PERSIAN

By Jackie Jones

 

Credit for the Persian breed is generally given to Turkey, Iran (formerly Persia), and the neighbouring countries. Longhaired cats were associated with these countries from about the 16th century, and possibly earlier. During that period the first cats of this kind began to arrive in Europe. It is assumed that the long coat arose from a mutation in shorthaired cats that maybe were of Egyptian origin. The colder climates of Turkey and Iran certainly favoured such a mutation. The long coat aroused great interest among cat owners and made the cats more valuable. The ideal Persian should have : -

 Sweet temperament
Laid back

 Long, thick coat
Heavily boned

 "Cobby" body
Straight, short tail

 Large, round eyes
Small, flat nose

 Generally good with kids
Short legs

 Large, round head
Small, forward-tilting ears

 Glossary of cat terms:

 Bicolour :Half white and half another colour
Blue Point :Type of Himalayan; grey points and a light grey or beige body
Calico :White with red and black patches
Chinchilla Golden :Rich cream fur lightly tipped in black to create a golden appearance
Chinchilla Silver: White fur lightly tipped in black to create a silver appearance (The shading is darker on Shaded Silvers.)
Cobby Body :Sturdy, round, and compact body shape
Colour Point Carrier (CPC):The cat carries the genetics to produce colour point kittens possibly.
Cream :Lighter version of red
Dilute Calico :White with blue and cream patches
Exotic :With the ancestry of the British Shorthair and Persian, this cat looks like a short-haired Persian.
Extreme Face or Ultra type: A Persian with the standard look - the nose is smaller and positioned higher on the face
Harlequin :Mostly white with several large patches of colour
Himalayan (or Colourpoint) :Type of Persian; points of colour are found on the face, ears, legs, and tail.
Hybrid :Offspring of 2 animals from the two 2 different breeds
Lynx Point :Type of Himalayan; tabby points
Mitted :White paws
Pixie: Persians genetically produced to be smaller than the standard
Points :Face, paws, and tail shading to a much lighter colour on the body
Prepotent (Genetically) :Lines in question pass on their good traits; lines that can greatly improve a breeding program
Queen :A female used for breeding; the word "dam" is found on pedigree forms.
Seal Point :Type of Himalayan; dark brown points and a body colour anywhere between light brown and ivory
Self: See Solid
Smoke :Solid black or grey, but the roots of the hairs are distinctly white
Solid :Same colour all over; also known as Self
Stud (or Tom) :A male used for breeding; the word "sire" is found on pedigree forms.
Tabby :Stripes or spots
Torbie :A patched tabby; an established silver, brown, or blue tabby with patches of red and/or cream
Torbie Point :Patched tabby points
Tortie Point :Type of Himalayan; tortoiseshell points
Tortoiseshell :Randomly patched all over with red and black; also known as Tortie
Van: Almost all white with colour patches only on the head and tail

 


Ideal Weight

 

Cats ideally weigh between 7-12 lbs, but a vet can help you determine what your cat should weigh based on his/her bone size. Persians tend to be heavier than other breeds.

 

Life Span

 

According to vets, cats usually live 10-18 years. Typically, the life span of a Persian is 15 years and up. (I know someone who had a Persian that lived to be 22 years old!)

 

Persian Qualities
There are many different breeds out there all with different personalities. And it's important that the personality of the cat compliments that of the owner. Persians tend to be serene and laid-back. They are definitely beautiful cats, but their coats require a good bit of maintenance. Persians are commonly described as being quiet, dignified, and not too vocal. If these traits sound good, then a Persian is the cat for you.

 

The Truth about Grooming/Shedding

 

It seems like so many people ask: with all that long hair, aren't shedding and grooming a nightmare with Persians? The real answer: it depends. Consider human hair for a moment. It can be curly or straight, thick or thin, coarse or fine, and everything in between. Every person is a little different and so is every Persian. The type of hair, of course, determines how time-consuming your grooming duties will be as the owner. Some Persians have thick, woolly hair that knots up quickly. They require a daily brushing. (You might even plan to have him/her shaved once or twice a year as well.) Other Persians have sleek, silky hair that never tangles. They can get away with being brushed as needed.

