The Oriental Shorthair is a well known and popular cat breed. People believe that it is one of the smartest breeds. It is a slender cat and one of several cat breeds that are linked to the Modern Siamese cat, by which I mean the slender Siamese rather than the more traditional Siamese. Other breeds that are part of the “Siamese family” of cats include the Balinese and the Oriental Longhair. There are others.
The Oriental Shorthair was created through selective breeding. It is a hybrid cat, which means it was created from more than one cat. The idea was to create a cat breed that was like the Siamese in body shape but which had a lot of different coat types and colors. “Selective breeding” means putting selected cats together to mate so that they produce kittens that look the way you want them to.
In Siam (now called Thailand) Siamese cats aren’t just “pointed” (having dark fur on the face, legs, tail and ears). They have other coat types and colors as well. These cats have been in Thailand for well over 500 years. Some were brought to England in the early 1900s.
The idea to create a Siamese type cat with many different coats first happened around 1950 in England. One of the first was a breed called the “Chestnut Brown Foreign”. The coat is a solid chocolate color. The picture near to this text shows Charlie who has a chocolate colored coat. This cat breed became the Havana Brown in the United States.
Today the Oriental Shorthair comes is a very wide range of colors and patterns. For no particular reason, the cats in the main picture are all tabby coated cats.
How The Oriental Shorthair Looks
Overall this is a slender cat, which can be seen in lots of different coat types as mentioned. The fur lies close to the body. There is not much undercoat. They feel muscular. They have large ears
The body is said to be “tubular”. That means like a tube. So it should be long and round. The legs are slender too and the tail is long and “whippy”. The feet are small (“dainty”).
In the language of cat breeders this cat is “oriental” in shape. This means thin and elegant. As for the face, in profile (sideways on), there should be a straight line from the forehead to the nose. Normally there is a bend in this profile called a “break”.
Facing the cat, the head should look like a wedge (the shape of a triangle) and the large ears should add to this shape. This is a cat of average size. It weighs between 9-14 pounds or 4-6.5 kilograms.
Like the Siamese this cat is quite assertive. This means that he or she won’t like to be ignored. They will be under your feet. They like to make you notice them by speaking loudly to you. They have strong voices. They are also quite active and intelligent. In other words they can make demands on you. You should be ready to leap into action when your Oriental Shorthair asks you to do something.