The Oriental Longhair cat is considered essentially a Siamese cat with a longer coat of hair and a wider range of coat colors and patterns. In fact, the Oriental Longhair can come in hundreds of color and pattern combinations as it is being intentionally developed from the colorful Oriental Shorthair, which was first a hybrid that involved the Siamese. Its development started in the late 1970s, when breeders crossed the Oriental Shorthair with the Balinese, also known as the longhaired Siamese. It took more than a decade before the ideal standard of the breed was achieved and in 1985.
It finally claimed its championship status with The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1985. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) accepted this breed for registration in 1988 and advanced it for championship in the early 1990s. The Oriental Longhair was considered a distinct breed until 1995, when the CFA decided to combine both the Oriental Shorthair and Oriental Longhair into a single breed called the Oriental cat. This has allowed registration of the Oriental Longhair breed to be much easier than before. Coat colors and patterns of the Oriental Shorthair can also be accepted for the Oriental Longhair. While this may be a rare breed, it has certainly gained much popularity among cat fanciers.
Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium sized breed that weighs between 5 – 10 pounds. It has a fine boned body that is tubular, lean and muscular. Complementing its elongated body are long and sleek legs that taper into dainty oval paws. Adding to its elegant outlook is a beautiful long tail that tapers into a gorgeous plume.
Oriental Longhair has this signature tapering wedge head that starts from the tip of the nose and flares out in straight lines toward the ears. Its very large ears are wide at the base and taper into slightly rounded tips, continuing the wedged shape of the face. The angular characteristic of its face is contributed by its high cheekbones and firm chin. Oriental Longhair has large oval eyes that glister in a brilliant blue or green. Odd-eyed may also occur depending on its coat color. The eyes are less than one eye’s width apart and present a slight slant toward the ears.
The longhair variety of the Oriental cat wears a coat of fine-textured hair that is of medium length, lying close to the body and silky to the touch. Coat colors and patterns are too many to be named. They are, however divided into a few broad categories that include bicolor, parti-color, pointed, shaded, smoke and solid.
Personality and temperaments
While the Oriental Longhair is considered a colorful breed, what truly adds color to your life lies in its personality. This is a highly-spirited and entertaining cat, always seeking to be involved in your activities. It is active and playful, and there are hardly any tall places in the home where this breed cannot reach. Coupled with its intelligence and curiosity, opening drawers and closets are a natural part of what it can and will do.
Oriental Longhair is also a very people-oriented breed. It loves to be at the center of attention and enjoys cuddling and snuggling with its favorite humans. However, building the special bond is usually reserved for only one person. The fortunate one would receive its complete, trust, loyalty and affections. While it is a vocal, demanding and mischievous cat, it has the knack of being gentle and loving at the same time. It is these very qualities that will endear this breed to many cat fanciers. It has a softer and milder vocal tone than the Siamese, but is just as eager to voice its sentiments and instincts.
Care and health issues
Healthy Oriental Longhair can expect to live up to 15 years or more. It is generally a hearty breed. Health issues that may affect this breed are similar to those that would affect the Siamese. These include hereditary liver amyloidosis, which results in liver failure; inherited neurological defect that will lead to crossed eyes; as well as dilated cardiomyopathy, which is known as a condition that will reduce the heart’s ability to contract. This breed has also been reported to have contracted bladder stones and mast cell cancer. Thus, it is important that the cat undergoes a yearly health check to ensure its overall good health. Ensure that the cat is obtained from a qualified breeder who will carry out responsible breeding and who will be able to produce a written health guarantee upon purchase.
Grooming the Oriental Longhair cat is fairly easy; brush its coat with a stainless steel comb to remove matt and tangles. This would certainly help to prevent dirt from accumulating in its hair. The other grooming needs include frequent teeth brushing with vet-approved toothpaste as well as regular nail trimming and ear cleaning.
The ideal family
The Oriental Longhair cat is suitable for families who want a lively cat and who would be responsible and willing to shower it with the attention and care. This breed would get along well with children and other family pets as long as they are introduced well. It needs the space to run, climb and play. An outdoor garden would be ideal, but it must be safe and escape-proof. An indoor adventure zone will be necessary and it needs to be provided with cat toys, cat trees and cat gym sets. With its intelligence, undergoing trick training is also possible. The Oriental Longhair is certainly a bundle of joy to have in a family that will appreciate its liveliness.