Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed

Oriental Shorthairs are slender cats with graceful features and a coat that comes in a rainbow of colours, with up to 300 colour combinations. They are part of the Siamese family and are bright, agile, and vocal. They are very active, sophisticated and colourful cats in every sense. They are perfect for individuals interested in an interactive and devoted feline companion.

Oriental Shorthairs have a very affectionate nature and bond deeply with their families and individuals of all ages, including children, other cats and cat-friendly dogs. They love attention and affection and are frequently seen beside their human companion.

They like to be of "assistance" to any family member and follow them throughout the day. They also like warm places, so can usually be found sitting on the lap of their human companion during the day and cuddling under the sheets with family members at night.

Oriental Shorthairs are known to be "chatty" cats. They demand love and attention and tend to get into mischief if they are left alone for long periods. Thus, they may not be the best fit for you if there is rarely someone at home.

These welcoming cats are active, intelligent, friendly and playful. Many enjoy playing a game of fetch with their human companion while others entertain themselves with an empty cardboard box. They are known to remain kitten-like all their lives as they do not grow out of their love of playing. These energetic cats also excel at feline sports agility and are very interested in training.

Oriental Shorthairs are known to show affection to everyone and love a party where they giddily jump from lap to lap, purring and asking for pets. Moreover, the social Oriental Shorthair is excellent with kids, other cats, and dogs.

These felines crave attention and love to cuddle and sleep in a pile with their cat buddies or under the covers with their human companion. They are not ideal for people who want to live a quiet life and have a cat to stay still and look cute.

The Oriental Shorthair is frequently included on lists of cat breeds that are 'hypoallergenic.' Though no cat breed is accurately hypoallergenic, Oriental Shorthair does produce less of the Fel D1 protein that is accountable for triggering cat allergies. 

Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

Breed Information

22-33 cm
3.6-6.3 kg
Life Span:
10-15+ years
Active, Playful, Affectionate, Highly Social, Intelligent, Friendly
Energy Level:
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws
  • Grooming: Once a Week 2/10
  • Shedding: Low 2/10
  • Hypoallergenic: Intensive 10/10
  • Activity Level: High 10/10
  • Playfulness: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to children: High 10/10
  • Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
  • Vocality: High 10/10
  • Intelligence: High 10/10
  • Independence: Low 2/10


The Oriental Shorthair is best characterised as a colour remake of the original "black and white" Siamese. The cat breed was developed using Siamese as the foundation breed and then crossing them with other cat breeds.

The original motive was to widen the Siamese gene pool in the United Kingdom because so many breeding programs had been ravaged during World War II. Crosses with British Shorthairs, Russian Blues, Abyssinians and domestic shorthair cats produced litters without the pointed Siamese pattern. These cats were then bred back to Siamese.

In a few generations, cat breeders produced cats that looked precisely like Siamese, excluding the variety of colours and patterns they have and cats with the traditional pointed pattern. Cats with Siamese points were used in Siamese breeding programs, but the non-pointed cats became the basis for a new cat breed – the Oriental Shorthair.

When these cats started to be imported into the United States in the 1970s, crosses with American Shorthairs were produced with more colours and patterns. A longhaired cat variety was also developed during this time.

Today, Oriental Shorthairs come in around 300 colours and patterns, including the pointed varieties. However, pointed Orientals are not recognized by all cat associations, and some even require them to be shown as Siamese.

Oriental Shorthairs were recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1977 and received championship status in 1995. 

Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws


Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

The Oriental Shorthair is a sophisticated looking cat with an elongated body, neck, legs and tail. They are medium-sized but well-muscled.

This cat breed is known as a cat of extremes. Their head is a long triangle, ears are large, and their nose is long and straight. Oriental Shorthairs have almond-shaped eyes. All except those with white in their fur, have green eyes and the pointed variety have blue eyes.

Their coat is short, silky and lies close to their body. Presently, there are around 300 different colours of Oriental Shorthair, each of which comes in either Short Hair or Long Hair. 


The Siamese and the Oriental Shorthair might be different in colour, but under their skin, they are alike. The Oriental Shorthair is chatty and opinionated and will tell you precisely what they think in a loud, raspy voice.

Oriental Shorthairs are incredibly affectionate with their family. This cat breed likes to be "helpful" to their human companion and follows them around from room to room to supervise them. When their human companion is sitting down, they will be in their lap, and at night, they will be in their bed, perhaps under the covers with the cat's head on the pillow.

