Meet the Persian Cat: Fall in Love

Traditional Persian Cat

Traditional Persian Cat

Meet the Persian cat up close and purrsonal. Have you been looking for a purebred cat with a sweet, affectionate and captivating personality? The magnificent Persian might just be what the doctor ordered.

But be forewarned! It’s easy to be immediately smitten! A Persian cat is capable of casting a spell and it’s love at first sight. These cats have an amazing capability of weaving their way into your heart. These cats are demonstratively affectionate toward their guardians, and frequently speak to them in soft, dulcet tones. Since they don’t hide their feelings, you will always know what is on their minds.

Persians are not only extremely intelligent; they are highly social animals and live to please their humans. They thrive on interaction with people and get along famously with children and other pets. There is nothing “obnoxious” about this extraordinary breed. Although they do enjoy interactive play, they are not at all hyperactive. In fact, Persians are often affectionately referred to as “furry speed bumps”.

To keep this breed stimulated and happy, moderate exercise is all that’s required. Since Persians have heavily boned legs to support their broad short bodies, they prefer to have their feet planted firmly on the ground. Climbing onto high places is not their forte. But, like all cats, Persians are predatory in nature, so giving them “prey” toys to chase, such as interactive feathers on a poll, feather teasers and laser lights will stimulate and bring out their inner “wild” kitty. With laser light toys great care must be used to ensure the beam doesn’t make direct contact with their eyes.

Persians are highly adaptable; when their guardian is not home they can easily sleep throughout the day. Since they are highly social, it’s preferable to have another cat or a dog to keep them company.

For ages, the Persian cat has won the hearts of feline lovers around the world. With its magnificent long, flowing coat, these kitties top the charts in popularity. Loving and intelligent, this cat makes an ideal family pet. Depending on which of the three coat textures your prospective Persian is wearing will determine the amount of time needed to keep them in top condition.

Appearance and Grooming Needs

The Persian is a solidly built, short, cobby cat with a sturdy bone structure. Their muzzles are foreshortened and their faces are divided into two categories, “Doll Face” and “Pekey“. In profile, the Doll Face has a little short nose, while the Pekey face’s profile is flat. In spite of their large appearance, it’s their long flowing coats that give them the appearance of a much larger cat than they actually are. See breed standard.

Persian Coat Types:

Requiring only weekly combing to remove excess hair, the” Silky coated” Persian is considered a rather “low maintenance” cat. They do not shed excessively and do not require frequent bathing. The “Cotton Candy” coat tangles easily requiring regular combing to prevent it from matting. Although only occasional bathing is necessary, they do require frequent combing. As its name suggests, the “Greasy coat” is one which needs frequent bathing and careful combing to keep their coat radiant and healthy. Some people prefer to have these cats cared for by professional groomers but know your groomer.

Coat Colors:

Persians grace us with a wide assortment of coat colors from which to choose. They range from solid to tabby, shaded, silver, smokes and bi-color. The pointed Persian (or Himalayan) with their sparkling blue eyes, dark face, ears, paws and tail contrasted with their body color is another color included in the Persian division. When fully mature, the average male weighs between 8-10 pounds, while the female weighs in between 5-7 pounds.

Health Concerns:

While the Cat Fancier’s Association describes Persians as cats who are robust in health, there are several genetic issues inherent in the breed. These include poly-cystic kidney disease, (PKD) hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart disease), progressive retinal atrophy, cystitis and bladder stones.

However, with prudent DNA testing and selective breeding, Persian breeders have worked hard to eliminate many of these genetic issues that at one time were common.

Jo

Photo credit: Flickr User: Magnus Brath

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Meet the Persian Cat: Fall in Love — 62 Comments

  1. Thanks Jo. The Persian is magnificent but…breeders went wrong in my opinion when they decided to overdo it.

    The traditional Persian is a great cat. The modern or contemporary Persian is not. It looks less attractive and is less healthy so for the life of me I can’t understand why breeders create this cat except to follow the flawed breed standard.

    Your post is timely in a way because I just wrote an article about head shape/size referring to the Burmese and the Springer spaniel.

    Breeders should more careful about what they do when changing the anatomy of a cat.

