History of the Persian cat:
The Persian is one of the oldest known breeds of cat. The early history isn't entirely known although it is generally accepted that the early cats came from Persia (now Iran) and Turkey. Italian traveller Pietro della Valle (1586 - 1652) is credited with bringing the first Persian cats back to Europe, arriving in his homeland of Italy in 1620 with them.
By the 1800's the Persian had become a popular breed in Europe and the first Persians arrived in America in the late 1800's. In the Harpers Weekly supplement dated January, 27, 1872 there is an illustration of several feline exhibits from the London Crystal Palace show, including an Persian cats. See pictures below.
Appearance of the Persian cat:
Early drawings (see above) and photographs of the Persian show quite a different cat to to the Persians of today. The images below are taken from Country Life in America dated September, 1908.
The Persian is a heavy boned, cobby type with short, thick legs with large paws. Persians are well muscled and medium to large in size. They have a short, thick neck, large shoulders and a broad chest. It has a short tail which is in proportion to the body.
It has a large, broad head with large, round, expressive eyes set wide apart, small round tipped tufted ears which are set low on the head and wide apart. The nose is short, with a stop (or break) centered between the cat's eyes. The overall expression is sweet and sometimes described as "pansy like."
Persian cat temperament:
Persian cats have a sweet and gentle nature. Typically they have a laid back personality. They are an affectionate breed and enjoy the company of their carers.
Persians are a quiet cat, easy going and generally get along with other pets and family members although boisterous children should be avoided.
Persian cat colours:
Persian cats come in a multitude of colours, including solids, smokes, tabby, bi-colour and van. Some colours have been given their own breed name including:
Himalayan which is a pointed Persian.
Chinchilla which comes in silver or golden.
Persians require daily grooming to avoid knots and mats in their coat. This will only take a few minutes per day.
Some Persians may have runny eyes, these can be gently wiped clean.
Due to their flat faces and heavy coats, some Persians may have problems during hot weather and they are best keep indoors.
With their gentle and laid back temperament, the Persian is suited to almost any family, although families with young children should seek advice from Persian breeders before proceeding. They will require daily grooming so it is important that the family has time to ensure this is done to avoid knots and mats. If the coat does become knotted/matted then a professional will be required to fix the problem. Not only is an unkempt coat untidy but it is also extremely uncomfortable for the cat. So it really cannot be emphasised enough that proper attention be paid to the coat. If done daily, it will only require 10-15 minutes of your time.