The origin and history of the Persian cats has been lost in time and has also been subjected to various theories. With reference to its name, it has been strongly suggested that this cat has its origin rooted in Persia, which is now called Iran. Historical paintings and writings have also affirmed that the Persian has been one of the oldest cat breeds. Pietro della Valle, an Italian traveler and writer, was recorded to be the one who brought several longhair cat breeds from Persia to Italy in the 1620s. Such importation of longhair cat breeds has also been carried out a few years later by scholar and naturalist Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc from Angora (present Ankara in Turkey) to France. It was not known whether these longhair cats were of the same breed. However, it is recognized that many of them existed in the East and the different theories had pointed to Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan as the native lands of the Persian cats.
The very first longhair cat that appeared in England was known as ‘French cats’, and England had then become the ‘second motherland’ of the Persian cats. In the 1900s, the British cat fanciers had started to purposefully breed the Persian cats. It is noteworthy that the longhair cats at that time had been differentiated into two categories, namely, the Turkish Angora and the Persian. The former possesses a long flexible body, silky thin coat and big pointed ears; while the latter has a massive body with rounded head and small ears. In fact, these cats had been simply termed longhair cats and only Persian cats with blue coat were recognized as true Persian cat. Every other breed of a different color is considered to be a separate breed.
During this period, the Persian cats were introduced in America and became a popular breed. Unlike the British clubs, America has classed all the longhair breeds of the different color variations into one category of cat breed, i.e., the Persian. Contrived efforts were made by breeders from different countries in developing the Persian cat. The result was groups of new age Persian cats that are distinctly different from their ancestors. Contemporary Persian cats are marked for their coats that can reach to as long as 10 centimeters, they are also richer in color and thicker in feel. These efforts have also presented the Persian cat with an assortment of color coats that have been sorted into different categories. These include the silver and golden division, the shaded and smoke division, the tabby division, the parti-colored division, the bicolor division, the Himalayan division and the solid division. In the solid division is where the Black Persian Longhair cat (BPL) is grouped. Like any other Persian cats, it has been one of the most adored cats, esteemed for its gorgeous appearance and sweet personality.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Persian cat is a heavy-boned cat with a cobby body. The average weight of the female is between 8 – 12 pounds while the male can weigh over 12 pounds. Its legs are short, thick but strong, and are all of an even height. The paws are large, round and firm to the touch, possessing toes that are tightly held together. The Persian cat has a rounded head set on a short thick neck. Its skull is smooth and round to the feel. The facial features constitute of a small, snub and broad nose with an indentation that is centered evenly between the eyes. Its muzzle is not overly pronounced and smooths gently into its full cheeks. The jaw is broad and strong and is complemented with a firmly-developed chin. Persians have a pair of small ears that are rounded at the tips and tilted slightly forward. The base of the ears is not unduly wide and they are set well apart such that it blends well with the gentle curve of its rounded head. This breed also has a pair of distinctly rounded full eyes that are usually in a brilliant copper for the BPL. They are set far apart, offering the cat an open and sweet expression. The prominence of the eyes is also apparent when viewed in profile.
Also, the forehead, nose and chin would appear to be in a vertical alignment. Persian cats have a chest that is broad and deep. It is harmonized with a muscled body that appears solid and hefty from shoulders to rump, presenting a well-rounded middle section and straight level back. The body is balanced off with a short plumed tail. The ideal coat color for a BPL should be of coal black from root to tip, lustring even in such hue of intense saturation. The Persian’s coat is also one of its most definitive features. It is long and thick, covering the whole body. Such a coat softens the lines of the cat and at the same time accentuates it round appearance. The hair is of a fine and silky texture, reflecting a soft glowing sheen. Displayed around its neck is an immensely grandiose ruff that continues into deep frills between the front legs. The ears and toes of the Persian breed are also covered with long tufts. These features have all supplemented to the elegant and resplendent stance of the Persian cat, and with the BPL, an enigmatic beauty is added.
Personality and temperament
The BPL has a mellow heart that is of a quiet and sweet disposition. Slightly opinionated, it expresses its emotions through its light and soft vocal range and large expressive eyes. The Persian is a breed that takes great pleasure in being a lap cat and enjoys being cuddled, patted and stroked. Even though it is affectionate, this cat can appear discriminating with a reserved devotion and loyalty only to those few family members and guests who are considered close. Persian is not a very active breed and is satisfied with regular meals, relatively adequate playtime and lots of love, of which they would reciprocate in many folds. This breed is unlikely to be found seeking for high perches or climbing on household items. Rather, the Persian finds its domain on the ground or more accessible house fixtures. Creature of habit, the Persian builds its sense of security around homes that has an atmosphere of serenity. However, with love and assurance, they can also adapt well to homes that are lively. This cat has its own share of playfulness but is not overly demanding of personal attention. It enjoys posing and draping itself over any favorite furniture, enhancing the house décor and transforming the space into a much treasured painting with its elegant presence.
Care and health issues
BPL is known to be a generally healthy breed having an average life span of usually more than 15 years. However, this breed could also be faced with hereditary health issues. These include Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which causes cystic degeneration to the kidneys and its dysfunction; Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM); bladder stones; cystitis (bladder infections); and liver shunts. Another hereditary health issues is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which causes vision problems early in the life of the cat and could progress rapidly into blindness. Selecting the BPL from recognized and qualified breeders that have put the breed through necessary health tests would however prevent the occurrence of these undesirable diseases and conditions. The long thick hair of the BPL calls for daily combing and brushing in order to maintain a clean lustrous coat that is tangle-free.
To achieve such standard, the grooming of the coat needs to be thorough. A regular bath of at least once a month would also be ideal for a healthy coat. Extra effort would also need to be extended to keeping its litter box scrupulously clean as the litter may be lodged in the cat’s paws and coat. Thus, in order to encourage proper toileting practice, the hygiene and cleanliness of both the cat and the box would need to be maintained. Persian cats tend to encounter excessive tearing, thus, to prevent under-eye stains from forming, the corners of the eyes would need to be cleaned daily. Other hygiene and grooming care for the teeth and nails would need to be observed as well.
The ideal home
The BPL is suitable for indoor living and should rightly be kept safe as it has a low defense skill. The ideal home and owner would be someone who will be willing to set aside the time for daily grooming and also to shower it with love and care. A home that is serene will be ideal. Though it can adapt well to new situations, it has its reserves towards other pets and new guests and thus, it might not be able to socialize well with them. Otherwise, this gentle, sensitive and affectionate breed will be a much adored pet to any home; providing the family with much warmth, joy and devotion.