Persian cats are the oldest breed of cats known and rightly called the aristocrats of felines. They are fluffy, big-eyed and gentle and make great pets.
Persian cats are not among the largest breeds but definitely are not small either.
The Persian is a medium-sized cat although the long, thick hair that gives them their distinctive looks makes them look much bigger. In some cases, a Persian does not grow to the normal size and this could be due to malnutrition for various reasons, ill-health or genetics.
It is important to know that a Persian cat’s weight is not an indication of its health. A cat that is smaller than it should be could be so for various reasons and not all of them are related to illness.
A perfectly healthy Persian cat could be smaller than is the standard for the species. Some of these reasons could be
1. It Is The Runt Of The Litter
Like most cats, a Persian cat will average 2 – 5 kittens per litter, and one of them will naturally be much smaller than its siblings.
While chances of survival for the smallest kitten are small, some do manage to pull through. They will always be smaller than normal, even when fully grown.
If a Persian has a large litter, it is possible that all kittens were not provided the required nourishment before birth, and even after birth when mother’s milk is a prized commodity that the larger, healthier kittens are not willing to share.
If you have a cat that has given birth to a runt or are just taking care of one that has been abandoned by its mother or is just too weak to get the nourishment it requires from its mother, take good care of it.
Regular feeding of substitute milk and keeping it warm will give your tiny Persian cat a fighting chance at survival.
2. It Did Not Get Required Nutrients To Grow Well
Even if a kitten is from a small litter (two or three kittens), it is possible that the mother cat was not getting the required nutrition to support the healthy development of the kittens while in the womb.
This lack of nutrition would carry forward to the time these kittens were born and dependent on their mother’s milk.
Not getting adequate nutrients could result in stunted growth, making a Persian cat smaller than it should be throughout its life.
While this is true for stray cats, it is unfortunately also true for those Persians that are not well-looked after by their humans or are simply so fussy about their diet that they do not always eat what is good for them.
3. There Is Something The Matter Inside
If your cat appears healthy on the outside and is eating well, there is a chance something is happening inside that is not letting it grow.
Intestinal parasites are a common problem for cats, and Persians are no exception. If your cat has worms, they could be affecting its ability to absorb much-needed nutrients from the food she eats.
Persians are susceptible to diseases such as congenital hypothyroidism, polycystic kidneys and others which could be keeping your cat unwell enough to not eat and hence affect overall growth.
Persians also suffer from dental problems which could be affecting their diet, which in turn could be affecting their growth.
Have you ever tried eating when you have a cold? How does that go? Now imagine that happening at every meal, every day for your whole life.
This breed of cats has a small nose with pinched nostrils that can affect its sense of smell, which could result in a Persian not eating well.
4. The Diet Is All Wrong
There are many kinds of cat foods available in the market, from canned wet food to pelleted dry food and of course, homemade treats.
The ideal cat food is low in carbs, moderate in fats and high in protein. It is tempting to give cats milk and cream but adult cats are intolerant of lactose in milk and can get an upset tummy if they are given cow’s milk.
However, cats can easily digest yogurt and cheese.
See what food type is suiting your cat and opt for a brand that lists a protein in the first two ingredients, is rich in pro- and pre-biotics, fiber and vitamins, and minerals.
Good cat food should be free of grains and lactose.
Persian cats need a mix of wet and dry food that is especially formulated for kittens and adult cats. Never feed a kitten adult food or vice versa.
The two are not designed to stand in for each other.
5. Your Persian Is A Hybrid
While there are known cases where a purebred Persian cat is smaller than it should be, there are chances that a smaller-than-average Persian is not purebred.
Having a parent or ancestor that is not a pure breed Persian could mix up the genes, so a Persian cat is smaller than the average size.
If you are buying your cat from a well-reputed breeder, they will have its pedigree listed in the registry.
However, if you’re adopting one or buying one that does not come with a registry, there is high probability your cat is a mixed breed and some of the non-Persian genes have dominated when it comes to this cat’s size.
6. Gender Difference
As is the rule in most animal species, the female of a species is smaller than the male. This true for felines as well where female Persian cats will be smaller than their male littermates.
They will be smaller in size and will also weigh less.
If you have a female Persian, its size will definitely be smaller in comparison to a male’s, and it is possible that it is small even for a female.
What is a teacup Persian? Teacup Persians are like regular cats, just tiny even when fully grown. Some are genetically small, but others may be so because of stunting or malnutrition. While adorable, these cats may be the result of bad breeding practices, are very susceptible to diseases and have short lifespans.
Are Persian cats friendly? Persians have the most human-tolerant personality of all cats. They do not mind sitting in a lap and being stroked. They are good with families and do not mind well-behaved children. However, they do need a “quiet spot” for when they want to be on their own.