The Persian cat is one of the most popular cat breeds in the entire United States, and it’s one of the best breeds if you’re looking for a constant companion – and a cat that copes well with other cats, other people and even some dogs; their calm, relaxed temperament makes them perfect for someone who spends a lot of time at home, and Persians have even become a choice breed for therapy cats just because they know how to calm their owners down best.
Even though the Persian cat is one of the most common breeds you’ll see, there are many facts that you might not know about the Persian breed – including the fact that they almost went extinct up until more recently than you might have thought.
Here are 14 amazing characteristics and facts of the Persian cat that you might not have known about before you read this.
1. It’s one of the most popular cat breeds in the US.
The Persian cat is so popular that it’s made its way to being one of the most popular cat breeds in the United States – and it’s one of the top breeds for anyone who wants to find a cat that copes well with cats, other animals and other people.
The Persian cat is the second most popular cat in the entire US according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, and there are many factors that have helped to make it one of the most popular breeds. Of course, the first reason is the temperament and the fact that these cats cope well with people in almost any environment.
They’re friendly, they’re cute and they’re basically large balls of vibrating fluff – what could be better than this? They’re also one of the most loyal cat breeds and they will tend to stick very close to their owners as much as they can.
2. They’re one of the most ancient cat breeds that we know of.
The Persian cat isn’t just the most popular cat breed in the United States today, it also happens to be one of the most ancient cat breeds that we know of – and they’ve been living together with humans for thousands of years before now. We have more than enough evidence to prove just how long cats in general have been around, but it turns out that some breeds have been around far longer than others.
One of the breeds that have been around the longest includes the Persian – and our life with Persian cats even go back so far in history that they’re even seen on the walls of ancient hieroglyphs in Egypt. (Of course, if you’re a cat lover with a Persian, it makes you feel a little royal to think just how long your cat’s family line might have been around – and all cat owners are looking up the pictures by now!)
3. The average lifespan is around 12.5 years.
The average lifespan for a pure Persian cat is estimated to be around 12 and a half years, but it can be a little more or less than this depending on many different environmental factors.
All cat owners want to have the best possible things for their cats, and it’s only natural that you’ll want your cat to live for as long as they can. Making this happen for your cat just takes a few small adaptations over the years to make sure your cat stays in good health throughout.
First, make sure your cat gets a healthy diet with everything they need – and avoid over-feeding them with “human food” or giving them too large portions of their own. In addition, ensure your cat gets the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them busy: They’re one of the smartest cat breeds around and they’ll bore easily.
4. PCS is very common in Persian cats.
Persian cats are considered to be one of the healthier of the cat breeds overall, and we can almost say that Persian cats really don’t get sick easily – so unless your cat displays specific symptoms or does certain things that they normally wouldn’t, there’s usually no reason to rush your cat to the vet.
But if you cat does show certain specific health issues (often things like sinus problems) you should take your cat to the vet just to get things checked out by a professional – and you should start by checking out a list of the most common health problems for your specific breed of cat.
There are many conditions that are often breed-specific, and cancers and cystic diseases can sometimes be common in Persian cats – don’t wait to take your cat to the vet if this is the case since you could still save your cat’s life if you spot these conditions early on in their life.
5. They need grooming way more than other cats
Some cats need grooming more than others, and it usually doesn’t take you long to figure out which breeds this will apply to – all you have to do is to get a cat and wait for someone who doesn’t own cats to comment on the amount of hair that sticks to your clothes, car seats or couch.
The Persian cat is known for having a very fluffy, thick coat – and this means they’ll require a proper grooming at least once every week or two, sometimes every few days during summer, which is considerably more than most cat breeds who might just prefer to groom themselves.
Ideally, your Persian should be brushed with a brush that falls somewhere in the middle between soft and hard – although some cats will naturally prefer a softer brush for their regular grooming session.
As with all of them, it depends on your individual cat’s preference and personality.
6. The Persian cat almost went extinct.
The Persian might be the second most popular domesticated cat breed in the United States, but this wasn’t always the case – and we can count ourselves lucky to still have the Persian today, since they almost went extinct.
As with many cat breeds, the breeding of Persian cats eventually ran into problems – but not because we were breeding with the Persian as you might have thought at first.
The issue originally happened when we tried to breed with the Persian and other breeds in order to strengthen other breeds with the strong Persian line – but this was done so many times that it led to near-extinction of the entire breed, and it needed the intervention of several cat breeding organizations who had to (slowly and systematically) restore some order to the genetics of the Persian cat breed.
Today, responsible breeding is encouraged – and breeding clubs are there to help.
7. You can take your cat for a walk.
Have you ever seen a photo of someone taking their cat for a walk and thought that must be badly Photoshopped? Well, unless the cat you’re looking at in the picture is eight feet high, that’s probably a real picture – and yes, it’s possible to put a leash on your cat and take them for a walk if you have a well-trained cat that’s used to everything that it might encounter in the great big wild outside.
