Cat Breed Profile: Persian

Persian cats are gentle, beautiful animals with a history that includes hieroglyphics dating back to B.C. times.

Persian cats are sweet and affectionate but require regular grooming. By: Magnus Bråth/Flickr
Persian cats are sweet and affectionate but require regular grooming. By: Magnus Bråth/Flickr



Physical Description

Persians are medium-sized, longhair cats with tails almost as wide as their bodies. They live an average of 15 years, but some have lived for more than 20 years. Their colors are varied and come in solid and multiple colors.

Some of them are silver, golden, shaded, smoke, tabby, particolor, bi-color and himalayan. Their flat faces have large, round eyes, and the eyes can appear in a variety of colors.


These treasured cats originated in Persia, which is known as Iran today. Although they are believed to have been brought back from 17th century European explorers and later exported to the United States, hieroglyphic evidence exists that dates back to 1684 B.C. The Persian is one of the most popular cats and regularly appears in cat shows.


Persians are sweet, gentle cats that can be playful or quiet and laid back. They are great with families and children. They also adapt well to new surroundings and are OK with busy or boisterous households.

Exercise Needs

Persians should be kept indoors due to their coat quality and sweet demeanor. The outdoors can present dangers this gentle cat is not prepared or equipped to handle. Their physical activity should be similar to that of most cats (sleeping long hours, playing, running and jumping). Contact your veterinarian if you notice a decrease in activity or mobility; this could be a sign of a health issue.

Grooming Requirements

Persians should be brushed daily to remove dead fur and minimize tangles or mats. They should be brushed and have their nails trimmed before being given a bath. Occasionally baths are not uncommon for Persians, and acclimating them at an early age will make the process easier.

Trim the cat’s nails as needed (usually once every week to two weeks) and clean the ears and teeth to promote good overall health. Declawing is not recommended.

The eyes need to be cleaned regularly. Their fur is prone to staining and can build bacteria. View this video to see how one owner cleans the eyes:

Common Health Problems

The Persian is a relatively healthy breed not prone to illness or infections any more than other breeds, but their large eyes need regular cleaning and attention. Because of their shape and placement they can stain and may present an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Keep this area clean to avoid future problems.

There is some discussion and current studies looking into the genetic inheritable of kidney disease in Persian cats. Diagnosis might be easiest through ultrasound, and bring your cat to the vet if you notice depression, frequent urination, weight loss, lack of appetite or drinking water excessively.

Is the Persian the Right Cat for You?

Persians are sweet and affectionate cats that should be kept indoors. They don’t mind a full house or active kids, and they will usually hide when they need some quiet time. They do need to be brushed daily and have their eyes cleaned as needed, so there is a commitment to grooming with this breed.

If you get one as a kitten, they may have issues with consistently going to the litter box. These gentle cats are pretty relaxed, but if you already have cats you can prepare for your new addition. If this is your first cat, don’t forget to clear the home of poisons. With a little preparation and commitment to keeping your Persian healthy and happy, they will reward you with affection and companionship.

Adopt, Don’t Buy

If you consider getting a Persian for your next pet, please check adoption resources — even purebred animals end up in shelters. Try Petful’s adoption page. (Select the “Cats” tab.)

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