History of the Oriental Shorthair

The history of the Oriental Shorthair begins in England in the 1950s, when British breeders began to cross Abyssinian, British Shorthair, Russian Blue and Siamese cats. The kittens that emerged from this mating process and a number of backcrossings were very similar in character and type to Siamese cats. There were differences, however, in the eye- and coat colour of the offspring. In fact, although Oriental Shorthairs have a graceful appearance and resemble modern Siamese cats, they actually don’t have darker points, nor do they have the blue eyes typical of Siamese cats; instead, Oriental Shorthairs have green eyes.

Appearance of the Oriental Shorthair

The appearance of the Oriental Shorthair is similar to that of the Siamese cat. They are of medium size, have a slender, elongated body and a delicate bone structure. Every movement these graceful felines make is very smooth and they stride elegantly through their territory on slender legs and oval paws. Despite their delicate appearance, it’s easy for these cats to make a powerful leap from a standing position. Their front legs are shorter than their hind legs. Their hind legs fold together then unfold again; this creates a great deal of energy that makes it possible for these cats to catapult themselves in whichever direction they choose!

Size of the Oriental Shorthair

How big does the Oriental Shorthair get? Much like the Siamese, these genetic relatives are also medium-sized cats. Despite their slender appearance and the exotic suppleness with which they move through life, these felines are quite muscular and strongly built. When fully grown, Oriental Shorthairs can reach a shoulder height of up to 38 cm. And together with their long, tapered, thin tail, their body can reach an impressive length of up to 100 cm!

Weight of the Oriental Shorthair

How much do Oriental Shorthairs weigh? Females of this breed weigh roughly 3 to 4 kg. Although males of the breed have a graceful build and thus weigh less than males of other breeds, they’re still almost 1 kilogram heavier than their female counterparts. When they step on the scales, male Oriental Shorthairs weigh an average of 4 to 5 kg.

Coat of the Oriental Shorthair

While the Oriental Longhair has a semi-long coat, the Oriental Shorthair has a short coat that’s fine, silky soft and a real eye-catcher. It lies very close to the body and is very smooth and amazingly shiny! Oriental Shorthairs have relatively little undercoat, which means cat lovers will find grooming quite manageable – at least outside of shedding season – and generally that it requires less effort than expected.

Coat colour of the Oriental Shorthair

When it comes to the coat colour of the Oriental Shorthair, almost anything goes. This cat breed has all the usual coat colour variations, the most common being beige, blue, brown, cream, lavender, black and cinnamon. Oriental Shorthair cats with solid blue or black coats are particularly popular. In addition to the solid coat colours, representatives with tabby markings are also very popular in this breed.

Coat length of the Oriental Shorthair

Nomen est omen! As its name suggests, the Oriental Shorthair has a short coat. When you pet a cat of this breed, the surface of their coat will have a very fine texture and feel as smooth as an eel. Oriental Shorthairs are pedigree cats whose coat clings closely to their body. Every single hair reflects the light, making for a shiny coat that shimmers and is silky soft.

Pattern of the Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthairs come in a solid-coloured variety, but they can also be tortoiseshell, tabby or parti-colour. The tortoiseshell pattern is mainly found in females, whereby the basic colour is blue, brown, black or lavender with reddish points. The tabby pattern in Oriental Shorthairs can be mackerel, tabby or spotted. The ticked variant does not appear in this breed. These days, there are also Oriental Shorthairs with white points, i.e. parti-colour cats. The white part is permitted to cover up to one third of the cat’s body, but not any more than that.

Eyes of the Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair has medium-size almond-shaped eyes. Although they’re relatively large, the eyes aren’t too dominant. They’re slightly slanted and balanced on the cat’s head. According to the breed standard, the preferred eye colour of the Oriental Shorthair is green alone. Ideally, this colour is a rich, continuous dark green without any shading. Small splashes of colour in the eye or the addition of other colours that could “dilute” the green are not desirable in this breed.

Special features of the Oriental Shorthair

One special feature of the Oriental Shorthair cat is its talkativeness. These cats are very vocal and love to communicate. And they’re actually quite eloquent! They can tell marvellous stories and comment on everything that happens around them. Plus, whenever they feel they have to, they will make themselves heard! This might mean the noise levels get quite high and things might get a bit loud at times. In other words, there’s never a dull moment with these charming chatterboxes! With an Oriental Shorthair, “cat music” is guaranteed.

