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Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthair

Other Names: Includes Foreign Whites

Originback to top back to top

The Oriental is really a Siamese with a different colour coat and green eyes (except in the case of the Foreign White which has the classic blue eyes). The shape and temperament are exactly the same as the Siamese. The Oriental is a created breed bred from Siamese origins but crossed with other breeds to produce the different colours. Black ‘Siamese’ had been in existence for a long time but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that serious efforts were made to breed different colours. The Havana was the first Oriental to be given Championship status at cat shows and they resulted from crossing a seal point Siamese with a half-bred Siamese. The result was a self-chocolate cat and repeated matings produced more of the same. The breed was developed by mating back to the Siamese. Originally called the Chestnut Brown Foreign their name was changed to the Havana in 1970. A side product of the Havana breeding programme were the lilac, black and blue Orientals and these achieved recognition in the 1970’s. Selective breeding by dedicated breeders produced many more colours and coat patterns and there is now a huge range to choose from.

Descriptionback to top back to top

The standard for the Orientals is exactly the same as that for the Siamese whatever the coat colour or pattern. The Orientals are medium in size but feel heavier than they look. The head is long and tapers from the ears in straight lines to a fine muzzle forming a triangle. In profile the head is wedge shaped with a straight nose and a strong chin. The tip of the chin and the tip of the nose must line up in the same vertical plane. The head is set on a long slender neck. The ears are large and pricked and set to follow the lines of the wedge. The eyes are oriental in shape and slant towards the nose. The legs are long and slim. The hind legs are higher than the fore legs. The paws are small and oval. The tail is long and tapering.

Colour The Oriental’s coat is very short and close lying. The texture is fine and glossy. Foreign White - Produced by mating a Siamese to a pure white shorthair and then mating the kittens back to Siamese until all the kittens born were either Siamese or pure white Siamese which became known as Foreign Whites. The coat is pure white. The eyes are a clear brilliant blue. The nose leather and paw pads are pink. THE ORIENTAL SELFS - Havana - The Havana has a warm rich chestnut brown coat with bright vivid green eyes. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are brown or pinkish brown. Lilac - The coat is a frosty grey with a pinkish tone. The eyes are bright vivid green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are pinkish lilac. Black - The coat is jet black. The eye colour is green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are black. Blue - The coat is light to medium blue and should not be flecked with silver. The eyes are green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are blue. Red - The coat is a warm rich red, tabby markings are permissible. The eyes are a vivid green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are pink. Cream - The coat is pale cream and tabby markings are permissible. The eyes are a vivid green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are pink. Apricot - The coat is a hot cream with a metallic sheen. The eyes are vivid green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are pink. Cinnamon - The coat is a warm cinnamon brown. The eyes are vivid green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are cinnamon brown. Caramel - The coat is a bluish fawn. The eyes are green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are bluish fawn. Fawn - The coat is a warm rosy mushroom. The eyes are green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims are pinkish fawn. ORIENTAL NON-SELFS - Tortoiseshell - In the Oriental Tortoiseshell the base colour is mingled with red, cream or rich beige hairs giving a mottled or patched appearance. The whole body and extremities need not be evenly patterned but there must be some break in colour on all parts. The base colour for the tortie can be black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, caramel, and fawn. The eye colour and the colour of the nose leather paw pads and eye rims will be appropriate to the base colour. Smoke - The coat may be any colour accepted in Oriental shorthairs with a near white undercoat. One-third to two thirds of the length of the hair will be pale. There should be no significant contrast between the head and body. Some faint tabby markings called ‘ghost markings’ are permissible. The eye colour and the colour of the nose leather paw pads and eye rims will be in accordance with the main colour. Shaded - This is an agouti coat pattern where the darkest colour is confined to the ends of the hair. The degree of the colouring may vary but the dark portion of the hair must not extend to more than half the length of the hair shaft. Heavily shaded cats may show some tabby pattern, which may be ticked, classic, mackerel or spotted tabby, and this may be more noticeable in the standard colours than in the silver varieties. The shading or tipping may be any colour acceptable to the Oriental shorthair breed. In silver colours the shading may not be so intense. The undercoat in the black chocolate and cinnamon will be toffee coloured, in the red it will be cream, in the blue lilac and caramel it will be beige, pale mushroom in the fawn and near white in the cream and apricot. In the silver varieties the undercoat is as pale and silvery as possible. The eye colour is green. The nose leather, paw pads and eye rims will reflect the colour of the darkest shading. Tabbies - The colour of the pattern forming hairs can be any of the self or tortie colours with a background of agouti hairs. In the standard varieties the markings must be dense and extend to the roots. In the silver varieties the pattern may be less intense. The head markings should show the classic tabby mark of a ‘M’ on the forehead extending back between the ears to form a beetle shaped ‘scarab’. Unbroken lines run back from the outer corners of the eye. There should be thumbprints on the ears. There is a tendency in the Oriental Shorthair to white marks on the lips and lower jaw and this is a serious fault if the white extends to the throat or muzzle. In all the tabby patterns the legs are barred and may also have spots in the case of the spotted tabby. The tail is ringed and in all colours except red and cream the tip will be dark. In the red and cream the tail tip may be pale. In the ticked tabby pattern the markings may be less intense. The difference between the tabby patterns of spotted, classic, mackerel and tipped is seen on the body. The classic pattern will show a butterfly pattern across the shoulders and an unbroken spine line with lines running parallel on either side. The neck and chest will show broken or unbroken necklaces. There will be a large ‘oyster’ shaped patch on each flank. The belly may be paler and show spotted markings. The markings will be symmetrical. In the spotted tabby there will be numerous unbroken or broken necklaces on the chest and neck. The lines running from the back of the head break into spots on the shoulders and along the spine. The spots may vary in size but must be definite, evenly distributed and show no tendency to run together to form stripes. The Mackerel tabby has broken spine lines on either side of an unbroken spine line. From these broken lines run narrow vertical lines, which should be as numerous as possible. The chest and neck will have unbroken or broken necklaces. In the Ticked tabby there will be at least one necklace on the neck and chest either broken or unbroken. The coat will be evenly ticked with the pattern colour and there should be at least two if not three bands of colour on each hair. The body will show no spots, stripes or blotches but the ticking may be heavier on the back. The background colour compliments the colour of the patterns, as does the colour of nose leather, paw pads and eye rims. The eyes are green.
Coat Length Short
Age Expectancy Oriental cats are long lived and can reach ages in their late teens.
Weight/Height Range 4-8kgs

Oriental cats have no specific health problems and can live well into their teens. It is advisable to have annual health checks from about the age eight to check liver and kidney function and to have the teeth cleaned.

Personalityback to top back to top

Like the Siamese the Oriental is an intelligent, curious cat that makes its presence known. They love to talk to their human companions and expect a reply. They want to be part of the family and enjoy playing games like fetch with a ball of scrunched up paper. Orientals need to be kept amused with toys and do not like to be left alone so if you are out at work all day another Oriental is probably a good idea. As they are such curious creatures it is not ideal to allow them to roam outside as their curiosity can get them into trouble but they are often happy to be indoor cats as long as they have plenty of company.

Energy High
Noise High
Child Suitability High
Compatibility with Cats Medium
Other Animal Compatibility Medium

Feeding & Grooming

Feeding The Oriental is an active cat and will require 80 Kcals per kg bodyweight of food per day. These cats rarely overeat and will soon let you know how much they want. Under no circumstances should the Oriental be fat.
Upkeep The short glossy coat of the Oriental does not require a lot of grooming but they do enjoy the attention that grooming brings.
Shedding Little
Avg. 4.5 / Ratings: 17

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