Last updated: September 26, 2017
There are cats and then there are – well, CATS! Some are smooth and shiny like Bengals, some are sleek and coal black, and some are stripey with bad attitudes! All cats are gorgeous, but some are more gorgeous than others! And among the cats who are at the pinnacle of gorgeousness are the Persians! They win paws down at any feline beauty contest, so you can’t help but adore them! That’s one of the reasons they are the most popular cat breed in the world today. Read on!
Table of Contents
- Part 1: Persian Cat Facts and Information
- Part 2: The Personality of Persian Cats
- Part 3: Grooming Persian Cats
- Part 4: What is the Best Food For Persian Cats?
- Part 5: Persian Cat Life Expectancy and Health
- Part 6: Experts are Sharing their Experience with Persian Cats!
Part 1: Persian Cat Facts and Information
History of Persian Cats
Persians, also known as Longhair, Persian Longhair, Shiraz and Shirazi are one of the oldest cat breeds in the world. Their actual origin is lost in the mists of time, but they have been around for centuries, having appeared in Mesopotamia, which became Persia, which became Iran. In fact, records show they were imported from Iran into Italy around 1620 by Pietro Della Valle, an Italian traveler. The first cat shows, around the end of the 19th century, already included them.
Breeders at this time were developing the features that we know today in modern Persians, namely the round head, snub nose and a short face with chubby cheeks. Their bodies are cobby with short thick legs, and their tails are short in comparison to the body. However, since the end of the Victorian era breeders have been pursuing exaggerations of these characteristics, with rounder heads, more turned-up noses and more heavy-set bodies.
Persians are medium to large cats, weighing around 7-12 lbs (3 – 5.5 kg), but look bigger because of their long thick fur coats. Persians and cats from places like Turkey, Afghanistan and thereabouts were called ‘Asiatic’ cats until this time and were frequently interbred. They became very popular and were the darling pets of many households because Her Majesty Queen Victoria loved them! (A celebrity endorsement indeed!) At the beginning of the 20th century, Americans began bringing in Persians from the UK and they achieved popularity all over the world. Today they are the world’s best-loved cat. (I wonder why?)
There is basically only one type of Persian cat; that is to say, if you breed two Persians you will get a litter of Persian kittens! Within the broad definition of ‘Persian,’ though, there are seven different types.
Bicolor: Bicolor means ‘two colors’ and the most noticeable characteristic of these cats is that they have one other color in their coats apart from white, like lilac, chocolate, cream, red, or black. The legs are usually white.
Himalayan: The Himalayans started with a Siamese and a Persian and can be described as a sub-breed of the Persian. They are a man-made variation, which means that unlike the parent breeds, which are natural, this division of the breed has come about through human manipulation.They have all the characteristics of a Persian with the coloring of a Siamese and are among the most desirable of all Persians.
Silver and Golden: Oh! What a cat! If I were a cat I’d want to be this one. Basically white, this cat has silver and gold tips on each hair. It’s almost angelic and you can’t really believe it’s real! Because it is SO amazingly gorgeous it’s pretty hard to find, and very valuable. I’m saving up for one.
Shaded and Smoke: This coloring is absolutely stunning! It consists of a darker shade of gray over an undercoat of cream or white. This is a color combination unique to Persians and makes cats of this color division among the most desirable of the breed.
Tabby: The tabby pattern is not exclusive to Persians, of course. I have one lying at my feet right now and he’s a European Shorthair. True tabbies have agouti hairs, which means that each hair is striped in a banded light-dark-light sequence. Tabbies come in different patterns and colors – mackerel, patched and classic. Unfortunately, they are not the most sought-after cat among the breed because the relative abundance of the tabby pattern makes them less desirable. Poor tabbies!
Particolor: This is usually a tortoiseshell, which means that it’s basically a black cat with spots of red and other colors sprinkled liberally throughout. Because it’s a very glamorous and exotic pattern, it’s very sought-after.
Solid: This is pretty much a no-brainer! This cat has one solid color all over, and if there is a shade lighter or darker on any part of the body then it’s not truly solid. The white one has copper or blue eyes, or even one of each! If it’s not a pure white Persian, it will have green, blue, or copper eyes – beautiful!
Sadly, no. Boo-hoo! Hypoallergenic cats are those which have less of the Fel D1 protein and Fel D4 protein in their dander, although there is no cat breed that is 100% hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, the Persian has the same amount as any other allergy-causing cat. Persian kitties need quite a lot of grooming, which means there will be a lot of dead skin cells flying about. If you’re allergic to cats then perhaps the Persian is not the breed for you. Sorry! Try a Bengal or Cornish Rex instead…
Types of Persian Cat Faces
There are two types of Persian Cat faces – the breed standard, and non-standard. All responsible breeders of any type of purebred animal always breed to the breed standard, and that’s because their goal is always to improve the breed and to make sure there is a continuation of their chosen breed. That’s why the responsible breeders do not purposely breed “pet” quality animals, ever. Yes, you can get lower noses sometimes, but that is not the breed standard. And, as breed standards are decided by the pedigreed cat registering associations (CFA, TICA etc), breeders have to embrace those decisions!
