Why do Oriental Shorthairs have big ears? Because the breed standard says that they have to have big ears if they are to win competitions at cat shows. An extract from the CFA breed standard shown below points to the relevant section. Note: the cat above was bred in Russia and the breed standard for Russian cats will come from the WCF. They should be similar though.
There is little more to say, really. Breeders are obliged to follow the breed standards of the various cat associations. The one above is from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). It is all part of the design of this slender cat breed. So why should cat associations demand that the Oriental Shorthair must be slender with big ears? The simple answer is that it helps distinguish this cat breed from others. There are quite a lot of cat breeds – upwards of about 104 – although the CFA recognise about 44 and TICA recognise about 75. It doesn’t matter the exact number. What matters is that there are quite a lot of breeds and therefore they have to distinguish themselves one from the other to make them meaningful. The Oriental Shorthair certainly stands out in this regard. This breed is part of the Siamese cat family. In other words they are related and you can see the great similarity. They are the same shape except that the Siamese has a pointed coat and the Oriental Shorthair has a very wide range of coat types.
SOME MORE ON CAT EARS: