The docile and gentle Persian cat is a popular pet. Persians are one of the oldest cat breeds known to man. These affectionate, calm kitties stand out for their long, silky coats and calm and gentle nature. They are also unique because they are one of the few flat-faced cat breeds. This gives them a signature grumpy look, though this breed is generally very good-natured.
The Persian cat is a regal beauty with a reputation for being very docile, making it a fantastic choice for a family pet. They do require a lot of grooming and like quiet environments better than busy households. Do not let this cat’s quiet personality fool you. They are quite smart, expressive, and observant.
There is a lot to know about this silky, long-haired breed. Persian cats do have some breed-specific health concerns and will need regular care, maintenance, and medical attention, as do all breeds. Without further ado, let’s get into it and learn what makes the Persian cat so special.
The Persian cat is an incredibly old breed whose exact origins are unknown. It is believed to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia and the area once known as Persia, which encompassed the area now known as Iran. These silky cats were first brought to Europe by travelers around 1620 and quickly became popular among the wealthy and upper class. Over time, the Persian cat has been bred into various types, such as the flat-faced “Peke-faced” Persian and the traditional “doll-faced” Persian.
Long-haired felines from the same geographical area, including Turkey, Afghanistan, and Persia, were grouped as one breed for many years. They were called “Asiatic” cats. In the 1870s, selective breeding began to craft the more contemporary Persian of today.
Persians were regaled by people worldwide at the very first-ever cat show held at London’s Crystal Palace in 1871. Their breed was recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1906. This breed is quite famous, beloved by royalty, and even famous in Hollywood. One notable kitty hit the silver screen as a James Bond cat in 1963, and in the movie Cats & Dogs as the ruthless Mr. Tinkles. Popular among royalty like Britain’s Queen Victoria, these flowy kitties are also a top choice of celebrities of many generations. Marylin Monroe had one as a pet, as does Martha Stewart.
Persians are also called Iranian cats, Shirazi, “smushed-face cats,” and “doll-face cats.”
Appearance & Size
They have round, larger heads, full cheeks, big, expressive eyes, and rounded ears. Bi-colored Ragdolls have a prominent upside-down V on their foreheads. Their noses are short and flat. The two most prominent features of this breed are their flowing, glossy coats and flat faces. This breed’s head is distinguishably large, making their flat faces seem even more prominent. Eyes can be many colors and often correspond to coat color. Lighter-colored kitties will have lightly hued blue-green and copper eyes, while darker colors may have green, blue-green, silver, copper, or golden eyes. Both coat and eye color can come in an almost endless variety.
Persians are a medium to large-sized breed, with a weight range of 7 to 12 pounds. They can reach between 14 and 18 inches long, not including tail length. Males are usually slightly larger than females. This kitty is heavy-boned, and with their long flowing coats and larger, distinctive heads, often seem much bigger than they truly are.
Personality & Temperament
The Persian cat is quite amiable and known for her docile, sweet personality. She is pleasant-tempered yet reserved and does not worry about what is happening in the outside world. Persians are indoor-only animals. She doesn’t like going outside and has no high prey drive or a huge desire to explore. Doll-faces do well with children if handled gently and carefully. They do not mind being pampered, dressed up, pushed around in a stroller, or played with as long as they get carried softly and treated gently.
These sweet kitties like people, but they do not like everyone. They save their affection and attention for their close human family members. They form strong bonds with several members of the family. The doll-faced cat likes routine and calm, quiet environments. They do not do well in homes where there is a lot of change or loud activity.
The Persian breed is often called musical because they have a very soft, melody-like meow rather than a loud, annoying yowl. Their eyes are quite expressive, and they will spend hours observing and watching humans from the safety and comfort of an armchair or secret snuggle spot.
Like any other breed, this kitty needs regular exercise but is not as motivated or as athletic as some other breeds. She will enjoy regular playtime with a laser pointer, a feather toy, catnip treats, and chasing toys. She is more concerned about companionship than high-paced exercise, climbing high, or being adventurous. A couple of sessions of interactive play each day will keep her physically and mentally stimulated. It is important to get regular physical activity to avoid your cat becoming overweight or obese.
Prospective owners will be happy to know that doll-faced cats are agreeable with humans and get along very well with other felines and dogs. They do prefer calm environments, so they may not like it when other animals invade their space. Despite this, these kitties are not likely to fight or have any issues with other pets.
Persians have an incredible variety of colors and coat patterns. They come in many different variations of white, black, red, cream, blue, chocolate, lilac, silver, and golden. Additionally, these kitties can be different patterns like calico, tabby, shaded, smoke, and multicolored. Some can have color point patterns, and others are solid-colored.
Persians have thick, double coats of fur, making them appear so fluffy and round. Just like any other kitty, they regularly shed, though it may seem like they shed more due to their sheer volume of hair. They shed year-round, though they experience times of heavier shedding that correspond with significant seasonal temperature changes. However, owners can expect significant shedding all year because these kitties are indoors only. Keeping your home at a consistent temperature is one way to help manage feline shedding.
Felines who live in warmer climates shed more. Additionally, owners should remember that heat triggers kitties to shed more. Those with more access to heat, like sunny windows and heating vents, or who live in homes where the heat is kept higher are likely to shed more. A cooler home can help prevent excessive shedding, though there is no way to prevent or stop shedding altogether.
A commonly asked question is if Persians are hypoallergenic, and the answer is, no, this kitty is not hypoallergenic. They have a lot of hair and produce plenty of the allergy-inducing protein, Fel d 1.
Persians are incredibly high maintenance regarding coat care and grooming. They require both brushing and regular bathing to keep their coats soft, glossy, and clean. The longer-haired variety requires even more attention. It is important to note that this fluffy kitty has a tough time with self-grooming due to their flat face and stocky body shape. They cannot reach certain areas, and owners will need to give special care to the face, eyes, and the areas under the tail.
Because they have such long, thick hair, doll faces require daily grooming. This is important to keep their coats clean, prevent mats and knots from forming, and distribute natural oils throughout the coat. This also helps keep your cat’s coat glossy, shiny, and soft and can aid in preventing hairballs. Long-haired felines often experience hairballs, which can be a rather unpleasant problem for owners.
Pet parents should always inspect their pet’s coat during grooming sessions to make sure there are no cuts, irritations, bald spots, mats, or knots. Try to work any mats or knots out with your fingers before brushing, and trim them off if necessary. Make sure to be gentle, and provide lots of treats, cuddles, and verbal praise. Pet parents will need to invest in a high-quality pin brush, bristle brush, combs, detangling spray, dry shampoo, conditioner, and shampoo. Always make sure to use products that are feline-safe, and never use human products on your pet.
Some purr parents choose to trim their cat’s hair to help control shedding and minimize the need for daily brushing. This is called the “lion cut,” leaving hair around the head, feet, and tail fluffy while the body hair is trimmed shorter.
This is a high-maintenance feline. Along with daily brushing and regular bathing, these kitties will need help with grooming around the genitals and under the tail. Because their hair is so long, it is hard for them to keep these areas clean. Owners may choose a sanitary shave or will need to pay regular attention to this area. Otherwise, it will become a very unpleasant mess quite quickly. Daily grooming is a significant need for this cat, and anyone considering bringing one home needs to be ready to commit to brushing their cat at least once, if not multiple times a day.
Owners will be happy to hear that this breed does not mind being left home alone, making them a great choice for owners who work outside of the home, have long hours, or need to be away for extended periods. These purr babies are happy to lounge the day away as long as owners provide some toys and access to fresh water and tasty food. They appreciate a cozy spot in the sun to curl up and snooze.
As with all felines, Persians need regular trips to the veterinarian and should be kept up to date with vaccinations and preventative care. This kitty is prone to some health conditions, so owners want to take special care to ensure they do not miss preventative care appointments. Pet parents may wish to consider pet insurance, which can help with some emergency and long-term care situations. It is important to look into pet insurance young for a kitty like the Persian, as most policies do not cover pre-existing conditions.
These purr babies also need owners to pay attention to their dental hygiene. Three or four times a week brushing is a good goal, although daily brushing is better. Additionally, owners must regularly clip their cat’s nails to prevent injury and damage to the home.
Like all other felines, Persians are obligate carnivores and should eat a diet modeled after a feline’s natural diet. This means they need diets that are meat-heavy and rich in high-quality animal protein. Whole meat, including organs and protein varieties like fish, poultry, and red meat, do best. Persians do better on diets high in meat protein and very low in carbohydrates. This is an excellent kitty to consider grain-free cat food for.
It is essential always to read food labels and look for brands that list named meat ingredients first. Plant material is much harder for felines to digest and should only be fed to them in limited quantities. This is also a good breed to consider human-grade fresh meals and freeze-dried food. These foods use top-quality ingredients, minimal processing, and offer the best flavor and nutritional content.
Doll-faced kitties are smart and can be trained in proper behavior and litter box training fairly easily. This kitty is known for scratching up the furniture, so owners will want to start working on that quite young. They also like to chew up indoor plants, so it is important that owners keep these out of reach, as well as train their pets not to chew them.
This feline is not a good choice to try to learn tricks. They pick up on behavior training and litter box training fairly well as long as owners provide them with consistent, firm boundaries and positive behavior reinforcement. Persian kitties are notoriously slow learners when it comes to complex things like tricks. These sweet kitties are smart enough to learn but often lack motivation. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, owners looking for a cat that is easy to train in agility, tricks, and other areas may want to consider a different breed.