As for the Persian cat face formation though, there are the Peke-type Face and the Doll Face! The Peke-face came into being via a genetic mutation in the 1950s and was declared a separate breed, but due to multiple health problems, the idea was abandoned. The Peke-type face looks just like that of a Pekingese dog – flat and snub-nosed and is probably the type of face that comes to mind when you think of Persian cats. The doll face is round and full, like the Peke-faced cats, but they don’t have the snub noses and their faces are not quite so flat. However, they are both EQUALLY adorable!
So how long will your Persian cat be around? Persian cats live about fifteen to seventeen years, so they have plenty of time to delight you!
Names for Persian Cats
In my quest to find the best-loved names for Persian cats I surfed a few websites, and I found one that had the results of a survey of 78,000 cats. These are the favorites.
I love them all, and I know what my favorites are! If I were acquiring a Persian cat tomorrow I would call my girl, ‘Sassy’ and my boy, ‘Simba.’ (The Swahili word for ‘lion!’’) If only…!
Of course, whatever you decide to call your fluffy, beautiful, precious kitty, it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re both happy, and the best way to keep any cat happy is to love, love, love him! (And keep a comb handy!)
Part 2: The Personality of Persian Cats
There are many advantages to owning a Persian cat. If you want to knit yourself a sweater, all you have to do is brush your kitty and take the hair off the comb for a month! He can double up as a furry blanket in the winter. You can use him as a draught excluder. And lastly, you can use all those millions of gallons of his bath water to water the garden. But what kind of a cat lives behind that impossibly cute Persian face? Let’s find out.
The nature of Persian cats is, as a rule, totally laid-back. They are usually gentle, sweet, and do not behave like mischievous Maine Coons or Bouncing Bengals. They are more likely to be found gracefully decorating a favorite chair, bed or sofa, posing artfully to show themselves off to best advantage. They rarely get into mischief, but underneath all that luxuriant fur they are still cats, those ruthlessly efficient little predators who have never quite lost their inner savage!
Occasionally, like any other breed, Persians will have to be shown who is the boss. This means that one of you is the boss and it’s not him! Persians can be every bit as naughty as your average moggy, and the best time to discourage any little ego trips is when he’s young. If he’s brought up to know and obey the rules from kittenhood onward he’s more likely to be a personable, sweet, obedient boy.
‘Hello! I’m over here! Can I have an hour of your time please?’
If your Persian is constantly meowing, it may mean that he’s looking for a bit of petting or playing time. Your cat may occasionally ask that you drop whatever vitally important mission you’re on so that you can come and shower him with affection and attention. There is a time and a place, however, and that means that he should wait till his ‘official’ playtime at some time during the day that suits you (and not just him!) When you hear him meowing for no good reason, unless it’s an urgent emergency – ignore it – he’ll soon get the message!
Even though they are couch potatoes most of the time, Persians still have their fair share of energy to expend, and they can’t do it all by themselves, now, can they? If you schedule an active play time for him it will mean that he has less time to sit around and think ‘what evil can I get up to now?’ Persians are not particularly badly behaved cats, but they do have their moments! They’re not really very loudly spoken, either, more of the ‘speak when you’re spoken to’ sort of cat, so when they are demanding attention for no good reason other than that they want to be petted and cossetted, get them out of the habit or you’ll live to regret it! Because of their cobby bodies and relatively short legs, they are really not the most athletic of animals, but if they feel strongly about it, they can heave themselves onto a table or counter top. This is BAD behavior and needs immediate correction.
The best way to do this is to catch them red-handed, then you can issue a quick “NO!” or some other word of command that will send them scooting back onto the floor. Of course, this isn’t always possible. You can’t follow him around ‘just in case,’ so I have occasionally given mine a little assistance, if I find him up on the table, with a small push, because cats always land on their feet anyway! There are a few other things you can try, such as putting double-sided tape or a shallow tray of water on the table. We all know cats just HATE getting their feet wet! You can also use a motion sensor alarm, which makes a little hiss when the cat passes by it. As we said before, your cat will learn by repetition.
My cat used to scratch on my bedroom carpet, and I used to throw a pillow at him. Now all I have to do is hold the pillow up before he gets started! He may also learn bad behavior by the same method, so the more you give in to him, the more he will expect you to. I know this from bitter experience! Your Persian may be lovely, gorgeous, adorable and fluffy, but believe me, he knows exactly how to twist you round his little claws, so start as you mean to go on and resist all his charms!
Are Persian Cats Friendly?
Does the sun rise in the east? Is snow cold? Are cats better than dogs? Of course, Persians are friendly! In fact, they are one of the top ten friendliest cat breeds ever. With their sweet, docile nature and penchant for snuggling up to their favorite person, they are among the most affectionate of breeds. They are stately and kind, gentle but not really shy. They don’t talk a lot, but their meows are quite musical and gentle.
