Basic Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cat Care
On this page I've provided general information to help you care for your new Persian or Exotic cat or kitten. In addition to the information below, I currently have a report available, Persian & Exotic Shorthair Grooming Secrets. If you're wondering why you can't seem to make your cat look as fluffy as those cats at the show, and no matter what you do your cat looks greasy and clumpy, this report is for you. It explains the exact methods, tips and tricks of grooming your Persian or Exotic Shorthair cat.
After you bring your new Persian or Exotic home, you'll need to make an appointment with a veterinarian to have your cat examined. The health guarantee in your cat's purchase agreement probably has a time frame within which you must have this done. Make sure that your vet receives the vaccination record information, provided by your breeder, so that he/she can schedule all needed boosters and additional vaccinations for your Persian or Exotic. What your cat is vaccinated with, and when, is up to you. You should make well informed decisions about your cat's care. New vaccination protocols are being recommended. Additionally, your vet can council you on an appropriate time for your pet Persian or Exotic to be spayed/neutered.
A new home can be a stressful situation. It is recommended that your Persian or Exotic kitten be confined to a somewhat limited area, at first, to familiarize him/her with the location of the litter box and to protect him/her from any hazards. Check your home for possible dangers, such as, household chemicals, house plants which may be poisonous, etc. Make sure to baby-proof your home.
Changing your Persian's or Exotic's diet abruptly or overfeeding will cause diarrhea! If you intend to feed your cat something other than what it's accustom to, be sure to change gradually. Begin by mixing approximately one part new food to about five parts current food. Slowly increase the ratio of new food over the next several days until you eventually are feeding nothing but the new food.
I don't recommend feeding grocery store commercial cat foods. Many grocery store cat foods can be high in ash which may cause your cat dangerous urinary tract blockages later. These foods are also likely to be loaded with artificial coloring, etc, which may cause your cat to vomit frequently or possibly cause other reactions and problems. I recommend that a "professional" cat food be fed if you're looking for a simple way to give your cat a decent quality, balanced diet. There are many foods to choose from including Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo and Nutro Natural Choice, just to name a few. These foods are commonly found at pet stores, pet supply warehouse stores, feed stores, and sometimes your vet's office. Feeding these foods is of course not fool-proof, since any ingredient in the cat's diet could cause reactions or problems at some point in it's life which may cause you to explore food alternatives.
Regarding Pet Food Safety issues, please see the Pet Food Recalls and Alerts sidebar on the AVMA website.
If you're looking for the very best way you can feed your cat, explore preparing meals from scratch with raw ingredients. There are several places on the internet that can guide you in feeding this way, but be certain that the diet is truly balanced and safe. Other prepared raw food alternatives can be found at Only Natural Pet Store LLC.
If your new kitty is a Persian, you now have some work ahead of you. It is recommended that you comb your Persian once a day and wash it well, at least every other week. Persians can become notoriously matted, especially on the belly, under the arm-pits, behind the ears, and under the tail. Pay close attention to these areas. You will need a metal long tooth comb and a gentle wire slicker brush. Soft bristled "cat brushes" do nothing for the Persian's long coat. Be careful not to brush too hard and hurt your cats delicate skin, but be sure all the hair is combed down to the roots. Frequent grooming will be easier on you and your Persian. Pulling on fur that's infrequently cared for and matted will likely make your cat cranky.
If your Persian does become matted, it's recommend that a groomer shave off the matted areas with an electric grooming clipper. You shouldn't try this yourself unless you're an experienced groomer. It's very easy to accidentally cut the cat's thin, delicate skin. You may even want your groomer to shave your Persian's body, or maybe just its belly, on a regular basis to minimize your grooming task.
If your kitty is an Exotic, your grooming tasks will be less. No combing is required unless your cat's in a shedding cycle. If it is, combing will help remove the hair and prevent it from matting as it comes out. A good combing, followed by a good thorough bathing, followed by another good combing (once your cat is dry) will remove most of the shedding hair.
You'll need to give your Persian a bath approximately every other week. Bathing frequently will help greatly to keep your Persian from matting. Exotics can go longer between baths but remember bathing will remove loose hair and oil. If not bathed on a regular basis an Exotic can mat as the shedding undercoat tangles with the guard hair. Dirt and oil cause the coat to mat quickly on a Persian, and also causes a clumpy look to the coat. I recommend that you use shampoos designed to cut the grease and help make the coat fluffy. I don't use a conditioner unless the coat is dry and damaged. Conditioners tend to weigh the hair down and make your cat look droopy and greasy. It's probable that your kitten has been bathed several times before you got it, since kittens are always getting messy. The more you bathe and blow dry your Persian or Exotic, the better he/she will behave during these grooming tasks.
