Breed: Persian Cats
Temperament: Placid, affectionate
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Recommended for: older children, adults
Persians are a heavy-boned breed with a stocky body on short, thick legs. Their eyes are large and round in a flattened face. They have long dense fur. Solid-coloured Persians may be black, white, blue, cream, chocolate or lilac. Eyes should be deep copper. White cats are, however, allowed blue eyes or one blue/one orange combinations.
Persians have a placid, affectionate yet independent temperament. They are content to laze around the house and are not normally nervous or skittish. They generally are very friendly, approachable cats which tend to keep to themselves a good part of the time.
Persians are one of the world’s most popular cat breeds and are available in a wide variety of colours and coat markings. Solid-coloured Persians, however, are believed to have been the original longhaired cat although it’s unlikely the breed originated in Persia. The breed has been exhibited for more than 100 years in the United Kingdom and was one of the first purebred cats brought to Australia.
While the beautiful, fluffy coat of the Persian is often the main attraction for potential owners, it does require considerable maintenance.
The average pet owner should allow at least ten minutes every day to thoroughly brush their pet. The cat should also be bathed weekly or fortnightly, beginning while still a kitten to familiarise the cat with the process. After bathing the cats need to be dried; most breeders recommend using a hand-held blow-drier which would take about an hour.
Alternatively, pet-owners can have their Persian’s coat clipped. An experienced breeder can teach you how to do this yourself, or you can have it done by a professional cat groomer. This should reduce grooming to 15-20 minutes every couple of weeks and bathing once a month.
If the cat is neglected even for only a few days, the coat can become tangled and knotted beyond help. This then necessitates the administration of a general anaesthetic by a veterinary surgeon who will then shave the cat. Professional clipping costs around $35 and three visits a year would probably be necessary.
Most potential health problems concerning Persians apply to the eyes. As the breed has large, round eyes which protrude, they are more susceptible to eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, as well as eye injuries or irritations.
Runny eyes are often seen in Persians and breeders recommend wiping them twice daily with a soft, clean cloth or tissue. It is possible to select a kitten without this problem from a reputable breeder.
The flattish face of the Persian can also result in some facial distortion such as twisted mouths, undershot jaws and misplaced teeth. It is recommended that potential buyers see the parents of the kittens and examine the mouths before buying. Again, reputable breeders should be willing to show buyers the parents of the kittens and be frank about any potential problem.
As with most cats, and especially longhaired breeds, fur balls can be a problem. Adding fish oil or similar to their meals once or twice weekly is recommended as well as regular brushing to remove loose hairs.
Deafness is known to be common in white Persians with blue eyes. While blue-eyed whites are more likely to be deaf than other colours, deafness is also known in dominant white Persians with orange eyes, and in one blue/one orange-eyed cats.
Kittens are not born deaf but the hearing deteriorates in the first two-three weeks after birth. While most kittens found to be deaf are culled, breeders often say they can make good pets as long as the owners don’t let them outside to roam. These cats are claimed to be more affectionate and more devoted to their owners.
Persians live between 10 -15 years.
Breeding and litters
Persians have an average litter of between 3 and 5 kittens. Due to the cobby build of the Persian kittening problems can occur and it is not a cat recommended for the inexperienced breeder.
Breeders recommend a diet that includes raw meat, tinned fish, grated cheese as well as vitamin supplements. Breeders estimate it would cost about $7 a week to feed a Persian.
Persians are suited to life either in a flat or house and most are content to laze around looking decorative. The long coat means that there will be hair left on furniture, especially when the coat is being shed. A scratching post is recommended as is a pot of grass for Persians without access to a garden. They also prefer a window ledge where they can sit and see what is going on.
The Persian’s placid nature means it’s unlikely to be temperamental or destructive once mature but kittens can be expected to get up to their share of mischief.
Persians are the ideal cat for someone willing and responsible enough to commit themselves to the daily grooming routine. Breeders we spoke with do not recommend the Persian as a pet for young families with children or full-time working couples who may find pressures of family life or work mean that the cat will not be groomed each day.
Persians are often sold to older adults who are either living alone, or who have a grown-up family and time to spend on the cat. Many retired people, too, are suited to Persians, however, people with arthritis may find the daily grooming too demanding.
If you would like a cat like the Persian but would find the grooming too much bother, you might consider lower maintenance cats. Semi long haired cats such as the Turkish Van, the Birman and the Ragdoll do not require much in the way of grooming.
For further information:
ACT Longhair Cat Club
Phone: (02) 6248 5195
Capital Cats Incorporated
Joanne Duffy – Phone: (02) 6258 7402
Leslie Roberts – Phone: (02) 6231 6538
Longhair Cat Association
Secretary – Coral Cummings
Phone: (02) 4758 6405
Queensland Feline Association Inc
Secretary – Mrs Valerie Harney
Phone: (07) 3260 6575
Cat Control Council of Tasmania
Secretary – Ms T. Plumbridge
Phone: (03) 6344 6464
* For NT and WA inquiries contact your
state’s cat control council.
Feline Association of South Australia Inc
Secretary – Mrs Betty August
Phone: (08) 8532 3314
Persian Breeders Cat Club
President – Bill Mansell
Phone: (08) 8268 1553
The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy of South Australia Inc.
Secretary – Nell Evans
Phone: (08) 8449 5880
Longhair Cat Club of SA Inc
Mrs O Rogers
PO Box 87
Daw Park, 5041
Phone/fax: (08) 8468 1938
Feline Control Council of Victoria
Phone: (03) 9281 7404
Pedigreed Persian Club of Victoria
Secretary – Mrs Fitzgerald
Phone: (03) 5783 1564