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Persian Cat Breed Info: Personality, Facts, and Care Guide (with Pictures)

Dean Eby

By Dean Eby

white persian cat walking on grass

Length: 14 – 18 inches
Weight: 7 – 14 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Colors: White, black, blue, cream, red, chocolate, lilac, silver, golden, tortoiseshell, tabby
Suitable for: Individuals and quiet families that spend a lot of time lounging at home
Temperament: Laid back, docile, calm, affectionate, loving, dignified

Not only are Persian cats one of the most popular in America and worldwide; they’re also one of the most easily recognizable breeds of domestic housecat. But this breed isn’t loved for no reason. Indeed, it’s easy to see why so many people are in love with Persian cats. From their calm, amiable demeanor to their long, luxurious coats, Persian cats are as regal and dignified as any breed, and they’ve long been favored by royalty and aristocrats.

Keeping the Persian’s beautiful coat in top condition is a time-consuming process that requires daily attention, making the Persian a rather high-maintenance pet. But they’re also incredibly affectionate and loving, which does make up for the excessive maintenance needs. Once you bond with a Persian, it will be your partner forever. But these cats aren’t for the active person who wants to take their feline around with them. Persians are much happier curled up on the couch. In fact, they’re the quintessential lazy lap cats.

Persian Kittens – Before You Get One…

persian kittens
Image Credit: Wallenrock, Shutterstock

3 Little-Known Facts About Persian Cats

1. Seven Divisions of Persian Cat Are Recognized

The Persian breed has grown and expanded a lot over the years, and they’ve even been crossed with other similar breeds to create unique colorations and patterns. Currently, the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes seven distinct divisions of Persian cat.

The divisions are:
  • Solid Division
  • Silver and Gold Division
  • Smoke and Shaded Division
  • Tabby Division
  • Particolor Division
  • Bicolor Division
  • Himalayan Division

2. They Weren’t Always Brachycephalic

Persian cats have been around for a very long time. By the time the world’s first cat show was held at the Crystal Palace in 1871, the breed had already been prominent for many years. But these earlier Persians looked very different from many of the Persians we see today. Today, Persian cats with flat faces are prized, particularly in the show world.

These cats are brachycephalic, which means the bone structure of their faces is flattened. But this is a new addition to the breed that first spawned in the 1950s due to a genetic anomaly. Breeders decided they liked the look, so it was prioritized in further breeding, leading to the flat-faced Persians we know today.

3. At the World’s First Cat Show, A Persian Won “Best in Show”

By the time the first cat show was held in the late 1800s, Persian cats were already quite popular. At the Crystal Palace cat show, Persians were the stars, and they captured the attention and hearts of thousands. In fact, a Persian kitten even won “Best in Show,” making them the first breed officially bestowed with such a title.

beautiful persian cat
Image Credit: Irina oxilixo Danilova, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Persian Cat

Persian cats are rather average in regards to intelligence. They’re certainly not dumb, but they’re not the most brilliant felines. These are also not terribly active cats. Persians don’t spend a lot of time exploring, playing, climbing, and the like. Your Persian will probably never climb up your bookshelves. They’re rather low-key, low-energy felines that would rather lounge around lazily for most of the day, preferring to find a spot on the lap of their favorite human.

While Persians are friendly and affectionate cats, they’re pretty selective with their love. They’ll generally ignore strangers, giving attention only to those they deem worthy, which is only close family, for the most part. Furthermore, Persians are averse to loud noises and excitable environments. Loud noises tend to stress Persian cats out, and they’ll easily get scared, leaving to find a suitable hiding place.

ginger doll face persian cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: CKYN stock photo, Shutterstock

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Persians can be a good fit for some families, but not all. While these cats usually get along with and show love for every member of the family, they often will bond the closest with a single person who becomes their clear favorite. Other members of the family will need to learn to accept that without jealousy.

Children can also be hit or miss with Persian cats. If you have gentle children who want to dress up your cat and pamper it, then a Persian will be a great fit. But if you have rambunctious children who love to roughhouse and make a lot of noise, then a Persian might not be the ideal cat.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Cats?

Persian cats can often get along with other cats and even dogs, but it’s entirely dependent on the other pet’s disposition. If the other pet is calm and doesn’t cause stress for your Persian, then they’ll usually get along just fine. But if your dog lunges at your Persian, then, obviously, they’re not going to be a good fit together.

