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CFA Pedigreed Breed: Persian

As the dusty desert caravans wound their way westward from Persia (now Iran), it is supposed that secreted among the rare spices and jewels on the basket-laden camels was an even more precious cargo: an occasional longhair cat. These cats were called Persian for their country of origin, but hieroglyphic references as early as 1684 B.C. shroud forever their exact beginnings.

While the white Persian has long been the darling of photographers and advertisers, Persians come in an astonishing number of colors, which are divided into seven color divisions for purposes of competition (Solid Color, Silver and Golden, Shaded and Smoke, Tabby, Particolor, Bicolor, and Himalayan).

Persians, with their long flowing coats and open pansylike faces, are the No. 1 breed in popularity. Their sweet, gentle personalities blend into most households once they feel secure in their new environment. Creatures of habit, they are most at home in an atmosphere of security and serenity, but with love and reassurance, Persians can easily adapt to the most boisterous of households. Their quiet, melodious voices are pleasant and nonabrasive. They communicate delightfully with their large, expressive eyes and make charming pets for all ages. Persians have short, heavily boned legs to support their broad, short bodies. They like to have their feet firmly planted and are not given to high jumping and climbing. Playful but never demanding, they love to pose, and will drape themselves in a favorite window or chair, enhancing the decor in much the same way as would a treasured painting. Persians are tremendously responsive and become a constant source of joy and delight to their owners. Pleasurable as an unexpected sunbeam, their companionship is close and enduring.

Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc. (c) 2011