The Persian cat breed is one of the more popular cat breeds in the world. Persian cats once occupied the cat breed’s pole position with the most notoriety in the USA and England. They are still very popular and in great demand. Persian cats are purebred and have a long history with humans. This might get you wondering what the origin of Persian cats is?
Persian Cats Characteristics
There are various characteristics that distinguish the Persian cat from other cats. But the most pronounced is its scrunched face. Interestingly, Persian cats have not always been flat-faced (technically known as the peke face). This unique characteristic started in the mid 20th century (the 1950s, to be precise) through genetic mutation to a litter of kittens. This characteristic, which was distinct and very appealing at the time, urged cat lovers to opt for the peke face beauties.
Let’s take a deep dive into other peculiarities of the Persian cat.
Another telling characteristic of the Persian cats is the length of their fur coat. The Persian cats have abnormally long fur. Their body hair is divided into two layers. The short(fluffy) skin and the long smooth hair. This characteristic of the Persian cat makes them need grooming from time to time to prevent matting of their fur. It also makes petting and carrying them desirable.
Another characteristic of the Persian cat is that they are wide-eyed and come in different fur colors. Their wide eyes make them so adorable. The richness in the color of their fur coat makes them very exotic and one breed that people use to exude class.
They have long bodies. Among all the known domestic cat breeds, Persian cats have the most extended bodies. Added to this is that they are quiet cats. Persian cats rarely speak or communicate except for some occasional meows, mostly when they are hungry.
Persian cats can have discriminating characteristics. This might come as contradicting to their docile and well-mannered nature. Although Persian cats can sit on a person’s lap for hours on end and they enjoy being petted, they are very picky when it comes to who they trust with all these. This should not come as a surprise, though, as most cats are self-content. Persian cats are good-natured, but they are at the same time discriminating.
Persian cats, like most purebred breeds, tend to carry hereditary ailments. The most common of this ailment is a polycystic kidney disease which tends to shorten their lifespan. There is a general agreement that the flatter the nose of a Persian cat, the higher the chances of it being faced with health issues. Well taken care of Persian cats can live more than a decade, though.
Origin of Persian Cats
The origin of the Persian cat is something of a mystery. But they recorded that Persian cats were first documented in Italy. It was imported from Persia (currently known as Iran) by an Italian musicologist known as Pietro Della Valle.
The Persian cat, also known as Persian longhair, Iranian cat, and Shirazi cat, has been around for a long time. Their origin is somehow hard to trace because there are no recorded longhair offspring of the African wildcat.
The Persian cats we know now are not initially what would have been called a Persian cat. The traditional Persian cat does not have a scrunched or flat face. The conventional Persian cats have a little bit protruded nose, large cute eyes, and round cheeks. They got the nickname doll-face from this characteristic.
The flat face came from a mutation of kittens born in the 1950s. They became famous when cat lovers decided to opt for the scrunched face because of distinctiveness and some sense of eccentricity about them.
Variants of the Persian Cats
The Persian cats have a lot of variants. This is because the Persian breed has been cross-bred with different cat breeds. The five widely accepted variants of the Persian cats are four: The Himalayan breed, the Sterling and Chinchilla Longhair, Exotic shorthairs, and Toy and Teacup sizes.
The traditional Persian breed is commonly called “doll face.” They have wide eyes and a bit protruded snout than the Persian show breed and a round face. They are called traditional cats because they look like the oldest recorded images of the Persian breed.
The traditional Persian is a variant itself because of the number of Persian breeds available. But it is considered the original Persian breed, and it is commonly kept as house pets. This is because they tend not to suffer ailments common to the peke face Persian.
The Himalayan Breed: This is the most notable of the variants of the Persian cat. It is a cross of the Persian breed and the Siamese. One outstanding feature of the Himalayan breed is its blue eyes. The Himalayan breed is not as docile temperamentally as the Persian breed, but it has the Persian cat’s longhair characteristics.
Sterling and Chinchilla Longhair: As the name implies, this variant of the Persian cats because of their fur color. They have a silver fur coat. On the other hand, the Chinchilla longhair is variant with a bit of bit protruded nose compared to the Persian breed.
Exotic shorthairs: This is a crossbreed of the Persian breed and the American shorthairs. This breed was brought about because the American shorthair wanted to improve their breed. The modern-day Exoctic shorthairs have inherited almost all the Persian cats’ characteristics except for the long silky hairs.
Toy and Teacup sizes: Some breeders have been able to breed minor variants of the Persian cats. They are generally called Toy and teacup sizes, and significant registries do not recognize them as a different breed of cat. They are pretty costly and even costlier to keep.
The Cat Fanciers Association categorized the Persian cat breed type into seven using their colors as criteria. They are Himalayan, Silver and Golden, Smoke and shaded, Tabby (Classic, patched and Mackerel), Bicolor, Particolor, and Solid.
Why Choose Persian Cats
Persian cats are reasonably popular amongst cats. There is a reason why cat lovers opt for them, though. Apart from their unique characteristics, there are some other reasons cat lovers adopt Persian cats. Some of them are:
Awesome Lap Nappers: Persian cats are known to feel at home on people’s lap. The remarkable thing is they are even this way with visitors. While cats’ general mood is aloof, the Persian breeds tend to be more home with humans. While these cats enjoy being played with and petted, they also exude a relaxing feeling to those who own them.
Docile Temperament: Persian cats are known to be very docile. Different breeds of cats have different temperaments. For those that love their cats not being too energetic, then the Persian cat is perfect for you. Persian cats are naturally relaxed. They may seem to be aloof, but they are homely and almost always welcome petting.
Independent breed: All cats are known for their aloofness or moodiness. The difference with the Persian cat is that it does not demand your attention every time. They are
An Exotic Breed. Persian cats are one of the few purebred cats. Although they have variants that may have toned down their natural characteristics, they remain an exotic breed. Persian cats have been owned by the rich and famous in the past because owning them signals class. Owning a Persian cat these days is still class.
Their rich fur comes in different colors, and they are still one of the purebred cats to own. A Persian cat breed can be costly to maintain. They need daily grooming and bathing. Also, they shed their fur quickly. And because of their history with hereditary kidney diseases, they need to be taken to the vets quite often.
But despite this, Persian cat owners have found that keeping this breed is worth it. And it is because they exude such homeliness that their owners always look forward to seeing and petting them. Because of the need for daily grooming, it is pretty easy to bond with your Persian cat.
Persian cats are widely regarded as royalty among cats. They are unique both in their behaviors and their looks. They make for the best pets when you are particular about non-energetic cat breeds.
As for every cat, the Persian breed has its pros and cons, but you cannot take away the Persian cats’ regality and class. We might not know where they are from originally, but we are grateful for being introduced to these classy beauties.