All cats should be trained in some general behaviors and limits so that they can calmly coexist with humans and other pets. These include:
- Proper feeding routines
- Litter box training
- No biting or scratching people
- Do not scratch, bite, or bother other pets
- No scratching on furniture
- No spraying the carpet or furniture
- Not to eat non-edible items like plastic, toys, or household items
- How to tolerate bathing, grooming, dental care, and nail clipping
Health & Lifespan
Persians can be prone to developing health problems, some of which are genetic. Of course, there are health concerns that affect all cats that owners must be aware of. Because this kitty is brachycephalic or flat-faced, they may be prone to some respiratory and health conditions that do not affect other domestic felines as much. Owners should know this breed can suffer from the following health conditions: this is not a complete list.
- Respiratory concerns and breathing difficulty
- Dental malocclusions
- Eye health and conditions, including entropion and cherry eye
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
- Excessive tearing
- Heat sensitivity
- Seborrhea oleosa
Despite being prone to health problems, this kitty has a relatively long lifespan, between 12 and 17 years. It is imperative that owners keep up with vaccinations and regular veterinary care. Considering pet insurance and dental insurance options when cats are young is one way to help ensure owners will be prepared should any extra medical care needs arise.
Persians are purebreds and, therefore, will be higher in price than mixed kitties. Purebred kittens are from high-quality, pedigreed bloodlines that can cost between $1,300 to $1,500. Female kittens are more expensive than males. Even adult cats have a high price tag; owners can expect to spend $600 to $1,800 or more for a highly-pedigree adult. Companion cats are less expensive than show cats, which can cost over $3,000.
This kitty is fairly expensive, even though they are not rare. They are incredibly popular, and the high price reflects bloodline, breeder quality, health guarantees, and availability. Because this breed is prone to health conditions, choosing a breeder that has performed extensive health screenings and takes impeccable care of their cats is important.
Owners can also consider adoption from shelters and rescues. Rescue cats are much less expensive than those purchased from high-quality breeders. Adoption fees from shelters often run from $25 to about $250. A shelter cat is an excellent consideration for an owner who does not want a kitten or wants to help an adult cat have a happy home. You can ask your veterinarian for local shelter recommendations and look for local and national rescue groups like the Persian and Himalayan Cat Rescue. Kitties from shelters will often be mixed. Owners can look into a DNA test as a way to try and determine their kitty’s specific genetics.
As Family Pets
The elegant, regal Persian makes a fantastic pet for the right family. They are not the best for busy households with lots of activity and regular change. This feline is very affectionate, mellow, and agreeable. They do not like to be bothered, handled roughly, or put in positions where things are loud and aggressive. Because of this, they need quiet homes. They are affectionate and like to spend time with their human family but are also perfectly content alone. This is a good kitty for owners who need to work away from home, as they do not get destructive and are not prone to separation anxiety.
Owners must know that this breed is prone to some health conditions and may require a higher financial investment in medical care than others. Additionally, they require daily grooming and bathing about once a month. They are incredibly high maintenance, which owners should consider before adopting them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Persian cats be left alone?
Yes, this cat is okay to be left alone for some time. These kitties do not require constant attention and are perfectly fine to be left at home while owners go to work or out for the day. They do not like being left home alone for extended hours or overnight but are much more self-sufficient than some other breeds. This is also not a kitty known to be overly destructive when owners are gone, although this, of course, depends on the individual calf.
Do Persian cats like to cuddle?
Yes, these kitties are happy to receive attention whenever their owners want to offer it. They are not a kitty likely to seek attention but are more than happy to receive it and cuddle the day away.
Why are Persian cats so expensive?
These cats are expensive due to high demand and kitten quality. They are highly admirable for their fluffy coats, gentle demeanor, and round faces. Many people appreciate the flat faces of the breed and want to adopt A highly pedigreed cat. These factors all keep the price of this breed relatively high.
Are Persians good house cats?
Yes, they make lovely house cats. They are gentle, playful, affectionate, and not overly demanding. They get along well with children, strangers, and other pets. Persians require daily brushing and are high maintenance in that area. Besides having health concerns, this breed makes a wonderful house cat, especially for low-key, mellow households.
Persian cats are an amazingly popular, elegant, and beautiful breed. The breed has been around for a very long time, with roots in the ancient world. They are famous for their luxurious, flowing coats as well as their agreeable, docile, and gentle personalities. These kitties are gorgeous to look at and a pleasure to be around. Their unique flat face look does predispose them to some health conditions. However, it is also one of the reasons they are so popular. With a regal, unusual look, and amiable, affectionate personality, the Persian cat might just be the perfect pet.