Cats vary from breed to breed in look, personality, and behavior traits. To fully understand your kitty, you need to understand their breed. In this blog post, we are going to be focusing on one of the oldest and most widely recognized breeds of feline – the Persian cat. In fact, they are also the most popular type of cat, and are celebrated for their sweet, friendly, and loving nature. However, you also need to be aware that looking after a Persian cat takes a lot of work – particularly their thick, luscious coats, which need plenty of TLC. Daily grooming should become part of your regular routine.
So, let’s begin our exploration of Persian cats with some information about what we know of their history.
The first recorded appearance of Persian cats in history dates back thousands of years to 1684 B.C., where they can be seen in hieroglyphics. While their exact origins are uncertain, they got their name as they were first brought to Europe from what was then known as Persia and where we now call Iran. They developed their long hair to deal with the cold, mountainous conditions in that part of the world. Later in history, Persian cats became popular with the ruling classes – and none other than Queen Victoria owned two of them! In the 1900s in Britain, it was decided that they would simply be known as longhairs. As for their first appearance in North America, this came in the 1800s, and they grew in popularity very quickly after this.
Quick Facts About the Persian Cat
The Persian cat fits in the large to medium sized category of felines. Their bodies are well-balanced, while they have a large, round head. Other defining physical characteristics include their small ears and relatively tiny tails. In North America, their muzzle has become especially well pronounced over the years. Because of this trait, the breed is at risk of a number of different health issues including sinus and breathing trouble. Also, dirt and debris are more likely to accumulate in their nostril area, leading to further potential blockages.
But perhaps the most famous physical characteristic of all is their long and silky coat, which shines and shimmers in the right light. Of course, it takes plenty of effort and upkeep to maintain it this way. More than 80 different colors of coat exist, but solid silver is the most popular.
Persian cats come in two main varieties: show and traditional. The former has a round head, small ears, and a flat nose. Their body is short and broad, while they also have a long, flowing tail. As for the latter, they possess similar features, but not in quite as extreme a manner. Both possess the beautiful coat that Persian cats are famous for, and they also have the same gentle personalities that have made them so popular.
Things You Should Know
If you are thinking of adopting a Persian cat yourself, there are a few things that you should know that will help you to take the very best care of your new furry friend. But right at the top of the list is their health, so this is where we will be starting.
Different breeds of cat are more susceptible to developing different health conditions. There is no one breed that is immune from everything, so be very wary of breeders who are trying to tell you otherwise! The first of the issues that you need to watch out for is polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This is a hereditary condition that can lead to eventual kidney disfunction. It can affect either one or both kidneys and problems tend to begin between seven and 10 years old. A few of the most common symptoms include your cat drinking more than usual, a reduced appetite, weight loss, and vomiting. Also, you may notice a more lethargic manner about your cat – thoughfnotor this is often hard to tell with Persian cats as they tend to be quite sedentary creatures anyway.
Next we have progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which originates very young at only four to eight weeks of age – and can lead to blindness very quickly. Other potential genetic issues include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes a thickening of the wall of the heart, which affects the ability of the major organ to pump blood. Look for extreme signs of lethargy, a lack of interest in food and grooming, and shallow breathing. Drugs such as diuretics and ACE inhibitors that can give the heart a helping hand, therefore extending the lifespan of your cat.
A few of the other common issues that can affect Persian cats include bladder stones, cystitis (bladder infections), and liver shunts.
We mentioned at the start of the post about the breathing issues that can affect Persian cats, so you need to ensure that they are kept in a cool and stable environment. This is especially important as flat-faced breeds of cat can be sensitive to heat. Due to their shortened jaw, it is much more likely that Persian cats will have mouths that are overcrowded with teeth. These dental issues can make it harder for them to chew their food but can also lead to more serious gum issues as well. Also, overcrowded teeth have a greater chance of becoming infected at some point down the line.
Due to the long, soft fur of a Persian cat, they are more likely to suffer from hairballs. You can help reduce the odds of this becoming a problem by choosing a food which is designed to reduce these. Also, you can comb them on a daily basis to ensure that there is less loose fur for them to swallow when they are grooming themselves.
Finally, one of the most serious health issues that can affect any animal is obesity. You can obviously play such a big role in preventing this by keeping your cat at a normal weight through a combination of diet and exercise.
As we have just mentioned, you need to control what your cat is eating to ensure that they stay a healthy weight and have all the nutrients they require for a properly functioning body. Unfortunately, Persian cats can make this more of a challenge as they are notoriously fussy eaters. Some food that is specially suited to Persian cats also takes into account their potential chewing problems due to the high number of teeth in their mouths.
As Persian cats are quite a sedentary creature, they should consume fewer calories than those cats who are out bounding around all the time. This is due to the fact that they are not out bounding around all the time but are much more likely to be found happily curled up on your lap! Monitoring your kitty’s weight is an important responsibility, but one which many cat owners sadly overlook.
Bear in mind that another potential health concern for Persian cats is an increased risk of bladder stones, but you can reduce the risk by choosing a couple of brands and alternating them from time to time.
