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What is a Persian cat?

As their name suggests, Persian cats came from Persia (modern-day Iran) and their origins may date back as far as 1684 BC. The breed was introduced to Europe in the 17th century and then to the U.S. in 1875.

The Persian is a medium-sized breed that typically weighs between 7 and 12 pounds. They stand between 10 and 15 inches tall and measure 14 to 18 inches long (the tail excluded).

A healthy Persian cat can live between 12 and 18 years. However, there are a few common health problems to look out for in this breed, which we’ll discuss later in this article.

The initial cost of a Persian cat can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the breeder. And basic medical care, bedding, food, and other essentials you’ll need upfront can cost you a decent amount, too.

What does a Persian cat look like?

Persians are a distinct-looking cat breed. Their heads and eyes are round and their faces are flat. Their cheeks are full and their ears are small with curved edges.

Persians have short bodies, stocky legs, and medium-length tails.


Three furry Persian cats standing in the middle of a field covered in snow

(Image Source)

This popular cat breed also has a double coat with long, thick hair. This coat can come in a range of colors, including gray, black, tortoiseshell, chocolate, ginger, and white. 

Persian kittens are born with blue eyes, and this color may or may not change after a few weeks. They can range later on from copper to vivid green. Some Persians can even have two different-colored eyes.

What are the most common Persian cat personality traits?

Just like people, cats can have different personalities. The way they’ve been raised and their genetics can affect their behavior.

However, a few personality traits make Persian cats beloved — in fact, they’re one of the most popular breeds suitable for any type of pet owner. Let’s take a look.


While Persian cats typically love their families, they’re often cautious around strangers until they get comfortable enough to reveal their social selves.Persians can also be shy around other pets, but they do appreciate companionship. Once your cat is sure they’re not in danger, they’ll likely be more comfortable spending time with other cats — as well as most dogs.

Like any breed, Persian cats can be startled by loud noises, so owners should be mindful of this sensitivity.


Persian cats are smart and often use their voices — in the form of meows and purrs — to tell you what they want and show affection. 

These kitties like to be mentally stimulated. They’ll need toys to keep them busy, especially if you’re away from home during the day.

One furry Persian cat looking out the window

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Despite this, Persian cats can be slow learners. Their calm nature means they’re not often interested in anything that feels like “too much hard work.”

Unlike a ragdoll cat, your Persian probably won’t be interested in learning basic commands. 

However, you’ll be able to teach your Persian to use the cat litter box. In fact, most cats learn to do this themselves. Cats like to dig and bury their business, so using a litter box is often instinctual to them.


Persian cats are known for their gentleness. They aren’t usually aggressive or destructive, which makes them good pets for families.

Whether you have young children or other animals, you can typically expect from a Persian a sweet, drama-free companion. If you do have kids, it’s still important to teach them to be gentle with your cat.

But don’t let their gentleness catch you off guard because every cat has their limits. Like most cats, Persians have natural hunting instincts that’ll kick in whenever they spot something that peaks their interest. If a mouse gets on your feline’s radar, for instance, it had better watch out. 


Persians are a typically laid-back cat breed. As such, you can expect yours to be calm and adaptable to different living situations.

While they’ll enjoy a peaceful living environment, your feline friend can also handle a busy household. For example, most Persian cats remain relaxed even when children are running around the home.

Like most cats, Persians sleep a lot, and if you have a sunny window pane, that’ll likely be their favorite spot to nap. 

Persians’ calm temperament also makes them good companions for seniors. 


Want a cat that’ll jump onto your lap for a snuggle or greet you when you walk through the door? Persian cats are known to be an affectionate breed. They enjoy being around people and will typically purr happily when next to their humans.

Keep in mind, though, that they may not show love to everyone. These cats can be fussy about who they show affection to.

A fluffy Persian cat sitting on a cat bed by the stairs

(Image Source)

Despite their affectionate nature, Persians can also be independent. Most of them enjoy some alone time.

How to care for a Persian cat

Now that you know all about the Persian cat temperament, it’s time to learn about this breed’s care requirements.

If you choose a Persian to join your family, here’s how to care for your new fur baby.


Persian cat owners must be committed to regular grooming. These cats have luxurious coats that require ongoing maintenance.

Daily brushing will remove any loose hair and keep the cat’s coat shiny and knot-free. 

Regular bathing is also recommended. You should aim to wash your kitty about once per month. You can check their nails and clip them as required as part of their bathing routine. 

If you’d rather not bathe your cat at home, some Persian pet owners get their cats professionally groomed instead.