  2. Rudolph’s Persians look very nice but the snub nosed hyper flat faced ones look all wrong. I think this is now fairly obvious. The cat in the photo looks beautiful. I like the traditional Persian a lot.

  3. Here is a photo of my 4 year old traditional Persian tomcat “Matata”.He is a total opposite of his “Breed Type”, a very ferocious cat who loves stalking birds in my small flat in Mumbai and has the bad habit of “Yowling” at night, disturbing our sleep at times.Otherwise he is very loving and affectionate, a non-human child of the house.One strange characteristic of his personality is that he is useless as a “Stud Cat” and doesn’t know the mating process, embarrassing but true.My plan was to inbreed him with his Dam “Matahari” to produce a new type of locally bred “Traditionally Persian Cat”. My entire planning has flopped as he just refuses to mate with his dam although she entices him as do normal female cats when in “Heat”.Yet he “Yowls” at night, and the reason perplexes me , his worst habit as he disturbs our sleep.Any reasons for his odd behaviour and handicap? Other cat owners could throw light on this subject A) Unable to mate B) Yowls at night for no apparent reason .In the photo he is shown sleeping in the day. He sleeps the entire day but Yowls at night . This is a recent habit.

    • Wow Rudolph I can’t say I have ever heard of such an issue. Hopefully Michael will have some advice. I think a good person to ask might be Harvey if he is around. He will know probably, from experience perhaps.

      Your Persian cats are very beautiful. I think they look proper, as all Persians should.

    • I know nothing about breeding pedigree cats but maybe Matata is yowling out of frustration, entire toms like to roam and find their mate. He maybe knows it’s wrong to mate with his own mother even though she encourages him but the urge of a queen cat to mate is very strong. I’d be worried about breeding from them together anyway, what about gene mutations, they are too closely related to guarantee perfect kittens even if he would oblige.

      • Well I don’t pretend to know anything about breeding cats, have always been too concerned with not allowing cats to bring more kittens into a world where there are already so many homeless cats, but the whole concept of breeding any animal with his mother seems wrong to me, I know it happens because a kitten we once adopted was the result of such (an accidental) match, and he did have a few problems.

        • I don’t know anything about breeding pdigrees either. But, with cats in general, I have run across people who don’t believe that their cat would ever mate with their mother or siblings, like they know all about incest.
          It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world!

          • On no, each to his own I wouldn’t criticize anyone who knows what they’re doing, I know nothing about breeding cats, but my instinct is that mother and son, father and daughter or siblings shouldn’t breed, not because of incest but because of genes. Cat hoarders have proved that cats have no such inhibitions, left to their own devices they love nothing more than to enjoy a life of debauchery amongst themselves, but that’s what we’re here for isn’t it, to neuter and protect.

    • Hi Rudolph, I presume he is still whole (unneutered). I think the yowling is calling for a female mate. He may sense that there is a female outside who is in heat. Assuming he is healthy which he looks, he may be reluctant to mate with his mother. There appears to be selection going on either from female or from male or both. Matata may perform perfectly in a different environment and with different females. Right now I can’t find good information on that but these are my views right now.

      Neutering him would probably stop the yowling. He also may have a desire to get outside and do his thing. He is an intact male cat. You may approach someone with a breeding Persian female and see where that goes. He is a great looking cat.

  4. Hi Rudolph,

    Years ago I bred Siamese, Oriental Shorthairs, Burmese and Russian Blues, so I have quite a bit of experience in the cat -breeding department. I always sold my kittens as pets to be neutered or spayed with papers withheld until proof of these surgeries were performed were given to me.

    So I feel competent to comment about the concern you have for your gorgeous tomcat.

    Since it is a commonplace practice amongst breeders to breed their cats to their parents or grandparents (it is never wise to breed between siblings since it is too close and doubles the chances for unwanted genes (deformities- medical conditions, etc.,to be passed along to the kittens), I highly doubt that his reluctance to breed with your queen is because she is his mother.

    There are Toms who have difficulty breeding and don’t know quite “how” to- although they have the drive to do so. I have seen some novice studs who are extremely arkward and have quite a time of it- with the queen rolling around him in frustration.

    Have you had him checked by your vet for any underlying problems? That would be my first step in solving this mystery.

