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Persian Cats: An Interview with Fancy Cat

Persian cats are sweet and beautiful.

Our resident cat, Fancy, has taken up journalism. She's been interviewing members of the ten most popular breeds of cat in America in an effort to learn more about them and share it with us. Below is her interview with Pammie, the Persian cat.

Fancy: Hello Pammie; thanks for talking with us today! According to The American Cat Fanciers Association, Persians are the most popular cat breed in America, and they have been for thirty years. Can you tell us about the history of your breed?

Pammie: Why, Fancy, thank you so much for having me! It's so nice of you to be interested in Persians! We are one of the oldest breeds of cat in the world, but no one's sure about our ancient history. We may have originated in Persia, which is now Iran, or Egyptian cats may have been taken to Persia by conquerors, where we would have developed our long, flowing coats over time because of the colder weather there. Either way, by the seventeenth century, we were a well-established breed in Persia.

Persian cats are coveted for their beauty.

Fancy: How did the Persian breed get to Europe?

Pammie: Pietro Della Valle was an Italian who is given credit for bringing us to Europe around 1621. Once we arrived there, we, of course, became wildly popular and have remained that way ever since. Wasn't that a nice thing of that Italian gentleman to do for us?

Himalayan cats are a long-haired version of Persians.

Fancy: Persian cats really are beautiful. What are some of the common characteristics of your breed?

Pammie: Oh, goodness; thank you for compliment, dear! Well, I would say that we have an overall round shape with a short neck and squat, thick-boned legs. Our coat is long, thick, silky, and luxurious. Our tails are bushy, and our heads are broad, with small ears that have tufts of hair at the ends. Our eyes are large, and our noses are rather short. We Persians come in almost any color you can imagine (over sixty) and in every pattern, as well. Persians with extra-long hair and darker hair on their faces, feet, tails, and ears are known as Himalayans. Persians with very short hair are classified as exotic shorthairs. We are usually between 7 and 12 pounds. Our looks are very appealing to many people and, together with our personality, help make us the popular cats that we are. By the way, you're pretty beautiful yourself, Fancy.

Fancy: Oh, thank you! Speaking of the Persian cat's personality: what are some of the common traits of your breed?

Pammie: Oh, we are quite calm and quiet. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I would say that "sweet" is the perfect word to describe Persians. I suppose we can be a bit lazy, but we will definitely play with humans if they tempt us a bit. We aren't as likely as some other cat breeds to become close friends with other cats, though. Most of us would prefer a steady, calm environment, but we do adjust pretty easily to new things, too. We really do make excellent show cats, and we've been winning shows for many, many years.

Fancy: Are there any health concerns that are more of an issue in Persians than in other cat breeds?

Pammie: Unfortunately, some of us do have some health problems. Blue-eyed, white Persian cats are often deaf. Progressive retinal atrophy is a genetic eye problem that may lead to blindness. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of one of the four chambers of the heart (the left ventricle) that can lead to heart failure if it isn't diagnosed and treated. Breathing problems are becoming more common in today's Persian cats. This is the result of breeding that has emphasized a shorter nose. It can lead to wheezing, snoring, and an increased susceptibility to upper respiratory infections. Portosystemic shunts are more common in Persians than some other breeds. This is a condition where the blood supply that would normal go through the liver for cleaning bypasses it and doesn't have the toxins removed. This can lead to death if it isn't diagnosed and treated. We may have dental problems because of our short faces. Polycystic kidney disease is more common in Persians than some other breeds. This is a disease in which small, fluid-filled sacs form in our kidney tissue, and it can lead to kidney failure.

Fancy: Are you guys hard to take care of on a daily basis? The humans like to know what kind of maintenance they're going to have to do once they adopt us.

Pammie: Daily brushing is important for Persian cats. Without it, our long, silky coat will become matted, and that is painful for us. Daily face-cleansing may be necessary in particularly short-nosed Persians because tearing and drainage from the nose can be worse in these cats, and the drainage can gather on their hair and skin, causing mats and eventually skin sores. Using a warm washcloth to clean a Persian's eyes and nose helps prevent these issues. We'll need our teeth brushed because we're prone to dental problems. However, our calm disposition usually makes these tasks easy and even enjoyable for our humans. We're ever so grateful for the care our humans give us, and we love to show our appreciation with snuggles and purrs.

A Fancy Cat interview.

Fancy: Thanks for talking with us today, Pammie. I can see why your breed has been the most popular one in America for so long. You're beautiful AND sweet! Stay tuned for more of my interviews with America's most popular cats!

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