Rescuing Persian Cats
A Persian Romance Story...
Persian cats - they are beautiful certainly, but needing rescue? You find it difficult to believe? But Persian cats definitely need help! Because they are pedigree cats, people assume they have no problems, but it just isn't true. This page is written from my experience of persian cats and persian cat rescue. To me, it is hard to believe that people treat persian cats so cruelly - many without meaning to - and I would like to take the chance of this Crazy For Cats Quest to make a few basic points about persian cat personality and to tell a little of our story....
Why "A Persian Romance"?
Why the persian cat is so special....
There is no other word to describe what it feel to look into the soul of another. When a rescue Persian gazes at you from his or her pen and you look into those eyes you are forever lost to Persian Cats. There is an intelligence and a gentleness of spirit, a communication of soul to soul. All cats are beautiful, some say they are Divine of course, but the big owl eyes of a Persian seem to see into your very Being and draw you into theirs. A home without my Persian Cat buddies would be just a hotel...
The Persian Purrsonality at Play
That is how it was when my first Persian rescue came to call. We had sworn off animals, wanting to travel, but within days of moving into our home we had been adopted by a black cat, then a marmalade cat who ate all our goldfish but was quickly forgiven. Travel was still possible, they were happy with Auntie Chris at the cattery and then Tahsy appeared. She was a dramatically coloured "subdued tortoiseshell" although the vet called her "grey". A beautiful creature, she prowled around our garden for days, appearing at the window, calling to us and staring in with those big orange eyes of hers.
Photahsiamirabel, the First of our Persian Rescues
What's in a name?
Well, we called her Tahsy for short, but Photahsiamirabel was the name we gave her when we took her in. It is the name I write under to this day! It became obvious that she wasn't going away, her calls became more insistent as time passed and she ate the scraps our neighbour put out for the birds. That rang alarm bells. We put out regular cat food and she quickly demolished it. We put out kibble and she came back for more. Quietly I approached to stroke her and discovered that underneath that thick coat lay nothing but skin and bones. She was obviously ill, lost or abandoned and I felt no option but to take her in.
We did try to find out her home, we advertised, we asked the vet, we enquired door to door, but nobody had lost a Persian cat so it seems. It was obvious to us that she was a pedigree, her face had the ultra nose. How could a cat like this - who was little more than a kitten - be abandoned or lost? That first night I combed her for fleas - she was totally infested. The following night I found ticks on her neck - that was what brought us to the vet. He removed the ticks safely, treated her for fleas and worms and informed us she might have died in a few days from malnutrition, anaemia and the cold had we not taken her in.
The tinned cat food disagreed and gave her wind - her name, Photahsiamirabel, came from f@rt @rse (@ standing for the letter a of course). She was put on a recommended diet of Iams and the problem ceased. She became The Empress and inspired poetry and art, but most of all she was our kitten, she slept on the bed, burrowed under the covers and totally ruled our lives until the day she died after a long battle with mammary cancer. I promised her as she lay dying that I would help other Persian Cats and I have done my best to keep that promise.
Persian Cat Personality
Stereotypes, Myths and Reality
Alright, we've all see the Disney take on the Persian Personality - feline gang boss, aloof, vain, self-seeking, always plotting.... None of the above apply in my long experience of serving Persian cats. And what about Dr Evil of course? Just look at my boy plotting destruction from the safety of a microphone box on the bed. That face is the very embodiment of innocence!
How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You?
Really? I don't think so! People can be so very wrong about cats! Of course, cats are all individuals just as we are, but my overwhelming experience of Persians is as follows:
Persian Cats are gentle souls, they are easily spooked by large, loud people, especially strange men and rambunctious children. Persians are, I always say, cats for dog people. Persians are loyal to their owners and they are very affectionate. The boys are particularly so, they will follow you around the house, want to copy what you do, curl up close to you at night. They hate to be left. This in itself can be a real problem if you work long hours or if you plan to have regular holidays. Rescue Persians in particular do not do well in catteries - they think they have been abandoned again. They can become ill from the stress. Separate holidays have been standard in our home for years. One goes away, the other cares for the Persian Army....
