Available in a rainbow of colour combinations, the Oriental cat is a people-oriented, sociable breed who loves to be the centre of attention. Highly intelligent, athletic and a regular chatter-box, this is a companion cat who’ll keep you entertained with his playtime antics and constant conversation.
The Oriental is a Siamese breed that is available in over 300 pattern and colour combinations. Like the Siamese, the Oriental is quite svelte in appearance with fine bones and a long tubular body with a surprisingly muscular build. Legs are long and slender and end in oval shaped paws. The tail is long, thin, and tapers to a point.
Almond shaped eyes survey the world from a wedged shaped head, which flows into large bat-like ears that form an almost perfect triangle. The coat of the Oriental cat tends to be soft, fine, and lie close to the body without any coarse textures.
The idea for the Oriental cat first came about in the 1950s, when breeders desired a Siamese type cat but with a greater range of colour choices. To achieve this outcome Siamese were mated with Russian Blues, Abyssinians, and domestic shorthairs. The first true Oriental was the Havana and sported a lovely soft brown coat.
The breed title is somewhat confusing as the Oriental is known in the UK as the ‘Foreign Shorthair’. A white Oriental is called a ‘Foreign White’, and the brown is known as the ‘Havana’.
The Oriental cat breed was first introduced to the United States in 1970, with the CFA accepting them for championship competition in 1977.
Oriental Cat Personality
The Oriental cat resembles its Siamese cousin not just in looks as both breeds are very similar in their personalities. That is to say they are highly-intelligent, talkative, curious, sociable and affectionate. If you enjoy the antics of kittens, you will be pleased to know that your Oriental cat will retain its kitten like characteristics well into maturity.
Oriental cats thrive in a family environment and will get along famously with other pets and children. They are extremely sociable and people-oriented so will happily follow you from room to room as you go about your day. They are also a fairly active and athletic cat and they love to play, but they also enjoy some quiet time snuggled up in a warm lap.
Did You Know?
Just about every coat colour and pattern is acceptable for the Oriental breed, with the exception of pointed coats. With over 300 pattern and colour combinations it’s not surprising that they are nicknamed the ‘rainbow cat’.
The Oriental Shorthair produces less dander in their saliva and skin secretions than other breeds, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers.
Caring for your Oriental Cat
There are no known major genetic health concerns with the Oriental cat, just make sure they receive plenty of interactive play. For a little extra exercise Oriental cats also adapt well to walking on a leash.
Grooming requirements are minimal and the Oriental cat is a fairly low-maintenance breed. Long-haired Oriental cats will require weekly brushing to keep their coat in top shape.
This is a breed that craves human companionship, so they’re not the best breed for you if you’re away from home for long periods of time each day. Left to their own devices an Oriental cat is likely to become bored and get into mischief or worse, become depressed. Of course, you could always get two Oriental cats to keep each other company when you’re away from home.
Have you ever met an Oriental cat? Please share your experiences in the comments below.