persian cat

Persian Cat

A complete breed guide for Persian cats

Last Updated 17 AUGUST 2022

This breed profile is written by Pet Circle Veterinarian, Dr Katelyn Bailey BVSc (Hons)

This regal breed is a household favourite that's beloved by many, and it's easy to see why! These calm, dignified cats offer great companionship and enjoy regular bonding time with their humans. Whether you already have a Persian or are looking to add one to your family, read on for everything you need to know about these luxurious cats.


Facts About the Persian

History of the breed

Physical Characteristics


Nutritional Requirements

Common Health Problems

Fun Facts

Further reading

Facts about the Persian

persian cat lying on bed
Place of origin: Life expectancy: Other names:
Middle East 12 to 17 years Longhair
Energy level: Tendency to vocalise: Coat colours:
Low Low to Moderate Variable
Coat type: Size: Coat markings:
Long-haired double coat 3.5 - 7kg Variable
Shedding factor: Overall grooming needs: Eye colour:
High High Generally copper; some colour varieties can have blue eyes

Persian History

The Persian is thought to have originated in the Middle East, more specifically in Persia (now Iran) and Turkey.

In the 1600s, two different European travellers independently brought groups of these long-haired cats from the Middle East to Italy and France and began breeding them. Over time, a range of coat colours and patterns emerged and the breed became extremely popular.

By the end of the 19th century they were seen as the ultimate 'luxury' cat, admired and coveted by many for their regal appearance.

Persian Physical Characteristics

persian cat
persian cat
persian cat

Persians are heavy boned and 'cobby', with thick, sturdy legs and a broad chest. Their small, round ears and widely-spaced eyes often give them a permanent look of surprise. Their facial features are noticeably flattened, resulting in a short, broad snub nose that rivals that of their brachycephalic canine cousins such as the Pug and French Bulldog. Needless to say, this predisposes them to multiple health conditions.

Though the Persian is a medium-sized cat, its long, luscious coat (which can reach lengths of over 10 centimetres!) can make it look much larger. The Persian has a double-layered coat- a thick, 'woolly' undercoat and a top coat of long guard hairs which often has a little extra length around the neck. Thorough daily grooming is a must for these cats as they shed year-round and their fur can easily become matted. Some Persian owners choose to get their cat clipped in summer, particularly in warmer climates, to reduce the risk of overheating and heat stroke.

Top Grooming Products for Persian Cats

Persian Personality

Persians are known to be one of the most placid cat breeds, making them the perfect 'lap cat'. They value a calm, predictable home environment which makes them ideal for quieter households and an indoor-only lifestyle.

These cats tend to be sweet-natured and undemanding and form close bonds with their two-legged family members. A timid breed, they aren't the most welcoming of outsiders and strangers, but with patience and understanding can be taught to accept new people and pets.

Persians are happy to spend most of the day lounging around monitoring the goings-on of the household, but when the mood strikes they also enjoy playtime and zoomies around the house! They enjoy their independence and are comfortable being home alone. Food puzzle toys are a good option for Persians as these can be explored in their own time, without rush or fuss, providing a great enrichment tool for these intelligent cats.

Top toys and accessories for Persian Cats

Persian Diet and Nutrition

ginger persian cat

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Persian Kittens

If you're interested in purchasing a Persian kitten, it's important to check with the breeder whether there is any familial history of inherited health conditions. For more information, check out our article on How to Find a Good Breeder.

The Persian cat is a unique breed, but is still taxonomically within the domestic feline species, so their nutritional demands don't differ too much from other cats. It's recommended to feed a premium kitten food up until 12 months of age.

From 12 months onwards, controlled amounts of a high-quality adult diet are recommended. As Persians tend to be less active they can easily gain a little extra weight, so it’s important to measure their daily portions carefully. You can also consider a 'Light' or 'Indoor' formulation which can help with weight control. If your Persian has issues with hairballs, a premium hairball control diet would also be a good option.

Dry food is beneficial for maintaining good dental health, while wet food helps to ensure your Persian is well-hydrated, so in a healthy cat we recommend feeding a mixture of both.

Top dry foods for adult Persians

Top wet foods for adult Persians

Persian Health Concerns

Persians are predisposed to several health conditions. As some of these are genetic, it's recommended to always choose a reputable breeder and ask whether their cats have been screened for inherited diseases.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

The muzzle and face of the Persian is much flatter than that of other cat breeds. This results in Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, which is characterised by a narrow, shortened airway which can lead to issues such as noisy, congested breathing, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, snoring, and even complete airway collapse in some cases. These issues are further exacerbated by hot weather and obesity. Surgery (which involves removing excess tissue at the back of the throat) can help to improve signs greatly in affected individuals.

Polycystic kidney disease

This is an inherited condition in some Persian cats and involves the presence of multiple fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys. These cysts can grow over time and interfere with kidney function and this eventually progresses to chronic kidney failure. Signs of kidney disease include loss of appetite, vomiting, and increased drinking and urination. This condition is best diagnosed via blood tests and ultrasound and while there is no cure, early diagnosis often offers the best prognosis.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

HCM is a cardiac disease that is believed to be inherited in some lines of Persian cats. It causes excessive thickening of the walls of the heart, which reduces the effectiveness of the heart's contractions and eventually leads to heart failure.

Signs of heart failure may not be apparent in the early stages of the disease, however as the condition progresses and the heart function deteriorates signs such as rapid breathing, lethargy or loss of appetite may develop.

Unfortunately, heart disease in cats can be difficult to recognise or diagnose and sometimes the first sign is severe illness or even sudden death. An echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) is used to confirm diagnosis and may also be performed as a screening tool in at-risk cats.

Tear duct issues

Due to their flattened facial features, Persians often have underdeveloped tear ducts which impede tear drainage, resulting in excessive eye discharge that can stain the surrounding fur a brown colour. Regular cleaning of the eyes is essential, and in some cases the tear ducts may need to be flushed under anaesthesia.


Entropion is a condition that causes the eyelids to roll inwards, resulting in painful contact of the eyelid with the eyeball itself. Common signs include squinting, increased ocular discharge, frequent eye infections and rubbing at the eyes. In most cases entropion is treated surgically.

Persian Fun Facts

grey persian cat

  • Known officially as 'Longhairs' in the UK and each coat colour is classed as an entirely different breed!
  • The Himalayan breed is closely related to the Persian and was created by crossing a Persian with a Siamese. This achieved the desired result of a pointed longhair cat.
  • Queen Victoria owned multiple blue Persians and was said to be a huge admirer of the breed.
  • One of the most popular cat breeds in the world

Where you've seen them before

The Persian is commonly represented in movies and TV shows, most likely due to the popularity of the breed as well as their placid nature which may make them more suited to a filming environment. Unfairly, Persians (and cats in general) are often depicted as 'evil' on screen which, as cat admirers know, is far from the case!

Popular Persians in media:

  • Mr Bigglesworth from Austin Powers
  • Crookshanks from the Harry Potter series
  • Mr Tinkles in Cats and Dogs
  • Snowbell in Stuart Little
  • Princess Carolyn in BoJack Horseman

Further Reading

Want to read more? Check out our other articles:

Games you can play with your cat

Hairballs in cats

Grooming Your Cat

Teach your cat to walk on a lead

Dental care for cats

How to tell if your cat loves you

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