Persians are rarely aggressive, they can be far too trusting of humans. An outdoor Persian cat is a disaster waiting to happen. Their territorial sense is not as pronounced as other cats and if allowed to wander they can easily become lost, or even stolen - worst of all, stolen for their fur! They can be very intelligent and yet they have little road sense. The interbreeding used to produce small noses, big eyes and beautiful coats over the decades has led to breathing problems, kittening problems and means they need a specialised diet. Persian tummies can be easily upset by normal cat food, food sensitivity or too many treats.
When they shed, they truly shed! It is possible to have a well groomed Persian with a glorious coat one week and the next week, despite proper grooming, they have mats in a thinning coat. Combing needs to be part of a daily routine - some Persians love it, most do not and object to having legs and tummies groomed in particular. Most Persians are friendly and gregarious. They rarely fight with each other and sometimes like to snuggle up together - there are exceptions to any rule though - Amberleigh being one!
A Love too Big for Hearts to Hold
Persian Cats Health Issues
I have already mentioned about sensitive tummies and breathing difficulties, but the inbreeding undertaken even by reputable persian cat breeders to get that variety of color and still keep the breed standard sometimes results in tragedy. My beautiful Himmie would wake me each morning by climbing on my chest and purring and licking my face until I got up to play with her. It became possible to adopt her sister too. They made a beautiful and loving pair as you can see, but the reunion was to be shortlived.
Loolie had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia that the rescuer was not told about. We paid the price - she had a major operation as the vet desperately tried to save her life - which was successful on paper - sadly she succombed to the anaesthetic and the stress of the operation. Woolie never quite seemed to recover, the vet diagnosed depression, then arthritis and advised glucosamine, but one night she had a heart attack and we rushed her to the emergency vets as 2am. It turned out to be hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - another congenital weakness apparently and I had lost one of my babies too soon....
This is the song I wrote for her as I was grieving....
Rescue is not a cheap option!
When you adopt a rescue persian, expect to pay a rehoming fee. It may cost as much as buying a kitten.
Expect to answer LOTS of questions about your home circumstances and what you might do if the cat has behavioural problems.
A reputable rescue want to discourage adoption on a whim and will have big costs!
Reputable Persian Cat Breeders
And Disreputable Cat Abductors
Persian cats are one of the most popular pedigree breeds because they look so gorgeous - they have the whole big-eyed animal thing going and a built in Disney factor. Reputable Persian Cat breeders need to look into the background of those who buy Persian kittens. Will the the prospective buyer give the Persian a loving home? Are they aware of the nutritional needs of the breed? Will they cope with the discipline of daily grooming or the cost of regular lion cuts? Will they keep their kitten indoors and out of harms way....
Disreputable Abductors and Odd Toilet Habits
One of my cats came to me from a lovely young lady who adored her but couldn't cope with poor toiletting habits. The little cat was beautiful and had even won a kitten show. She was let out every day under supervision in a fenced garden. One day while her mum was distracted, she was abducted from the garden. Now most reputable persian cat breeders will routinely neuter cats not intended as breeding stock, and she had indeed been neutered. The abductor did not know this. Six months later the little cat was unceremoniously returned with what appeared to be a bladder infection. She was in a dreadful state. My guess is that was the result of unsuccessful efforts to breed from her by a kitten mill. Unfortunately, because she had been an outdoor cat she found it hard to adapt to using a litter box and because she was paper trained as a kitten, no newspaper, form, magazine, cardboard box, pile of books or carrier bag was safe....
Her forever home is now with us, and she has her own "toilet paper" which is changed every time she uses the box. Not 100% foolproof, but it makes the occasional misses livable with...
Pussy's Little Problem
A little guide for cat lovers and those difficult toilet problems.
Persian Cat Christmas Card Designs - From Persimew, to you...
Our Persians rule our lives - there is no getting away from it - they were abandoned kitties but now they have caring friends and forever homes. We would do anything for them because we love them and they return that love and have become like children to us. We could no more abandon them than you could abandon your kids....
I hope you have learned a little about the Persian Personality here. Thank you for visiting.
© 2012 Lisa Marie Gabriel