In general, it’s not clear when longhaired cats first appeared, as there are no African Wildcats, which are believed to be ancestors of domesticated cats, with long fur. There were claims[by whom?] in the 19th century that the gene responsible for long hair was introduced through hybridization with the Pallas cat, however, research in the early 20th century refutes this theory.
The first documented ancestors of the Persian were imported from Khorasan, Persia into Italy in 1620 by Pietro della Valle, and from Angora (now Ankara), Turkey into France by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc at around the same time. The Khorasan cats were grey coated while those from Angora were white. From France, they soon reached Britain. Longhaired cats were also imported to Europe from Afghanistan, Burma, China and Russia. Interbreeding of the various types were common especially between Angoras and Persians.
Recent genetic research indicates that present day Persians are related not to cats from the Near East but to cats from Western Europe. The researchers stated that “Even though the early Persian cat may have in fact originated from ancient Persia, the modern Persian cat has lost its phylogeographical signature.”
Toy and teacup Persians
 A number of breeders produce small-statured Persians under a variety of names. The generic terms are “toy” and “teacup” Persians (terms borrowed from the dog fancy), but the individual lines are called “palm-sized”, “pocket”, “mini” and “pixie”. Currently none are recognised as breeds by major registries and each breeder sets their own standards for size.
In the USA, there was an attempt to establish the Silver Persian as a separate breed called the Sterling, but it was not accepted. Silver and Golden longhaired cats, recognized by CFA more specially as Chinchilla Silvers, Shaded Silvers, Chinchilla Goldens, or Shaded Goldens, are judged in the Persian category of cat shows. In South Africa, the attempt to separate the breed was more successful; the Southern African Cat Council (SACC) registers cats with five generations of purebred Chinchilla as a Chinchilla Longhair. The Chinchilla Longhair has a slightly longer nose than the Persian, resulting in healthy breathing and less eye tearing. Its hair is translucent with only the tips carrying black pigment, a feature that gets lost when out-crossed to other colored Persians. Out-crossing also may result in losing nose and lip liner, which is a fault in the Chinchilla Longhair breed standard. One of the distinctions of this breed is the blue-green or green eye color only with kittens having blue or blue-purple eye color.
The Himalayan or Colorpoint Longhair was created by crossing the Persian with the Siamese. This crossing also introduced the chocolate and lilac color into solid colored Persians.
In 1950, the Siamese was crossed with the Persian to create a breed with the body type of the Persian but colorpoint pattern of the Siamese. It was named Himalayan, after other colorpoint animals such as the Himalayan rabbit. In the UK the breed was recognized as the Colorpoint Longhair.
Their long flowing coats require an indoor, protected environment. Proper maintenance requires a daily run-through with a metal comb to eliminate the potential drawbacks of tangles and hairballs. An occasional bath, attempted only after a complete comb-through and clipping of the nail tips, will keep the coat clean, healthy and beautiful. It is wise to establish the routine of the bath when they are young. A well-bred Persian is a hardy and healthy cat and is not more prone to illness and respiratory infections than other breeds. However, the large eyes do mean that a certain amount of tearing is normal, and a daily face wash is recommended.
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