Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Breed of the Week: Persian Cat

Today we'll go back to kitties for the breed topic.  

This breed had been pretty popular for a while. I don't really see that many of them these days and haven't for the last 5-7 years. I'm not sure why - cost of getting one? cost of keeping one? Other breeds have come into higher popularity? I'd like to think it's because more people are simply rescuing the millions of cats (good old domestic short, medium and long hairs) that need homes. 

They definitely have health and behavioral issues.

The breed originated in the area of Persia but the true genetic origins are not completely known.  They come in a variety of colors and patterns. 

Here are some key points about them:
1. The long coat requires constant care and maintenance
2. I can tell you from experience, they can BE prone to inappropriate urination issues
3. Their facial structure predisposes them to all sorts of issues: 
    a. chronic eye  (tear duct issues) and nasal discharge 
        requiting constant maintenance 
    b. they often have stenotic nares (or nostril openings that
        are so small they have noisy breathing)
    c. entropion- so the folds in their face cause folding in
       of the eyelids - necessitating surgical correction or a life
       of chronic eye issues including ulcers
    d. skin fold dermatitis - again, maintenance to keep the
        face clean

4. They have a pretty high incidence of urinary stones
5. A BIG ONE: congenital polycystic kidney disease - this can now be screened for with a genetic test. It affects young  to young adult cats most often. They go into kidney failure and either die or are euthanized. There is no "cure" other than to hopefully screen this OUT of the breed. 
6. Patellar luxation (remember I discussed this with dogs not too long ago) - this is one of the few kitty breeds that can be prone to this
7. Hip dysplasia - also not as common in our felines but here again, this breed is predisposed to it.

Personally in practice I have seen the facial/eye/nose issues the most and a few sad cases of the polycystic kidney disease. I have also seen the behavior issues.  

In general this is not a hardy breed and if you want a cat that doesn't require much home or veterinary care, this is NOT the breed for you. In fact, purebreds of any species lack what we call "hybrid vigor" so you are better off getting a nice domestic shorthair from your local shelter.  

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