The Turkish Angora and Persian cat breeds both have long hair, but the similarities end there. If you’re trying to decide which is right for you, consider their distinctly different personalities, activity levels and grooming needs.
10 year old and her persian cat image by Stuart Corlett from Fotolia.com
The most obvious difference between these two breeds is the face. The Persian has a short, flat face and very short nose set in a round head. The Angora has a longer nose set in a delicate, wedge-shaped head. The Persian’s large, round eyes are set far apart, and its ears are low and close to the head. The Angora’s large, almond-shaped eyes slant slightly upward, and its ears are close together, erect and tufted. It is not uncommon for Angoras to have two different-colored eyes. The Angora is slender and delicate with a long plume of a tail, while Persians are rather square and muscular, with short legs and short, thick tails.
Coat and Grooming
The Persian is famous for its long and luxuriant coat. With a top coat and an undercoat, daily combing is necessary to prevent tangles and hairballs, and an occasional bath will keep it shining and healthy. The Persian coat comes in many colors and patterns and two textures. Red or black Persians usually have a silky texture, while blue and cream colors have a soft, cottony coat that requires extra attention. The Angora’s coat is not as long as the Persian’s, is soft and silky and rarely mats. Combing once or twice a week will keep the coat looking good. White is the traditional color for Angoras, but they come in many colors and patterns today. Both breeds lose some coat during summer, when more frequent combing may be necessary.
The Angora is outgoing and affectionate, and will greet all of your visitors, sometimes in a doglike fashion. This independent and intelligent breed exercises its hunting instinct by running through the house chasing toys. These agile cats like high places, so look up if you can’t find them. They are interested in everything you do and expect you to be interested in them. Angoras get along with dogs and other pets, but these assertive cats are often the boss. This very active breed is a good choice for families with young children.
The sweet and gentle Persian prefers serenity and gentle handling, but once it feels secure can adapt to a boisterous household. Playful but not demanding, they communicate with soft voices and large, expressive eyes. A Persian will often be draped over a favorite chair or posing in a windowsill, but is not likely to be found in high places, as it isn’t much of a jumper. The breed doesn’t demand your undivided attention but enjoys it when you give it. This creature of habit is comfortable in its home whether you are there or not, but will be happy to see you.
While most are healthy, purebred cats can be susceptible to certain genetic problems. Both the Angora and Persian experience a higher incidence of a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes thickening of the heart muscle. Blue-eyed cats of both breeds can be deaf. While rare, a condition called Turkish Angora ataxia can affect some lines. This condition begins at 4 weeks and progresses rapidly to a total loss of voluntary muscular control and death. The Persian’s large, protruding eyes make it susceptible to eye infections and irritations, and its flat, short nose can lead to breathing problems. Persians are also prone to kidney disease and retinal atrophy.
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.