If you are looking for a sweet, affectionate and gentle cat with a beautiful fur coat, Persian kittens are all that and more. These long haired cats are a popular pet throughout Europe and North America.
History of Persian Cats
Traders from Persia, now Iran, first brought Persian kittens to Europe in the sixteenth century. Hieroglyphics suggest that the cat's popularity dates back even further. Persian kittens were considered a high value trade item because the Europeans were impressed with their long, silky coats. Italian traveler Pier Della Ale is given credit for introducing Persian cats to Europe. Persians are also referred to as "long hairs" and are one of the oldest breeds of felines on record.
It was not uncommon at the time to find a Persian kitten in many royal courts. By the nineteenth century, the breed was considered a sign of prestige and luxury among the elite. Persians were actually one of the first breeds of cats to be registered with the Cat's Fancier Association (CA) which began in 1909.
Characteristics and Personality
Persian kittens are easy to identify. They have:
- Long, thick fur coats
- Short, thick legs
- Wide round heads with short noses
- Large, soulful eyes
- Full cheeks
- Short, rounded ears set far apart
- Short, straight tails
The Persian's face is identified as either a "doll" face or a "pig face" based on his nose and roundness of his features.
You can find Persian kittens in all different colors and coat markings, including
- Solid: White, blue, black, red, cream, chocolate and lilac
- Silver and golden: Self explanatory
- Shaded or smoke: Solid black or gray with distinctly white roots
- Tabby: Stripes
- Calico or bi-color: Calico cats are white with red and black patches
- Himalayan: Sometimes also known as pointed, these cats have darker coloring on their faces and extremities, and lighter coloring on their bodies
Persian kittens must be trained early in order to be successfully shown. Since this is one of the most popular breeds to show, the CA offers different divisions based on the cats colors as listed above.
One reason Persian kittens grew in popularity so quickly was their wonderful personalities. These are gentle cats with unassuming temperaments, and they easily adapt to any environment. This breed is known as being kind, loving and affectionate, without being demanding of your attention and time. They also tend to get along well with other pets.
Another long haired cat that was quite popular in the sixteenth century was the Angora. This breed was said to have a smaller head than the Persian, with larger ears, and silkier fur. Breeders crossed the Angora cats with Persians to increase the doll-faced Persian stock. Eventually the Angora cats disappeared from British soil.
Care of Persian Kittens
With the proper care and maintenance, Persian kittens can easily live fifteen to twenty years.
Unlike other breeds of cats, Persian kittens need daily maintenance. Their long hair mats easily, so extensive grooming is required. Professional breeders recommend spending at least ten to fifteen minutes per day brushing your kitten's fur with a metal comb or natural bristle brush to get rid of tangles and dead fur that if ingested could cause hairballs. Persians also benefit from a daily face wash since tearing is common due to the immense size of their eyes. A few times a month, your kitten should have a full grooming session that includes a bath, brush and nail trim. Begin this ritual early in your kitten's life so he gets used to it. This helps keep his coat shiny and in good condition. Persians are best kept as indoor cats because their heavy fur is not compatible with inclement weather and dirt. Keeping them indoors also lessens the chance for picking up parasites such as fleas and worms.
Buying Persian Kittens
If you decide a Persian cat is right for your family, it is time to consider cat adoption. Before you jump in too quickly, make sure you understand the work required to take care of such a high maintenance coat. That said, each Persian is an individual, and some will be easier to keep in coat than others. If you do not have the time or money to take care of your Persian, look at other low-maintenance cats instead.
When shopping around, look at the health of the kittens you find at the Persian cat breeder. Some catteries breed strictly for profit without considering the kittens' health a priority. Look for a cattery that offers a contract. This provides you with a measure of protection in the event that something goes wrong. A registered breeder will also be able to provide you with a pedigree and registration form.