Persian Cat Ailments

The two types of Persian cats, the Ultra Persian and the Traditional Persian, both fall under the same umbrella of Persian cat ailments. If you have a Persian cat, or are considering purchasing one, it is important to understand the health conditions that are typically characteristic of this breed.

Persian Cats and Respiratory Problems

It is not uncommon for Persian cats to experience respiratory and sinus problems, particularly the Ultra Persian. This breed of the Persian has a brachycephalic skull structure, which literally means “short head.” The structure of the facial bones creates a somewhat smashed-in appearance to the face. While this may give the Ultra Persian cat its characteristic look, it makes breathing more difficult becomes of the shortened airway. Traditional Persian cats, however, do not typically have this same problem because their facial structure is similar to that of most other cats.

On a similar note, another Persian cat ailment to consider is stenotic nares. Stenotic nares are smaller-than-normal nasal passages. Because the Persian is a brachycephalic breed, the nares are naturally stenotic, which makes breathing more difficult, causing the Persian to be prone to sinus congestion and irritation.

Eye Conditions for Persian Cats

Entropion is a common Persian cat ailment. Entropion occurs when the eyelid rolls inward, causing irritation and usually infections of the eye. This is genetic in Persian cats, although diligent, careful breeding attempts have been made to remove this eye condition from the Persian bloodline.

Another Persian cat ailment is epiphora, which is chronic tearing of the eyes. While this is a genetic trait as well, epiphora occurs because of the unusual bone structure of the face. The eye sockets sit somewhat back in the head, and this gives way to excessive tearing. In most cases, epiphora only causes minor eye irritation and can be successfully treated with otic antibiotics.

Progressive retinal atrophy, a retinal disease, is an inherited trait of Persian cats. Although the gene which carries this disease is recessive, it still occurs in many Persian cats. With progressive retinal atrophy, the photoreceptors of the eyes, cells which absorb light and send nerve signals to the brain for interpretation, become ineffective and lead to blindness.

Skin and Coat for Persians

Because the Persian’s coat is long and thick, regular grooming is needed to maintain its health. In addition to this, skin sensitivity is another common Persian cat ailment. Skin sensitivity can be anything from the type of shampoo used during grooming to the fabric softener used on the bed the cat lays on. Sometimes certain foods can cause a reaction of the Persian’s skin, other times medications may leave an undesired affect on the skin.

Persian Cats and Heart Disease

Although heart disease is one of the most common health conditions in elderly cats, there is also a genetic predisposition to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy among Persian cats. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is defined as thickening and inflammation of the heart muscles. When this happens, it becomes more difficult for blood to exit the heart and travel throughout the body, and this makes the heart muscle pump harder. While this type of heart disease is typically fatal, there are a number of medical treatments that can increase longevity in Persian cats.