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Choosing a Persian

By: J. Anne Helgren

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Those exquisitely coiffed locks of show Persians are produced by long hours of grooming. If you neglect a Persian's grooming, you'll end up with a tangled, matted, miserable cat that needs to be professionally shaved to remove the tight, painful mats. Not only is a Persian's fur longer than any other breed's (up to 8 inches in length), they also have a long, full undercoat. The undercoat, made up of fine down and awn hairs, is almost as long as the outercoat, made up of stiff, protective guard hairs. This gives the Persian her plush look, but that baby-soft down hair mats easily.

A 10 - to 15-minute grooming session each day and a thorough one-hour grooming session once a week is recommended. Additional grooming may be necessary during the shedding months - spring when they shed their longer, heavier winter coats, and fall when they shed their summer coats.

Bathing is also often needed to remove oil buildup. Some breeders recommend a bath every two weeks, although some Persians can go longer. Daily face washing is necessary if tear staining is a problem, which it often is.

Some Persian fanciers keep at least part of the coat clipped, particularly the hindquarters and around the anus to avoid accumulation of feces. This should be done, though, only if the cat will not be shown.

Association Acceptance

  • American Association of Cat Enthusiasts (AACE)
  • American Cat Association (ACA)
  • American Cat Fancier's Association (ACFA)
  • Canadian Cat Association (CCA)
  • Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA)
  • Cat Fanciers' Federation (CFF)
  • The International Cat Association (TICA)
  • Traditional Cat Association, Inc. (TCA)
  • United Feline Organization (UFO)

    Special Notes

    Because of the long coat and docile temperament, it's particularly important to keep Persians indoors. The long coat sweeps up debris and easily snags on bushes, trees and fences, creating safety hazards. Also, their trusting nature, popularity and value can make them targets for pet thieves, a growing concern.

    Reported health concerns include breathing difficulties, eye tearing, malocclusions, and birthing difficulties due to the head size and the foreshortened face. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a disease that can cause kidney failure, is also known to exist in some Persian lines. Ask the breeder if the cats have been screened for PKD before agreeing to buy.

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