The Persian cat is the perfect lap feline. Gentle, docile, and calm. If anything, these guys are suckers for cuddles in addition to being quite curious and playful. Not only that. Persians are the most easy-going as well as friendliest moggies around.
If there was a competition for the best cat facial expressions, Persian cats would win hands down. No wonder they are among the most popular cat breeds in the world. Yes, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Persian cats ranked 4th in 2018’s most registered breed list.
But that doesn’t mean caring for these cats is easy. For one, their extremely fluffy exteriors need a lot of bathing, combing, and brushing if they are to stay healthy and tangle-free.
Here’s every other important thing you need to know before keeping a Persian cat:
Many consider the Persian cat to be somewhat extreme-looking. They have short bodies featuring short, thick necks and legs. Also, Persian cats’ ears are small while their tails are short. Their heads are round, with large round eyes that can come colored blue, copper, hazel, green, etc.
And as mentioned earlier, the Persian cat features a thick, full, and long coat of fur that can be smoke, shaded, silver, solid, Himalayan, tabby, or bi-color colored, among many other shades.
In any case, her masses of fur usually make her appear larger than she actually is. But the Persian cat is, in fact, a medium-sized feline. Though she’s heavily boned as well as massive in weight.
Yes, these cats have an average weight of 3-7 kg. If anything, males can grow up to a weight of 6.8 kg. and measure 10 to 15 inches, while females can grow up to 4.5 kg and measure 10 to 14 inches.
Behavior and Personality
If you’re like most people, then you probably misjudged the Persian cat the first time you saw it. Many consider this breed to be aloof and stuck up mostly due to their fluffy appearance and snubbed noses.
But according to Susan MacArthur, a long time Persian breeder at Pelaqita Persians, “these cats are so much like dogs, considering how much they like people”.
Persians do things that other cats don’t. They’ll, for example, come to you whenever you call them by name. Something most cat breeds feel is beneath them. Persians are also quite a chatty. They have a reputation talking hours on end in a sing-songy meow.
Though this shouldn’t fool you to believe that Persians are overly active animals. If anything, the opposite is true. Persians are content sleeping 20 hours a day, every single day. Even Persian kitties aren’t that active.
For this reason, don’t expect Persians to rummage through cabinets or hop up on counters searching for food. Yes, Persians to rule their domains from accessible pieces of furniture or the floor. Persians are also sedate cats who love serene homes where little changes occur day-to-day.
They hate loud environments and have extremely simple needs: lots of love (which they return ten-fold), a little playtime, and regular meals.
In as much as Persian cats are sweet and pretty, they’re also prone to various health issues. New research by the Royal Veterinary College in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh realized that about two-thirds of Persian felines in the UK suffer from one health condition or another.
The most commonly diagnosed Persian cat health conditions are dental disease, eye discharge, overgrown nails, and hair coat disorders. According to the researchers, most eye and dental problems in Persians are as a result of their brachycephalic heads. While their high levels of hair coat issues result from their thick, long haircoats, which easily matt and tangle.
As Dan G. O’Neill, MSCVetEPI, PhD, FRCVS, a veterinary epidemiologist and lead researcher of the study notes, “Persian cat owners ought to be wary of haircoat, eye, as well as dental issues, and seek treatment as soon as they notice signs of ill health.”
Other potential Persian health problems because their facial structure includes:
- Noisy breathing or difficulty breathing due to constricted nostrils
- Dental malocclusions. As in the teeth don’t mesh perfectly together.
- Excessive tearing
- Heat sensitivity
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
- Predisposition to fungal infections
- Seborrhea oleosa, which is a skin disease that brings about redness, hair loss, and itchiness.
- Hip dysplasia
Food and Diet
Looking at the info above, it goes without saying that Persian cats require a unique diet to stay healthy. Recent studies show that a high-protein diet consisting of both wet and dry foods will suffice when it comes to keeping Persians happy and thriving. Still, strive to provide your Persian a balanced diet consisting of proteins, minerals, vitamins, fats, and of course, cabs.
Take note that Persian felines can be fussy eaters. Therefore, create a solid feeding routine and stick to it. Ensure to introduce anything new gradually and if your Persian suddenly gets too choosy, consult your vet.
Also, not all commercial foods have the right balance of nutrients to keep Persian healthy. So make sure whatever you’re buying is Persian-specified. With that said, here are some ‘human foods’ considered healthy for Persian cats:
- Meats – Just like all other cats, Persians are obligate carnivores. In that, they cannot survive without meat. In fact, most cat foods consist of meat, but you can also provide your feline with fully-cooked salmon, turkey, rabbit, beef, or chicken.
