Persian Breed Highlights

A fluffy white Persian cat with two different colored eyes

  • Persian cats have been around quite a while and are one of the oldest cat breeds, with hieroglyphics of these long-haired beauties dating as far back as 1684 B.C. Originating in the Middle East, they made their way into Italy in the early 1600s and into Britain in the late 1800s.

  • Persians were ranked as the 4th most popular cat breed in the United States in 2018 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

  • The breed is known as the Persian Longhair in most English-speaking countries but also is known as the Iranian Cat or the Shiraz Cat.

  • As a flat-faced, or brachycephalic breed, the Persian has a harder time keeping itself cool due to those cute flat noses. For this reason, they are prone to overheating and owners should take care to keep their coat brushed out and provide plenty of cool spots to rest.

  • According to many breeders and owners of Persians, the males of this breed tend to be on the more affectionate side, while the females act a bit more aloof.

Unique Physical Features

Persian white cat illustration

  • Round everything! Persians have round eyes, face, and body.

  • Flat face (also called brachycephalic)

  • Thick neck — often described as having a “linebacker” body

Unique Personality

Persian white cat illustration

Truly the aristocrat of the cat world! A Persian is sweet and affectionate but has a playful side too. Often you find these kittens entertaining themselves with a balled-up piece of paper, but they’ll happily engage in playtime with their people, especially if you have a cat toy they can chase. The Persian might be a bit reserved when meeting new people and might hide when there’s lots of activity in the home, but will warm up if given a little time and space to check things out on their own terms.

Preferred Lifestyle

Energy Level

Cat breed energy level - high (ninja warrior)

The Persian breed is the quintessential lap cat. They love affection from their people but won’t harass their guardians for attention. However, they are rather high maintenance when it comes to grooming. Because of their long coat and gentle nature, they are best suited for an indoor-only lifestyle. Even though Persians love to nap, they also keep themselves entertained by playing with the simplest of toys between sleeping sessions.

Average Lifespan
(Range)

12 to 15+ years

Average Size
(Range)

Medium to large-sized cats
7 - 15 pounds

Similar Breeds

History of the Persian

A small grey fluffy Persian kitten relaxing on a couch

The Persian cat was a treasure in the ancient world, highly valued by those in the Persian empire and said to have been smuggled out of what is now modern-day Iran with spices and jewels. Hieroglyphics dating back to 1684 B.C. depict these longhaired cats, but it wasn’t until 1620 A.D. that the breed was introduced to Europe, with a Persian imported into Italy from Khorasan, Iran, and an Angora (a closely related cat breed) into France from Ankara, Turkey. Their beautiful long coats and unique features made them favorites of the aristocracy. Louis XV owned a white Persian, and Queen Victoria (an avid dog-lover) also favored the Persian cat breed.

In 1871, the first cat show was held at the Crystal Palace, and the long-haired cat breeds were a crowd favorite, especially due to their exotic features and origins. The Persian breed standard was refined in 1889 by Harrison Weir, the organizer of the first cat show. After a few decades of nitpicking regarding the differences between the Angora and the Persian, the breed standard remained relatively unchanged. That is until the late 1990s and early 2000s when points were added to address the flat face and muzzle shape. While standards call for a more extreme flat-face, the general public seems to prefer a more visible muzzle and less extreme features, which is also healthier for the breed. Persians have played a role in the creation of more recent cat breeds, such as the Exotic Shorthair and the Himalayan, as their long coats, round faces, and cobby bodies are a desired trait in more breeds.

In 2018, the Cat Fanciers’ Association ranked the Persian as the 4th most popular cat breed in the United States.

Plays Well with Others?

Persian cats are mellow and fairly tolerant of others. They can be quite playful on their own or with their people between naps. These cats are easy-going around other animals and children, but care should be taken with young children who may want to grasp handfuls of the Persian’s full, fluffy coat. Socializing kittens when they are young can help create positive associations with different people and animals, which will benefit them throughout adulthood.

Graphic - multi-color feather toy for cats

Exercise Requirements

The Persian needs exercise to keep from becoming overweight, and their love of play makes it easy. They especially like chasing toys, so using a fishing-pole style toy to entice them to run and pounce will do wonders to keep them in shape.

Mental Enrichment Needs

While Persians are intelligent, they’re often not as inquisitive as other breeds. This being said, all kittens and cats need mental stimulation to keep their minds active and sharp! Simple food puzzles can be enjoyed by cats who are food-motivated and rotate toys regularly to keep them from getting bored. And interactive wand toys with prey-like lures can give them an opportunity to act like the predators they are.

Fun Activities the Persian Enjoys

Persian kitten illustration

  • Make sure to provide your Persian with plenty of comfortable napping and perching locations. Window beds and beds placed near their human companions may be especially enjoyed. These kitties have a tendency to retain their heat, so cooling mats will be appreciated in warmer weather.