Persian As a Family Cat Breed
Some Persians can actually be quite mischievous, and love interacting with their owners at playtime. They do well in most types of households, even those with active, boisterous children, as long as they are occasionally left to themselves to think happy thoughts! They need loads and loads of love and always like to be with people and other animals. When left alone they are likely to suffer from separation anxiety, such is their need for company. They enjoy the companionship of other household animals and do well with children. Like all cats, Persians have to have a set routine to make them feel secure. They don’t like abrupt changes in any of their owners’ habits and, though they can gradually suit themselves to different ways of doing things, it takes them a while to get used to it. They do best in a quiet environment with little stress. They are definitely not athletes and prefer to spend their free time grooming themselves or napping. (What a life!)
The Persian is one of the best breeds for apartment living, due to the fact that it doesn’t need a lot of exercise and won’t use your couch as a trampoline like some other breeds I could mention! If, however, you have a lock-up-and-go lifestyle and spend a lot of time outside and at work, perhaps the Persian is not the cat for you since it thrives on human companionship and misses you when you’re away. An apartment is fine for a Persian as long as he has someone to keep him company, but it’s not an ideal world, and this may not always be possible.
How to Tell If Your Persian Has Separation Anxiety
Persians just don’t like to be left alone, and that’s a fact. He can’t speak, so he’ll tell you in many other ways that he misses you badly. He may become your shadow; anywhere you go, he’ll go too. When you go out, he may wander around looking for you, cry, mope, and stop eating. He may abandon the litter tray, pee on your bed or whatever place you habitually occupy, be sick, lick himself bald or start damaging furniture and carpets by scratching. He isn’t being spiteful or getting revenge. He’s simply asking you to stay, and expressing his feelings of rejection and loneliness in the only way he knows how. Believe it or not, this makes him feel better.
If you are going to move with your cat into an apartment or a small house, catify it! This means making your home into the kind of space your cat will enjoy living in, especially if he has to live with other cats or without your company for some of the time.
Each of these suggestions caters for your cat’s need to hunt, stalk and kill (they really are little barbarians!)
Let him work out how to get his food out of a puzzle feeder. This should keep his brains occupied for hours!
Get a cat tree. Cats love to climb and look down on the world, and height gives them status. He can watch whatever is going on around him from his lofty perch.
Keep the TV turned on to a wildlife channel so he can watch all the animals he can’t eat! You can even – I kid you not – get special cat videos!
An aquarium with plenty of fish swimming around can provide him with a lot of distraction by activating his hunting instinct since cats are stimulated by sudden movements. Just make sure that there is no way he can get into it or topple it over, though. Every cat’s dream is goldfish for lunch!
If all else fails and you can’t change your environment or job, you may have to seek the advice of your vet, who may wish to prescribe some antidepressants. This is, of course, a very last resort!
Needless to say, when you get home a HUGE fuss must be made of your beautiful Persian cat because after missing you all day, he really needs to know you still love him – because he still loves you!
Life Lessons From Two Persian Cats
Oh! If only Cats could speak.
My God, how embarrassed we’d be
When we heard what they really thought-
about you and me!
(Frank J. Ryan Junior) 2017
This poem was written about two Persian Cats. Persians are definitely part of the feline aristocracy, with their gorgeous fur stoles and the cutest faces ever! However, as with any high-born member of society, they are fairly high-maintenance (but absolutely worth the effort!) so let’s see how to keep that fur coat in the style to which it’s accustomed!
When do Persian Cats Shed Their Coats?
All the time, as any Persian owner will tell you! Shedding in cats, (including Persians) surprisingly enough, is controlled by the amount of daylight the cat receives. Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom has arranged it thus: a normal wild or outdoor cat needs to shed its coat twice a year. The stray or feral cat, and your own cat, if he spends a lot of time outdoors (or you can’t afford central heating!) will hardly shed at all during winter, because he obviously needs that lovely furry blanket to keep him warm in the dark cold winter days. Cats will naturally drop their winter coat in spring when they no longer need its protection, and the length of the days is longer.
You can keep control of your cat’s shed fur by constant brushing and combing. This also gets rid of nasty icky dead skin cells and hair and makes sure that kitty’s skin and fur in tip top condition. This also means that because you are helping him to shed by mechanical means, he will not need to do it quite so much naturally.
There are cats who need next to no brushing. The Cornish and Devon Rex and the Sphynx breeds have such short hair that brushing (unless you really get a kick out of it) is unnecessary. Sadly, the Persian is not one of these low-maintenance cats. As well as taking care of residue from their coats, brushing also lessens the number of hairballs and keeps you on the alert for parasites and other nasty skin irritations. It also gives you quality time with your lovely Persian. The purring will deafen you! Persians, with their long, thick fur, should be brushed every second day AT LEAST, but preferably every day. Bathing should take place every week or every fortnight.