If you want to do this with your cat, choose a spot that’s generally quiet – and don’t go too far away from home, no matter how many times you go for a walk. Make sure that your cat isn’t easily spooked, and try to get them to follow you around from one point to another without the leash and some treats before you attach the leash.
Persians are one of the few cats you can take for a walk!
8. They cope well in packs.
There are some types of cat breeds that will cope famously well on their own – and in fact, some cat breeds prefer to be entirely alone for a huge part of the day. But this isn’t true for the majority of cat breeds in spite of what people might think, and the cat breeds that actually prefer to be alone are few and far between.
Solitary definitely doesn’t describe the Persian cat’s style, and they cope very well when you have more than one cat running around the house. They prefer to be in a pack, even if it’s a family of people – and they’ll usually attach themselves to a specific member of the family that they will stick close to.
Remember that all cats are initially scared of one another, and new cats are always best introduced to the rest of the family slowly or you just might have a fur-tornado.
9. They’re also known by many other names.
Just because your cat isn’t called a Persian, doesn’t mean it isn’t one – and there are many different names that can still refer to a Persian cat, depending on the type, the subtype and the area they’re found in. Persian cats are also most often known as Iranian cats, and that’s just because they happen to hail from the same general area – and can, of course, be found in both.
If you aren’t sure just what subtype of Persian cat you have and can’t identify your cat’s breed just by the information in this article, it can sometimes help a lot if you speak to your vet first. You can also approach your nearest cat breeding club (registered ones only, of course) if you’re struggling to find out just where your cat fits in and if you’d like to take better care of your cat – or just know something specific about their breed.
10. They can be fussy eaters.
The one thing that many Persian cats are known for is the fact that most of them are very fussy eaters at the best of times. Your Persian cat will be quick to let you know if they don’t approve of what you’re feeding them – and many times it’s about more than just their preference for food, but could actually be pointing to them trying to tell you something much more important.
When a cat tries to tell you something about their food, try a switch – because the food you’re feeding them now could be making them sick, and this is the only way to tell you.
Cats aren’t always fussy when it comes to eating, they’re smarter than humans.
But when it comes to fussy eating, many Persians can be – for this, an occasional treat and change of food to another brand should be enough to do the trick for your cat.
11. There was a decline in the breed for years.
While the Persian cat is one of the most popular cat breeds we have today, this wasn’t always the case. There was a severe decline in the numbers of registered Persian cats between the years 1958 and 1995 – this was largely because many Persian cats had experienced severe problems with their health. Only about 98 of them were ever registered during this time.
The genes of the Persian cat are so good that they were used to strengthen the genetic lines of other cat breeds, which unfortunately led to a huge flaw in the genes of the Persian to the point where these severe issues with their health became recurring.
It took years just to restore the damage that had been done to the Persian line over time, but by now the Persian line has been better defined and more responsibly bred to ensure that Persian cats have considerably better genes today.
12. There are several types of Persian cat.
When it comes to every breed, there are usually several accepted registered shades for the cat to count – and then once you have the shade figured out, there are sometimes several different types of cat depending on what traits of the breed were accentuated to create this specific subtype.
There are several types of Persian cats that would all still count as Persians. These include the longhair, exotic shorthair, Himalayan and the teacup variety – in each case, the cats have their own specific traits that are a little bit different from your standard Persian. For example, the teacup variety has been bred to be the smallest type of Persian if you haven’t guessed this by now, and they might not, for example, cope as well with a larger dog than another type of Persian.
If you’re not sure where your cat fits in, then the quickest answer is to ask your vet.
13. Some Persian traits are bred to be accentuated.
When officially breeding with cats, it’s usually common to accentuate some traits or characteristics of that breed – and in many cases, this is how breeders managed to create a range of breeds as diverse as what we have today.
Each breeds has their own personality and physical traits that go along with them, and breeders usually focus on many of these traits because it’s one of the things that makes the breed special. For Persian cats, there are several traits considered to be special to the breed, including their long-haired coat, ears that appear much larger than other cats and their facial expressions.
For Persians, some traits (like the flatter nose) have been increased through breeding over time to give the Persian its characteristic flat-faced look that almost mirrors that of a Pekingese dog – this is why some Persian cats are referred to as being peke-faced: That’s the “peke” park.
14. Breeders are discouraging these accentuated traits.
The Persian’s appearance of a flatter face and nose is part of what makes the breed look the way it does – but it’s true that over time some of these characteristic traits of a cat’s breed can become a problem for the rest of the breed.
When this happens, it often leads to very serious health issues with cats – usually things like sinus issues or bone density problems that result from a direct breeding effort gone wrong. This can even happen to the Persian, especially in cases where they’ve been bred to accentuate features like the flatter nose – and this is why breeders have started to discourage the accentuating of these features.
It’s accepted that the Persian has to be bred carefully in order to avoid over-accentuating the wrong features and causing later health issues, and this has led to a considerably effort to cut down on health issues the breed will experience.