Origin and History
· The exact origin of the Persian breed is unknown.
· They are believed to be descended from the long-haired cats that resulted from mating of the European Wild Cat with the Pallas’ Cat (Steppe Cat) from the general area of the Caspian Sea and the steppes of Central Asia.
· The Persian is introduced to Europe by Pietro della Valle in the 1600s when he brought long haired grey cats from Persia.
· These cats were subsequently bred to the Angora from Turkey giving rise to the new modern breed in the 1800s.
· Today’s Persian is a product of the mixture of different breeds.
· The Persian is a medium to large-sized cat.
· The Persian’s body is stocky but muscular and the chest is broad.
· The legs are short and thick with large feet.
· The tail is 10-12 inches long.
· The average weight of males is 5-7 kilograms while the female is 3-5 kilograms.
· The Persian today is classified as either the Show Type Persian or the Traditional Persian.
· The Show Type has the flat face while the Traditional has the regular length nose.
· Both of them have the characteristic round massive head that is broad with no angularities.
· The cheeks are plump and the jaws strong.
· The ears are widely placed on the head and are small with rounded tips.
· The eyes are large and round.
· All Persian cats have thick long flowing hair all over the body but is longer around the neck, thus giving the breed its leonine appearance.
· The Persian breed has many different accepted coat color variations and patterns.
· There are seven accepted color divisions of the Persian: solid; silver and golden; shaded and smoke; tabby; particolor; bicolor; himalayan or colourpoint.
Character and Personality
· Persians are calm and affectionate creatures of habit.
· They are quiet and not naturally talkative but they have a chirpy musical voice.
· Persians are social cats who tolerate gentle petting but they do not like rowdy children, strangers and dogs.
· Persians are hardy and can adapt outdoors but best kept indoors.
· They need a calm environment and gentle handling.
· The Persian requires a lot of time and effort for grooming. They need daily brushing or combing to keep the long hair beautiful and free of mats and tangles.
· Daily grooming will help reduce the incidence of hairballs.
· The flattened face causes partial closure of the drainage opening of the tear ducts resulting to runny eyes. This causes staining of the hair on the face and may lead to sores. Daily wiping of the eyes is needed.
· Also because of the breed’s flattened face, there is malposition and crowding of teeth which predisposes to the accumulation of plaque bacteria and lead to periodontal disease. Daily tooth brushing and regular professional dental cleaning is needed.
· The Persian is prone to urinary bladder infection which can lead to urinary stone formation and kidney damage if unchecked. Good hydration is necessary to prevent these problems. Persian owners must provide their cat with a source of clean drinking water at all times. A water fountain keeps water fresh all day encouraging the cat to drink more.
· The long hair is suspected to be a spontaneous genetic mutation in wildcats living in cold areas and the gene was later established by interbreeding.
· In most of Europe, the different colors are considered different breeds. This is because of the different cross breeding done to get each particular color. A color point long haired cat is then called a Himalayan and a silver-tipped one is called Chinchilla.