its introduction to the West, the Persian became a popular fixture at royal courts. In fact, it was Queen Victoria of England’s favourite cat.
Then, in the late 1800s, the Persian made its way to the United States. And when the Cat Fanciers’ Association in America was set up in 1906, one of the first felines to be registered was a Persian. Today, this glamorous cat is one of the most popular breeds in the world.
The Persian’s size ranges from medium to large, with a muscular and robust body. Its facial appearance has been categorised into the traditional doll face and the peke-face or ‘ultra’ type. The former virtually refers to the original Persian breed, which has a visible muzzle. The latter is the pansy-like variety, with a short, flat, pushed-in face that has its eyebrows, nose, and chin lined up.
The peke-face was developed from a genetic mutation involving a batch of kittens born in the 1950s. Apparently, breeders approved of the mutation and continued to breed the peke-faced Persian over the next couple of years to this day. In fact, the CFA now regards the ultra-faced Persian as the modern standard. However, the peke-faced Persian is prone to having runny eyes due to the scrunched nose and has trouble breathing.
It has short, solid-boned, powerful legs that end in large, tufted, and rounded paws. Interestingly, the front paws have five toes, whilst the rear ones only have four. As such, it prefers to plant its paws firmly on the ground and does not enjoy climbing and jumping high.
The Persian’s most distinct feature is its long, luxurious coat. It is the longest coat of any feline breed, with a long, woolly undercoat and a hairy topcoat. It has a very bushy tail that moves according to the Persian’s emotional temperature. With such a fancy, lushly touchable coat, the Persian is the kind of cat that begs to be petted. Although popularly known for its white or silver varieties, this cat breed has a wide range of colours. Its coat’s hues can range from tortoiseshell to orange.
Due to its sumptuously long coat, the Persian needs to be combed daily. Otherwise, its fur will begin to mat. It also needs professional grooming every six weeks or so. With the peke-face types, it is important to wipe the Persian’s eyes to take care of tear staining and avoid crust build-up.
The Persian is beloved for its sweet, playful, and gentle temperament. It is very responsive and exudes a very pleasurable presence. Although it likes attention, it is not demanding. It can be left on its own but not for very long periods. This is a cat breed that enjoys lounging about, draping itself over furniture or at a window, adding a glamorous accent to home interiors.
As an indoor cat, this breed likes its routine and thrives in a secure and peaceful environment. It has not developed the street smarts that can enable it to survive the outdoors for long. As such, it must not be left outside the house without the security and care of a human companion.
Its pleasant nature makes it able to live with other pets, such as dogs and other cats. It also does well with kids, although slightly older ones, making it a great family cat. The Persian does not overly vocalise as it also uses its big, expressive eyes to communicate. When it talks, it speaks in a sweet, melodious tone that is easy on the ears.
The Persian’s nutritional needs, like other cats, depend on its age. Once it is four months old, it should be fed chicken and other soft food rich in protein and vitamins. When it reaches twelve months and beyond, the Persian can be fed a mix of dry and wet food. As Persians are carnivores, they should be fed meat proteins and not vegetables or fruit. A good way to determine serving size is by using its age and weight as bases. To support its coat’s health, supplementing this cat breed’s diet with zinc, B vitamins, and fatty acids is recommended.
For every pound of body weight in the Persian’s first year, allocate an ounce of food. Reduce the portion in succeeding years to prevent feline obesity, to which the Persian is prone. Allocate 0.9 ounce per pound of body weight in the next year, and then 0.8 ounce in the year after that. A seven-pound Persian, for example, should be served 5–7 ounces of food.
On average, a well-cared for Persian can live from 15–20 years. Although generally a healthy cat breed, it is predisposed to the following health conditions:
Although not endowed with high energy levels, the Persian likes to play with its owners in short bursts. This kind of cat likes to move at its own pace. It can be fast on its stocky legs when it wants to chase about a toy. Being a cat breed known for its love for lounging, the Persian must be exercised regularly and its diet monitored to keep its weight in check.
To acquire a pedigreed Persian, expect to spend anywhere between £250–700 for a kitten. Insurance costs may range from £15.5 (basic) to £27 (lifetime) a month. For food, you may spend around £15–£20 monthly. As for veterinary care costs—vaccinations, boosters, and annual checks—the bill may reach £600 in a year.
Roughly, a Persian owner may spend about £40–£60 per month depending on the insurance coverage. For its lifetime (15–20 years), the expenses can range from £7,200 to £14,400. This does not yet include the cost of acquiring a Persian kitten.
Are you sure the Persian is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Cat Breed Selector Quiz
9th Oct 2018
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