Persian cats are known to be among the most beautiful breeds in the world. Their long, flowing coats, adorable woolly faces, and docile temperaments have captured the hearts of many. These precious cats are also ideal lap cats and are generally friendly with people and other animals.
There is a plethora of reasons why so many cat lovers want a Persian cat as a companion at home. However, owning one of these adorable fur babies does come with a number of drawbacks. First, Persians are high-maintenance cats. Second, they are susceptible to a lot of health issues due to their genetic makeup, and these hereditary conditions can eventually affect their longevity.
Aside from hereditary illnesses, other factors such as diet, lifestyle, health care, and grooming can also influence your Persian’s life expectancy – something most owners dread thinking about.
So, before deciding to buy a Persian cat, you might want to do some research to help you decide whether you are ready to take the responsibility of caring for this beautiful breed.
How long do indoor Persian cats live?
With a proper diet, an active lifestyle, and great care from their owners, most Persian cats can live to between 12 and 17 years old. Some even make it to 20 years. However, there are Persians that do not live beyond 10 years due to hereditary illnesses and an unhealthy lifestyle.
If you are concerned about your cat’s longevity, there are several factors you need to consider to ensure that they are getting the best quality of life.
Factors that affect the longevity of Persians
There are quite a number of factors that affect the lifespan of a Persian cat, and each of these is discussed briefly below:
Feeding your furball a complete and balanced diet enables the healthy functioning of his systems and regeneration of body tissues. A diet rich in animal protein and Omega acids maintains a healthy, silky coat and keeps his claws and bones strong. Appropriate proportions of other nutrients, such as carbohydrates and vitamins, should also be included in a cat’s regular diet.
If you are feeding your cat with commercial cat foods, make sure to choose a high-quality brand without fillers and artificial ingredients. Talk to your vet to understand the best options available on the market.
Just like humans, our furry companions need regular exercise to improve their overall well-being. There are many creative ways to help your feline move regularly and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Interactive toys are available to stimulate their natural instinct to chase and hunt. Playtime is not only a great chance for exercise but also an opportunity to form a strong bond between cat and human companion.
Aside from staying active, a clean and safe environment can also influence the longevity of your cat. Persians must live in homes free from pests and dust, as they are especially susceptible to breathing problems.
Vaccination plays an important role in protecting your cat against several viral and bacterial diseases, such as rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, rabies, and panleukopenia or feline distemper. Vaccines have also been proven to strengthen the cat’s immune system, which is one of the major keys to feline longevity. Extra shots are also recommended if your Persian is regularly exposed to the outdoors or lives with other pets at home.
4. Indoor or outdoor cat
As much as we want our furry friends to enjoy the outdoors, there are certain risks you must consider before allowing your pet to live outside. First, outdoor cats have exposed to several diseases as well as potentially dangerous encounters with other animals. Road accidents and ingestion of hazardous chemicals are also possible threats that can shorten the life expectancy of cats.
On average, indoor cats live between 10 and 15 years, while some outdoor cats only reach around 5 years. With proper love, care, and a bit of luck, there are also those that reach even 20 years of age.
5. Breeding and genetics
Just like humans, the life expectancy of Persian cats is also hugely influenced by their genetic makeup. Some diseases are very common to this cat breed and can easily be passed along to future generations. These common hereditary health issues include brachycephalic airway syndrome (which manifests as breathing difficulties), excessive tearing, polycystic kidney disease, and progressive retinal atrophy.
The best way to ensure your Persian cat does not inherit any of these health problems is through preventative breeding. Reputable breeders make sure that their kittens do not inherit any of the diseases mentioned. However, this will not guarantee a perfectly healthy Persian, since some kittens, although bred from a healthy bloodline, might still develop one of these common diseases as they reach adulthood.
6. Water consumption
Like every other animal, cats require a healthy amount of fluids to maintain good health. Water is essential for several bodily functions, such as proper digestion, transporting nutrients to the various body tissues, maintaining body temperature, and many others.
However, domesticated cats often make fewer visits to their water bowls due to their inherited predatory instincts. Wild cats and desert-dwelling felines get most of their fluids from their live prey, while a lot of domesticated cats, including Persians, are mostly fed dry cat food.
Since proper hydration can impact a feline’s overall health and life span, cat owners should consider alternatives to encourage their Persians to drink more water.
