The Persian cat has been selectively bred for hundreds of years, but its history goes back much further than that. It is believed to have been part of Persian trade caravans since at least the 1600s. By the 1800s, travelers from England and Europe took some of these beautiful cats back home to their families and the early days of selectively breeding these cats began. The Persian cat was immensely popular from the start and it is easy to see why once you get to know this charming specimen of the domestic cat world.
The Persian cat is the most popular cat breed. People are naturally drawn to its striking and luxurious coat, the longest of all cat breeds, that just begs to be stroked and petted. While the white Persian is the one that seems to be in all the cat commercials, the cat comes in a large variety of other colors, such as black, blue, red, tabby, parti-color, and multi-color. The breed is known for its long coat and shortened, somewhat pushed in, muzzle. The legs are thick and short, leaving them unable to jump well. Despite the fact that the Persian looks as if it should be gracing some royal house, it has a wonderful personality that has contributed to much of its popularity. It is by nature a sweet, gentle, and placid cat, but with understanding, they can fit into more rambunctious households. They make good companions and due to their peaceful temperament they tend to get along well with other cats and pets. While calm, the Persian can be quite playful, but is not demanding or loud, like some cats, such as the Siamese, can be. All of these great qualities mean the Persian cat makes an excellent family pet. It is also a great cat for apartment living because of its calm nature and low need for exercise.
However, owning the Persian cat is not for everyone! The same coat that makes it so beautiful also comes with a decent amount of maintenance. The long coat and its gentle personality mean that the Persian must be an indoor cat. The coat would quickly become matted and the many years of domestication have made it difficult for the cat to care for itself outdoors. The shortened legs of the Persian mean that it is hard for it to jump or climb, making self-defense challenging . Daily grooming is a must with a Persian, otherwise the coat will become painfully matted, and periodic visits to a professional groomer may be necessary, as are occasional, gentle baths to keep the coat looking and smelling its best. All of this grooming should be started ideally in kitten hood so that the cat is accustomed to it. In this way, grooming will be a pleasure and not a chore. Some people choose to have their cat shaved down into what is known as a lion cut, since the head and tail are often left with more hair, giving the appearance of a lion. Nevertheless, this will still necessitate some professional grooming on an occasional basis. If brushing, combing, bathing, and groomers don't sound like your thing, you might want to reconsider owning the Persian cat.
The Persian also has a few hereditary health problems to consider before you commit to owing one. The breed is known to carry polycystic kidney disease and progressive retinal atrophy, as well as some bladder disorders. Polycystic kidney disease usually shows up in midlife when it can affect one or both kidneys causing kidney dysfunction. Progressive retinal atrophy begins typically in kitten hood and causes blindness. Another possible issue is teary eyes. Because of their shortened muzzle, some Persian cats may have defective tear ducts, which causes an overproduction of tears. While these disorders exist, it doesn't mean that all Persian cats have them. But it does mean that people who want to own a Persian should be aware of them and look for a responsible breeder. A responsible breeder will monitor their breed line for such illnesses in order to reduce their frequency.
So if you think you might want a sweet, gentle, lap cat, and aren't afraid of some grooming, the Persian cat could be for you!