    The howling of course is common with intact males. He is calling for her, but something is amiss. Has she ever been bred? Have you ever tried breeding him with another female?

    Two novice kitties can have quite a time of it in getting the job done- but my suggestion, just to make sure all is ok- that a vet give him a once-over.

    Good luck with your cats. He is just magnficent.

  5. Persians are beautiful but I love the traditional Persians. Breeds have bred so many beautiful cats for traits that are not good and that is sad. Traditional Persians should actually have noses. Like this one. Thanks for a great article.

  6. This is Mischief, my Persian/Oriental Shorthair mix. Sadly she was bred by a very unscrupulous vet who was only concerned with throwing two cats together and making money on kittens. She and her sister, Cinders were wonderful companions throughout their lives. Mischief is still with us and as you can see, still very playful even at age 15 1/2. Her sister, Cinders was not so fortunate. She fell prey to PKD. She was diagnosed in December of 2002 at age 4. At the time, we were told that even with aggressive treatment, we would be lucky to have her another year. She passed in June of 2008…..five and a half years later. She was a lovely odd eyed girl. I wish people would leave the breeding to the professionals…….

  7. I try hard not to crudely express how I feel about breeding, but it is a raw subject for me.
    It is beyond my understanding why any sane person would, purposely, foster bringing more cats into this world.
    It, particularly, bothers me that so many breeds such as siamese, maine coon, and persians are known to be plagued with horrible illnesses. Why would someone bring a cat into the world that will succumb to renal failure, hepatic illness, etc. within a couple of years. That is cruel and inhumane.
    It can’t be anything but monetary gain.
    To those breeders, I think they should keep their “products” and watch them die themselves!
    Furthermore, they should go to their local shelter and watch the cats that have to die because of their insanity.

  8. I want to be the diplomat that Ruth AKA, Babz, DW, Ruth, etc. are, but I can’t be when it comes to breeding.
    I deal with so many cats that, through no fault of their own, exist because of human failure and ignorance.
    I will never be able to accept that my efforts are thwarted by idiots bringing more cats into the world.

    • Have a good shout and swear and get it off your chest 😉 I hate breeding too. But if I criticise the cat breeds and breeders to much people get the wrong impression I think and believe I am some sort of grumpy old nutcase.

      • You are not a grumpy old nutcase Michael, you are a deep thinking, kind and compassionate man who tells it like it is and respects others who do the same.
        Maybe it’s a culture difference in some countries but all my English instincts and vet nursing and having been forced to attend cat and dog shows to assist duty vets, say how wrong breeding and showing is whilst equally as beautiful and deserving cats are homeless and many killed.

    • Tell it like it is Dee, we love you for it. My reason for trying to be diplomatic is because Rudolph is a regular and respected member of POC and I didn’t want to offend him, but I think maybe we have anyway, which wasn’t the intention 🙁

      • I think Rudilph is pretty thick skinned and not offended. Plus, I feel certain that circumstances where he’s at are very different from here. I haven’t seen any comments from him describing massive cases of abuse or killings in his world.
        Breeding outside of the USA only indirectly affects me. If those breeders exported their cats enmasse here, I would have a very serious problem with that. Maybe, it is happening to a greater degree than I’m aware of.
        In any case, all of my rants stem from the same huge issue that I have with kill shelters.
        In my perfect world, TNR would be in full force, spaying/neutering would be mandatory, and breeders would stop. Then, maybe, kill shelters would cease to exist.

        • Pedigree cats are lovely, well the ones that don’t look like mutations of cats are lovely I should say, but there’s nothing to beat a good, solid, happy moggy of any colour in my eyes. I just wish all this breeding of cats (and dogs) would stop and people would wake up to the thousands of lives wasted in kill “shelters” daily, I hate the fact that having a pedigree cat is seen by some as a status symbol and that this encourages the breeding of more and more outrageous mutations.