Persian cats’ flat faces can increase their risk of developing dental diseases. Brush your cat’s teeth at least three times per week, and get their smile checked by a veterinarian every 6 to 12 months.

If you get a Persian as a kitten, we recommend starting their grooming routine early so that they get accustomed to the process. 


Your Persian cat will likely have a low to medium energy level. If it joins your family as a kitten, however, note that kittens typically have higher energy levels than adult cats.

You may need to encourage your cat to be active with some playtime activities. For example, you can use toys for them to practice their hunting skills, such as a toy mouse hanging from a string, or you can move a light or laser around on the floor for the cat to chase.

If you go to work during the day, your Persian will probably spend most of their time sleeping. However, they may get bursts of energy and the urge to sharpen their claws. A cat tree will keep them entertained and give them a place to scratch — leaving your furniture damage-free.


All cats need a diet that’s high in protein. You should look for cat food that contains beef, lamb, or chicken. Fish can also be included in their diet on a les regular basis.

A few foods to avoid giving your Persian include cheese, chocolate, grapes, onions, and garlic.

Three furry Persian cats standing in the middle of a field of grass

(Image Source)

You can feed your Persian cat wet food twice per day, and you can also give them dry kibble. 

The correct amount of food to give your Persian will depend on your pet’s age and weight. Your veterinarian can help you create a diet plan to suit your cat’s unique needs.

Make sure your Persian always has fresh water to drink.

Persian cats’ flat faces can make eating difficult. They may eat slowly, or you may have to cut up their food to make it easier for them to chew.

Space requirements

These companion animals are best kept indoors, away from potential dangers. If you do want your Persian to get some outdoor time, make sure your yard is secure. You can also consider installing a cat run or enclosure that connects to the house.

Persian cats don’t need much space and will be happy in a range of settings. So whether you have a larger house or a smaller apartment doesn’t matter. 

As long as your cat has somewhere comfortable to sleep and toys to play with, they’ll be content.

Health and safety

As mentioned, Persians make good indoor cats. Make sure you keep your windows screened and doors closed so that there’s no way for them to escape.

If your home has a balcony, it should also be made secure. Balconies can be hazardous for curious cats — while most cats land on their feet, they could still fall and injure themselves.

Persian cats can suffer from a range of health issues. For example, they can be at risk for heart disease, liver disease, bladder stones, and polycystic kidney disease. Make sure you get regular vet check-ups to catch any health issues early on.

Many of these cats’ genetic issues can be linked to their pedigree. Choosing a reputable, ethical breeder minimizes such risks. 

You should also get your cat spayed or neutered. Unspayed females are more likely to get certain health conditions, such as cancer. You’ll also be helping to prevent unwanted litters if you get your cat fixed, and outdoor cats that have been spayed or neutered will usually stay closer to home. 

Are Persian cats good for families?

Persian cats often make good pets for homes with children. As long as they’re socialized from a young age, your fluffy companion will likely adore every member of your family, including babies and teenagers.

Remember, it’s important that you teach your children to be gentle with your cat. You should always supervise your little humans around any animal and watch for signs of distress.

A cozy Persian cat on the bed

(Image Source)

Make sure your Persian cat can leave a situation if they want to, and explain to your children that animals occasionally need alone time.

Other things to consider when bringing a Persian cat home

If you have a pet, you may still be able to secure a rental property. Because Persian cats are calm and sweet-natured, they typically cause minimal damage.

You can improve your chances of getting a rental by being a responsible pet owner. One way you can do this is by keeping your cat indoors to prevent them from hunting wildlife.

Be sure to get your Persian spayed or neutered, and take them for regular veterinary check-ups. Additionally, keep up to date with your cat’s immunization schedule, and consider purchasing pet insurance.

You may also need to pay pet rent and take out pet liability insurance.

Is the Persian cat right for you?

Persian cats are a popular choice for many people, including families. They have distinctive features, including grumpy faces, beautiful longhaired coats, and compact bodies.

There are many common personality traits Persian owners can expect in their feline friends. For example, this breed is known to be reserved, gentle, and calm. Persian cats are also often very smart, and they know how to get your attention.

Your Persian cat will be an affectionate friend to people they like. If introduced correctly, these kitties will also typically appreciate having other friendly pets to keep them company.

Remember, your Persian cat will need regular grooming and bathing, as this breed has a long coat that can easily become matted. You also need to make sure you give them a high-protein diet and take them for veterinary check-ups regularly to keep them healthy. For more information on how to care for your furry family friends, visit Our team of board certified vet experts provide you with proven guidance on everything from the right grooming techniques to training advice so you can make smart decisions for your pets.