The best way to brush them is very slowly and carefully, doing only short spells at first. Wide tooth combs, smaller flea combs, and a greyhound comb (coarse/medium) are a must for Persian cats. Try to avoid a brush or slicker brush as they do not do anything but remove healthy as well as dead hair. Give him food treats (not too many) at first till he gets used to it. As he becomes accustomed to it you can make them longer and more thorough, which will eventually result in less shedding. Always work in the same direction as the hair grows, but if you find that it’s really snagged and knotted, you may have to (boo-hoo!) cut it off. If you have a really bad matted, tangled coat, go to the vet. Trying to get this stuff off may hurt them and damage their skin, then you won’t have a very cooperative cat next time! Cats’ skin is very thin and delicate, and so are cats’ feelings, so if you hurt either or both of them – need I say more?
Can I Shave My Cat to Stop Shedding?
The short answer is yes, but it really isn’t a necessity. How much shaving you do and which style you choose depends on you and your cat. (Persians are funny, fussy creatures. New ‘do’s’ have to be handled with the utmost delicacy!) Many Persian owners opt for a Sanitary Clip, which is fairly self-explanatory. This means shaving the area around kitty’s genitalia. The long fur on a Persian cat traps excrement and scraps of litter – yuk! – around that area, so you’ll be doing your cat a favor!
You don’t need to completely shave him. Just cutting the hair back a bit in the summer will make him more comfortable and keep him cooler, but you will still have to do the same amount of brushing – sorry! And the hair will still fall out at the same rate – it will just be a bit shorter than before, and you’ll find that the number of hairs hasn’t decreased – just the length! So if you thought that trimming would lessen your labor – oops! Sorry to burst your bubble – it won’t… even if you shave or cut kitty’s fur you’ll still have to comb him!
Persians, because of the peculiar structure of their faces, suffer a lot from weeping eyes, and great care has to be taken in cleaning them so that they don’t suffer from eye infections. Even if they don’t, if the eyes drain continuously he will get an accumulation of sticky brown matter underneath his eyes. Clean his eyes with a clean damp cloth twice a day (it goes without saying that you should NEVER use soap!) There are also commercial products you can buy specifically for this purpose. If you think the tears are becoming a problem, see your vet.
Persian nail Trimming
Your cat will need to have his claws clipped every fortnight or so. Try to start this as early as you can, preferably during kittenhood. They don’t enjoy it much! You can buy cat nail clippers at pet accessory shops. Hold one paw in your hand with your finger underneath the claw you want to trim. Squeeze very gently. Now cut the nail just before the claw curves down. That way you should avoid the quick (vein in the nail.) If you’re at all unsure, get the vet or her assistant to show you how to do it properly. However, if you decide to try yourself, keep some styptic powder handy just in case, to stop the bleeding. Try to get one with a painkiller (benzocaine) in it.
Persian Cat Ear Cleaning
It’s best to restrain your cat for this operation, since he really won’t enjoy it much, so wrap him in a towel. Clean the ears with a medicinal wipe that you can buy at your vet, or with a special liquid ear cleaner. You can pour this into kitty’s ears then massage them at the bottom. (He’ll like this bit!) This should get rid of infections or ear mites but see your vet first if you’re doubtful.
All cats suffer hair loss due to many factors: fleas, allergies, bacterial infection, over-grooming, stress, hormone problems, fungal infections, and obesity. Persians can sometimes inherit a condition called feline idiopathic seborrhea, which causes the cat’s hair to fall out. This condition, unfortunately, is incurable, but it can be managed. Your vet will do various tests such as chemistry panel, complete blood count (CBC), hormone analysis, skin scraping, bacterial culture, fungal culture and a skin biopsy. She will then prescribe medical shampoos and conditioners, and possibly oral medication such as vitamins, and, if necessary, an allergy medication.
Persian Cat Grooming Supplies
Persians need a lot of brushing, combing, and shampooing so that they can always look their aristocratic best! Different combs do different things, so let’s have a look at what’s on offer.
Remember to ALWAYS comb and brush the cat BEFORE his bath. A 7.5-inch wide-toothed metal comb will do most of the work of untangling. If you have long hair yourself you’ll know how to do the next bit! Comb from the skin downwards gently and slowly to the end of the hair, but if you encounter a knot, don’t pull at it. Supporting the knot with your fingers, gently ease it out with the comb. This is the comb that will do most of the bodywork, but you can use a smaller metal wide-tooth comb for the cat’s behind and back legs. It’s easier for both of you if he goes to the litter box and any little bits of – ahem – poop – get stuck to his fur, so use this comb to get them off. Comb the tail very carefully, using only the wide teeth and not the narrow.
Slicker brushes look a bit like old-fashioned carding combs for raw wool before it is spun. They can be either flat or curved, take care of all loose dead hair and should be used just before bathing.
The smallest of these combs is needed for his face and feet. This is often called a flea comb and can be used to get rid of debris around the face. This is for face and feet only and should never be applied to Kitty’s body!
You should bathe your Persian at least twice a month since they have the kind of fur that tends to become greasy. As anyone who is owned by a cat knows, they don’t take to water very much. In fact, unless they’re Maine Coons or Bengals, they positively loathe it! Talk to them much as you would a baby – softly and encouragingly.
