Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair might seem like an odd-looking cat breed. Their characteristics make them seem a bit stand-offish, but the truth is completely different. This breed is closely related to the Siamese. They share the same head and body type, but it comes in more colors and patterns. If you love sharing your home with an affectionate, social, and curious kitten, the Oriental Shorthair should be a strong candidate for your future companion. Here’s what all cat lovers need to know about this breed.

Oriental Shorthair


12–15 in

Oriental Shorthair


8-12 lb

Oriental Shorthair



Oriental Shorthair

Life Expectancy:

12-15 years

Breed History

At first glance, the Oriental Shorthair looks like a breed that Egyptian pharaohs had. Their distinct head and body shape can certainly invoke an Egyptian god-like appearance. However, this breed is not that old. The Oriental Shorthair was created in the 1950s in England. English breeders used the Siamese breed as the foundation and started crossbreeding them with local house cats. The total number of Siamese cats has declined immediately after World War II, so breeders began experimenting.

black oriental shorthair

Most cat fanciers believe the Oriental Shorthair can be traced back to Russian Blues and a solid black cat with Siamese ancestry. After a few crosses, Oriental Shorthair breeders decided to include different cat breeds to include various patterns. After a while, these cats started producing constant characteristics and were rounded up in a single breed.

Cat Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Amount of Shedding
Social Needs
Affection Level
Kid Friendly
Pet Friendly
General Health

There are so many things that will immediately catch your eye when you encounter an Oriental Shorthair. These cats have a unique appearance, and if you are not familiar with the breed, you will undoubtedly be charmed by their large eye and ears. Here are some of the most dominant Oriental Shorthair characteristics.


Most cat lovers immediately notice a cat’s coat type. These cats have a smooth, silky coat that lays close to their skin. They are not difficult to maintain, and the cat does most of its grooming itself.

oriental shorthair green eyes

Coat color

The main difference between the Oriental Shorthair and the Siamese is the color. The Oriental Shorthair comes in more than 300 coat colors, color combinations, and patterns. These cats can come in solid colors, bi-colors, tabby, shaded, or smoke patterns, just to name a few.


The Oriental Shorthair appears much larger than it actually is. This breed is classified as medium-large, but its narrow, long frame makes them appear large. Most adult cats weigh 8 - 12 pounds.


While physical appearance is certainly important, the more important part is the cat’s temperament. The Oriental Shorthair is very social. It is intelligent, inquisitive, and rather vocal. They will meow when they want something when they want to know what’s going on, or simply to tell you their mood. They can almost be described as needy. These cats will act as your shadow and follow you around your home. When you decide to stop, they will most likely look for an open space in your lap where they can nap or cuddle. The Oriental Shorthair is not too active but also not the type to sit and do nothing all day.

oriental shorthair face


The Oriental Shorthair is generally considered a healthy breed, and these cats have a life span of 12 - 15 years. However, like their ancestors, they are prone to breed-specific health issues you and your vet should keep an eye on. That doesn’t mean your cat will develop any of them, but you should be aware of them and know how to spot them. These health concerns are;

  • Amyloidosis - This condition will cause the amyloid protein to deposit in the cat’s organs, mainly in the liver and kidneys.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy - A hereditary disease that will cause a gradual loss of sight.

World Cat Finder Team

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Updated at22.12.2021.