    • I know exactly how you feel Dee, having been at the frontline of rescue like you are!
      The good thing about PoC is that we can have our say unmoderated and if we don’t say what we feel we are letting ALL cats worldwide down.
      So GOOD ON YOU.
      I’m not much of a diplomat I’m afraid but I’m already hated this week for speaking out about a terrible abuse situation here, which I will write about when it’s all, hopefully, come out in a court case.
      I can choose whether to be a gossip, a bigot or a troll lol because I have ‘nothing better to do’ as well as being a crazy stalker for trying to educate about declawing.
      Oh the joys of loving cats and being concerned about their welfare 😉

  9. Lovely, informative and interesting article/pictures, Jo — thank you so much for sharing with us! I, like Michael, prefer the traditional Persian (and “rescued” is my favorite “breed” of course) and it saddens and concrens me greatly that some people find it necessary to alter nature’s beauty even when it can often result in pain, suffering and more for the objects of their obsession. HC is no picnic. Neither are any of the other maladies the “purebred” longhaired cats are prone to. Leave the cats alone. Love them for their NATURAL beauty. Those who want to play genetic roulette, go be a gamer or something.

    • In the hierarchy of the world, nature is above us because we are a product of it. To try and change a product of nature is a flawed idea and doomed to failure ultimately. I feel it is like a robot criticising the engineer who made it. In time the flat faced Persian will have had its day. I would hope that the number of breeds shrinks to a much smaller number in time and eventually people recognise the true cat breeds: the moggies of Norway (Forest Cat) or for example Turkey (the Angora) or Eygpt (Mau).

  10. That’s precisely why I stopped breeding cats. Now I rescue and adopt the ones that are “imperfect”, flawed and have major medical problems.

    I just happen to be gaga over meezers. Once you live with one it is a marriage made in heaven! They truly are incredible little cats. And I love the way they chat .. all the time. Some folks think that’s not pleasant, but I love the sound of a siamese “whispering” HA! love songs.

  11. Thanks a lot for the response towards the awkwardness and problems of my tomcat Matata. He is definitely one of the most handsome “Traditional Persian Cats”, a “Model Cat”.

    To answer Mr Michael Broad’s suggestion, the fact that he is not neutered is the main reason he “YOWLS”. As for his “HEALTH”, he could be a “Poster Cat” of a “HEALTHY FIT CAT”, nothing wrong with him, absolutely agile akin to a miniature lion or panther.

    Ruth aka Kattaddorra’s suggestion that he senses he is mating with his mother is totally “FALSE” in the case of animals. All breeders have produced a “NEW BREED” by interbreeding a “MOTHER TO SON” or “FATHER TO DAUGHTER” called “INLINE BREEDING”. The “PUG FACED /ULTRA PERSIAN CAT” and other breed of cats were produced in similar fashion.

    Finally, Jo Singer a authority on cats and breeding having “Practical Experience” suggestions tally with my own experience of having bred dogs and also cats.

    I have previously mated dam Matahari and the result was tomcat Matata and 5 other kittens.I agree with Jo that Matata could be a bit handicapped as far as breeding is concerned.

    I don’t intend mating him with any other cat as i don’t want to overpopulate the “Cat World” with more kittens and its not a business for me.

    My main interest was to try creating a new local breed of “Traditional Persian Cats” and not an intention to make money from breeding.

    It’s a big headache breeding cats or dogs unless a “PROFESSIONAL BREEDER” having a huge farm or estate. I will observe and tolerate his “Yowling” for a few days and if it doesn’t subside might think of getting him “NEUTERED”. Thank everyone on “P.O.C” for the response to this article on tomcat “Matata”.

    • Thanks Rudolph. We are very impressed with Matata (great name by the way). It seems that not all male cats are willing to mate with any female cat. There is a degree of selection sometimes and this seems to be a case in point. I’d be interested to know what happens next!

    • Rudolph as I said I know nothing about breeding pedigree cats, all my life I have only had rescue cats, to save their lives, it’s true many cats are killed for lack of homes whilst breeders breed pedigree cats, it breaks my heart.
      It’s drummed into us from being children that incest is wrong and as cats brains are very similar to human brains I was going off the feeling of emotion that a man mating with his mother shouldn’t happen. I still feel that Matata senses it is wrong, but as I say I know nothing about breeding and don’t want to fall out with you, but breeders thinking incest is OK amongst cats is just against all I was ever taught about humans and by a very wise old vet about cats.
      Good luck whatever you do.

