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Persian cats: some behavior issues

Updated on July 11, 2008

My sweet Persian cat

Some behavior issues I have came across


I have owned my female Tortoiseshell Persian for a good 10 years. We have really enjoyed so far these years together however, I must admit, some of her behavior quirks and problems have caused me some worries.


The first behavior issue I encountered with her pretty soon was the fact that she grew up to become a finicky cat. While this cannot really be considered as a behavior problem, I must admit it was frustrating. Before getting her I have owned stray cats that would do whatever it takes to get in reach with some tasty canned food. They were always acting as if they were starving and would eat just about anything edible. Now, with her turning her nose away from some quite expensive cat food I must admit, it felt frustrating and at the same it worried me because I always thought she was sick. Instead, further down the road, I realized that if I offered her a different type of canned food she would eat it readily. I ended up soon switching her canned food brands and flavors on a weekly basis. I also had to microwave her food sometimes for a few seconds just to entice her to eat. Of course, I had all medical problems ruled out before trying out these approaches.


My Persian cat then at about 8 years old, started exhibiting fear at an extent that made me have her evaluated by a vet. Nothing was found wrong with her once again health wise. The fear was manifested through hissing, growling and attempts to scratch and bite. The first time this happened I really thought she was having an aggressive fit against me. Then later, through some research on the Internet I figured out she had developed what was called "redirected aggression". In other words, she saw something out the window that over charged her with fear and then she would see me and attack me instead. This went on and off for several years. I had to close all window views by pulling the blinds down or tying the curtains. When she acted out this way I had to put her in a dark room until she calmed down. Finally, I gave her up concerned about her wellbeing and passed her to my parents. Since then she has had very rare episodes and has improved dramatically.


Perhaps this as well is not really a behavior problem but it can be considered something that needs attention. My Persian cat has grown up to be a lazy pillow warmer, allergic to movement and work outs. I have really tried hard to engage her in some active play. Concerned for her health, I have bought a bunch of expensive toys only to find out later that she really enjoyed playing with cheap stuff I had at home. One of her favorites is my necklace. She could hear the noise of my necklace from a room in the opposite side of my home and will run to me eager to play. I also had bought her a remote controlled mouse, she ignored the mouse but weirdly really enjoyed playing with the antenna. I still have to work hard in stimulating her to get her daily exercise, but the vet gave her a clean bill of health, so I tend to not worry much about it anymore.


If you would ask my Persian cat what she thinks are the most improtant things in the world she would say: "Food and my home.". I had a few times when I had to leave her with a friend while I was away a few days and she got pretty homesick. She refused to eat and pretty much spent all day under the bed. She did eventually come out and ate a few bites on the days that followed, but she really must have had a hard time adjusting to being in a different place. While this is pretty common in most cats, I must admit her case was a little harder to deal with when compared to how my other non-Persian cats had reacted in the past.

While the above behavior problems may seem excessive to some, they do not necessarily occur in most Persians. Personally, I must admit that I will never want to trade her for another cat. When the re-directed aggression issue appeared I knew that a lot of people would have considered giving her up or euthanizing her. To me instead, this option never crossed my mind. Rather I tried to pass her to my parents that lived in a quieter neighborhood and this worked out well. I still get to see her as much as I want and I still consider her "my cat".

I love my Persian cat and must admit that she also has a lot of qualities. She is very quiet, placid and sweet. She loves to be pet and nothing feels better than petting a soft purring Persian. She gives me lots of nose kisses and in my belief, I think she loves me too. Persians may have a few behavior issues but if you live in a small apartment and yet want a feline companion, a Persian may easily adjust and warm up your pillows and very easily warm up your heart!


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