  • Easy food puzzles for cats who like treats can be a fun activity. Turn simple objects in your home into food puzzles - empty toilet paper and paper towel tubes, ice cube trays, muffin tins, tissue boxes, empty water bottles, and small food tubs with lids can make for cheap and easy containers for treats.

  • Self-play toys like mice and balls with bells can be batted around. Anything that can be thrown and chased can be fun for your Persian!

  • Wand toys with prey-like lures are great for all breeds of cats and their guardians. Giving your cat a simulated “hunt” is fun, healthy, and promotes bonding between cats and their people.

  • While Persians should be kept inside for their safety, their easy-going nature may allow for walks outside either in a harness or in a pet-stroller.

VETERINARIAN TIP

Never leave your cat alone near an open window that doesn't have a secure screen. If it's on the first floor, your cat can get out of the house and get injured, lost or any of the other possible problems that outdoor cats face on a daily basis. If the window is on the second floor or above your cat is at risk of suffering from severe injuries of "high-rise syndrome," and you don't even need to live in a true high-rise building. The injuries of "high-rise syndrome" tend to be worst in falls from between the 2nd and 7th floors!

Coat Type

Long, dense coat

Shedding Level

shedding level - 4 of 5 piles of fur

4 out of 5 piles of fur

Grooming Requirements

  • Daily Maintenance
  • Professional Grooming Required
  • Seasonal

The Persian’s coat is thick and multi-layered. Daily brushing is recommended to keep the fur and skin healthy and to prevent matting and furballs. The Persian also tends to shed more during seasonal shedding periods and will benefit from more frequent brushing during these times. Some Persian owners prefer to have their cat bathed and groomed professionally to help with the upkeep.

The flat face of the Persian requires frequent cleaning to prevent infections from developing in the skin folds and keep them comfortable. Brachycephalic cats are less tolerant of upper respiratory infections, in that their respiratory system is already compromised and infection/inflammation worsens it. Be very observant and proactive with keeping your cat's nostrils clear of any discharge should a respiratory infection set in. As with all cat breeds, Persians also need regular nail trimming and teeth brushing to stay happy and healthy. Introduce your Persian kitten to these experiences at a young age, keeping the experience calm and positive.

Famous Owners of the Persian Cat

  • Martha Stewart (Lifestyle Expert)

  • Cee Lo Green (Singer)

  • Miley Cyrus (Singer/Actress)

  • Kate Beckinsdale (Actress)

  • Kim Schlapman (Singer)

  • Millie Bobby Brown (Actress)

  • Marilyn Monroe (Actress)

  • Florence Nightingale (Nurse)

  • Raymond Chandler (Author)

  • Alia Bhatt (Actress/Singer)

Famous Persians

The cats featured in the portrait, "My Wife's Lovers"

Persians in Books, Movies and TV

  • Mr. Bigglesworth was originally a Persian (before he and Dr. Evil were put in the cryogenic chamber) in the Austin Powers movie

  • Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s cat in several of the Bond flicks

  • The Fancy Feast commercial cat

Non-Endorsement Statement: The social media posts displayed here do not imply any endorsement of these people or products, nor does it imply they endorse Trupanion or our product.

Common Health Conditions for Cats

Use the chart of Trupanion claims data below to find out what health conditions happen most frequently for cats. Every cat is unique, but understanding what health conditions are likelier to occur can help you be a more prepared pet owner.

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Here's what our
cat-loving members say about Trupanion

Trupanion member Rexford

Rexford

Gwynn Oak, MD

Condition: Urinary obstruction

The Trupanion policy paid: $19,031.43

"When my cat, Rexford, became ill, it was a great relief knowing I had Trupanion. It allowed me to focus on Rex and get him the care and treatment he needed without worry. Rexford required multiple surgeries and extended hospitalizations; to know that we had the support of this wonderful company was such a comfort. I will never have a pet not covered by Trupanion."

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Trupanion member Gator

Gator

Calgary, Alberta

Conditions: Ear infections, diarrhea, enteritis, allergic reaction to medication

The Trupanion policy paid: $4,672.13

"Gator struggled with a weak immune system, ear infections and chronic diarrhea. After months of medical intervention, she was healthy enough for her spay. At the beginning of the procedure she had an allergic reaction to the medication and her airway swelled. She had to receive emergency drugs and luckily she recovered! We cannot thank Trupanion enough for being with us. I will always have Trupanion for my cats."

- Heather M.

Trupanion member Mason

Mason

Peyton, CO

Conditions: Giardia, Pancreatitis, infection, lymphoma

The Trupanion policy paid: $17,057.92

"Mason got what seemed to be a UTI but ended up being an intestinal disease. He has also been treated for giardia, trichomonas, irritable bowel disease, pancreatitis and a UTI. Throughout this entire ordeal, Trupanion stood by us all the way. Trupanion continues to pay for Mason’s care and when I call, I get such personal service! I even got a handwritten card from the staff, expressing their thoughts for Mason!"

- Carrie B.

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