    • Rudolph,speaking of neutering- here’s a kind of funny story… way back when when I was breeding and showing cats- since I insisted that all the kittens I sold had to be neutered or spayed (with proof) before I would give the buyer registration papers-which would allow them to show the cats in the Premiership classes (for neutered or spayed pedigreed cats)if they so chose- a man from New York City made the trip to my suburban home to buy a male kitten.

      We chatted for awhile- and I repeated the requirement for getting the registration papers – and he stood up and actually covered his crotch area with his hand and loudly exclaimed- “NEUTERED?- HUH?”

      I had to remind him that it was the kitten that needed to be neutered. I will never forget that particular incident. But to make this comment a little more scholarly-(LOL)- I am afraid- at least in the USA -that men have a lot more difficulty having their male cats neutered since they over-identify with them I think. It takes a lot of educating to convince them that living with an intact male is something with which folks lacking feline experience may have a problem.

      • Jo Singer you are absolutely right in saying that the majority of “CAT OWNERS” relate their cats to humans. People went aghast when i told them that my intention was to breed my male tomcat “Matata” to his dam “Matahari” considering it a “INCESTUOUS BREEDING” as compared to humans. Little do most people realize that all the World’s present “CAT BREEDS” have been developed by humans due to initial “INBREEDING”, most common being “MOTHER TO SON” or “FATHER TO DAUGHTER”.This is essential in order to get the right type of the breeds configuration in the new human assisted cat breed.Human males do connect to tomcats in the literal sense as a tomcat is considered a stud. Similarly women associate with cats and hence the term “Cat Walk” or “Cat Fights”.

  12. Michael, the flood in the suburbs of London is prime time news on B.B.C India version. Hope everything is fine with you as also other writing contributors of “P.O.C”.There was ca clip of Prince William and Prince Harry helping in erecting “Sand Bag” walls against the flood tide.Brings back memories of the great Mumbai flood of 26-7-2005, the day Mumbai came to a standstill with numerous loss of lives.Sadly, besides humans its also personal pets that suffer in such situations.

    • The princes are there trying to get some good publicity for the Windsors after the news has been full of their hunting some species of wild animals for pleasure, at the same time as Charles and William are supposedly uniting on conserving wild life.
      I think they’d be more of a hindrance in flooded places needing to be guarded even more so than usual now they’ve made a lot of people even angrier than usual with their hypocrisy.

  13. Perfect advertisement for Persians! Well done! Why not to encourage people buying more cats from breeders instead of adopting natural cats, which are not only more beautiful or healthier but also have superior intelligence to man made mutants like that one in the photo?

    Jo Singer, there is a lot of endorsements of Persians just about everywhere why and why we need THİS breeder’s type of crap here too?

    • Hi, I missed you! The reason why Jo wrote this is because I asked her to do some page on the cat breeds. The thing is this: a wide range of people visit PoC. I have to provide a service to the widest range of people possible to ensure that PoC gets the hits and survives. PoC cannot be marginalised. It would die. So there has to be some mainstream articles which will get some critical comments like yours and mine. This sort of page serves the wider cat community and gives people who don’t like the extreme breeding a chance to voice their opinion in a comment.

      Sorry to upset you. The PoC philosophy will always be the same – cat welfare, respect the cat – but the internet is highly competitive and the message has to be sold within the mainstream. I hope you are OK with that. I hope too that you and your gorgeous cats are OK.

  14. Ankara, what are you thoughts about not getting a Persian cat? That sounds interesting to me. I am really curious about your request:) Thanks for enlightening us.

  15. Forgive me for “hogging” up the comment spaces but I really need to get my feelings off my chest.

    First off, let me make it purrfectly clear that I love ALL cats. I just happen to enjoy the Siamese and Oriental breeds, not only for their appearance- but for their remarkable, outstanding and mostly predictable purrsonalities.

    Throughout my lifetime I have had an assortment of amazing mixed-breed kitties. In fact, I was given a delightful male black kitten as a wedding present when I married my first husband.

    The kitten’s mom was a Siamese that was allowed outdoors without supervision- even when she was in estrus. Therefore the kitten’s daddy was a traveling salesman- and after a short but passionate love affair, she became preggers . . . and my kitten- Nemesis- was born.

    Since Nemesis’ mom was Siamese and his daddy a mixed-breed tabby cat- he would be considered somewhat of an Ebony Oriental. He had an extremely strong personality, was always on my shoulder, extremely bonded to me- and very very different than many of the other mixed breed kitties who owned me. And he was a non-stop talker.

