The Oriental Shorthair cat was created in the 1950s – 1960s in order to explore all the possibilities of color and pattern. Thus, the creation of the Oriental Shorthair was intentional and planned. In fact, it was birthed by British breeders who had a keen interest in the Siamese body type, but sought to introduce a wider range of colors and patterns to its coat. To achieve this ideal, the breeders crossed the Siamese with the British Shorthair and the Russian Blue.
American breeders caught on and soon developed their own version of the breed by crossing the Siamese with the American Shorthair and the Abyssinian. By crossing back to the Siamese during the process of crossbreeding, the breeders have ensured that the sleek and lean body style of the Siamese was not sacrificed for colors and patterns. The creation of the Oriental Shorthair was met with oppositions from Siamese breeders, who thought that there were already too many Siamese hybrids. However, the charming personality and the diverse coat colors of the Oriental Shorthair had won the hearts of many and in turn had made rapid progress in its popularity.
It was a matter of time that the Oriental Shorthair would rise to become one of the most popular cat breeds. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) accepted it for registration in 1972. In 1976, it was granted provisional status and it took just another year to claim its full championship status. Today, the Oriental Shorthair, together with the Oriental Longhair, is being recognized as a breed under the Oriental division.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Oriental Shorthair is a medium sized cat that weighs between 5 – 10 pounds. Its body is of a Siamese type, i.e., svelte with long and tapering lines. It is sleek, elongated, tubular, fined boned and muscular. The legs, being long and thin, are in good proportion to its body; with the hind legs being slightly longer than its forelegs. Complementing its body line is a long and tapering tail.
Oriental Shorthair has a distinctly long and tapering wedge head. The wedge point starts from the tip of the nose and flares out in straight lines to the ears. Its large ears are set to follow the lines of the wedge. They are wide at the base and with minimal tapering into a rounded tip. Eyes of the Oriental Shorthair are less than one eye width apart, with the outer corners slanting towards the ears and the inner corners towards the nose. Viewed in profile, the Oriental Shorthair presents a long and straight nose, a substantial muzzle and a firm chin. The tip of the nose and its chin would appear to be in an imaginary vertical alignment. The head is carried on a long and slender neck.
This breed wears a coat of fine, short and close-lying hair. The composition gives it a satiny lustre. It can come in a myriad of colors and patterns that are too many to be named. They are, however, divided into broad classes such as bicolor, parti-color, pointed, shaded, smoke, solid and tabby.
Personality and temperaments
The Oriental Shorthair as a personality that is as colorful as its coat. It is sociable, active and agile cat that enjoys being at the center of attention. This breed is playful, even in its later years and brings enthusiasm into every of its game and activity. It is highly astute and curious, capable of opening cupboards, drawers and closets and other mischief if it is not under supervision. The Oriental Shorthair does not demand for attention as much as it seeks for it. It enjoys a cuddle as much as it loves to play. This is a people-oriented breed that is capable of forming strong bond, usually with one person. When that happens, it can become completely dedicated and devoted to that one special person.
Care and health issues
As this breed has a large gene pool, it is less likely to suffer from genetic problems. It is claimed to have a long lifespan of up to 20 years or above. It is advisable to send the cat for health checks and annual vaccination to maintain its overall good health.
The Oriental Shorthair is a self-cleaning cat that requires minimal grooming. However, it does enjoy the attention that grooming brings. A weekly brush would suffice to help remove loose hair and to keep its coat shining. Extend grooming practices to its teeth and nail to help prevent the accumulation of bacteria.
The ideal home
This breed requires a family that can give it a lot of attention. It can get along well with children and other cat-friendly pets, proving itself to be an excellent companion under responsible care and love. Provide the Oriental Shorthair with puzzle toys, cat trees and cat gym sets to help expend its energy in meaningful ways. The Oriental Shorthair is a much sought after excellent family pet that is winsome and endearing. It would provide a lifetime of love, affection and intelligent conversation with the people it loves.