The Persian cat (Persian: گربه ایرانی Gorbe Irâni) is a long-haired breed of cat characterized by its round face and short muzzle. It is also known as the Persian Longhair in the English-speaking countries. In the Middle East region they are widely known as Iranian cat and in Iran they are known as Shirazi cat. The first documented ancestors of the Persian were imported into Italy from Iran (historically known as Persia) around 1620. The exact history of the Persian cat does seem to be a bit of a mystery but many of these long-haired cats were seen in hieroglyphics. The story has it that these long-haired cats were then imported into Europe as their popularity grew and breeding took place in Italy and France. The Persian cat was first presented at the world's first organised cat show in 1871 in London, England, before making its way to the United States of America in the early 1900s. The Persian cat breeding standards have always called for a cat with a short face, but it's important to note that the Persian cat originally had a much longer nose than the flat-faced Persians of today. Hereditary polycystic kidney disease is prevalent in the breed, affecting almost half the population in some countries. In 2015 it was ranked as the 2nd most popular breed in the United States according to the Cat Fanciers' Association.
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