 

Shedding also varies from Persian to Persian. The general consensus is that it's not as bad as one might expect. If you are good about grooming your cat regularly, you'll remove much of the excess hair that would otherwise collect elsewhere. Grooming gloves are handy to have. As you pet your cat, the gloves pick up the loose hair. More grooming tips are available.

 

Choosing a Persian

 

There are a few things you should decide before you start shopping around. Decide on the colors or patterns that you like most. Also, you need to know ahead of time whether you plan on showing your Persian. If you don't plan on showing, then you want a "pet-quality" cat. You should decide whether or not the age and sex of the cat matters, too. Once you get a feel for the kind of Persian you want, talk to a vet and see if he/she can recommend a Persian cattery in your area. Most likely, the vets in your area will know which catteries are best known for producing healthy, well-adjusted animals. Another option is to visit a cat show, and talk to judges and exhibitors.

 

Be aware that many catteries out there are in it just for the money, and as a result, they produce inferior cats. So be on the lookout for sickly kittens who will no doubt be prone to a lifetime of health problems. Before you get to the cattery, go ahead and make a list of questions to ask. Most breeders will be glad to see that you're responsible and have the cat's best interest at heart. Once you're there, pay close attention to the health of the kittens and the living conditions. Does the breeder seem concerned about the kitten's future home or more interested in making the sale? Be sure to find out how the cattery handles contracts. Most catteries include contracts as part of the transaction. And it's a good thing because it usually includes details on their return policies.

 

Another option is to find a Persian rescue organization. Rescue groups keep Persians that have been abandoned or lost. You can also check with your local humane society or animal shelter - sometimes Persians end up there. Not only would you be getting a new kitty, but you would also be saving a life.

 

Regardless of where you get your cat, you may want to pick up a book/guide on owning a Persian. It can't hurt to bone up on Persian health and grooming.

 

Dealing with Breeders

 

It is very important to do some homework before deciding on a breeder. If possible, you should visit the cattery to see first hand the environment in which the cats are being raised. You will want to observe whether the cats are kept in the home or in cages. Find out how long he/she has been breeding Persians and if you can meet the kitten's mother and father. Do not be afraid to ask the breeder lots of questions - they should have plenty of questions for you, too.

 

Definitely get lots of health information. Ask the breeder if he/she provides a written health guarantee (and for how long). Also, find out if there is a veterinarian who sees all the cats and whether he/she has screened them for feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. Additionally, you should ask the breeder if he/she is aware of any genetic problems in the breedlines, such as hip dysplasia, and how long the cats typically live.

 

Finally, the breeder can provide you with guidelines on how often to groom and bathe the cat as well as make recommendations on what to feed the cat.

 

Get the Necessary Documentation -

 


Make sure you get the kitten's vaccination certificate from the breeder. You will need to know what shots it has had already and when the next ones are due. You also need the certificate at boarding facilities and if you plan to show your kitten, you may need it if the show involves vet checking.
If you want a cat with papers make sure you negotiate this with the breeder before the sale. Ask for a photocopy of the kittens papers if it is registered. If you have this information you will be able to check on the progress of the registration change to your name.
Make sure you have these documents before taking the cat home. If you wish to show your kitten, you will need its registration certificate to enter it in cat shows.

 


Adapting to a New Home

 

You can get a wide range of responses from cats adapting to a new home. Some cats will settle in immediately, while others will take months to really get comfortable. Crying isn't too out of the ordinary and should subside in time. (He/she is still unsure of the environment and is looking to you for comfort and safety.)

 

Other pets are another factor to consider. Our vet told us that the older the cat is, the harder time he/she has welcoming new animals into the household. Cats are territorial by nature. So don't expect things to change during the first few weeks. After a while, things should improve. (Our vet also commented that occasionally cat relationships don't get any better, and the cats end up only tolerating each other.)

 

 


 

 

 

 

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