Cat Breeds

Oriental Shorthair

Isabel Hartley

The Oriental cat is a breed known for its slender, elegant appearance and a personality that captivates cat lovers.

These medium-sized, muscular felines possess a unique combination of grace and athleticism that often finds them perched in high places, observing their surroundings.

They share a common ancestry with the Siamese cat, which is evident in their striking body type and sociable nature.

Orientals take pride in a vast spectrum of coat colors and intricate patterns, setting them apart in the feline world.

These cats are known for their playful and intelligent demeanor, consistently seeking the attention and engagement of their human companions.

Their vocal nature is a reminder of their Siamese relatives, and they are never shy about expressing themselves.

The Oriental breed’s array of eye colors adds to their mesmerizing charm, with their gaze just as captivating as their coat.

Orientals thrive in environments where they can interact and be part of daily activities.

Their inquisitive nature keeps them active throughout their lives, making them excellent companions for those who enjoy the spirited antics of their pets.

As a breed, Orientals maintain a balance of elegance and playfulness, making them an adored member of the cat lovers’ community.

History and Origin

Diving into the Oriental cat’s past reveals a breed with a fascinating blend of Eastern heritage and Western development.


The Oriental cat is genetically linked to Thailand, previously known as Siam. Here, their ancestors shared the Siamese breed’s distinctive features and behaviors.

These early cats were noted for their strikingly sleek bodies and affectionate nature, setting the stage for what would become the Oriental breed.

Development and Recognition

In the United States, the creation of the Oriental breed as it is known today began in earnest during the 1970s.

A group of New York breeders, notably Vicky and Peter Markstein of PetMark Cattery, started to breed Siamese-like cats with various coat patterns and colors.

This effort led to the Oriental’s formal development, leading to their distinct identity separate from the traditional Siamese.

The breed gained official recognition soon after, with organizations such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA) acknowledging the Oriental Shorthair in the late 1970s.

This recognition solidified the breed’s status in the cat fancy world, affording them the distinction and admiration they enjoy today.

Physical Characteristics

The distinctive body shape, numerous coat colors, and expressive facial features that make up the Oriental cat’s striking and sleek appearance make it simple to identify.

Body Type

Orientals have a svelte, tubular body with a fine bone structure. With their long, slender legs and tapering tail, they have an elegant, athletic build.

Their physique is light but muscular, reflecting their agility and grace.

Coat and Colors

Their coat can be short or long, but regardless of length, it’s typically fine and silky to touch.

An Oriental cat’s coat comes in a vast array of colors—over 300 color variations are recognized.

Common colors include white, blue, ebony, cream, red, brown, and more unique shades like lavender and cinnamon.

Facial Features

They possess almond-shaped eyes that can be green, blue, or even a mix, known as “odd-eyed.”

Orientals have a long, wedge-shaped head with large, tall ears that contribute to their alert appearance.

These features give them an exotic and captivating look that’s hard to ignore.

Personality Traits

Oriental cats are known for their lively and engaging temperaments. They form close bonds with their owners, often exhibiting a personality likened to that of a dog and showing intelligence and loyalty.


These cats are playful and intelligent, craving interaction and mental stimulation.

Their curious nature makes them fond of exploring their surroundings and participating in playtime with their human companions.

They are very social, and while they can adapt to quieter lifestyles, daily interaction is vital to keep them happy.

Social Behavior

Oriental cats are affectionate and enjoy being the center of attention.

They are highly communicative and will not hesitate to “talk” to their owners with their distinct vocalizations.

Orientals tend to be loyal to their family, often following them around the house.

They usually get along well with other pets and children, making them ideal for various household dynamics.

Care and Keeping

When it comes to the Oriental cat breed, ensuring their well-being involves consistent grooming, a balanced diet, and being aware of their health needs.

Grooming Needs

Even though Oriental cats typically have short coats, they do shed.

Regular grooming is essential to keeping their coat sleek and minimizing hairballs.

A soft bristle brush or a stainless-steel comb should be used a few times a week to remove loose hair and dirt.

Starting this routine early in their lives helps them get used to it.

Diet and Nutrition

Oriental cats are energetic and require dietary considerations to match their lifestyles.

They often do well with high-quality cat food that’s rich in protein.

It’s vital to measure their food and monitor their weight to prevent obesity, as they have svelte figures to maintain.

Meal TypeFrequency
Dry FoodDaily
Wet FoodOccasionally

Health Considerations

They are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they can be prone to specific health issues.

Dental health is crucial, as they can develop gum disease.

Regular veterinary check-ups are key to catching any potential issues early, such as heart or kidney diseases, which can affect this breed.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, readers will find answers to some common inquiries about Oriental Shorthair cats, from their pricing to characteristics that make them distinct companions.

What’s the average price for an Oriental Shorthair kitten?

An Oriental Shorthair kitten typically costs between $600 and $1,000, but the price can vary based on pedigree, breeder reputation, and geographic location.

How do Oriental Shorthairs differ from other cat breeds in terms of size?

Oriental Shorthairs are usually medium-sized cats with weights ranging from 8 to 12 pounds, setting them apart from the smaller and larger breeds.

Can you list some traits that make Oriental cats good companions?

They’re known for their social and affectionate nature. Orientals are also intelligent and playful, making them engaging companions for their humans.

What health issues should I watch out for in Oriental cats?

Although generally healthy, Orientals can be prone to crossed eyes, dental issues, and heart conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Why are Oriental cats sometimes described as clingy or needy?

Oriental cats form strong bonds with their owners and crave constant companionship, leading them to follow their humans around, which can be perceived as clingy.

Where can I find an Oriental Shorthair kitten for sale?

Prospective owners can find Oriental Shorthair kittens through breed-specific rescues. They can also find them at cat shows or by researching reputable breeders online.