Oriental Shorthair Cat

Oriental Shorthair cat
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Oriental Shorthair Cat Patti – Photo: copyright © Helmi Flick – Lilac (dilute chestnut brown). Please respect copyright.

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You could almost sum up this breed in one sentence, perhaps two. This breed of cat is, what I would call, the Modern Siamese in different clothes (except it is a bit heavier/bigger2). However, cat fanciers wouldn’t refer to the prefix, “Modern”. Siamese cats are now known as the slender fragile looking (but not actually fragile) cats that we see at cat shows. The Traditional Siamese is known as the Thai by some. Although the Thai cat (a TICA registered cat) is between the traditional and modern in my view. The word, “oriental” refers to a slender body shape.

This cat is then no different to the Modern Siamese except for the wide range of coat colors and patterns (300 in all4). In fact a very well known commentator1 on the cat fancy writes about the Siamese/Balinese/Oriental Shorthair/Oriental Longhair together under one title. The similarity causes cat associations recognition and registration problems. Do associations register them as Oriental Shorthair cats or Siamese cats? Some cat fancies classify them as Siamese2, the CFA and TICA (major USA registries) don’t.

The Oriental type is very distinct. The body is long and tubular, the ears noticeably large, the head wedge shaped (triangular), the neck and legs are long and the tail pointed and whippy1. We know the Siamese is vocal, inquisitive and intelligent and so, therefore is this cat. They are also gregarious2, which means that they are going to be close to you and interact with you, maybe getting in the way of doing your computer work! They have been called “shameless flirts”.2

This cat is not a particular favorite of mine as I prefer a more old fashioned conformation, but looking at the stylish head and shoulders “portrait” of Patti above (by Helmi Flick), this can be an extremely attractive cat. There is a longhaired Oriental cat as well, which carries the recessive longhaired gene. You can see a large format still photo that came out of the photographic session in the video below on this page.

The CFA hit the nail on the head when they say that the Oriental Shorthair Cat was developed to “explore” a wide range of coat colors and patterns. In the breed standard the CFA say that the whole point of breeding this cat is the coat color.

oriental shorthair cat jumping

Photo of Ichan an OSH © and by .m for matthijs

Someone must have chosen this body type with which to do the exploring. This may have been a mistake bearing in mind that most people prefer the shape of the traditional Siamese.

This is confirmed by the Polls being run on this web site. You can see the preferences in respect of the Persian (Ultra and Traditional) and the Siamese (Modern and Traditional – vote and see the results) by clicking on the links.

The non-pure bred domestic cat fits the bill for a standard shaped cat of many patterns and colors so this breed (in my opinion) is intended to be a mirror of that cat, in terms of coat types, but in a more svelte body – see cat body shapes.

Oriental ShorthairCat

Photo of Ichan an OSH © and by .m for matthijs

When you see these cats in person, close up, you get the full impact of their very delicate and slightly unusual appearance. They are to my mind not very large cats either, which adds to this slightly rarefied image.

6 thoughts on “Oriental Shorthair Cat”

    • Hi Taylor, here is a slightly lightened up version of your photo. You have a very nice slender black cat with a Siamese like face – a long face. He is actually quite like my cat Charlie.

      I always say that my cat has some Siamese in him. That may be the case with your handsome boy. It is quite possible in fact.

      The Siamese is an ancient cat breed. There are many street cats in Thailand that are Siamese cats. They don’t have to be registered with an association although in America for a cat to be a cat breed and a pedigree cat it has to be registered.

      So my answer is, yes, he may well have some Siamese him. If he is vocal and a good talker and loyal that would seal the deal.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  1. Is my cat part oriental shorthair? He matches the description except that he doesn’t have large ears. He is very tall and slender, over a foot tall and 12 pounds.


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