It might be surprising to know that proper grooming also plays an important role in your cat’s life expectancy. Although cats like Persians are generally good at keeping themselves clean, their perfectionist grooming behavior can sometimes work against them.
Whether we like it or not, long-haired cat breeds are prone to developing hairballs as a result of their fastidious grooming routines. Hairballs are a normal occurrence and can mostly be eliminated through feces. Sometimes, cats also throw up hairballs in the form of a disgusting, cigar-shaped wad of fur. Serious problems only arise when these hairballs cause intestinal obstruction or a hairball blockage in the esophagus.
To reduce the chance of developing hairballs, Persians require regular grooming and maintenance with a little help from their owners. That includes regular brushing to remove loose hair, a proper diet, and using the appropriate cat shampoo to keep their fur healthy and shiny.
8. Eye care
Persian cats are susceptible to developing teary eyes and, if left unattended, this can develop into eye infections. Improving your cat’s quality of life also includes daily care and cleaning of his eyes. You can use a clean cotton pad or towel dipped in warm water to remove the excess tears and debris. Eye cleaning solutions are also available to prevent eye drainage and staining.
9. General checkups and healthcare
Regular veterinary checkups are a highly recommended routine to ensure your cat lives a healthy life. This practice will also help your vet catch certain diseases at an early stage, such as parasite infections and cancers, and provide immediate care to treat the early symptoms. Routine vet exams also give you an opportunity to monitor your furry companion’s overall health and nip any emerging health issues in the bud.
10. Spaying or neutering
Animals, in general, tend to live healthier and happier lives if they are neutered or spayed. It also reduces the risk of developing several diseases such as uterine infections, cancers of the reproductive system, and others. Neutered or spayed Persian cats also tend to have better behavior and better-adjusted temperaments compared with intact cats.
However, despite the health benefits, a lot of cat owners still have mixed opinions about spaying or neutering their pets. If you need your Persian to remain intact for breeding purposes, it is highly advisable to consult your vet to ensure a healthy cat and offspring.
11. Breeder quality and experience
Choosing the right breeder is likely to increase your chance of getting a purebred Persian cat that is clear of any hereditary health problems. Reputable breeders are careful about selecting the cats they breed in order to produce healthy offspring. These cats often go through several health tests to ensure they do not carry certain genetic problems that might be passed to their kittens.
Considering the strict protocols followed by reputable breeders, it is only reasonable to avoid cat mills and backyard breeders whose sole focus is profit. The cats they breed often do not receive proper health testing and veterinary care, resulting in unhealthy offspring that might later show health issues.
Do Persian cats have health problems?
Compared with other cat breeds, Persians are generally prone to more diseases and hence considered less healthy. These health problems often affect their life expectancy.
Preventative measures, proper treatments, and appropriate management of unavoidable conditions are the keys to increasing your pet’s lifespan. Moreover, choosing a reputable breeder will further reduce your chances of getting a cat with inherited health problems.
Some of the most common health problems in purebred Persian cats are:
- Haircoat disorders
- Periodontal problems, especially in male cats
- Overgrown nails, which are more common in female cats
- Eye discharge due to their extremely flat faces, also known as cherry eye
- Glaucoma and congenital ankyloblepharon
- Parasitic gut infections
Some health issues can be more serious and require immediate veterinary care. These are:
- Hepatic lipidosis
- Heart disease due to their inability to breathe properly. This disorder is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition wherein the left chamber of the heart is more developed.
- Feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD, can manifest as hematuria, pollakiuria, or stranguria
- Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, a condition that affects the respiratory tract due to the cat’s narrow nostrils and trachea
- Chronic inflammation in sinus and ears
- Polycystic kidney disease that results in cysts in the liver and kidneys
- MCT, or mast cell tumors, that develop as skin cancer
Tips to increase the lifespan of Persian cats
With advances in feline behavioral research, health care, and diet, we are now more aware of how to improve our cats’ quality of life than we were some decades ago. To keep your Persian cat happy, healthy, and destined for longer life, here are some important things you can do:
- Make sure your feline is regularly vaccinated. This will help boost his immune system and fight off bacterial and viral infections such as the common flues.
- Proper grooming goes a long way in keeping your feline healthy and beautiful. A good grooming routine must include bathing, facial cleansing (especially the eyes), trimming of the hair, and regular brushing to remove loose fur and prevent matting.