As we have already mentioned a couple of times previously, caring for a Persian cat is not the most straightforward task in the world. At the top of your list of priorities is looking after that long, luxurious coat. At times, it can feel like a daily grind. If you don’t take the time to brush your kitty on a regular basis, they are going to end up covered in mats and tangles. And this is going to be a time consuming and potentially painful process to put right again. We will go into more detail about this in the grooming section of the post.
As we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of health issues that can affect Persian cats, so you need to do everything that you can to minimize the risk of these occurring. Also, you can take the time to bring your cat into the vet for regular check-ups. Also, you can get a second opinion if you notice anything that’s not quite right about your cat.
While Persian cats are dedicated self-groomers, the one area that they don’t have easy access to is around their eyes. Tear staining can be a problem, so you need to give them a helping hand giving this area a clean on a daily basis using a cloth or paper towel. However, you should be especially careful not to wipe their eye directly as this could lead to ulcers or scratches.
One way that you can help with the respiratory issues that these cats are known to suffer from is by keeping their nose clean – essentially giving it a wipe every time it looks a little clogged up. If you notice that your cat is struggling to breathe or their sneezing is getting out of control, you should take them into the vet for a check-up.
Many owners don’t let their Persian cat venture outdoors. Their coat plats a major factor in this. As well as getting tangled, it is also very thick, so they are at risk of overheating on an especially hot day. but they also have bodies which aren’t really built for the outdoor world with their short legs and stocky body. Also, since they are known to not be especially streetwise, it is much more likely that they are going to get attacked by bigger animals, putting them in serious danger. Many Persian cats are simply happier with the indoor life that they have built for themselves. Of course, that’s not to say that they don’t enjoy the opportunity to venture outside from time to time. If you have a fenced off garden, you have a controlled environment where you can keep an eye on them while they get their fill of exploring. Some owners even train their cat to walk on a leash, giving them that extra level of protection.
If you have an indoor cat, you will need to inspect their litter box and keep it clean. Clumped litter needs to be cleared straight away. And on a weekly basis, you should get into the habit of cleaning the whole box thoroughly and replacing it with fresh litter.
Now we come onto that all-important grooming issue, which is one you are bound to need to think about if you own a Persian cat. You will need to use a stainless steel comb on it every day, getting rid of any mats, loose hair, and tangles. If you leave these mats and tangles to accumulate, they can become very painful to your kitty cat. As for the loose hair, it can end up being swallowed by your cat and coming back up as hairballs. Or it will simply prove to be an annoyance in your household – getting all over everything. Some Persian cats have softer coats than others – and these are the ones who are likely to need more grooming time.
On top of daily brushing, many owners get into the habit of bathing their cat on a weekly basis. If you start doing this from a young age, it is more likely that your cat will become used to it and will see it as a bonding exercise between the two of you. You can blow the coat dry using a hairdryer on the coolest setting, taking this opportunity to comb your cat at the same time. However, since cats keep themselves very clean, you don’t necessarily need to bathe your feline if he or she doesn’t enjoy it.
Other grooming activities that are beneficial to your cat’s health include trimming their nails and brushing their teeth using a specially approved cat toothbrush and toothpaste. Again, this is something you will need to get your cat used to. A huge percentage suffer from some sort of dental issues if nothing is done to adequately look after their teeth.
Finally, we come onto the typical temperament of Persian cats. Mostly, they are quiet and gentle, preferring to lounge around the house than dash around all over the place. Persians prefer a peaceful household, so young children may not be their best friend – unless they know that their cat is not to be treated too roughly. They don’t tend to be the most playful of cats, so if you dangle a string around them, they are more likely to lazily bat at it from a lying down position rather than getting up to chase it in earnest. In general, they are not jumpers or climbers, so you have fewer concerns about your curtains getting scaled and destroyed!
Also, Persians aren’t generally the loudest breed of cat. They may greet you with a little meow, but they try to let their eyes do the talking for them. They are perfectly happy to spend time on their own, but they can also be very kind and loving to their owner. If you are planning on leaving them to go on holiday, you are better off getting a pet sitter in to care for them in their own environment, rather than taking them away somewhere that they feel uncomfortable.
Persian cats remain highly popular for their beautiful appearance, quiet and kind demeanour, and general loveliness. They live their best lives in a loving household, which isn’t too rowdy and boisterous. They need regular care, particularly on their long, luxurious coat. And it is important that you do everything that you can to maintain their good health and look out for any issues that may occur – and have them checked out by a professional vet. Generally, they prefer a sedentary, indoor lifestyle, but many will enjoy some outdoor time too, as long as they are properly supervised.
Wherever you are getting your cat from, make sure that you invest plenty of time in the search. There are plenty of disreputable breeders out there, so you need to be very careful. Try to get a personal recommendation if you can. If you want a particular color or pattern of cat, you are going to need to be especially patient. Bear in mind that you may need to wait a number of months for the right kitten to become available. While Persian kittens are not typically found in cat shelters, you may find some adult ones who have been rescued. Ensure that you have a clear contract that spells out all the individual responsibilities before you make a commitment. After all, owning a cat of any description is a big responsibility – and one that you need to ensure that you take seriously. Always ensure that they are properly checked out by a vet once you bring them home.
Whether you own a Persian cat already or are thinking of adopting one in the near future, hopefully, this guide has given you all the information that you need about them.