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Persian cat breed

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Persian cat breed information and advice

Persian cats are an ancient breed, brought into Europe from Persia in the 17th century. They’re also known as the Persian Longhair or Iranian or Shirazi cat. They have a long coat, round face and short muzzle which can give them an air of superiority. They do need more maintenance than other cat breeds and need daily grooming. But this popular breed is sweet-natured, happy to laze around indoors and Persians make great companions for most households.

Persian cat facts

Lifespan 12-17 years
How much £400+
Size 20-25cm
Weight 3.6-6.8kg (males); 3.2-4.5kg (females)
Grooming daily grooming required
Temperament affectionate, friendly, home-loving
Exercise not very energetic, so not much needed

Persians are quite stocky (or 'cobby' in build) and have short legs.

Persian cat insurance

Although the Persian is a tough and robust cat breed, they can have several breed-related problems. So, it’s important to protect your Persian with cat insurance to help with the cost of any medical treatment.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

With Sainsbury’s Bank, you can take out pet insurance for your Persian cat as long as they’re over 8 weeks and less than 10 years old. Take out a policy for your Persian before they turn 10, and we’ll continue to cover them as they get older as long as you renew your policy year after year.

How to care for a Persian cat

Persian cats will need daily grooming. As with any other cat, make sure they have a balanced diet and regular exercise. It’s also a good idea to check for any gum disease while cleaning their teeth.


You will need to groom your Persian cat every day to remove any tangles and matted hair. A wide-tooth comb will do, but you can also use a brush or grooming glove. Try to spend 5 minutes every day combing or brushing their coats. If they go outside, you will find they will need more grooming to remove any bits that get trapped in their coats. Their eyes and ears will also need to be wiped daily.

Persians need baths to prevent their coats from becoming greasy. How often you bath your cat will depend on the cat and what it gets up to. This can be once a month or every two to three months.

Their luxurious coat is long with a thick undercoat and is seen in a wide variety of colours and patterns. Most coats are solid blue, black or white. But they can be grey, chinchilla, ginger, golden, red, and shorthaired or longhaired. Their eyes can be blue, green or bi-colour blue and orange, depending on the coat colour.


Persians are not an energetic breed and are content to laze about. They can have the occasional burst of energetic play though. Encourage them to play with some cat toys to keep them fit and healthy.


Persians are intelligent and easily trained. They usually pick up toilet or litter training pretty quickly.


Temperament and behaviour

Persians are placid, laid-back cats and, apart from the occasional energetic five minutes now and then, are happy to just sit and look pretty.

Common health problems

A well-bred Persian from a reputable breeder should be hardy and healthy, but it’s good to be aware of any medical issues they can suffer from. Some of these health issues will require veterinary treatment. In these cases, it’s wise to have Persian cat insurance to help cover the vet bills.

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD)

This is an inherited condition that causes cysts to form in the kidneys. It can be inherited in certain cat breeds, especially the Persian. Your breeder should have had their cats tested for this genetic disease, so it’s wise to ask if they have certificates to confirm their cats are free of this problem.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

HCM, is a serious heart condition that can be inherited in Persian cats. This condition causes the heart muscles to become abnormally thick which stops the heart from working as it should, leading to heart failure. There is no cure, but long-term medication can slow the disease down.

Brachycephalic upper airway obstruction (BOAS)

BAOS is caused by selective breeding to develop a cat with a shorter nose and a flat face. The most severely affected Persians may be called ‘ultras’, ‘peke-faced’ or ‘extreme’ Persian types. These cats may show signs of breathing problems. This can mean they also have problems with their eyes and skin and are also more likely to need a Caesarean section when they give birth. Affected cats should not be bred, even if they have had surgery to correct the defect.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Persians can have a form of early-onset PRA. Retinal degeneration is irreversible and affected cats will become blind by 16 or 17 weeks of age. A DNA test is available to test for this inherited condition.


Persians can be affected by epiphora, which is the overflow of tears from the eye. Their flat or squashed faces prevent the tears from draining properly into the tear ducts. Wiping your pet’s eyes daily will prevent staining of the coat around the eyes.

Dental malocclusion

Breeds such as the Persian can suffer dental problems caused by overcrowding of the teeth due to a shortened jaw. Persians should have their teeth cleaned daily and in extreme cases may need some teeth removed.


How long do Persian cats live?

The average lifespan of a Persian cat is between 12 and 17 years. This does depend on how well your pet is cared for and if they are free from inherited heart and kidney conditions.

How often should you bathe a Persian cat?

It’s a good idea to bath your Persian cat at least once a month to keep its coat in good condition. If your cat goes outside, it may need bathing more often. Try to get your cat used to bath time by bathing them when they’re kittens.

It’s also important to clean your Persian’s eyes with a clean, damp cloth to prevent tear duct stains - and make sure that their ears are clean as well. Do not use human shampoo, there are many pet shampoos and conditioners available. If you’re unsure what to use, ask your vet to recommend one. Towel dry them gently and use a quiet hairdryer on a low heat if they’ll tolerate it.

How much is a Persian cat?

A pedigree Persian is expensive - a purebred Persian kitten can cost £400 upwards. The cost depends on the breeder, the breeding line and whether the Persians have been tested for genetic diseases. It is always best to buy from a trusted Persian breeder.

How to trim a Persian cat’s hair?

Persians have a beautiful, luxurious coat. However, some owners find the constant grooming and removing mats and tangles quite difficult. Trimming your cat might help with hygiene, especially if your pet doesn’t groom itself properly. But a cat’s skin is thin and fragile and you might end up doing more harm than good. A cat’s coat is designed to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer. Summer trims aren’t necessary and shaving too short could lead to sun damage. Taking your cat to a professional groomer could be the best option.

So, is a Persian cat right for you?

Persians are best suited to being indoor cats. They are placid and quiet and prefer a serene home and a regular routine. They might not be too happy sharing a home with boisterous children but should tolerate some gentle playtime. If you’re out at work, they will be happy curling up on a chair or sofa or sitting on a sunny windowsill. And if you want a lap cat, then the Persian will happily oblige.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

Vetstream Ltd (online) Persian Longhair. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Martha Cannon, Rachel Korman (online) Kidney: autosomal dominant polycystic disease. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Natasha Mitchell, David Gould (online) Retina: inherited degenerations. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Dennis E Brooks, Paul Evans, Newman Lorna, Philip K Nicholls, David Williams (online) Epiphora. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Alexander M Reiter (online) Dental malocclusion. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Vetstream Ltd (online) Brachycephalic airway obstruction. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Terms and conditions

Important information
Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.