Fill your bath or sink with warm (not hot) water to a depth of 4-5 inches. If kitty tries to struggle, grab him by the scruff of the neck and hold him firmly. This is the way Mommy cat transports her kittens from one place to the other, so it isn’t cruel, though it may be frustrating for the cat!
Soak the cat’s fur then, if you feel it’s necessary, degrease it with a tiny amount of diluted dish washing soap. Lather, then rinse till there is no more soap left. Then duck every bit of the cat (except its head of course!) under the water, so that the coat floats on the top. Dilute a cat-specific shampoo and apply as you did with de-greaser. Rinse every inch of the cat till there is not a speck of soap on it anywhere. Then dry it with a soft fluffy towel. Because of the de-greasing some of the oils have been stripped out of the fur, so you may want to use a moisturizing shampoo or hot oil treatment, in which case you’ll have to rinse again. (Bathing a Persian is not for the faint of heart!) Finally, wash the cat’s face with a very dilute solution of baby shampoo and warm water. You can now leave your spotless kitty to air-dry in a warm environment or blow dry it against the direction of the hair flow. If I were a Persian I’d LOVE this! Start with the upper front body, then sides, front legs and back. The whole back end should be attended to last when the grooming is nearly finished. This is when he’s most likely to become grumpy!
Ιf you have decided to take on the challenge of a beautiful but high-maintenance Persian, good luck, but in the end, he’s just a cat, and all you really have to do is love him!
Part 4: What is the Best Food For Persian Cats?
So you’ve brought home your beautiful, glossy, amazingly good mannered and placidly well-behaved Persian cat or kitten. What now? How do you make sure you have the right food to keep your Persian in the tip-top condition he deserves – after all, this glamor puss isn’t any ordinary moggy! Not every cat has soft silky hair that needs the best nutrition to keep it in optimum condition. You want to do your best for this De Luxe feline model, so how do you go about it? Let’s get a few pointers!
Commercial or Home Made?
There is a raging debate going on at the moment over the merits of home-made or commercial cat food. There are good arguments on both sides, so let’s take a look at them.
It goes without saying that you should feed your cat (of any breed) at the same time every day. Cats like routine, and this way you can monitor how much he’s eating, and whether or not he’s getting enough. If you have decided on the make at home option do your research first. This is not a venture to be embarked upon lightly since your kitty’s life depends on it! A cat is an obligate carnivore, which means that his diet MUST be high in meat protein. You may have decided to be a vegan/vegetarian/fruitarian but he will die without meat, and all the protein in kitty’s food should come from dead animals – sorry! That’s just the way Mother Nature designed cats. So you should be giving him beef, liver, pork, chicken, rabbit or fish every day. Liver is vital to his diet because it contains Vitamin A, which your moggy can’t manufacture on his own.
However, you need to rotate his food; he doesn’t have to have the same meat every day.
Cats need fat. It is vital to keep their bladder, kidneys, heart, and blood in good working order. It keeps his coat looking plush, and last but not least it tastes REALLY good! Kittens need about twelve to twenty-four percent (12% – 24%) fat in their diets. They also need the minerals phosphorus and calcium, with phosphorus about 0.3% more than calcium. Give him a calcium supplement to achieve this. Store bought cat food often uses bone meal, which is fine, but please don’t use the stuff you’d use in the garden! (Yuk!) Use only human-grade meal. You can even make it yourself by grinding up animal bones. You can also use eggshells. They are almost completely made of calcium carbonate.
All animals need water, and that includes cats. Change his water at least once a day, preferably twice, and clean his bowl thoroughly every week. Your home made cat food also contains water – about ten to thirty percent of the total weight. Lastly, carbohydrates. Carbs are not the enemy! Your cat needs some, but not much, in fact, less than ten percent.
Commercial Cat Food
You can divide commercial cat foods into two different kinds: shop bought and veterinary recommended. I tried the cheapest brand with my cat, and he ended up with bladder stones. Having gone onto a special vet-recommended brand he’s now fine! Most people won’t read the list of ingredients on the bag. I didn’t. I just bought the cheapest and the worst. Giving your cat a vet recommended brand means not taking any chances with your pet’s health, because it’s been specially formulated to meet all his nutritional needs, and you can buy one that caters for each age group. You wouldn’t, for example, give a kitten food to a senior cat, or vice versa. However, there is a perception that these foods are too expensive and don’t give value for money. Quite the contrary; buying cheap food for your cat is false economy, since it’s often bulked up with fillers to make your cat satisfied, but are nutritionally inadequate. Vet recommended foods are far better quality, so you actually need a much smaller amount and the food lasts longer. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s true. You also have the security of knowing that your cat is being better nourished for much less cost. A win-win situation indeed!
These are the options you can decide between but bear in mind that making your own cat food may be cheaper, but it’s time-consuming and the food has to be stored very carefully to keep it from spoiling. I would choose the vet’s brand anytime.
Another argument that’s going on is the one between feeding your cat wet or dry food. Each has its own pros and cons, but raw and canned food both have more water in them, and this is critical for the health of any cat’s kidneys. Persians, in particular, are prone to a disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD1) which makes it especially important for them to have moisture in their food and lots of fresh water to drink. Persians should never become dehydrated.