    There are plenty of pure-breed rescue groups for folks who want a particular breed-such as the Meezer Express- http://cats.about.com/library/guest/ucfeature10a.htm an organization that does great work and one that I highly respect.

    So why get a Persian, or a Siamese or even a Sphynx? Because we love the look, we love the temperament, but we don’t have to buy them- we can rescue and adopt them. I adopted both of my Orientals and I am so in love with them as most of you already know.

    ::::Stepping off my soapbox::::: Thanks for listening.

  16. My comments were never meant to offend anyone here.
    I’m well aware that things may be different in other places.
    We all do what we have to do for the love and welfare of cats.
    We all have a mission, a “calling”, so to speak.
    We will never shut up. Ruth AKA and Babz will fight declawing, and I will fight to close kill shelters to the death!
    There are so many obstacles in the way that just have to be “kicked to the curb” in order to achieve the goals..

    • Well said Dee, we maybe fight for one main cat cause but we really fight for all causes because each one affects the others. Breeders selling kittens deprive ordinary cats of homes and many of those unwanted cats and kittens end up in Shelters and many are killed. Declawing costs cats homes, despite what the declaw vets say, it doesn’t keep them in their homes because people who will only have an adapted cat are not cat lovers. When the problems start from declawing those people ‘get rid’ of the cat …more unwanted cats in Shelters, many more cats killed.
      It’s a vicious circle! We can’t fight one battle without fighting them all,
      Breeding, surely we have enough breeds of cats to satisfy those who think ordinary beautiful cats are not good enough for them. Cats deliberately bred with deformities leading to health problems. Declawing, lack of education about neutering, treating cats as possessions not as living creatures….the list is endless and is truly upsetting to those of us who love ALL cats no matter what they look like.
      My heart goes out to you in your cause Dee, like declawing it must seem as if it will never change, but to keep on trying is all we can do.

  17. How many pedigree kittens are miscarried, born dead, die young, or are born deformed because of incestuous breeding?
    Does any breeder know or care?
    No wonder many pedigree cats have health problems!

    • Ruth- Reputatble and responsible breeders are very careful about their breeding programs, and do a lot of testing in certain breeds to assure the health and well being of their kittens.

      It’s the kitten mills that are responsible for most of these sickly kittens, since they just throw two cats together- brother and sister often which makes for a genetic mess.

      But once a mother-son- father daughter breeding is done-after careful testing and consideration, the kittens resulting from that breeding are then outcrossed to a cat that is not related or very distantly related- and I mean distant.

      The initial breeders of Orientals actually imported cats from Great Britain that were not related at all to their studs. If I recall correctly there were cats imported from France as well.

      It is the kitten and puppy mills that are creating the majority of these horrible problems. Fortunately the majority of pet stores here in the USA are no longer selling these kittens, reducing the market. However you can buy them now on the internet. Very dangerous… very stupid.

      • I think (for this comment) you used a different email address which is why it was not recognized by the software and published immediately. Nice comment, Jo. Thanks.

  18. Jo, can you tell us how responsible breeders go about carefully testing their breeding programmes? How are these tests carried out and does this include “test” kittens, I’d like to understand how testing in certain breeds is done to assure the health and well being of kittens.

  19. Mother son ,father daughter, mating, sorry it just seems wrong to me, do the cats concerned have to be put through careful testing? Or do the resulting kittens?
    I don’t like the thought of any cat being used this way, messing with Nature just upsets me.
    So, ARE there any statistics on how many pedigree kittens are miscarried, born dead, die young, or are born deformed because of incestuous breeding?

  20. Ruth and Michael:)

    You have inspired me to try to get an interview with one of the most outstanding Maine Coon breeders in the country, here in the USA. Your questions are terrific, and I will be asking her for more information. It has been over 40 years since I was involved in breeding and showing cats.. but do have friends that are breeding really healthy, beautiful kitties.

    What we must stop are the mills- they are responsible for most of the horrors.

    To answer your question about careful breeders, yes, they test both parents and kittens. But I will get more information from my Maine Coon breeder friend, to more specifically address your concerns.

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