Dr. Marie Menniti's Veterinary Advice
Persians are a fuzzy and flat-faced cat breed. Because of these characteristics, Persians have some special requirements when it comes to their general care.
Whilst Persians don’t necessarily have different nutrient needs than other cat breeds, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing their diet to ensure they live a long and healthy life.
Here are some tips you can use when picking out a food for your Persian cat.
1. Consider your Persian’s energy needs
Persian cats are known to be a low-energy breed, so they will need a food that is less energy-dense to avoid overeating calories and becoming overweight.
You can ask your veterinarian for help with calculating daily calories and how that translates to how much to feed each day. To avoid overfeeding, measure out food using a gram scale as cups are inaccurate.
2. Choose a diet with a source of insoluble fiber
With a long-haired cat comes the risk that fur is accidentally swallowed while grooming. With enough ingested fur, a hairball can form which can only be eliminated by vomiting.
Ingredients which provide insoluble fiber, such as cellulose or beet pulp, can help to keep things moving through the gut to the litter tray.
If your cat gets hairballs frequently, regular brushing is another great way to prevent their occurrence.
3. Choose a diet that can help maintain oral health
Periodontal disease is common in the Persian breed. There are some diets that have specific technology built-in to the kibbles to support dental health.
This can be accomplished either through the physical action of the kibble on the teeth or the inclusion of an ingredient which prevents tartar buildup. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) checks these diets for effectiveness. You can check the list of products that meet these standards here.
Of course, tooth-brushing is always the best way to maintain your Persian’s healthy smile!
4. Consider your Persian’s unique bite shape
The flat-face of the Persian is described as “brachycephalic”. The skull and jaw shape are quite different to the ones found in most cat breeds. This can cause your Persian to have some trouble when trying to pick up her food with her mouth.
If choosing a dry kibble diet, find one that has small kibbles in a shape that is comfortable for your cat to bite.
If kibbles are too difficult, you can consider feeding a high-moisture diet that can be eaten in smaller bites or be lapped up using the tongue.
5. Choose a diet with the AAFCO statement
A food that meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) requirements will have an adequacy statement printed on the label. Some foods may be regarded as adequate for “all life stages” which is suitable for growing kittens, motherhood, and adult cats. These can be used for any cat, but a food with an adequacy statement that matches your Persian’s current life stage will be the best choice.