- Wheat and Oat – Cats may not prefer to eat these, but wheat and oat are an excellent source of energy (and Vitamin B) for your rather lazy Persian.
- Bananas and Peeled Apples – Yes, you read that right! Unless your Persian cat rejects them, bananas and apples can be a great source of soluble fibre, potassium, and Vitamin C.
- Spinach – Spinach provides your cat with nutrients like calcium, iron, Vitamin A, K, and C.
Now, harmful foods for Persian cats include:
- Raisins and Grapes
- Garlic, Onions, and Chives
- Raw Eggs
- Dog Foods
Whatever you do, don’t feed your Persian table scraps. They can be extremely toxic to these cats. Also, it is best to serve Persian cat foods in a wide shallow bowl to help your cat access it easily. Otherwise, it may have trouble eating considering its facial structure.
One thing’s for sure, Persian cats have quite dissimilar grooming needs when compared to other cats. Persian strictly requires daily grooming, and especially combing with a stainless steel comb. This is to help keep away the hair mats and tangles that are so prevalent with this breed.
You’ll also need to bathe your cat regularly, but the frequency depends on your cat’s specific fur. A dirty Persian coat appears greasy and has lots of mats. So if you can’t do the grooming yourself, consider hiring a professional groomer.
Persian cats have a lifespan of about 12 to 17 years, with the median age being 14.1 years. All the same, certain factors that can affect your Persian’s lifespan:
– Outdoor or Indoor Persian cat
If you choose to keep your Persian cat outdoor, then expect to live for only 2 to 5 years. According to WebMD, outdoor cats have their lifespans significantly reduced because of the many dangers they get exposed to. Persians, in particular, are better suited to indoor living rather than outdoor.
– Genetic Makeup and Breeding Heritage
Just as with humans, genetics make up plays a crucial role when it comes to life expectancy. Some Persians tend to suffer hereditary health issues like PKD, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), excessive tearing, etc.
– Food and Diet
Persian cats with little to no access to a balanced diet don’t live that long as they catch so many diseases. Which why you should ensure that your Persians get all the nutrients and minerals needed to keep them vitalized and healthy.
Remember, foods considered ‘the best’ or those that are most expensive won’t necessarily prolong your feline’s life.
– Water Intake
A constant supply of clean, fresh water is critical to all living beings, Persian cats included. If anything, there’s a distinct collaboration between water intake and cat health. Keep note that Persian cats require at least 1 ounce (28 ml) of water for every 1 pound of body weight.
Other factors that are likely to affect your Persian cat’s life expectancy include grooming, general healthcare, level of eye care, neutering/ spaying.
Persian cats shed quite often, which is why many people consider them high maintenance pets. Although you can control the shedding by brushing your feline’s hair daily, getting rid of mats, and hiring professional groomers every once in a while.
Interesting Facts About Persian Cats
- Persian Cats Originate from Persia…Possibly: No one knows where the Persian cats came from. Though Europeans first noticed them when their diplomats stationed in the Middle East brought long-haired cats back to their countries. If anything, two of the first best-known Persian cats came from Angoras (present-day Ankara) in Turkey and Iran (the ancient capital of the Persian Empire).
- Persians are not that Smart: As you may know, most cats are wily, smart, and crafty. Not Persians though. This breed of cat tends to be slower in reaching development milestones than other cat breeds. You might find that even at 8 weeks old, some kittens are yet to figure out using the litter box.
- They Come in a Rainbow of Colors: According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, there are seven different categories of Persians: solid; smoke and shaded; silver and golden; parti-color; tabby; bi-color and Himalayan. Still, their hair can have a near-endless combination of patterns and colors: chocolate, cream, tortoiseshell, calico, lilac, blue, etc.
- Persians participated in the first Organized Cat Show: The Persian breed took London by storm when it got showcased at the Crystal Palace in the world’s first cat show. The exhibition also featured Scottish Wild Cat, Manxes, Siamese cats, and many other exotic breeds.
- Americans Love Persian Cats: Introduced to the United States in 1895, Persians have grown to become one of the most popular cat breeds. In fact, Persians were the first to get registered when the Cat Fanciers’ Association was formed in the US.
Persians are a unique breed. So you ought to be ready to treat them with the care and dignity they require. As long as you provide them with daily exercise, a healthy diet, and lots of love, your Persian cat will lead a long, healthy and happy life.
Yes, Persians cost a lot, but they are totally worth the buy.