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 English-speaking countries. In the Middle East region they are widely known as Iranian cat and in Iran they are known as Shirazi cat. The first documented ancestors of the Persian were imported into Italy from Iran (historically known as Persia) around 1620. The exact history of the Persian cat does seem to be a bit of a mystery but many of these long-haired cats were seen in hieroglyphics. The story has it that these long-haired cats were then imported into Europe as their popularity grew and breeding took place in Italy and France.
The Persian cat was first presented at the world’s first organised cat show in 1871 in London, England, before making its way to the United States of America in the early 1900s. The Persian cat breeding standards have always called for a cat with a short face, but it’s important to note that the Persian cat originally had a much longer nose than the flat-faced Persians of today. Hereditary polycystic kidney disease is prevalent in the breed, affecting almost half the population in some countries.
In 2015 it was ranked as the 2nd most popular breed in the United States according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association. The first is the Exotic breed.
If you want your cats bouncing around like hyperactive popcorn, don’t buy a Persian. Persians are perfect companions, if you like placid, sweet-tempered cats. Don’t count on using your Persian pal as a furry doorstop, however. They love to play between periods of regal lounging on your favorite davenport. Proponents say that Persians do not deserve their ‘furniture with fur’ reputation, they are intelligent, just not as inquisitive as some breeds, and not as active.
Persians are devoted to their humans, but can be selective in conferring that honor. You must earn their trust and love. They crave affection and love to be petted and fussed over, but won’t harass you for attention the way some breeds will. They will, however, let their feelings be known if they are not getting the requisite amount of attention.
Owning a Persian requires a significant time commitment. That beautiful coat requires daily grooming to keep it in good condition and free of mats. Because of the long coat and docile temperament, Persians should be considered indoor-only pets. Many Persian fanciers keep at least part of the coat clipped, particularly the hindquarters and around the anus to avoid the accumulation of feces. This should be done, though, only if the cat will not be shown soon.