The Persian cat is actually a very old breed. It is descended from Iran (formerly Persia). The long soft hair was likely the result of normal evolutionary mutations. The new and interesting Persian cat breed was first noted by Pietro Della Valle, who decided to introduce the posh breed to Europe. Amazingly at that time, there was only the grey Persian cat, as later colors came as a result of selective breeding and some non-selective breeding too.
1. Personality Profile
Persian cats have had a little reputation for being a little bit posh. Ironically, their personality is very different. Persian cats are very affectionate and quite sweet. They enjoy sitting on a lap, but like any other cat they also love to play. My most fond memory is of my Persian cat Bob allowing a party of young girls to brush his long fur using hair clips and him barely even waking up during the process (most likely secretly wishing the process was over). Like many other cats they are selective with their affections. They don’t just snuggle with anyone and it takes time and energy to deserve their trust.
Due to a more selective breeding process, you will find they will have less “wild-cat” behaviors such as jumping up and scratching, however they still have feline instincts. They love to have a good sleep, some selective play and lots of affection. Personally, I think they are a perfect indoor pet (grooming aside) as they love to rest, snuggle and lounge around.
They can be very vocal in their communication. Persian cats will let you know when they would like to be fed.
Persian cats do need more grooming than most cats do. They require daily brushing and monthly baths (depending on their self- grooming skills). Considering most short-haired cats are capable of cleaning themselves, the Persian is a bit “high maintenance” in this area. Because Persians are generally bathed from around 4 weeks onwards, they are often fond of a bath (or they at least tolerate them).
Aside from the bathing and grooming, they only require the general vet visits like any other cat would. But be sure (as you would with any white cat) to not let a white cat outside in the heat too long, due to skin cancer risk.
Due to their long fur, they can be a little prone to psoriasis, which is also why it’s very important to keep up with regular grooming. They can also be very prone to get knots and tangles without daily brushing.
3. Genetic Conditions
Because they are a pedigree pet, there is a lot less variation in the genes which increases the risks of genetic defects. Common problems affecting Persians are; psoriasis, dermatitis, heart problems, constricted nostrils, miss-formed eyelids, weeping of the eyes (something which you often need to gently clean daily), heat sensitivity and polycystic kidney disease.
4. Things to bear in mind before committing to a Persian cat
- Many people can be allergic to them, so ensure that guests are aware of your roommate
- You have to be a little selective in regards to clothing. Persians love to lounge on a pile of clothing, generally this means you will have masses of fur everywhere. Because Persian cats have such amazing fur, they constantly drop fur. So try to ensure you have a roller around to collect them.
- They may not live as long as domestic cat. On average, pedigreed cats live 4 years less than domestic cats.
- You’ll have a friend for as long as they are with you. My fondest childhood memories are with my beautiful Persian cat. He rarely scratched or bit, he was very gluttonous (a common Persian cat trait) but was still playful.
- You will need to sweep regularly to keep the fur situation under control
- You must commit to grooming regularly
- There is a higher risk of genetic problems, so ensure you notice any changes to urinary habits or drinking (signs of polycystic kidney disease)
- Persian cats can be up to $2,000 USD.