The Persian Cat Coat Is Too Long

Modern Persian cat with lion cut - photo by Muffet (Flickr)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Modern Persian cat with lion cut - photo by Muffet (Flickr)

The Persian cat coat is too long. Is that correct? I am writing about the modern Persian cat, the cat with the flat face and exceptionally long fur that looks fantastic when it has been groomed daily (or more - not sure) but becomes matted fairly quickly if it is not groomed regularly by the human caretaker. The fact that the condition of the coat demands the input of a person indicates pretty conclusively to me that Persian cat breeders have gone too far in selectively breeding a cat with hair that the cat herself cannot keep in good condition. That is an unnatural state of affairs, isn't it?

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) breed standard for the contemporary Persian states that the coat should be: "long and thick, standing off from the body. Of fine texture, glossy and full of life. Long all over the body, including the shoulders.The ruff immense and continuing in a deep frill between the front legs. Ear and toe tufts long. Brush very full." The CFA promote the flat faced very long haired Persian.

Well it just states that the fur should be long and thick. How long is long? The judges at cat shows decide that. And cat breeders will want to please cat show judges. In the desire to breed a cat with long hair to satisfy the judges' interpretation of the breed standard there will be a tendency to go too far and breed a cat with hair that is unnaturally long. This tendency to go too far is apparent in the Persian cat's face. It is overly flat, unnatural and unhealthy.

The natural course of human endeavour will lead to extremes. In the matter of cat breeding this should be resisted on cat health grounds.

Cat breeders have the commitment and time to regularly groom their Persian cats. But their customers, you and I, often have neither the time nor commitment to groom the cat's coat regularly. Also, the customer may not have realistic expectations about the demands of a cat with exceptionally long fur. It would seem that cat breeders breed cats for their own enjoyment and are not overly concerned with ensuring that the cat is cared for properly after sale. That is perhaps a bit harsh but cat grooming businesses and veterinary surgeries seem to get a regular supply of Persian cats with matted fur to deal with. I might be wrong on that but that is the impression I get.

Once the cat's coat becomes matted it becomes impossible to groom and that presents a barrier to further grooming. The downward spiral begins and the only way forward is to shave fur. This is sometimes done in a proactive way through the lion cut (see picture heading page).

Persian cats should have fur that the cat can maintain in the usual way without the support of a human.

Associated Page:

Traditional Doll Face Persian Cat - does the breed standard insist on a flat face?

The Persian cat coat is too long to Persian cats

Comments for
The Persian Cat Coat Is Too Long

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Sep 12, 2011 No time?
by: Bert T

Anyone who has too hectic a life to give time to groom their cat daily is not in my opinion a good cat owner.

Do they have time to watch TV? I bet they do!

Lion cuts are for poodles,not for beautiful cats.

As always amongst those who 'must have' a certain breed,the cat's welfare is the last consideration in the scheme of things.

Sep 11, 2011 Hi Lisa
by: Michael

I understand where you are coming from but why can't Persians be natural and normal in coat length and facial appearance?

You will say that they look more interesting with exceptionally long fur and a round head that is flat on one side but the public, I say, disagree. They prefer the traditional and there is no doubt in my mind that the fur of the Persian has become longer over the past century. We know the face became flatter and flatter from about the mid 1900s onwards.

The Persian can still be interesting without these extremes in appearance. In fact often the flat face is overdone and it looks plain ugly and odd, with great drapes of fur flowing off the back of the cat. If the Persian is meant to look interesting because it looks a bit weird it is a success. But if it is meant to be attractive something has gone wrong.

Sep 11, 2011 Coat Too Long? No...
by: Lisa James

The Persian coat back into antiquity when it was first being developed over 100 years ago always selected for that sort of coat. They were bred to be companion cats, not hunting cats. If you look at other long haired breeds, such as the Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Ragamuffin, etc, you will find that those coats are long too, & also require human assistance to keep them looking their best.

The head type has also evolved to make the breed unique & distinctive. Otherwise they just look like long haired domestics with the old fashioned, pet type faces. Painting a whole breed with a negative brush simply because you don't care for it isn't right. The Persian exhibitors & breeders that I know personally have very healthy cats. Washing the faces & grooming the cat is simply part of the bargain when a person decides to share their life with a Persian, Himalayan, or Exotic. Even an Exotic has a double coat that will mat if it isn't combed.

I see it this way: If you buy a Persian & expect the cat to do all the work itself, then you're a lazy owner. Putting a Persian in a lion clip is a perfectly viable option for a non show cat or a cat that lives in a warm climate or an owner who loves the temperament & personality of the breed but lives a hectic lifestyle & just doesn't have the time to do the daily combing, weekly bathing/blowdrying upkeep . We are actually getting ready to body clip our 1 year old Persian after he's neutered on Tuesday. He is a show quality cat that cannot be shown because he tips his tongue, so since I do rescue, have children at home & show & breed Turkish Angoras, I quite honestly don't need to deal with his coat on top of everything else. Plus, I live in Florida, & it's still hotter than blazes here, so he'll be cooler too. We have kept him up daily/weekly since he was 4 months old, & it's been rough on the whole household.

Sep 11, 2011 You are right
by: Ruth

You are right as always Michael ! I spent many hours as a vet nurse shaving anaesthetised Persian cats with coats too matted to be groomed and as they are bred with even longer fur now, the more it must be happening.

However to be fair it wasn't only Persians, I also shaved many long haired moggies.

The client would go away with advice to groom the cat daily but many would reappear eventually with their fur matted again.

I could never understand why they didn't take the advice that cats need their hair brushed and combed just like we do. I think most people wouldn't let a day go by without grooming their own hair.

Being brushed is fun time for our boyz, started when they were kittens.

I agree that breeders are going too far and that in the end it's the cats who suffer.

Cats should not be degraded by a lion cut ! As always I am on the side of the cat and his right to be a cat with his fur coat just as it was meant to be.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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