Persian Cats - America's Favorite Cat

It remains a matter of debate as to exactly how Persian cats (or Longhair cats) developed.

Some believe that the shorthaired cat, having migrated from Egypt, developed the protective longer coat over time.

Others believe Persian's are the result of a spontaneous mutation. It is entirely possible that mating occurred between the European Wildcat, which has a thick longer haired coat, and what we know as the domestic cat.

In any event, the longer coat gave protection from the harsher, somewhat colder, climate of the geographical area around Persia (now Iran), and Turkey.

So how did the Persian cat arrive in Europe?

It is very probable that Persians were brought west with the spice traders caravans. Possibly these longhair felines were traded along with spices and silks, indeed the unusual Persian would have generated much interest and excitement.

Another theory is that these Longhair cats were brought back home to Europe by the Crusaders.

The truth may be that both views on how the Persian found its way west are correct. Later, around 1840, long haired kittens, Persians and Angoras, were brought home by returning diplomatic staff, sailors, and commercial travelers.

white persian catPersians, with their loving nature, make excellent pets and companions.

At first these cats were known simply as Long-haired cats.

Before long they became to be named after their place of origin, Persian, Turkish (or Angora) cats, and Russian cats.

These long haired Persians gained immediate popularity, and breeders set about producing litters from pairs selected for their pleasing traits, and differing coat colors.

Angora and Persian cats were interbred, and the resulting offspring retained the name Persian.

As a result of this the Angora became for some time all but extinct outside of Turkey.

Persians soon found their way across the Atlantic and were instantly as popular in the USA as in Europe. Development of Persians in the United States, took a different turn to the Old World.

Photo: Kristin Kokkersvold

These lovely long haired cats quickly became the darlings of the newly formed cat clubs, especially of the Cat Fanciers Association inaugurated in 1906.

Cat clubs were started, just for different Persian coat types, solid or tabby etc., and even the various colors within those types.

Some believe that the differences in the American variety of Persian, and the European variety, are the result of cross breeding between the Persian, and the Maine Coon cat.

It is quite reasonable to assume that some interbreeding of Persians and America's own native, long-haired cat did take place, but the reason for the variation was selective breeding to cater to taste.

The "Modern" Persians have flat faces with large expressive eyes, their thick, double coats are long and flowing.

A Persian named Maxx. Photo: Sandy Schultz

They are are medium in size, heavy boned, wide bodied, with somewhat short legs.

An alert, gentle cat, the Persian has a soft pleasant "voice", and can be both playful and affectionate.

These cats make excellent pets and companions, having a loving nature. Being a longhair, the Persian requires daily combing to prevent Hairballs and matting, and an occasional, gentle bath. Persian cats are house cats.

Today, Persian cats are acclaimed as America's favorite breed of cat.

The Seven Color Divisions

Persian cats silver, black, calico and tabby, Persians have a wonderful range of coat colors and types. The seven color divisions recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association Are:

Tabby Persians.
Classic, Mackerel, Red, Brown, Brown Patched, Blue, Cream, Cameo, Cream Cameo, Silver, Blue Silver, Brown Patched, Blue Patched, Blue Silver Patched, Silver Patched.

Particolor Persians.
Blue cream, Lilac cream, Tortoiseshell, Chocolate Tortoiseshell.

Solid Color Persians.
White, Black, Blue, Cream, Chocolate, Lilac, Red.

Silver/Golden Persian.
Chinchilla Silver, Shaded Silver, Chinchilla Golden, Shaded Golden

Shaded/Smoke Persians.
Shell Cameo, Shell Cream, Shell Blue cream, Shell Tortoiseshell.

Bicolor Persian.
Calico, Dilute, Smoke/White, Calico Smoke, Dilute Calico Smoke, Chocolate, Lilac, Chocolate Smoke, Tabby/White.

Seal Point, Blue Point, Flame Point, Cream Point, Chocolate Point, Tortie Point, Lilac Point, Lilac cream Point, Lynx Point

Persian cats have eyes of an intense copper color, with the exception that silvers have blue/green eyes, goldens have green or hazel eyes. Solid white Persians can be found with an intense blue eye color, and even with one blue and one copper!

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