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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cat History

The Wild One

Of all the domestic species, the cat is the most independent and least understood. Descendent of the North African wildcat the domestic cat evolved to be a solitary hunter. When cats moved into new human communities, those that were cared for discovered a source of abundant food. Natural selection favored more sociable individuals, slowly transforming the wildcat into the domestic cat that we know and love today.

From Wildcat to Domestic Cat

Unlike other domestic animals, the cat is self-domesticated. It chose to live in close proximity to people because it was in its interests to do so, a natural selfishness that remains at the core of domestic cat behavior to this day. The development of settlements along the fertile floodplains of the Nile provided the wildcat with the potential of a new environmental niche. From this time onward, burials and paintings provide evidence for a growing relationship between felines and humans. The absorption of the domesticated cat into Egyptian society seems to have been complete by about 2000 BC, and was followed by its recognition as the symbolic embodiment of a deity.

Cats are Purrrr-fect

The cat is one of nature's most successful products. All aspects of its anatomy result from evolutionary logic. Its eyes dilate fully for night vision but shut down to slits in bright sunshine. Touch-sensitive whiskers help the cat to "feel" its way when it hunts in low light, while its delicate hearing lets it hear the tiny, high-pitched sounds of a mouse squeaking. An accurate sense of balance permits it to climb away from danger and regain balance if it accidentally falls. All of these characteristics create an animal that is appealing to our eyes and minds.

One of a kind

During the 20th century, the cat moved from a minor role in human society to a more commanding position as one of the most popular of all animal companions. Quiet, self-cleaning, content to snooze whenever the opportunity arises but capable of astounding episodes of activity when its brain is engaged, it is also aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps the cat's most important characteristic is its independence. By living with us it gives us an opportunity to view the natural world in our own homes.


This breed, usually an indoor dweller, is a relaxed observer. It is cited as the quietest and friendliest of cat breeds, and the one most likely to accept other cats into its home.
The first documented ancestors of the Persian were imported from Persia into Italy in 1620. For the next two centuries their descendents were status symbol pets.

Himalayan Persian

Possibly the first deliberate hybridization of two breeds, this version of the Persian was also the first recognized "export" to another breed of the Siamese pointed pattern. The resulting cat has the luxurious, thick, long coat of the Persian, and the exotic color pattern of the Siamese. Eye color is blue but less intense than in the Siamese. While the average Persian is content to watch the world go by, and the Siamese is a lways at the heart of the action, the Himalayan Persian is an outgoing but relaxed companion.

Exotic Persian

The Exotic Shorthair is a breed of cat developed to be a shorthaired version of the Persian. They appeal to people who like the personality of a Persian but do not want the hassle of grooming a long-haired cat. The easier to manage coat has made some label the Exotic Shorthair the lazy person’s Persian. The Exotic Shorthair is similar to the Persian in many ways, including temperament and conformation, with the exception of the short dense coat. It has even inherited much of the Persian's health problems. (

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  1. Wow! Thanks for the information. This is really educational. I never knew Persians were imported from Persia in 15th century. That is a definitely one of the oldest breeds. Great website!

  2. I own a himalayan cat for 14 years. She is soooo sweet. Everybody says persians and himalayans are the sweetest. Interestingly enough they actually decent from the siamese.

  3. Siamese are vicious unlike Persians, but I heard they are loyal