The Persian is one of the oldest breeds of cat. In Britain, this cat is known as the Longhair or Persian Longhair. A Persian, without a recognized and registered pedigree, is categorized as a domestic longhair cat. In 1620, the first known ancestors of the Persian were imported from Persia into Italy by Pietro della Valle, and from Turkey into France by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. From France, the cats soon reached Britain and were mated with Turkish Angoras. Their appearance was absolutely different from today's standard.
For hundreds of years, exclusive breeding made Persians, cobbier cats with significantly shorter muzzle. It's not apparent when longhair cats (in general) first appeared, as there are no African Wildcats with that kind of fur. There have been assertions that the gene responsible for long hair was introduced through hybridization with Pallas cat. However, the recent research disproves this theory. The breed was originally established with a short muzzle, but over time this feature has become extremely exaggerated, particularly in North America. In 1871, when the association first kept records, the Persian was first registered with the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA).
The Persian are medium-sized cats with a very long thick coat, short legs, a wide head with the ears set far apart, large eyes, and an extremely foreshortened muzzle. Due to their 'squashed' faces, it is common for Persians to have fair discharge from their tear ducts. Persian may have any color or markings, including pointed, golden, tortoiseshell, blue, and tabby. The tipped varieties are called Chinchilla. The pointed varieties are called Himalayan in the United States and Colorpoint Persian in Europe.
The Persian have a round head, large, wide-spaced round eyes with the top of the nose leather placed at the bottom of the eyes. Persian standard requires a short, cobby body with short, well boned legs, a broad chest, and a round appearance. Everything about the ideal Persian cat is round. In 2007, the Persian Breed Standard was changed from the flat face to vertical alignment of the forehead, nose, and chin. On an average, Persian cats live between 10 and 19 years.
Seeing as Persian cats have long, thick dense fur, they cannot keep themselves clean. Thus, they need regular grooming. To keep their fur in its best condition, these cats should be bathed regularly, dried carefully, and brushed thoroughly each day. Their eyes should be checked for problems on a regular basis.
Persians are generally quiet, calm and totally laid-back. They have a melodious voice and communicate delightfully with their large, expressive eyes. They crave affection and love to be petted and fussed over.
Persian cats are particularly prone to a genetic disease, which causes kidney failure, PKD, and Polycystic kidney disease. Nowadays, cats can be DNA tested for the gene that causes PKD. Thus, the affected cats are removed from the Persian gene pool by the breeders.