A look at one of the most popular cat breeds

Since 1979, the Persian has topped the list of most popular cat breed, according to the Cat Fanciers Association Inc (CFA). The CFA, established in 1906, is the worlds largest registry of pedigreed cats. The CFA has recognized the Persian breed since 1914. The Persian is also a recognized breed by The International Cat Association (TICA.)

Brief history. The Persian is considered one of the oldest breeds. It is named for what is to be believed its place of origin, the lands of Persia, or what is now Iran. The Italian aristocrat Pietro della Valle (1586-1652) recorded in his travel diaries of transporting the cat breed from Persia to Italy in 1620. The Persian became popular in Europe during the early 1800s — even Queen Victoria owned the breed. The breed made its way to America in the late 1800s.

Features. A flat face and round eyes are two of the Persians most distinctive features. The breeds eyes will set in line with its flat nose, giving it a very sweet look. Its head is also round, sporting small, rounded ears that are generally set apart and low upon the head. The Persians round head sits atop a short but thick neck, which is in balance with the cat's stocky body. The average Persian cat will is 10 to 15 inches tall and weighs about 8 to 10 pounds. It has short, strong legs and a thick, fluffy tail.

The coat. Persians are longhaired cats. They vary in color and their coats may be silky or cotton-soft. The hair is long over the whole body with a ruff about the head. In competition, the CFA recognizes several solid colored coats: black, blue, chocolate, cream, lilac, red and white. Other division colors and patterns include the calico, golden, Himalayan, shaded, tabby, tortoiseshell and smoked colors including the blue smoke where the cats undercoat is white with tips of blue.

Maintenance. The Persian cats long, beautiful coat needs routine care. It must be brushed weekly at least 20 minutes. In addition, the cats should be bathed monthly to help reduce coat matting, tangling and the accumulation of hairballs. It is easiest to establish a bathing routine when the Persian is a kitten. Owners must keep the Persian cats eyes wiped free of debris and watch for eye infections.

Personality. Persian cats have maintained consistent popularity throughout the world not only because they of their beauty, but also because they have sweet dispositions. The Persian is docile, friendly and can be loving with children. The breed can also be playful and will romp with other pets, especially when the animals are raised together.