Key attributes of the Oriental Shorthair

One key attribute of the Oriental Shorthair is its intelligence. It’s quite remarkable how quickly these cats will examine everything around them. Curious and probing, nothing is safe from their inquisitive nature. They’re able to learn new tricks quickly, and as soon as they’ve acquired a new skill, they’ll never tire of using it at every opportunity. They’ve been known to play fetch with paper balls and toy mice, just like a dog. They’re always open to new things and up for all kinds of mischief. What about putting on a cat lead and going for a walk with their favourite human? If any cat is up for an adventure like that, it’s the Oriental Shorthair!

Character of the Oriental Shorthair

In terms of character, the Oriental Shorthair is similar to the Siamese cat, and not just in terms of their talkativeness. Oriental Shorthairs have strong personalities that demand attention, but they’re also very affectionate once they’ve welcomed a human into their heart. This is why they’re known as the “dog among cats”. They’re also known for their ability to adapt perfectly and for being very lively and engaging. All in all, Oriental Shorthairs are highly entertaining buddies who love to be the centre of attention.

Price of the Oriental Shorthair

How much does an Oriental Shorthair cost? The price of an Oriental Shorthair cat varies greatly depending on its origin. Prices generally range from €500 to €2,900, depending on the breeder as well as on the age, pedigree and sex of the cat. The price will also hinge on the cat’s parents and their lineage. The breeder’s own expenses can also influence the purchase price. An Oriental Shorthair kitten should always come with proof that it has been de-wormed and vaccinated.

Breeding of the Oriental Shorthair

These cats are exotic in the truest sense of the word. Breeders of Oriental Shorthair cats are rare and hand-picked. Every now and then, you might meet a cat of this breed at an event or exhibition, but such an encounter is quite rare, just like the Oriental Shorthair itself. The breed has fans all over the world who’ve fallen head over heels in love with their endearing character! The Oriental Shorthair, abbreviated to OKH or OSHb, has only been recognised as a breed since 1972. Today, it enjoys full recognition as an independent cat breed by the CFA, GCCF, FIFé and TICA.

Things to know about keeping and caring for the Oriental Shorthair

The coat of an Oriental Shorthair requires only minimum grooming. In fact, shorthair cats like the Oriental Shorthair will normally do most of the grooming themselves. You don’t necessarily need to pick up a brush every day. Nevertheless, even without a thick undercoat, they’re still going to shed hair, which means they’d be happy to get some help with their grooming. If you help out, they’ll have less work to do and fewer hairs to swallow when they do their own grooming. And remember, grooming sessions are also good for the soul! If you do them on a regular basis, they might even become feel-good rituals. Your Oriental Shorthair might get so used to them that they loudly remind you when it’s time for the next session!

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The Oriental Shorthair kitten

Like all newborn felines, Oriental Shorthair kittens are simply adorable little creatures! You can hardly wait to take these sweet kittens home! But hold on, it’s not a good idea to separate the Oriental Shorthair kitten from its family too soon. It’s much better to leave it in the care of its mum and siblings for as long as possible. Should your new Oriental Shorthair be an adult or still a kitten? In this case, your motto should be “the longer the better”! After all, kittens need time to become physically fit and mentally balanced. For this and other reasons, it’s best not to bring kittens home until they’re at least 12 weeks old.

Typical diseases of the Oriental Shorthair

Whether a cat is prone to specific illnesses or not depends on many different factors, including the genes they’ve inherited from their parents and grandparents, the way the cat is cared for and the cat’s overall environment. Two typical diseases of the Oriental Shorthair are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and liver amyloidosis. In the case of PRA, changes to the cat’s retina can restrict their vision. In the case of liver amyliodosis, the liver can no longer function normally due to protein fibres that have been deposited there.

Life expectancy of the Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair has an average life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. And don’t forget, 20 cat years is the equivalent of 96 human years! That’s proud old age for felines. But cats can live even longer than that. Representatives of many natural breeds are among the oldest cats in the world and have even been immortalised in the Guinness Book of Records. For example, the Maine Coon cat known as “Rubble” was born in 1988 and lived to be almost 32 years old. With good care, we might be able to get that number even higher!

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