Do not get an Oriental Shorthair if living with a chatty and demanding cat would drive you nuts. On the other hand, if you adore having a cat to talk to all day, an Oriental Shorthair can be your best pal. Just make sure you have time to spend with this friendly cat. Oriental Shorthair cats do not like being left alone for long periods of time. It is best to get two of this breed to keep each other company if you work during the day.

Many of these energetic cats are fetchers as they love a game of fetch with their human companion. They have their favourite toys like catnip sacks, rattle mice and wads of crumpled paper. They can also entertain themselves for many hours with an empty cardboard box. These playful felines remain kitten-like all their lives as they do not outgrow their love of playing.

Oriental Shorthairs are excellent jumpers and enjoy heights. Because of this, perches and tall cat trees must be provided. No furniture or high shelf is left undiscovered or unexplored from these curious, high leaping cats.

Oriental Shorthairs enjoy playing and adore toys around the house for their entertainment and pleasure. Though their coat needs little care, the Oriental Shorthair links brushing with affection and will therefore enjoy being groomed.

As sophisticated as the Oriental Shorthair looks, they can be quite a lap cat. They are incredibly loving and will sleep next to their human companion in bed.

Choose an Oriental Shorthair if you want to spend quality time with your cat. These affectionate and approachable cats are very sociable and loving cats that get deeply devoted to their human companion. If given the right home, they will thrive for many years. 

Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws


Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

The Oriental Shorthair is brilliant, alert and energetic. They can perform at feline sports agility and are very easy to train. Keep their clever brain active with many puzzle and interactive toys, and their body exercised with teaser toys that they can run after. A big cat tree they can climb is also recommended.

Oriental Shorthairs adore the love and attention of being clicker-trained and taught tricks. Give them many puzzle toys that will reward them with treats or kibbles when they learn how to manipulate them. When an Oriental Shorthair is appropriately socialised and trained at an early stage, they will thrive on being a well-mannered and well-rounded cat. 

Coat & Care

The Oriental Shorthair’s short, fine coat is easily cared for and maintained. Brush or comb it every couple of weeks using a soft bristle brush to eliminate dead hair, then polish it with a soft cloth to make their coat shine.

For their dental hygiene, remember to brush their teeth at least once a week to keep periodontal disease at bay. In addition, keep their nails short by trimming them twice a month or when needed. Wipe the corners of their eyes with a soft, damp cloth to eliminate any discharge. Make sure to use a separate part of the damp cloth for each eye to avoid spreading any infection.

Check your cat’s ears weekly. If their ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a vet-approved ear cleaner.

Lastly, their litter boxes should always be clean as they are precise about bathroom hygiene. If it is left unclean, they may use other places in the house to do their business. 

Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws


Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

The Oriental Shorthair is generally a healthy cat breed. Their life expectancy is between ten to fifteen years with proper care, a high-quality diet and regular exercise. However, bear in mind that the same health conditions as the Siamese that can also affect the Oriental Shorthair cats. These include:

  • Crossed eyes
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – is a degenerative disorder of their eye retina.
  • Asthma/bronchial disease
  • Amyloidosis – is a disease that happens when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in their body organs, mainly their liver.
  • Hyperesthesia syndrome – is a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, which leads to hair loss and to act anxiously, especially when they are petted or touched.
  • Flat chested kitten syndrome has also been seen in Oriental Shorthairs.

Because of these health dispositions, it is vital to only buy an Oriental Shorthair from a registered, reputable breeder. All ethical breeders who care about the welfare of cats will run DNA health tests on their breeding cats and the kittens produced. These tests are helpful as they can reveal certain genetic diseases so don’t buy from any breeder who refuses to do health checks or provide you with the results. 

Children & Other Pets

The outgoing and friendly Oriental Shorthair enjoys endless play sessions, making them an excellent choice for families with children. They will play fetch as well as any retriever and learn tricks effortlessly. They also love getting attention from children of all ages, providing they treat them well. Always supervise younger kids to ensure they don’t accidently hurt the cat by pulling their fur or twisting their tail.

Because they are so social, Oriental Shorthairs enjoy living with other cats and cat-friendly dogs. In fact, we recommend getting a play buddy for your Oriental Shorthair sooner rather than later as they require almost constant companionship. Generally, the younger they meet other pets, the deeper the bond they will build. Still, as always, introduce pets gradually and in controlled environments. 

Oriental Shorthair Cat Breed Information | The Pedigree Paws

Available Oriental Shorthair Kittens