Section 1 – PERSIAN – Group 1
The ultimate glamour puss which can be found in a huge array of colours and patterns. The Persian cat is one of our oldest breeds and evokes images of distant historical Persia and Turkey. Its long, luxuriant, flowing coat comes in a myriad of colours and its pansy-like face with big round copper, green or blue eyes is open and sweet. It has a short sturdy body and short legs like little tree-trunks to support its massive build.
Don’t be fooled by their good looks! Persians are extremely intelligent and this helps them adjust easily to both the home and the show scene. They communicate with you with their expressive eyes and expect you to understand their wishes – they will also look at you incredulously when you misunderstand them, after all you are supposed to be intelligent! The Persian is the most popular breed of pedigree cats in the United States, and the sixth most popular breed in the UK.
While the history of the Persian breed is mainly unrecorded, we do know it has been around for centuries. The exact origins will never be known but we do know that the first cat shows in Britain included Persian cats. These early cat fanciers defined the standard that was to give the Persian its modern look. The early Persian descriptions sounded very like today’s description: round head, short face, snub nose with stop, round full cheeks and a cobby body with a deep full chest.
Persians are medium to large cats with well-developed muscular bodies. They are short and cobby with little short legs. This powerful package is the epitome of massive – with the massiveness coming from musculature over the powerful body rather than overall size. Their heads are round with open sweet expressions earning them the comparison to the beautiful pansy. The ideal Persian has a head as round as a ball and a square body balanced by a short thick tail. Huge round eyes light up the face and the snub nose has a break centred between the eyes; the round skull should be as high above the nose as the round chin is below it. The long, luxuriant coat is the hallmark of the Persian. The glamorous, dignified Persian comes in a wide array of colours so choose your favourite and enjoy a delightful companion – but be prepared to spend the time grooming your new addition. While tangles and mats are unsightly, they are also uncomfortable for the cat and can tug at the skin. They can also be painful to remove so care should be taken if one is found. Adding an engaging Persian to your world will add an extra splash of glamour to your home with this very special gentle companion. As mentioned, there are many different colours and patterns of Persian cat, varying only in their coat colour, markings and eye colour. The colours and patterns can be classified as follows: Self Persian – These varieties are all one colour e.g. white, black, blue, chocolate, lilac, red or cream – all with orange eyes although you will also see blue-eyed, orange-eyed and odd-eyed white Persians. Colourpoint – This variety has the coat pattern and blue eye colour of the Siamese. Chinchilla, Golden, Pewter, Smoke, Cameo or Shaded Persian – These varieties have coats which are coloured at the tips and varying eye colours and includes Chinchillas and Golden Persians which both have beautiful green eyes. Tortoiseshell, Tortoiseshell & White and Bi-Colour Persian (Dominant and Dilute Colours) – These varieties have mixed colours and patterns with or without any white. Tabby Persian – These varieties have tabby patterns in various colours (including silver).
The Persian has a sweet, gentle nature and blends easily into most households as they become comfortable in their new home. They are creatures of habit and prefer a calm atmosphere and gentle handling. They are happy to be combed and petted by children but are unlikely to join in boisterous games with them. They have quiet, musical voices but communicate mainly with their large expressive eyes. They like the security of the ground and are unlikely to be found leaping to the top of bookcases to explore the high ground. They eagerly play with a toy or a teaser but are equally happy to drape themselves decoratively in a favourite spot! The Persian cat will not demand your undivided attention but it will relish your attention when are ready to lavish some time on it. These are gentle cats that are comfortable in their own homes whether you are there or not – but will also be happy to see you when you return. Persians have a gentle, laid-back temperament and make excellent family pets. However, they will require regular grooming to keep their coat free of knots and in good condition. This need not be an onerous task; five or ten minutes careful combing each day will ensure your Persian looks good and feels comfortable.
The Persian is both hardy and vigorous. As with all longhaired cats, the coat requires continuous care to ensure it is free from tangles and matting does not occur. Cat food can sometimes be a problem as it may stain the bib – especially with the messy eaters! The coat needs daily combing with a metal comb to prevent tangles that can develop into mats and to remove loose hair that could result in hairballs. An occasional bath is recommended and the routine should be established early with the young kitten. Many Persians love their bath once accustomed to it. After a towel dry to remove a lot of the moisture, the coat needs to be combed smooth as you gently blow it dry. Use conditioners to prevent the coat from drying out. Eyes should be wiped daily as the large eyes can attract dust and other irritants that may cause the eye to run. A female Persian cat weighs 6 to 12 lbs and a male Persian cat weighs more than 12 lbs. A Persian cat usually lives 15 years or more.
The modern brachycephalic Persian has a large rounded skull and a shortened face and nose that may cause some health problems. This facial conformation may make individuals prone to breathing difficulties, skin and eye problems. Conscientious breeders are, of course, aware of this and selectively breed to avoid these problems. Persians can carry a gene that leads to kidney failure (called autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease) through the development of cysts in the kidney. This condition was found in more than a third of all Persian and Exotic shorthaired cats in the 1990s when screening tests became available. Using DNA screening, breeders are now working to try to eradicate the problem – always ask the breeder to show the PKD certificates for the cats used to produce your kitten. The GCCF Persian Registration Policy includes mandatory testing for PKD for breeding cats registered on the Active Register from 1st January 2016. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is also present in the breed, but there is a DNA test for this condition, and hip dysplasia is seen more commonly than in many other breeds.