Persians have a unique jaw shape, so many of them find it easier to nibble on the smaller chunks of dry food and smoother wet food rather than chunks in gravy. This is trial and error; you will just have to let your fluffy buddy make up his own mind, however long it takes – Persians are very picky!
Best Foods for Persian Skin and Coat
So back we come to our gorgeous fluffy coats. A Persian would NOT be a Persian without that amazing coat, so how do we keep in in great shape? You can do all the careful grooming you want, but if your Persian puss isn’t eating right it won’t make a blind bit of difference! A large number of visits to the vet are caused by hair and skin complaints, and in many cases, it’s caused by bad nutrition and a poorly balanced diet.
Ninety-five percent of the protein in a Persian cat’s diet is used by his body to nourish and care for his hair and his delicate skin. (Whew! That’s a lot of protein!) This keeps it both healthy and beautiful, so you can imagine how important it is to feed him the right amount of it every day, but that’s not all he needs. The coat needs other minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids to preserve its shine and condition, but obviously, the main vital organs in the cat’s body need their share too. After these goodies have been safely dispatched to heart, lungs, and liver, the glands which produce sebum in the skin and coat get the rest. This is the essence of a Persian cat’s beauty, so try to get the best food you can afford which is full of protein. Become a label reader and ditch anything that doesn’t come up to scratch!
It’s also a good idea to give your beautiful little pal a few supplements every day to keep his skin and fur nourished and healthy.
A well-balanced supplement should have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which are absolutely free of impurities and in microencapsulated form. This will help the cat to absorb the nutrients better so they can get where they are going faster! Other vitamins and minerals which help fur and skin are copper, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Biotin, and Zinc. The vitamins are antioxidants; these and the minerals help to keep the coat’s shine and texture at its beautiful best.
Also, check out where the supplements are made. If they’re not made in a facility that manufactures supplements for humans how do you know they’re good enough? You want your Persian to have the optimum, after all, he isn’t just any old moggy! So make sure he gets the absolute best of what’s on offer. He deserves it! And it’s no good getting the best possible supplement if your cat can’t stand it. Make sure you get supplements that your cat will not only tolerate but actively look forward to. You know what fussy little so-and-sos they are!
What you need to feed your Persian cat depends on his age and general condition. Obviously growing and developing kittens need more protein to grow, more calorific food to help their development – and supply their boundless energy! It might seem a good idea to feed your cat with a food that is purported to be right for every age, but it isn’t. Too much nutrition in the formula may actually be bad for older cats who don’t need to grow anymore, and it may not be right for a kitten either. No matter what the age is though, avoid any diets with corn. This is a big no-no. They are not a good food for your Persian. A cat’s food should never have corn in it. To be on the safe side, it’s best to check with your vet about the proper food for every stage of your cat’s life. She knows best!
So keeping a Persian is a full-time job, but this sweet cat will more than make up for all the care and attention you lavish on him! He may be a beautiful glamor puss, but he is after all just a cat, and even though he’s a bit high-maintenance, all he really needs is love!
Part 5: Persian Cat Life Expectancy and Health
I don’t have a Persian cat, unfortunately… I say ‘unfortunately’ because my cat is very like Tigger from ‘Winnie the Pooh’! He never stays still! So if you’re a proud and fortunate Persian parent, count yourself among the most privileged people around, because you’re owned by one of the most gentle, beautiful, sweet-natured creatures on earth. And of course you want him to be around you as long as he possibly can, don’t you? I wish our cats could live forever. So for how long can we treasure them? Let’s find out.
Persian Cat Health Problems
This is a chronic and progressive condition which affects a lot of cats, not just Persians. The walls of the heart become thicker and the heart’s ability to pump blood lessens. Blood clots can migrate to other areas of the body, especially the hind quarters, and this may cause paralysis in the back legs. It’s mostly an elderly cats’ illness, but an inherited kind can affect very young cats and even kittens. Signs to look for include panting and wheezing, difficulty in breathing, sluggishness, and lack of appetite. If you take your cat for regular checkups, though, the vet can usually pick it up just by listening to his heart. He can then be put on blood thinners and other medicines to help get rid of excess fluid and improve the heart’s performance. In the meantime, keep the cat’s environment as calm and quiet as possible. Stress is very bad for him.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD1)
Sadly, this is one of the diseases to which Persians are particularly prone. It’s a hereditary condition causing multiple cysts in the kidneys, but has been pretty much eradicated through DNA testing. The cat is born with the cysts, which increase in size as he grows, and in the end, they will damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure. This usually happens in young adulthood but can manifest itself in older cats too. The cat loses weight, loses his appetite, has a coat that’s in poor condition and drinks frequently. Despite this, he’s often dehydrated. His kidneys become enlarged and he has mouth problems like ulcers, pale gums, and very bad breath. Blood and urine tests show poor kidney function and high toxicity levels.
