Oriental Cat (Foreign Shorthair) Breed Profile

Last Updated on September 4, 2021 by Julia Wilson

Oriental cat at a glance

  • Origins: United Kingdom
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Eyes: Hazel, green and yellow
  • Energy: Medium to high
  • Temperament: Playful, outgoing, curious and loving
  • Weight: Males 4.5-5.5 kg (9.9 – 12.1 lbs) and females 4-5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: All colours except pointed
  • Coat: Short
  • Grooming: Requires weekly grooming
  • Talkative: Moderate
  • Cost: $800 – 1,500

About

The Oriental is a close relative of the Siamese cat who originated in the United Kingdom. Breeders wanted to create a Siamese-type cat in different coat colours while maintaining the same modern Siamese type head with large ears and a long slender body that tapers to a whiplike tail.

Oriental cats are intelligent, loyal and devoted and are known to bond closely with their human family.

What’s the difference between an Oriental and a Siamese cat?

The only difference between the Siamese and the Oriental is in the coat colour and pattern. Siamese cats have a light coloured coat with dark points; the Oriental can be any other colour and pattern.

Appearance

The Oriental cat’s body is long, tubular and muscular, the legs are long and slender, and the paws are oval and the tail is long and tapers to a fine point.

The Oriental has a wedge-shaped head with large ears and almond-shaped eyes. Ears sit high on the head and are wide-set.

Coat:

The coat should lie close to the body, be soft, fine and glossy, with no trace of a coarse texture. One thing I have noticed on both of the Oriental cats I’ve had has they had a scattering of grey hairs around their neck.

All coat colours and patterns are accepted except for pointed. According to the Cat Fanciers Association, the Oriental comes in 600 colours and patterns in both short and long hair.

Temperament

The Oriental is very similar to his Siamese cousin in personality and can be quite talkative as well as friendly, confident, outgoing, highly intelligent, lively, sociable, curious and affectionate. They stay kitten-like well into adulthood. Despite being an active breed, they also love to snuggle on your lap on an evening.

Orientals make a great family pet and get along with everyone, they are known to become extremely attached to their human companions and can form strong bonds with one particular person, although this is less common than with the Siamese.

We recommend a feline companion if you are out of the house for long stretches as Orientals thrive on company and can get lonely on their own.

Health

The Oriental is an overall healthy cat however it can inherit progressive retinal atrophy and mucopolysaccharidosis, both of these diseases can be tested for.

Choosing an Oriental cat

Purebred cats should be purchased from a registered cat breeder which means the breeder is registered with a cat council and can provide a registration number and prefix. The prefix is the name of the cattery that is registered with the cat council and all cats produced by the breeder will carry the prefix name.

The best way to find a reputable cat breeder is to visit cat shows and ask a lot of questions as well as search for reviews and feedback online. Most breeders will have a Facebook page and there may also be Google reviews.

When choosing a purebred cat, decide if you would like a pet, show or breeder. A pet is a purebred cat who may have a minor fault, such as a kinked tail, or not be as ‘typey’ as the show cats. A show cat is a cat who closely meets the breed standard and is show-quality. Finally, the breeder cat is for registered breeders only, and any ethical cat breeder will not sell a breeder cat to somebody who is not a registered cat breeder.

If possible, visit the cattery and meet the parents and litter. The environment should be clean, and uncluttered, and the cats should be healthy, energetic and friendly.

Always leave a paper trail when speaking to breeders and find out exactly what you will be getting. Purebred cats should come with pedigree papers, and at an absolute minimum have had one or two vaccinations, and been regularly treated for parasites.

Care

The Oriental is easy to care for. Brush the coat once a week to remove loose hair and trim the claws as needed. Due to their trusting nature, we recommend the Oriental be an indoor-only cat or have access to a safe cat enclosure.

An annual veterinary visit is recommended and follow a vaccination schedule as recommended by the veterinarian and local government regulations.

Treat for parasites which include fleas and intestinal worms, even indoor cats are at risk.

Feed a high-quality diet and fresh drinking water.

History

The Oriental is a Siamese-type but in a variety of coat colours, instead of the colour points of the Siamese cat.

First conceived in the 1950s in the United Kingdom where breeders wanted a Siamese-type cat but in different colours. Siamese, Russian Blues, Abyssinians and domestic shorthairs were used to achieve this.

Orientals were imported to the United States in the 1970s. The CFA accepted them for championship competition in 1977.

In the United Kingdom, the Oriental goes by the name of Foreign Shorthair, while white Orientals are Foreign White, and brown Orientals are Havanas.

Related breeds

  • Siamese
  • Peterbald
  • Havana brown
  • Foreign white
  • Oriental longhair

Frequently asked questions

Are Oriental cats noisy? 

Due to its Siamese ancestry, the Oriental is a talkative cat, but not as much as the Siamese. They also have a sweeter voice than the raspy Siamese meow.

Are Oriental cats hypoallergenic? 

There is no evidence that the Oriental cat is hypoallergenic.

Are Oriental cats affectionate? 

Yes, the Oriental cat is an extremely affectionate cat who thrives on human companionship.

Do Oriental cats get along with other pets? 

Yes, the Oriental gets along well with other pets, especially if introduced from an early age.

How big do Oriental cats get?

The Oriental is an average-sized cat, who weighs approximately 4.5 to 5kg as adults.