The Persian is an ancient breed of cat with origins that go all the way back to the
cradle of civilization- the Mesopotamia. This region later became known as Persia and is now Iran. The luxurious appearance of this regal breed later drew the attention of an Italian nobleman, Pietro Della Valle, in the 17th century. Pietro is credited for bringing the first long-haired beauties to Europe in 1626.
At that time, these silky splendors possessed a mostly gray coat, however, now they can be found in a beautiful array of colors and patterns.
For a long time, any longhaired kitty from Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan and other exotic locations were simply known as “Asiatic cats.” It was not until breeding and showing of cats became popular in the 19th century that the Persian began to distinguish itself. It was one of the breeds exhibited at the Crystal Palace cat show in 1871. Persians were popular pets at the time due largely to Queen Victoria’s regard for the breed.
As the popularity of the breed rose, so too did the molding and shaping into the breed we know today. The coat became longer and
with a wider range of colors and patterns, the head more round, the face shorter with fuller cheeks, larger eyes and small, rounded ears. They kept their sturdy body and the legs were shortened for an all over fuller appearance. It was not long before the Persians surpassed even the Angoras in popularity worldwide.
It was not just their undeniable beauty that quickly endeared this breed to everyone who met it.
The quiet, sweet demeanor of the Persian breed and calm, tolerant affect help them to adapt to just about any home. They are content to sit patiently while be stroked, remain where placed for a tea party with young girls, or pose as amuse for a budding artist.
The Persian breed was first imported to the US in the late 1800’s where they also quickly became our favorite, bumping the longhaired Maine Coon from his coveted spot at the top of popularity charts. In just over a century, the Persian cat has become the most beloved cat breed in the world, adored and treasured by all who know it.