The condition is incurable, so palliative care is the only treatment that can be given, and this should make him more comfortable. He may be given specially medicated diet food, antacids for his stomach, fluids for his dehydration, appetite stimulants, hormones and injections to help if he has anemia. If all else fails, a kidney transplant can be done, but this is expensive and not available in very many places. If you take this option, the cat will need immunosuppressants for as long as he lives. If this isn’t an option for you (and for most of us, sadly, it isn’t) the only thing you can do, as we said above, is to keep him comfortable, since the condition gets worse and worse and the cat dies from kidney failure.
Because of the Persian’s flat face and short jaw it has what is called a ‘Bracycephalic’ face. They have the same number of teeth as a normal cat but squashed into a much smaller space, and this often causes overcrowded, badly positioned teeth. Because of this, lots of yukky bacteria can grow in kitty’s mouth, causing gum disease, infections, and tooth loss. Infection can also spread to internal organs and cause more serious problems. Wrongly positioned teeth can stick into the opposite jaw, causing injury and badly worn teeth, painful eating and even stopping the cat from closing his mouth properly.
The symptoms are bleeding gums, bad breath, favoring one side of the mouth while eating, and tilting his head when chewing. Food may even spill out of his mouth. Problems are first picked up when kittens are losing their baby teeth. If the condition isn’t too bad, a strict regime of mouth hygiene must be observed. This means daily brushing and regular dental cleanings by the vet. You can also get mouthwashes and special chews which contain plaque-destroying enzymes.
The easiest way to correct things is often to simply take some strategically-placed teeth out, or shortening some teeth so that they don’t make contact with the wrong tooth in the opposite jaw when he closes his mouth, but this must always be done by an orthodontic-trained vet under anesthetic. Depending on how serious the problem is, for example, if there is a loss of actual bone, the cat may have to undergo long term therapy.
This is an abnormality which occurs when the lower jaw begins to skew sideways and can cause teeth to injure the roof of the mouth and the lips. It’s usually genetic, but it can be caused by injury, and you can imagine what a severe handicap this is to a poor cat! This condition can be treated by several means, such as repositioning the teeth with an orthodontic instrument or taking them out altogether. In serious cases, an operation may be needed. In most cases treatment is successful and kitty can live a normal life.
Idiopathic Facial Dermatitis
This isn’t, strictly speaking, just an eye disease, but affects your kitty’s whole beautiful face. It manifests itself as a black discharge from the eyes, redness, inflammation and bald patches. It’s chronic, meaning that it will probably last for the rest of the cat’s life. It’s not life-threatening but it can make kitty’s life miserable and is incurable although it can be managed with immunosuppressants and steroids, but it often gets worse as the cat gets older.
Ugh! This is a nasty one! Imagine that your eyelashes are rubbing against the surface of your eye. I can’t imagine anything worse! This is caused by the eyelid curling inward. It’s often inherited and can happen in one or both eyes in the upper or lower eyelids. It can be caused by a malformity which the cat is born with or an injury to the cat’s eye. If you see that he has red eyes, a discharge or is squinting, it can be an indication of this uncomfortable condition. Depending on how serious the problem is, and the age of the cat, this disorder can be treated surgically. In young cats, and in those in which the condition has progressed to ulcers on the cornea, the eyelid can be stitched back to keep it away from the eyeball so that it can grow properly. Thereafter it may need a second operation to take off any extraneous tissue. In very mild cases, when the only problem is an excess of tears, no intervention is needed at all.
Blocked tear ducts
(I’ve had those! Very uncomfortable!) these are usually caused by past infections or inherited malformities. The cat’s eyes water excessively, but this problem is preventable by keeping the eye area clean and dry. Ointments may be prescribed, but surgical intervention is usually a waste of time. The good news is that kitty is usually not too bothered by it and can usually just grin and bear it!
So, you want kittens? Well, who can blame you? They are almost lethally cute! But there are several things you need to take care of before you mate your male and female. Before you take your cats home you need to get a certificate from your breeder to prove that they are purebred Persians (you don’t want a little alley cat popping up in the litter!) Then ask if they are related, since breeding close relatives often invites genetic disorders. Do they have any history of any of the various diseases to which Persians are prone, such as Polycystic Kidney Disease? After you’ve had all these questions answered to your satisfaction, make sure that they have all their vaccinations in order, and have undergone any other checks which the vet recommends.
Your female, like any other cat, will go into season every two to three weeks, but she shouldn’t be allowed to mate till she’s at least a year old, when her body and mind have grown up a bit. Doing it before this is like a thirteen-year-old girl having a baby – she’s just not ready! Don’t force the male and female together. (When the time is right you won’t be able to keep them apart!) They will mate naturally if introduced to each other over the few days when your girl is in heat. It’s useless even attempting it if she isn’t – she will tell the boy where to go in very short order! This is where the expression ‘catty’ comes from!
