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Getting To Know The Persian Cat | Figo Pet Insurance

Getting to know the Persian cat

If you are looking for a beautiful, Old World cat—with a spectacular coat and a reserved, happy-at-home personality—the Persian may be the ideal breed for you!

Origins of the Persian Cat Breed

As its name implies, the Persian’s origins span to Mesopotamia, where the breed was known as the “Shirazi cat”—named for the city of Shiraz, a cultural and literary center in what is now southern Iran. First introduced to Europe around 1620 by Italian traveler Pietro della Valle, the breed quickly gained popularity. At the time, Eastern breeds like the Persian and Angora were referred to simply as “Asiatic cats;” but by 1871, the breed appeared at the first organized cat show in London. A favorite of England’s Queen Victoria, the Persian quickly became a fixture in many upper and middle-class European households.

The Persian’s Physical Description

The Persian is a medium-sized cat, weighing on average 7 to 12 pounds, and has a stout build with short legs and plush, long fur. Though the original Persians were smoky gray, decades of breeding have resulted in a wide variety of colors—including black, peach, tortoiseshell, and calico—sometimes combined with white. The bred standard for Persians includes a round head, small ears, large eyes, and a snub nose. The mouth of the Persian resembles an inverted “V,” which can give them a grumpy expression that belies the breed’s sweet and reserved personality.

Personality of the Persian

Persian cats are known for being sweet and loving but not gregarious or mischievous. With their short legs, they’re not prone to high leaps, so you’re not likely to find your Persian perched atop the fridge when you return home from work. The Persian is happiest as an indoor cat and enjoys gentle play. Due to its reserved personality, the Persian bonds well with family members it trusts, but it tends to steer clear of raucous play, loud noises, and rough handling. While they do get along with other pets or young children, Persians prefer environments that are quiet and routines that offer little variation. 

Common Health Issues of the Persian

The Persian has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, though decades of breeding for certain characteristics have placed the Persian at risk for a few specific disorders. The breed’s snub nose can cause breathing problems, and the small mouth can cause the teeth to “crowd” or fit poorly together. Persians are also prone to runny eyes and to disorders related to the “third eyelid” (also called the nictitating membrane), which can be managed by your vet.

Persian Care and Grooming

Persians are known for their luxurious coats—but this beauty comes at a price. Daily brushing and regular bathing are a must to prevent mats and tangles. When it comes to litter pans, Persians tend to be “neat freaks.” And if the litter pan isn’t kept clean and fresh, your Persian may protest by choosing to do her business elsewhere.  

We hope this fact sheet helps you decide of the Persian is the ideal cat breed for you!


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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