- Visit the vet every 6-12 months for a routine checkup. This will aid the early detection of common diseases that shorten the lifespan of these cats. Early diagnosis and treatment will also encourage faster recovery or easier management of existing health conditions.
- Ensure your cat always gets a well-balanced and nutritious meal. Choose a high-quality cat food brand that is free from fillers and artificial ingredients. Make sure your cat gets enough protein and omega 3 and 6 in his diet. You can also add supplements so that he receives all the essential vitamins and minerals to boost his overall health.
- Monitor your cat’s health regularly. Check his body for any signs of growth and masses. Also, be observant of any changes in his behavior. Sick cats, especially if they are in pain, will often show symptoms such as hiding away and a lack of appetite.
- Do not overfeed your cat; this can cause weight gain or obesity. Obese cats are at risk of developing certain diseases such as diabetes.
- Persian cats generally thrive when kept indoors. Due to their reserved and timid personalities, cats of this breed do not have the ability to defend themselves from the dangers present outside the home. It is also important to keep them safe from other pets or animals that are more aggressive.
- Kidney disease is the leading cause of death in Persian cats. Hence, you must be more observant of early signs such as nausea, increased frequency of urination, lack of appetite, excessive thirst, and lethargy. Consult your vet right away if your cat displays any of these symptoms.
- Dental problems are also common among Persian cats. To prevent dental and oral diseases such as plaque, gingivitis, and tartar, make sure that you regularly brush your cat’s teeth.
- Several studies have proven that spaying or neutering cats can promote better health and longevity. However, if you prefer to keep your cat’s reproductive organs intact for breeding purposes, make sure to consult the vet about proper health care.
- Ensure that your cat receives enough exercise through lots of playtimes. Ignite his predatory instincts by providing interactive toys that mimic the movements of small prey. This will mentally challenge your furry friend and keep him active.
- Make sure your home is a safe and healthy place for your cat to live. The environment must be clean and free from irritants and dust since Persian cats are susceptible to breathing problems and respiratory illnesses.
Things to consider before getting a Persian
Persian cats are among the most popular and loved breeds due to their long, glamorous coats and sweet personalities. Aside from being beautiful, Persians are typically lap cats that love to cuddle with their favorite humans. These laid-back, low-energy felines do not make a lot of noise, unlike some other cat breeds, making them the ideal choice for people who want a gentle and quiet furry companion.
If you are among those who have fallen in love with the Persian’s beauty and sweet disposition, then there are several things you need to know before bringing one into your household:
- As mentioned, this chubby, doll-faced feline loves to cuddle. Having a Persian at home will guarantee you a gentle furry friend and cuddle-mate for life.
- Persian cats should be kept indoors. Letting them roam freely outside will expose these fragile cats to dangerous animal encounters, accidents, and diseases.
- It is highly recommended to neuter or spay your Persian to reduce the risk of ovarian or testicular cancers.
- Persian cats are high-maintenance and very expensive. Purchasing a Persian kitten will cost you around $800. On top of that, you also need to consider other expenses such as veterinary checkups, grooming, toys, diet, and so much more.
- Persian cats require regular brushing to maintain their beautiful hair. You must be ready to take on this responsibility.
- Having a long-haired cat at home will require regular house cleaning since these cats normally shed a lot.
- Persian cats prefer serenity. If you have loud kids or pets at home, this cat breed might not be for you.
- As mentioned, Persians are prone to certain health diseases due to their inherited traits. You should be ready to splash out some money on health care.
- Look for a reputable cat breeder to avoid buying a Persian with potential hereditary illnesses.
There are many reasons why a cat lover would want to have a Persian by their side. These cats are super sociable, calm, and love to be held by their humans. However, they are also high-maintenance and susceptible to a number of health problems due to their genetic composition. These health conditions can be passed to their kittens and can also affect their own lifespan.
If you want your Persian to live a longer life, you need to ensure that your kitten is bought from a trustworthy breeder. Persians that are bred correctly will usually produce healthy offspring with higher rates of survival. On top of that, it is very important to provide your furry friend with the proper diet, health care, and other maintenance in order to help him live as long as possible.
If you are well-prepared for all these responsibilities, then you will be rewarded with an amazing relationship with this unique cat breed for many years to come.
Image: istockphoto.com / rukawajung