Say “Persian cat” and most people think of something longhaired, elegant and quiet. And so they are, although they probably aren’t from Persia.

Their longhaired ancestors were brought to Europe from Turkey around 1520, and Europeans (and later Americans) were taken with these lovely creatures. (One proof of their popularity in the United States: there are more Persians registered with the Cat Fanciers’ Association than any other breed.)

The Persian (or Longhair, as the British call this breed) is fairly stout–bodied and has the trademark “pushed-in” nose, round face, round eyes and soft voice. The Persian is the quintessential lap cat, even though Persians surprise their owners with their mousing ability.

Their long hair is beautiful but needs regular grooming with a fine-toothed comb, particularly if the cat is allowed to wander outside. British (but not American) breeders consider the various Persian color types to be separate breeds.
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