• Persian cats have been around quite a while and are one of the oldest cat breeds, with hieroglyphics of these long-haired beauties dating as far back as 1684 B.C. Originating in the Middle East, they made their way into Italy in the early 1600s and into Britain in the late 1800s.
  • Persians were ranked as the 4th most popular cat breed in the United States in 2018 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
  • The breed is known as the Persian Longhair in most English-speaking countries but also is known as the Iranian Cat or the Shiraz Cat.
  • As a flat-faced, or brachycephalic breed, the Persian has a harder time keeping itself cool due to those cute flat noses. For this reason, they are prone to overheating and owners should take care to keep their coat brushed out and provide plenty of cool spots to rest.
  • According to many breeders and owners of Persians, the males of this breed tend to be on the more affectionate side, while the females act a bit more aloof.

Breed Summary



12 to 15+ years



Medium to large-sized cats

7 - 15 pounds

Energy level

Energy level

Mellow fellow

About the Persian cat

Unique physical features

  • Round everything! Persians have round eyes, face, and body.
  • Flat face (also called brachycephalic)
  • Thick neck — often described as having a “linebacker” body

Caring for the Persian cat's famous coat

The Persian cat has a thick, multi-layered coat. Daily brushing is recommended to keep the fur and skin healthy and to prevent matting and furballs. The Persian also tends to shed more during seasonal shedding periods and will benefit from more frequent brushing during these times. Some Persian owners prefer to have their cat bathed and groomed professionally to help with the upkeep.

The flat face of the Persian requires frequent cleaning to prevent infections from developing in the skin folds and keep them comfortable. Brachycephalic cats are less tolerant of upper respiratory infections, in that their respiratory system is already compromised and infection/inflammation worsens it. Be very observant and proactive with keeping your cat's nostrils clear of any discharge should a respiratory infection set in.

As with all cat breeds, Persians also need regular nail trimming and teeth brushing to stay happy and healthy. Introduce your Persian kitten to these experiences at a young age, keeping the experience calm and positive.

Unique personality

Truly the aristocrat of the cat world, the Persian is sweet and affectionate but has a playful side too. Often you find these kittens entertaining themselves with a balled-up piece of paper, but they’ll happily engage in playtime with their people, especially if you have a cat toy they can chase.

The Persian might be a bit reserved when meeting new people and might hide when there’s lots of activity in the home but will warm up if given time and space to check things out on their own terms.

The Persian cat is the quintessential lap cat. They love affection from their people but won’t harass their guardians for attention. However, they are rather high maintenance when it comes to grooming. Because of their long coat and gentle nature, they are best suited for an indoor-only lifestyle.

Even though Persians love to nap, they also keep themselves entertained by playing between sleeping sessions.

Similar breeds to the Persian cat

History of the Persian cat

The Persian cat was a treasure in the ancient world, highly valued by those in the Persian empire and said to have been smuggled out of what is now modern-day Iran with spices and jewels. Hieroglyphics dating back to 1684 B.C. depict these longhaired cats, but it wasn’t until 1620 A.D. that the breed was introduced to Europe, with a Persian imported into Italy from Khorasan, Iran, and an Angora (a closely related cat breed) into France from Ankara, Turkey.

Their beautiful long coats and unique features made them favorites of the aristocracy. Louis XV owned a white Persian, and Queen Victoria (an avid dog-lover) also favored the Persian cat breed.

In 1871, the first cat show was held at Crystal Palace, and the long-haired cat breeds were a crowd favorite, especially due to their exotic features and origins. The Persian breed standard was refined in 1889 by Harrison Weir, the organizer of the first cat show.

After a few decades of nitpicking regarding the differences between the Angora and the Persian, the breed standard remained relatively unchanged. That is until the late 1990s and early 2000s when points were added to address the flat face and muzzle shape.

While standards call for a more extreme flat face, the general public seems to prefer a more visible muzzle and less extreme features, which is also healthier for the breed. Persians have played a role in the creation of more recent cat breeds, such as the Exotic Shorthair and the Himalayan, as their long coats, round faces, and cobby bodies are a desired trait in more breeds.

In 2018, the Cat Fanciers Association ranked the Persian as the 4th most popular cat breed in the United States.

Persian cat behavior and training

Persian cats are mellow and tolerant of others. They can be quite playful on their own or with their people between naps.

These cats are easy-going around other animals and children, but care should be taken with young children who may want to grasp handfuls of the Persian’s full, fluffy coat. 

Socializing kittens when they are young can help create positive associations with different people and animals, which will benefit them throughout adulthood.

Exercise and mental enrichment needs

The Persian needs exercise to keep from becoming overweight, and their love of play makes it easy. They especially like chasing toys, so using a fishing-pole style toy to entice them to run and pounce will do wonders to keep them in shape.

While Persians are intelligent, they’re often not as inquisitive as other breeds. All kittens and cats need mental stimulation to keep their minds active and sharp! Simple food puzzles are great for cats who are food motivated.

Rotate cat toys regularly to keep your pet from getting bored. And interactive wand toys with prey-like lures can give them an opportunity to act like the predators they are.

Activities the Persian enjoys

  • Make sure to provide your Persian with plenty of comfortable napping and perching locations. Window beds and beds placed near their human companions may be especially enjoyed. These kitties tend to retain their heat, so cooling mats will be appreciated in warmer weather.
  • Easy food puzzles for cats who like treats can be a fun activity. Turn simple objects in your home into food puzzles; empty toilet paper and paper towel tubes, ice cube trays, muffin tins, tissue boxes, empty water bottles, and small food tubs with lids can make for cheap and easy containers for treats.
  • Self-play toys like mice and balls with bells can be batted around. Anything that can be thrown and chased can be fun for your Persian!
  • Wand toys with prey-like lures are great for all breeds of cats and their guardians. Giving your cat a simulated “hunt” is fun, healthy, and promotes bonding between cats and their people.
  • While Persians should be kept inside for their safety, their easy-going nature may allow for walks outside either in a harness or in a pet-stroller.



Persian cats in pop culture

With their luxurious appearance and friendly nature, Persian cats have made a name for themselves in media and popular culture.

Famous Owners of the Persian Cat

  • Martha Stewart (Lifestyle Expert)
  • Cee Lo Green (Singer)
  • Miley Cyrus (Singer/Actress)
  • Kate Beckinsdale (Actress)
  • Kim Schlapman (Singer)
  • Millie Bobby Brown (Actress)
  • Marilyn Monroe (Actress)
  • Florence Nightingale (Nurse)
  • Raymond Chandler (Author)
  • Alia Bhatt (Actress/Singer)

The Persian cat in art

The cats featured in the portrait, "My Wife's Lovers"

Persians in media

  • Mr. Bigglesworth was originally a Persian cat (before he and Dr. Evil were put in the cryogenic chamber) in the Austin Powers movie
  • Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s cat in several of the James Bond movies
  • The Fancy Feast mascot cat


Chat Icon