Iranian Street Cat
Iranian street cats share common physical characteristics with pet cats, but they live a mostly independent life on city streets.
Iranian Street Cat History
Like all domesticated cats, Iranian street cats trace their roots back to the African Wildcat—whose native land stretched from Egypt to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey.
As civilizations developed, cats became helpful partners in pest control. And it wasn't long before they endeared themselves to humans for more than their mousing skills.
Compared to dogs—which most Islamic scholars consider unclean—cats are the preferred pet in Iran. Under Islamic tradition, cats gained favor because Prophet Mohammed was said to enjoy them.
Though the exact origin of Persian cats is unknown, experts think they originated in modern-day Iran. That said, non-pedigreed cats are (by far) the most common in this region. Like in many countries, big cities in Iran are home to a large number of street cats. Many people in Tehran and other cities take it upon themselves to feed the feral cats living in their neighborhoods.
Iranian Street Cat Traits
Iranian street cats come in all shapes and sizes. Signs of a life-long street cat include a well-kept coat (thanks to their meticulous grooming habits), protective body language, and lack of eye contact. Because they are intact, male street cats may have thick necks, muscular bodies, and scars from fighting.
Coat and Coloring
Iranian street cats' coats can come in all colors, patterns, and lengths.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Iranian street cats do not follow a breed standard. So, any combination of features is possible.
Iranian Street Cat Temperament
Street cats often live in groups and congregate near food sources and shelter. Some cats are fearful of being handled or confined by humans. But others may adapt to interactions with people and learn to live indoors.
Iranian Street Cat Care
An Iranian street cat's diet typically consists of whatever they can find—scraps from trash cans, birds and rodents, handouts from kind strangers, and so on. If you're leaving food out for a street cat, they will benefit from the same commercially prepared diets as pet cats.
Street cats are typically effective self-groomers that keep their coats relatively clean. If you've taken in a street cat that will tolerate it, regular brushing and nail trims will help keep them in tip-top shape.
Iranian street cats are susceptible to the same diseases as pet cats—including rabies, distemper, feline immunodeficiency virus, and feline leukemia. They are also at risk for numerous internal and external parasites and health issues associated with poor nutrition.
Reviewed February 23, 2021 by Annette Louviere, DVM