Feel her tummy around three weeks after the mating has taken place. You’ll feel little kitten-shaped bumps inside her, and she’ll have enlarged nipples. She is well on her way to being a Mommy. At around sixty days she will go into labor and hopefully have a nice stress-free birth and a litter of healthy kittens, but stay with her. If there are any problems you may have to whip her off to the vet! You can provide a quiet place for her to nurse her family but the chances are she has already made her own arrangements, because she may not like yours! Just work with her – OK? She’s not trying to annoy you. Don’t worry if she keeps picking up the kittens and putting them in another place. This is Mother Nature’s way of keeping them from harm. In the wild, cats are small enough to be prey for bigger predators, and a newborn kitten is a nice little snack for a wolf or a bear – they can almost swallow them without even chewing! It’s Mommy’s natural instinct to move the kittens around so that those nasty hunters don’t know where they are. Again, respect her needs. When it comes to her babies, she knows best.
Persian Cat Life Expectancy
Persians are medium sized cats. They weigh between 7-12 lbs (3 – 5.5 kg) and their lifespan is between 10 and 15 years, although of course, some live much longer!
When I want to broaden my knowledge on any topic, I follow one bulletproof strategy:
Talk to the experts!
They don’t just share their opinion! They have decades of combined knowledge, research and experience! It’s their proficiency! On our case, we hunt down some of the most respectable Persian breeders and asked them for some insights for their beloved Persians! It wasn’t easy to convince them to find some time and share with us some of their empirical evidence with the extraordinary Persian! Breedings Persians is a 24/7 job when it’s done with love and care!
Here is what they shared with us:
Kelly Reeves from Divine Katz Persians
|I have been breeding Persian cats for over twelve years now and it has been a joyful and educational experience. I, like most people, was not aware of the fact that kittens like human babies, go through a teething phase.Young kittens begin growing their baby teeth at around two weeks old. In total, they will have approximately twenty-six baby teeth. And like human babies, they will lose their baby teeth to make room for their adult teeth. You may even notice their teeth around the house. Don’t panic, this is perfectly normal. They will continue to teeth up to eight months old when their adult teeth begin to grow in. As adults, they will have about thirty teeth.
Most people don’t realize it, but tickling a kitten or adult’s stomach in a rough or playful way teaches them to bite and scratch your hands. It might be cute when they are young, but extremely painful when they become adults.
Just like human babies, kittens will chew on just about anything to relieve the pain and discomfort that teething comes with, including your fingers. This is a crucial time for your kitten to learn that your fingers and hands are not for biting or playing with. If allowed to do so at a young age, kittens will grow up to become adults that bite and scratch when played with. I strongly advise families never to play with their new kitten or adult with their hands, but with toys instead. Human hands should be used to provide love and comfort, never for playing with and this is especially important during the teething phase when a kitten wants to bite and chew on everything.
Many cats that are taught to play this way by their owners at a young age end up in the shelters by no fault of their own. After all, no one wants a cat that bites and scratches.
Susan MacArthur from Pelaqita Persians
|I have been in Persians for 19 years now! I am passionate about the health of my pets; hobby vs commercial breeders, early spay /neuter, the declaw issue and so much more. Every time I come across something I did not know, whether it has happened to me or to one of my kitten buyers, I share it by writing an article about it for my newsletter which is why my website has grown and grown over the years.
I have always believed an informed pet owner is a better pet owner!
One little-known fact is that the lower nosed Persian has just as many issues with tearing (eye weepage) and breathing issues – despite the declaration of the breeders of cats that are not bred to comply with their registries Persian Breed Standard.
How do I know this? Because my first Persian was a doll-faced Persian Himalayan. I did not set out to breed Persians, I just wanted a pet. The breeder of my kitten told me there were no health issues with the doll-faced Persians like there were in the ones bred to the standard.
As I found out, that was a lie. The eye weepage and small nares (and sometimes the nasal passages themselves) are in the entire Persian breed whether they are breed standard or doll-faced! It varies from cat to cat how much eye weepage or breathing difficulty a cat has. I have tried very hard to get away from the small nares that produce the snoring, snorting and breathing difficulty in my Persians.
But, since it is in the breed, I can still sometimes produce a kitten with the issues.We still get lower noses sometimes, but we do not purposely breed for that.
The whole purpose of breeding is to “improve and preserve the breed”; it is not to sell kittens!
Every time you choose to breed a girl you are literally putting her life at risk. In humans, a pregnancy with more than one baby is considered a high-risk pregnancy. Cats and dogs usually have multiple babies too. The prolonged labor can result in uterine inertia; so human intervention is usually needed in larger than a two kitten birth or the Queen and babies could die.
A responsible breeder NEVER allows a Queen to birth without being there. Persians while the sweetest cats in the world, are not always the smartest bulbs in the pack and a first-time mom is always at risk of losing her entire litter if not attended to by the breeder.
I’d like to personally thanks both Kelly and Susan for sharing with us some portion of their passion! For more information don’t forget to visit their sites or on the dedicated page we created for their catteries, Kelly’s cattery and Susan’s cattery on our site!
Closing this long article for the Persian cats, I’d like to thank you for reading up till the end! If you loved it, I’d like to ask you to take a second and share it with all Persian enthusiasts, pressing the share buttons on the screen side! See you on the next article!