The Celts of Europe didn't like cats because they thought cats had dark supernatural powers. The ancient Iranians too disliked cats because they believed cats were creations of Ahriman, the Evil Spirit. The Avesta says that whoever makes a sin, he can be forgiven, if he kills a cat.
Ancient artifacts showing cats in Iran are rare. This Parthian silver rhyton (on the right) depicting a cat, however, is an exception.
After the Arab invasion of Iran, cats' fortune was changed. Muslims favored cats, so we find some Islamic art depicting cats. This cat (below right) from thirteenth century was made in Rayy near Tehran.
Pallas' cat or felis manul (on the right) is a small cat living in the mountains of Iran. The Pallas' cat has small ears with very thick coat in order to survive in the cold weather.
The most famous breed of cat is the Persian (on the left). In 1620 Pietro della Valle imported a Persian cat to Italy from Iran. By the end of the nineteenth century, Persian cat became a very popular pet in the royal houses of Europe.