Persian - breed information and advice

Long, slim and elegant-looking, Oriental Shorthairs are extroverts and love human contact and lots of attention. A member of the Siamese breed group, they are curious, extremely intelligent and vocal - they love to 'talk'. This breed makes for a good companion, but needs lots of play opportunities to prevent boredom.
To ensure your Oriental Shorthair is protected in the case of an emergency, take a look at our cat insurance policies.

Breed information


Colour: There are more than 50 colour variations of Persians, including chocolate, blue, cream, black and white.

Coat: Long-haired and sheds heavily. Needs careful grooming every day and even occasional baths or showers.

Life span: Up to 15 years.

Mouth and gum disease

Like most breeds, the Persian may suffer from gum and dental disease during their lifetime. Gum disease occurs when some (or all) of a tooth’s deep supporting structures become inflamed. This begins when food, bacteria and minerals accumulate along the gum line, leading to the build-up of a brown scale known as tartar. When this undermines the gum the condition is called gingivitis. Eventually, small spaces can form between the gums and the teeth creating pockets of space for bacteria to grow, resulting in what is known as periodontal disease. Persians may also suffer from mouth inflammation and ulcers, which can be triggered by viruses such as feline calicivirus (FCV). Dental treatment under general anaesthetic is usually required to assess and resolve the full extent of the problem.


Gingivitis is the third most common illness we see in Persians

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Eye conditions

Due to their flat faces, Persians can suffer from eye problems. For example, when a cat’s cornea (the transparent front window of the eye) becomes grazed, it can develop a corneal ulcer. Causes of grazing include feline herpes virus infection (FHV); damage by a scratch or foreign body like a thorn; irritation from abnormalities such as folded-in eyelids (caused by a condition called entropion); exposed bulging eyeballs; and poor tear production (known as ‘dry eye’). Treatment suitable for the cause and severity of the condition can be given, meaning the cat can continue to live happily.


We paid £2,327 to treat Champers the Persian for eye conditions in 2016

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Heart disease

Heart disease in cats refers to when the heart’s structures aren’t working as they should be. There are two categories of heart disease: congenital (meaning the cat is born with it) and acquired (meaning the disease develops later in life). Congenital heart diseases include defects in the wall of the heart, abnormal valves and blood vessels. Persians are prone to a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure. Whilst this condition is not curable, it can be treated with lifelong medication.


Heart problems are the fifth most common illnesses we see in Persians

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Liver disease

There are several causes of liver disease in cats, and it is something the Persian can be prone to. Liver disease can be caused by direct infection of the organ, inflammation of the gall bladder, the pancreas, the kidney tissue, or inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment involves various medicines depending on the cause and is likely to include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, fluids and liver protectants. With these treatments, a cat may be able to lead a relatively normal life.


We paid £3,616 to treat Purdy the cat for liver disorders in 2016

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Conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra are collectively known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is more commonly referred to as cystitis. Persians can suffer from these conditions, which can be caused by stress, not urinating enough, infections and bladder stones or crystals. Cats suffering from cystitis make frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood is often found in the urine. Treatment depends on the cause, but cats diagnosed with cystitis will usually require pain relief, access to plenty of water, special diets and perhaps some help to reduce stress.


In our experience, Persians are most likely to need treatment for

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