As at around 2008, there is precious little information about these cats (things do change however). I am not even sure that they are a distinct cat breed (but please read on). The best books on the cat breeds don’t refer to them. The top website on this cat as found by Google says almost nothing solid about Shirazi kittens or cats except to mention a health problem associated with this cat, namely PKD (PKD1 Polycystic Kidney Disease). The Persian, both traditional and extreme bred, is associated with PKD. Accordingly the Shirazi is associated with the Persian it seems to me as it looks like a Persian as well.
The Messybeast author Sarah Hartwell does not refer to them either. I have 104 cat breeds on this site and I have not referred to them. So what is going on?
They are for sale, online, for purchase in Dubai, the Middle East:
The kitten above costs 1,500 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) and looks like a traditional Persian. This is 331 Euros and $408 (USD).
Sabine Harding, in an article on the Shiraz Cat, writes that this cat is an Egyptian Mau – Persian mix. They are seen as semi-domestic, stray and feral cats in Egypt. Although these street cats won’t look like the selectively breed cats for sale in Dubai.
The Egyptian Mau is famous for its spotted tabby coat. However, the Shirazi has a wide range of coat types and patterns including the tabby coat.
The Shirazi is not a registered cat breed, Sabine writes. That actually confirms my original impression. However, in Dubai they are advertised as purebred. This does not mean they are a registered cat breed. The formal registration of cat breeds is something that takes place mainly in the West – Europe and North America. This is because there are no cat associations in the Middle East (wrong?) or for example TICA are not present in the Middle East. TICA are an international cat association and would probably have registered or accepted this breed if representations had been made to them. I would have thought that it would be beneficial to breeders and buyers to register this cat and make it a cat breed.
However, it may be that it is not distinct enough from the traditional Persian and in any case TICA recognise the extreme Persian (“forehead, nose and chin in straight line”) and not the doll face.
To summarize the Shirazi cat is:
- a long haired or semi-longhaired cat;
- not formally a cat breed but;
- is bred in the Middle East (and elsewhere?) and is therefore possibly or probably purebred but you can’t be sure;
- looks like a traditional doll face Persian and;
- has a wide range of coat types including tabbies. This is due to breeding as the native Shirazi is a tabby after the Egyptian Mau.
- a cat that is probably not available in Europe or North America but I am open to correction on that.
Here is another picture from a Dubai seller of a tabby Shirazi kitten for the same price as the grey kitten above:
Some other selected information about the appearance of the Shirazi from Sabine, who seems to know what she is talking about:
- Most Shirazi cats have the classic M tabby mark on their forehead.
- They are laid back – hints of Persian cat character and in contrast to the Egyptian Mau.
- Claimed to have a belly flap. This hints at the Egyptian Mau which is famous for a belly flap is said to help make the Mau the world’s fastest domestic cat.