Origin: Thailand (originally), United States
Size: Small to medium
Coat Length: Short hair
Body Type: Svelte
Appearance: Oriental Shorthairs are a small to medium-sized breed. Males weigh from 3 to 4.5kg and the females between 2 and 3.5kg. They come in a variety of colours and patterns and are most easily distinguished by their body shape. They have long and thin legs and a long tail as well. Their ears are notably large and their eyes are medium in size and usually green or blue. There are some cases when a cat is born with eyes in two different colour (one blue and one green for instance).
Grooming Requirement: Not a lot grooming needed.
Activity Level: Very high.
Affection: Very affectionate.
Time Alone: 4 to 8 hours a day.
Attention: Needs a lot of attention.
Talkativeness: Very vocal
Temperament: The Oriental is an intelligent and playful cat that doesn’t like to be alone. They are active animals and if you plan to have one, it is a good idea to prepare some kind of entertainment. If you’re looking for a loyal pet and a companion in every step you make, this is a good choice for you.
Interesting Facts: The Oriental Shorthair is from the Siamese breed family. It is genetically from Thailand and has been imported into the USA and United Kingdom.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: This breed is an ideal choice for families with children and catfriendly animals. Of course just as with any other pet you will need to properly introduce and socialise your Oriental with other pets you already have.
Common Health Problems: Natural and genetic issues may occur; some of the most common with the Oriental are amyloidosis, asthma, lymphoma, nystagmus, hyperaesthesia syndrome, progressive retinal atrophy, crossed eyes and gastrointestinal conditions.
Lifespan: Average 10 to 15 years.
Developed in the 1950s, the Oriental Shorthair is a modern breed which has one of the oldest cat breeds as its ancestor – the Siamese. During post-war years, some of the remaining cat breeders took on rebuilding their breeding programmes and as a result of their creative out-crosses, many modern breeds were developed.
The Oriental was created deliberately as breeders sought more colour variations and patterns of the Siamese. In the 1950s, British breeders crossed Russian Blues and domestic shorthairs to the Siamese and in the 1960s, American breeders, inspired by their British counterparts’ success, ventured into creating even more colours, crossing Siamese with domestic shorthairs and Abyssinians. Both pointed and non-pointed kittens were produced; the pointed ones were bred back to Siamese, enlarging and strengthening the gene pool, and the non-pointed ones were the ancestors of today’s Orientals. The Oriental Shorthair was accepted for registration by the CFA in 1972 and was given provisional status in 1976. In 1977, the breed was granted full championship status.
Originally, two separate breeds were recognised – the Oriental Shorthair and the Oriental Longhair. This meant that when two Shorthairs, who both carried the recessive longhair gene, produced longhaired kittens, the offspring could not be shown as either Oriental Longhairs or Oriental Shorthairs. In 1995, the two breeds became one single breed – the Oriental with a long-haired variety, so now such kittens can be registered and shown in whatever division they belong. Also in 1995, a new colour – bi-colour – was accepted by the CFA for championship status. In 2013, CFA added pointed as a new colour class, bringing even more diversity to the most varicoloured breed recognised today.
The standard for the Orientals is exactly the same as that for the Siamese, whatever the coat colour or pattern. The colour and pattern combinations of the Orientals exceed 600 variations, 300 of which comply with CFA rules. The basic patterns include solid, shaded, smoke, parti-colour, bi-colour, and tabby coat, while some of the most popular colours among Orientals are black, blue, Havana, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, caramel, foreign white, red, cream, and apricot.
Generally healthy, the Orientals are prone to the same diseases that affect the Siamese. If you’re considering buying an Oriental kitten, choose a breeder who provides a health guarantee. Since all cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, this guarantee doesn’t mean your kitten will never get any hereditary condition; it’s rather an indication of a responsible breeder who stands behind what they produce and is willing to improve and sustain healthy breeding stock.
Orientals have a lifespan of 12-15 years, even longer, given the proper care. Take your cat to the vet for vaccines and regular check-ups, have her dewormed every 3-4 months, and provide a well-balanced diet and exercise for a healthy happy feline companion who will stay loyal to you for years to come.
Monitor your Oriental’s calorie intake and at the first signs of weight gain, adjust the diet in terms of nutritional value and quantity. Provide extra exercise to keep the elegant slender body of the Oriental cat in good shape. It’s not just about sleek appearance – the long slim legs of the Oriental are simply not meant to sustain a fat body. Most Oriental cats are not picky about a particular type of cat formula but it’s a good idea to change the food formula once every few months in order to prevent allergies to some ingredients which might develop after long periods of feeding just one type of kibble or wet food.
Regular brushing keeps the coat and skin in good condition and prevents hairball build-up. The Oriental’s medium-length coat is easily maintained clean and silky with a curry brush, used to remove dead hair once a week for short-haired and twice a week for long-haired cats. Brushing your Oriental is also a good bonding opportunity, greatly enjoyed by this affectionate and devoted feline.
Orientals are sensitive to cold since they have no undercoat and are well suited for indoor living. Sociable and talkative, the Orientals need a lot of interaction and attention, so if you’re going to be away most of the day, consider getting two of them to keep each other company. Natural climbers with a love for heights, Orientals can jump 5-6 feet, so provide enough climbing trees and perches. In addition to being agile and athletic with their svelte slender bodies, these felines have the brains to match their beauty. Keep their minds busy with puzzle toys and never leave them without some entertainment or they might take it upon themselves to rearrange the contents of your wardrobe or bathroom cabinets. After they’re tired of playtime, Orientals will gladly purr next to you on the couch or cuddle up on your bed if you let them.