The Persian cat is a long-haired breed of cat characterized by its round face and short muzzle. It is also known as the Persian Longhair. In the Middle East they are widely known as Iranian cat and in Iran they are known as Shirazi cat. The exact history of the Persian cat does seem to be a bit of a mystery but many of these long-haired cats were seen in hieroglyphics. The story has it that these long-haired cats were then imported into Europe as their popularity grew and breeding took place in Italy and France.
The Persian cat was first presented at the world's first organised cat show in 1871 in London, England, before making its way to the United States of America in the early 1900s. The Persian cat breeding standards have always called for a cat with a short face, but it's important to note that the Persian cat originally had a much longer nose than the flat-faced Persians of today.
In 2015 it was ranked as the 2nd most popular breed in the United States according to the Cat Fanciers' Association.
A show-style Persian has an extremely long and thick coat, short legs, a wide head with the ears set far apart, large eyes, and an extremely shortened muzzle. The breed was originally established with a short muzzle, but over time, this characteristic has become extremely exaggerated, particularly in North America. Persian cats can have virtually any color or markings.
The Persian is generally described as a quiet cat. Typically placid in nature, it adapts quite well to apartment life. The Himalayan persians tend to be more active due to the influence of Siamese traits. In a study comparing cat owner perceptions of their cats, Persians rated higher than non-pedigree cats on closeness and affection to owners, friendliness towards strangers, cleanliness, predictability, vocalization, and fussiness over food.
Since Persian cats have long, dense fur that they cannot effectively keep clean, they need regular grooming to prevent matting. To keep their fur in its best condition, they must be bathed regularly, dried carefully afterwards, and brushed thoroughly every day. An alternative is to shave the coat. Their eyes may require regular cleaning to prevent crust buildup and tear staining.