Six flat-faced Persians taken to rescue centre in one week for medical problems

Six flat-faced Persian cats arrived at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in one week because they required medical treatment for issues relating to the fact that they have been selectively bred in an extreme manner causing an unnaturally flat face.

Flat-faced Persian looking horrible.
Flat-faced Persian. Photo in public domain.
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I would like to make this point first. It’s about time someone in authority (and this rescue centre does have authority) spoke up against the contemporary, flat-based Persian cat. I have been doing it for about 12 years. It is an important topic to discuss because people should not be creating cats which are inherently healthy just because they think they look interesting and desirable. Frankly, I don’t think they look interesting or desirable but the cat breeders disagree with me.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home say that the breed that requires the most medical treatment at their facilities is the Persian. They have provided some examples which have been discussed on the website. One Persian cat currently at the clinic, I believe, and whose name is Rucca, had chronic ulceration of his right eye which had to be removed. The photograph is very upsetting.

Flat-faced Persian cat with removed eye due to chronic infection.
Rucca. Photo: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

Another Persian cat called Humphrey had similar issues. He had conjunctivitis and weeping eyes which needed daily cleaning. He also had dermatitis caused by excessive skin folds.

These problems cannot be cured because they have been bred into the cat. They are anatomical anomalies which generate chronic health issues.

“At Battersea we treat animals for a wide variety of health issues, a number of which are specifically related to how these animals have been bred to look. In an apparent quest to make them look increasingly photogenic or fashionable, these cats can sadly spend their whole lives suffering with a range of health problems ranging from matted fur and eye infections to difficulty breathing and degenerative diseases.”

Battersea’s head vet Shaun Opperman

Yes, it’s true, and I’m sure you are aware of this, the Persian cat can have breathing difficulties because of the flat face which squashes the nose into the face. They also suffer from tear duct overflow because the tear ducts have been distorted by breeding so that they do not drain away the tears properly.

Also around 30% of Persian cats suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD) according to my research.

An additional problem with this extreme breeding is that the people who adopt these cats for their appearance are often unaware of the health issues associated with the breed and therefore they end up out of their depth and sometimes sadly fail to take care of their cat properly. This is why six Persian cats have arrived at Battersea Dogs & Cats home this year for medical treatment.

There is one final point worth making: celebrities tend to promote these extreme breeds because they adopt them. They are doing cats a disservice. Celebrities have a responsibility to promote animal welfare and they can be very powerful in this goal.

4 thoughts on “Six flat-faced Persians taken to rescue centre in one week for medical problems”

  1. Thank you for finally writing an article addressing genetically inherited disorders and breed issues. Someone besides me said it! I’ve researched so many genetic issues, and purposefully breeding brachycephalic (unnaturally flat-faced) animals is one of the biggest problems.

    It’s not just Persians (flat face variety. It can show in Himalayans (which are, actually, half Persian. They are also half Siamese which makes this much milder, thankfully.)

    It is also pugs. It is also bulldogs. American bulldogs can’t even give birth naturally their hips are so narrow compared to their front half, it kills them during child birth….Then STOP breeding them, on purpose!!!!

    They suffer cherry eye, entropion, extropion, congestion, snoring, extreme breathing issues, and due to the cobby body shape, actually are known to have shorter lifespans. They are not ‘more mellow’. Their breathing issues make them tired easier. That’s not a good thing.

    I have several related cats, and they aren’t purebred, but we can tell they have shorter faces, and carry longhair coats, and those who aren’t longhair are thick mediumhairs. We believe they are part Persian or British shorthair.
    They snore. My other cats don’t.
    Two of them have had to have surgery, at about $1,000 each, to correct eye entropion (eyelids curl inwards into the eye as they get older). It was horribly uncomfortable for them and took a while to heal properly for both of them.

    This isn’t something I can be behind doing to them on purpose, being an animal lover.

    (I’ll add photos of the two before and after their surgeries when I find them if I may. If I can’t add to this comment I’ll try putting the photos in a separate one.)

    • Thanks Katherine for your support on this. I means a lot to me. I have fought against this form of extreme selective breeding for about 10 years or more. It is objectionable and should be banned just like declawing. You are welcome to upload photos.

  2. Michael I am INCREDIBLY disappointed with you.

    This article is complete BS. Your photo of a neglected Persian with a horribly filthy face isn’t thing ANY decent breeder “likes”. I have shown for years and NO breeder in their right mind would ever leave a cat looking like that.

    Shame on you!

    • The article is not BS. I am sorry, there are breeders who breed cats like this and the flat-faced Persian should not exist. That is a real picture. I am quoting a vet at Battersea. That’s my viewpoint and I’ll stick to it. Breeders of the modern Persian should all close down. There is no place in the world for them and if you breed flat-faced Persian cats we can’t be friends. Sorry. There is no compromising on this. There just is not. It is time for change.


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