Mysterious Origins - Persian cats were imported into Europe from Persia in the early 1600s. The long-haired beauties were immediately prized for their exotic looks and were named after their presumed homeland. However, their true origins remain obscure, and nobody knows how long they’ve been around.
Cobby, Congenial & Cuddly - The Persian is quite different from slender cats, like the sleek Siamese or the Egyptian Mau. Persians are cobby, meaning they have stocky, short legs and heavy bodies. They are not athletic by nature, but they make up for that with their grace and elegance. Once you've held a Persian, you'll know what it's truly like to cuddle.
Persians might look prissy and aloof, but they’re actually considered to be one of the most laid-back—and friendliest—cat breeds. They do, however, need careful grooming.
Colours, Sizes & Varieties - While iconic pop culture Persians are usually white or silver, the breed comes in a range of colours and shades. From tortoiseshell and calico to orange, grey, and black-and-white, the varieties are plentiful. Other sub-variants of the Persian include toy and teacup sizes, Himalayans—which are a cross between a Persian and a Siamese—and Chinchilla Longhairs, which have pointy noses and black-tipped fur.
One of the First Pedigrees - Persian cats are considered one of the earliest pedigreed breeds, with the first purebred Persians arriving in the United States around 1875. In 1906, the Cat Fanciers’ Association was formed in America, and a Persian was one of the first cats registered. Persians are the most popular pedigreed breed in the United States and worldwide.
All About Fur - The Persian's long, full coat is the breed's crowning glory. Their coat colours are divided into six colour divisions, although there are reportedly over 100 possible variations and patterns. Their coat requires daily combing to keep it clean and in top condition. An additional monthly grooming appointment will maintain the Persian's splendour.
Prone to Health Issues - Good grooming is essential for this breed. The folds of the Persian's face must be wiped clean each day when you groom your cat in order to prevent sores or infections from forming where the moisture from the eyes collects. Combing also removes debris and loose hair to prevent hairballs. These cats are also more prone to respiratory issues than most breeds due to their flat faces.
Similar to Turkish Angoras -Persians look a lot like Turkish Angoras, which are another breed of fluffy feline that arrived in Europe from the Mediterranean in the 1500s. The two were cross-bred over the years to improve the Persian cat's coat—so much so that the breed nearly went extinct. Turkey set up breeding programs to help save the Angora. Persians have a stockier build, a larger head, rounder eyes, and a slightly longer coat, whereas Turkish Angoras have lithe bodies, pointed ears, and a plume-like tail.
Not Always Flat-Faced - After its coat, the Persian’s most distinctive characteristic is its flat face. However, the breed hasn’t always had a squished visage. Persians once had a more pronounced muzzle, but in the 1950s a genetic mutation caused a batch of kittens to be born with scrunched features. Breeders liked the aesthetic, and over the years they used selective breeding to taper down the cat’s silhouette.
Some kitties, called “traditional” or “doll-face” Persians, still look like their pointy-featured ancestors. Others have a “peke-face,” or an “ultra-face,” which describes the kind of smushed-in mug the Persian is known for today. The Cat Fanciers' Association views the peke or ultra-faced Persian as the breed’s modern standard. However, it comes with a price: Persians with this feature have runny eyes, laboured breathing, and often struggle to eat their food.