Persian Cat

With their long, luxuriant coats, large, expressive eyes, and sweet natures, Persians are instantly recognizable, and it’s not surprising that this breed is the most popular pedigree breed in the world today. Stars of stage and screen, these glamorous cats just ooze class!

The Persian was by no means the first longhaired breed to be brought to Britain. This accolade goes to the Angora, a breed that was first seen in the city of Ankara, Turkey, from whence it gained its name. In Victorian times, when foreign travel became more common, a much more heavily coated cat was discovered in distant Persia (now Iran), and it usurped the popularity of the Angora, which faded into oblivion until it was “re-created” in the 1960s.

In general, most modern-day Persians conform to a similar Standard of Points, with a few slight differences. Structured breeding programs have resulted in a fairly mind-boggling number of colors and patterns within this general group, including Himalayans (a Persian with a Siamese-patterned coat) and what must seem an anomaly, the Exotic Shorthair, a new variety that has all the type and form of the Persian cat, but with a shorthaired coat!

The most important factor to consider when contemplating owning a Persian cat is how much time you have available. These sweet-natured cats are undemanding of your personal attention, being quite happy to laze about for most of the day. However, they do need serious attention paid to their long coats and will require grooming for at least ten minutes a day to make sure they stay in pristine condition. A Persian cat with a matted coat is a sad sight indeed — uncomfortable for the cat and expensive for the owner when neglect means a trip to the local grooming parlor.


Although it is thought that longhaired cats were brought to Europe as early as the seventeenth century, it was not until the late 1800s that any form of Standard of Points was drawn up or, indeed, details of parentage recorded. Early Persians included the patterned tabbies, as well as the self-colored Blue—reputedly a favorite of Queen Victoria. Other shorthaired breeds were seen at the early cat shows of this era, but none commanded as much attention and popularity as the Persian — a status that it retains today.


Over the years, the appearance of the Persian cat has changed quite radically. The cats seen in Victorian times had fairly elongated faces, and although the coats were long, the fur was neither as thick or luxuriant as it is today. Current standards call for a well-muscled, medium-sized, elegant, cobby cat. The short face with full, round cheeks and large, lustrous eyes (most typically of deep copper, though some variations require other hues) give the Persian its appealing expression. The legs are short and stocky, and the tail short and bushy. The most distinctive feature of the Persian cat is the coat, which should be long, thick but fine in texture, with a fullness around the chest and neck. A huge range of colors and patterns is available. In general, the varieties can be summed up as self (or solid), non-self (patterned, colorpoint and shaded) and — the odd one out — shorthaired, also known as the Exotic.

Origin: Persia (now Iran)

Grooming: 5/5

Activity: 1/5

GCCF Group: Longhair (Persian)


Sweet-natured, gentle and quiet-voiced, the Persian cat in general is not a particularly athletic breed or one that will demand your constant attention. These cats are natural "lounge lizards". Posing is second nature to them.

Suitability as a pet

With their somewhat laidback attitude to life, the Persian cat should suit most households. There is very little by way of aggression in their personality, and they love an easy life. While they will enjoy playful games, they will not demand them in the same way that a Foreign Shorthair or an Oriental would, and, within reason, do not mind being left when the owner is at work — they will probably just sleep. With their easygoing nature, they usually fit in well with dogs and other pets. They are only "high-maintenance" in terms of their grooming. If you cannot afford to put the time aside for a daily regime but still like the look of the Persian cat, you might be happier with the shorthaired version, the Exotic.

Gallery of Persian Cat