As you probably know, cats groom themselves by licking their fur. Persians and Exotics all vary in their interest in personal hygiene. Some may lick obsessively and ingest a lot of hair. Others may not lick themselves at all. Hair that is swallowed is expelled either through the feces or by vomiting occasionally. To help this process, give your cat a commercial hairball remedy. Follow the directions on the label. I prefer to tailor the frequency of the maintenance dosage on how much interest the cat takes in licking itself.
Remember to check and clean inside the ears gently with a cotton swab. If you notice that the insides start to become very dirty with a dark reddish-brown crusty matter, and the cat tries to scratch its ears and shake its head frequently, your cat probably has ear mites. It's important to treat this with a good ear mite medication, as ear mites can lead to infection and ear damage. Be sure to follow the directions from your veterinarian or on the bottle. Other internal ear problems are yeast or other infection. See your vet if the inside of the ears have an odd gunkiness or drainage, and the cat scratches and squirms when you clean them.
Trim the tips of the nails with a human finger nail trimmer as needed. Watch for the vein inside. You can see it from the side of the nail. You don't want to cut too closely and make the nail bleed. Make sure you supply your cat with a good scratching post that is tall enough that your cat can get a full body stretch up when scratching. You can encourage your cat to use his post by wiping the bottoms of his front paws on the post. This will leave his scent on the post and encourage him to come back to use it.
Please don't declaw your cat. Doing so can often lead to complications and behavioral issues.
A Persian's and Exotic's eyes tear, and become goopy and crusty. This occurs because of the Persian's and Exotic's short nose. Bacteria causes the discharge to become rust-brown and stain the face. You'll need to wipe under and around the eyes with a clean warm wet paper towel or washcloth gently, preferably twice a day. Drops of Eye Irrigation Solution from the drug store applied to the eyes regularly and used to clean around the eyes will help control rust-brown tears. You may also use a commercial eye stain cleaner for the hair below the eye. Follow the directions, do not get this directly in the eye. To see results from using an eye stain remover you must use it religiously, twice a day. You will notice improvement in two weeks. I highly recommend Eye Envy products for eye stain removal. Once you've used this product for a while, you'll be able to cut back and use it less frequently.
Because many Persians and Exotics can be prone to cornea (lens of the eye) scratches and ulcers you should pay close attention to their eyes. Should you ever notice the cat favoring an eye, squinting, or rubbing it with its paw, it's extremely important to exam the eye immediately. You can examine the cornea in good light by tilting the cat's head so you can look across the surface of the eye. If you see a faint ridge, irregularity, or the cornea is cloudy; or if after you wipe around the eye the cat continues to favor it even though you can't see anything, get to the vet as soon as possible. The sooner it's treated properly the better the outcome. It is extremely important that the cat be immediately fitted with an Elizabethan Collar (e-collar or "cone") to keep the cat from rubbing the eye and enlarging the ulcer further. It will make all the difference in the speediness of the recovery. It's also important to find a vet who's familiar with treating eye ulcers since some antibiotics can make them worse. Triple antibiotic ointments should be avoided. Under no circumstances should neo/poly/dex or Genticin with Durafilm ever be used! Steroids will greatly worsen the ulcer. Ofloxicin is currently the preferred antibiotic choice. Pairing this with a hypertonic eye ointment can be helpful.
Other reasons to see the vet are an unusual amount of redness or swelling of the inner eye lids and a thick whitish discharge.
Persians and Exotics have a snub nose, so often have some of the same characteristics as dogs with the same, such as English Bull dogs, Pekingnese, etc. It's common to hear them snort occasionally which is part of their charm. However, some of these cats may have crimped nostrils (stenotic nares) which cause them to be very noisy breathers or mouth breathers. This is something breeders work to breed away from in their programs, striving for a wide open nostril. In cases of severe crimped nostrils, a veterinarian can surgically correct the problem if necessary.
Although the nose is short it generally has very few problems associated with it. Occasionally, during a virus, a secondary infection of the sinus cavity may occur, causing a cronic snotty nose, which requires a strong antibiotic to clear successfully. If not completely cleared, it could reoccur and a sinus flush with antibiotics may be required by your veterinarian.
ANIMAL HEALTH SUPPLIES
The following are my favorite animal health supply companies:
CAT INFORMATION & CARE LINKS
BEHAVIOR & PROBLEM SOLVING LINKS
Cat Faeries - Feliway & Comfort Zone Products for soiling and scratching problems.
BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS & REVIEWS
The Book of The Cat,
The Cat Fanciers' Association Complete Cat Book
Feline Husbandry: Diseases and Management in the Multiple-cat Environment, 1e
The Cornell Book of Cats: A Comprehensive & Authoritative Medical Reference for Every Cat & Kitten
If you intend to begin breeding and showing Persian or Exotic cats I recommend
that you subscribe to
Please also see other favorite selections to the right.
Book & Magazine