Persian cat looking out the window
Image By: NTP_RASTA, Shutterstock

Things to Know When Owning a Persian Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

Because Persians are such low-energy cats, they’re more prone to becoming overweight than many breeds. In order to prevent this, you’ll need to pay attention to the portion sizes you’re providing. Due to their long coats, Persian cats appear larger than they are, but they’re not very large cats, so they don’t need to eat large portions.

Exercise 🐈

Persian cats don’t like to expend a lot of energy. Your Persian won’t be itching for intense playtime, but you can still play with them in short bursts using laser pointers or other interactive toys. Small stuffed toys filled with catnip are always a favorite of Persians, and these will generally provide all the exercise that your Persian is looking for.

Training 🧶

Since they’re not the most intelligent of cats, training a Persian can be a bit difficult. They’re limited in what they can learn, but basic litterbox training should be no problem. More advanced training will take a good deal of work. Just motivating a Persian can be difficult since they’d rather lounge around than do most any activity that requires energy.

Grooming ✂️

Persians are considered to be high-maintenance cats because of their extensive grooming needs. Their coats are prone to matting and tangling, so you’ll need to devote time to brushing it out daily. You’ll also need to bathe your Persian every week to keep their coats looking fresh. To make this easier, you should start bathing your Persian as a young kitten so it can get used to the process.

Because Persians are brachycephalic, they’re prone to teary eyes. If you don’t wash your Persian’s face daily and wipe away the tears when you see them, then they can cause permanent staining, which can have a noticeably negative effect on your Persian’s appearance. Aside from this, you’ll just need to provide basic dental care and nail trimming.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Persian cats are not the healthiest breed. Rather, they’re susceptible to quite a few health concerns. As an owner of a Persian, you’ll want to look out for these conditions; some of them can severely impact your cat’s quality of life. Many of these conditions stem from the brachycephalic bone structure of the breed, so Persians with faces that appear less smushed tend to be affected by fewer of these conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
  • Dental Malocclusions
  • Cherry Eye
  • Entropion
  • Heat Sensitivity
  • Seborrhea oleosa
Serious Conditions
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease

Serious Conditions:

Polycystic Kidney Disease: A condition that cats can inherit from their parents, resulting in many cysts on the kidneys, which are present from birth. Over time, the cysts grow and multiply in size, which can eventually cause the kidneys to fail.

Minor Conditions:

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: Brachycephalic breeds like Persians have shortened skulls with flat faces, which can often result in physical health problems. Airways are commonly affected by this altered bone structure, which is known as brachycephalic airway syndrome.

Dental Malocclusions: Because of the brachycephalic bone structure of a Persian cat’s face, they’re highly susceptible to misaligned teeth, also known as dental malocclusions.

Cherry Eye: In the corner of each eye, a cat has a third eyelid. When this eyelid is out of place, it can become red and swollen. As it grows, it begins to look like a cherry sticking out of the cat’s eye, which is where the condition gets its common name.

Entropion: When part of a cat’s eyelid is folded inward and rubs against the eyeball, it’s known as entropion. This is a genetic condition, and it can cause ulcers on the cornea, or even corneal perforation in extreme circumstances.

Heat Sensitivity: Persian cats can’t pant as well as other breeds because of their brachycephalic bone structure. This means that they can’t dissipate heat as effectively, which leads to higher susceptibility to heatstroke.

Seborrhea oleosa: A skin disorder, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, in which skin glands overproduce sebum, resulting in skin that’s red, itchy, flaky, and scaly.

Male vs Female

The most obvious differences between male and female Persian cats are physical. Males are notably larger than females. Almost all specimens over 12 pounds are male.

Fixed Persians are very similar temperamentally, regardless of gender. But if your cat isn’t fixed, then you might see the personality differences between the sexes. For example, males can be more territorial and aggressive, and they’re more prone to scent marking. Females, on the other hand, will become anxious during their heat cycle. They also tend to be very vocal and loud in an attempt to attract a mate, holing, crying, and more.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a lap cat to cuddle up with you whenever you’re lounging on the couch watching television, then the Persian is probably a perfect fit. They’re the quintessential lap cats. Persians require very little exercise as they’re low-energy felines that would rather lounge all day than vigorously play. However, you need to be prepared to invest quite a bit of time into daily grooming as the Persian’s coat requires extensive upkeep. For the right family or individual, a Persian can be the ideal companion pet, just as they have been for various elites throughout the centuries.

Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

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