Everything You Need to Know About the Persian Cat

Posted by Katherine Ripley

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The Persian cat sits on the throne of its household.

The Persian cat is one of the oldest cat breeds, seen depicted in hieroglyphics as early as 1684 B.C. They are called Persians because they were first brought to Europe from Persia (modern-day Iran) in the early 1600s. But no one can be sure exactly where they originated.

These longhaired cats became favorites of royalty, like Queen Victoria. And Persians made their American debut in the early 19th century.

The Persian is by far the most popular breed of cat. They are gentle and sweet and have a regal personality. They typically spend their time perched on a pillow, on the couch, or in their owner's lap, as if they are sitting on a throne.

Did you know? Persians have always been bred to have a round head and a short face.

This breed is a lot of work.

Persians require a lot of care because of their thick, beautiful coats. But they tend to be low-energy animals who crave quiet affection in a secure, serene home.

Daily grooming is important! Their long, flowing coats must be brushed daily!

According to VetStreet.com,

"The Persian needs regular baths to stay clean and sweet-smelling. Introduce these longhaired cats or kittens to bathing as soon as you bring him home so he will hopefully learn to accept it readily. Blow the coat dry (using the lowest heat setting to avoid burning the cat), combing as you go."

As far as health issues go, Persians have hereditary health problems that can be a concern. They include polycystic kidney disease (PKD), bladder stones, cystitis (bladder infections), and liver shunts.

A great resource for questions is the Cat Fancier's Association.

These flat face cats are frequently seen at cat shows! VetStreet.com also talks about the show Persian. At a cat show, this long-haired cat will have a round head enhanced with a thick ruff, small ears, a flat nose, big round copper eyes, a broad, short body and a thick, flowing plume of a tail. These are generally white Persians.

But there are many varieties beyond the white Persian cat! Blue Persians are the type Queen Victoria loved.

There are also brown Persians! "The Brown Tabby Persian Cat Society was one of the very first purebred cat fancier clubs in Great Britain, and was established to promote the Brown Classic Tabby in Victorian times," explains PetWave.com.

Modern Persians are medium to large in size and stocky, and with short thick legs.

If you're up to the challenge with daily grooming and frequent bathing than the longhaired Persian is the cat breed for you. Regardless of which coat colors you choose - whether you're a fan of the white Persian, blue Persian, brown Persian or you prefer the show version, these cats have such sweet expressions. It is no wonder people fall in love with their small ears, soft coats, beautiful eye colors, and that flat face!

Just remember, despite their beauty, your Persian cat does not need to be entered into a cat show. It's enough that you share your love of this cat breed with Queen Victoria!

Be sure to watch for the health problems included in this article with your vet. You'll want to catch the signs of possible kidney disease (polycystic kidney disease) well in advance of this disease developing. Ask your vet any questions about the daily grooming routine and what this should consist of as the vet techs can also assist with advice surrounding bathing your Persian cat. And the techs can answer questions about the litter box if this is your first cat. Our staff understands what a challenge this can be! The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) is also a great resource to turn to for questions about this cat breed, their heritage and what the modern day Persian should look like if you're talking to a rescue group or breeders.

Interesting fact: The Persian cat breed was first noted by Pietro Della Valle, who decided to introduce the posh breed to Europe.

Hover over the image for more information.

General Appearance

The most distinctive features of the Persian cat are its long, thick coat, and its short, almost flat nose. Persians also have large round heads and round eyes.


The Persian is a medium-sized cat with a short, stocky body. It is difficult to tell exactly what its shape is when it is covered by so much hair, but its body is quite sturdy and surprisingly muscular.


The Persian cat's muscular body is supported by short thick, legs, with large, round paws. They are not fond of jumping and climbing and prefer to keep their feet planted on the ground.


A Persian cat's nose is so short that its face is almost flat, and it appears to have chubby cheeks. It also has small ears, and big round eyes. Its head is supported by a short, thick neck.


The Persian cat breed includes a wide variety colors. Some are only one solid color and some are two or three colors, while others may even be striped like tabbies. All Persians have thick, long coats which need to be brushed every day. These cats should be kept indoors to keep their coats clean and healthy.


Because of their flat faces, Persians are more susceptible to breathing difficulties, dental problems, and certain eye problems.


Persians are docile and quiet cats who prefer calm and quiet home environments. They are affectionate towards their owners but are usually not friendly to strangers. They are not particularly active, and are perfectly content to sit in your lap or on the furniture for hours.

Body image: Vet Street

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Everything You Need to Know About the Persian Cat