Exotic Shorthair: Cat Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts
The Exotic Shorthair cat is a beautiful, loving and loyal breed with a playful personality and athletic physique. Commonly known as the ‘Lazy Man’s Persian’, the Exotic Shorthair has the good looks of the Persian cat with the easygoing nature of the American Shorthair. This loving and loyal animal is easy to look after with minimal special requirements to grooming or health care. It’s also the perfect addition to any family with young children and cat-friendly pets since it loves to play and simply enjoys the company of its owner. Today we’re going to learn the most important aspects of cat care so you know what to expect before buying or adopting the beautiful breed.
History of the Exotic Shorthair
The Exotic Shorthair cat is a fairly new breed compared to some of its feline cousins which date back centuries, if not millennia! Originating from the 1950s, this beautiful breed was created by crossing the lovable Persian breed with the American Shorthair to make the ultimate, good-looking, easygoing and low-maintenance cat there ever was…well, almost. The mix wasn’t easy to create however, as many breeders (both Persian and American Shorthair) were opposed to the idea of crossing these breeds. This opposition didn’t last long thankfully and not long after, the new breed was becoming increasingly popular for its Persian personality and looks and American grooming needs. In 1967 the Cat Fanciers Association officially recognized the breed as the ‘Exotic’. Then in 1979, the International Cat Association officially recognized the breed as the ‘Exotic Shorthair’. Since then, the Exotic Shorthair has been recognized by the Fédération Internationale Féline in 1986.
Quick Facts About the Exotic Shorthair
Now we know a bit about the Exotic Shorthair cat breed history, it’s time to learn some fascinating facts about the breed’s appearance, characteristics, grooming and habits. So, let’s take a look at some of the top facts about this breed. The following list is some of the main things you should know about the Exotic Shorthair from the cat’s height, weight, and lifespan to its coat type and color.
- The Exotic Shorthair cat has a lifespan of roughly 8 to 15 years! This varies greatly depending on the specific cat’s exercise and dietary habits, any medical conditions and its quality of life. Most happy and healthy Exotic Shorthair kittens live long and fulfilled lives when raised in a loving home by caring owners and when their basic needs are met carefully.
- For this breed, eye color is closely related to coat color. White Exotic Shorthair cats almost always have copper or blue eyes or one of each; all other solid color coats result in copper eye color. While this is a general rule of thumb, it seems to be mostly true, other than in the case of medical conditions which affect coat or eye color.
- It has a beautiful medium-length coat which is thick, soft and fluffy and covers a rich and thick undercoat.
- The Exotic Shorthair’s coat comes in many different shades, hues and colors. White, black, silver, blue, red and brown are the main colors but they can appear in numerous shades or combinations of these main colors.
- This beautiful breed is medium-sized. Fully grown adult males weigh around 7 to 14 pounds while females weigh lightly less, around 6 to 10 pounds.
- Exotic Shorthairs are stunning little felines! Its face is large and round with small rounded ears on top. While the rest of its body might look quite round and potentially overweight, this is usually due to its fluffy coat. This fluffy feline is in fact deceptively sturdy and muscular, supported by short, strong and thick legs and paws.
- They can be divided into two types based on their appearance – the ‘Extreme’ and the ‘Traditional’. The ‘extreme’ type typically has a flatter face than the ‘traditional’ and is more commonly found with breathing conditions compared to the ‘traditional’.
- The Exotic Shorthair breed was originally named the ‘Sterling’ because of its beautiful silver coat but was changed to the ‘Exotic’ as silver isn’t a color which is native the American Shorthair making it, well, exotic.
Things You Should Know
The Exotic Shorthair is a beautiful breed which any pet parent would be lucky to have. Commonly referred to as the ‘Lazy Man’s Persian’, the Exotic Shorthair is laid back and easy to care with comparatively minimal grooming compared to its parental breed. This athletic, playful, loving and loyal breed would be the perfect feline friend for any home, for adult parents, for families with young children, and even in homes with other cat-friendly pets.
Keep reading to learn some of the most important things you’ll need to know about the Exotic Shorthair before you choose to adopt or buy. We’ll cover the most important aspects of cat care from general health, grooming, diet to temperament and personality. Let’s begin!
Health condition can be incredibly hard to predict in cats, just like any animal, as they can sometimes appear for seemingly no apparent reason. While some medical conditions can be gradually removed through careful and selective breeding, others are almost impossible to remove as they are associated to the animal’s physique, exercise habits or general lifestyle. The Exotic Shorthair is prone to a few medical conditions which mostly all stem from its facial structure. These include, eye conditions, dental problems and breathing problems.
- Eye conditions – The most common eye conditions in the Exotic Shorthair are entropion and cherry eye. The former being a condition where the eyelid folds inwards and the latter being a swollen tear gland which protrudes more than usual. Both conditions cause eye irritation and limit the cat’s ability to see. Some other eye conditions which commonly affect cats of this size and physical build are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and excessive tearing. Like most eye conditions, these can be avoided if noticed early enough for medical intervention. However, cats with eye conditions can usually live almost as normal with some lifestyle changes and special care.
- Dental Problems – A common condition found in this breed is dental malocclusions which results in poor alignment of the teeth, leading to pain and further dental problems. While the condition itself isn’t necessarily a problem, the subsequent issues can cause some problems. Cats with dental malocclusions might need some special treatment like soft, wet or finely ground foods, extra careful teeth cleaning and chew toys to protect and strengthen their feline fangs.
- Skin Conditions – Because the Exotic Shorthair cat breed has a thick, fluffy coat, it can often overheat causing a variety of skin problems. Seborrhea is a common skin condition which causes red, flaky and itchy skin resulting from the overproduction of sebum, a natural oil in the skin. This condition can deteriorate when the Exotic Shorthair overheats. To avoid this, make sure you stay on top of your feline friend’s grooming needs, check their skin carefully when brushing them and ensure you take them to the vet for regular checkups. Skin conditions, even the particularly bad ones, can usually be managed through a strict grooming regimen and by using special creams which a vet will provide if necessary.
The Exotic Shorthair cat breed has the same dietary requirements as almost every other cat of a similar size and physique. While there aren’t any particular foods that the Exotic Shorthair should avoid, there are a few things to keep in mind when buying cat food for your new feline friend. Cat food should be relatively low in carbohydrates, high in animal protein, free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, grain free and it should be clearly labeled ingredients (meat, chicken, fish). Half a cup of food should be given twice per day, once in the morning then once at night. This is a rough estimate and should be tailored to your cat’s specific needs based on their age, size, diet needs and exercise habits. Cats which are physically active may require more food than those who are less active.
The only special requirement needed when feeding an Exotic Shorthair cat, is that the food should preferably be wet and fine enough to eat with minimal (or no) chewing. This is because the cat is brachycephalic (flat-faced) and is prone to dental issues. Animals with this condition, like Pugs and French Bulldogs, can struggle to chew food, especially crunchy dry food, so it’s best to use wet food whenever possible. Providing your cat with lots of fresh water is also essential for keeping them hydrated and healthy.
The Exotic Shorthair is such a great addition to any family or home as they are famous for being low maintenance, easy to care for and loving and loyal. Keeping your Exotic Shorthair well-groomed, fed and exercised and providing them with enough mental and physical stimulation is the best kind of care you can provide.
Most Exotic Shorthair parents will also care for their feline friend by keeping them as a house cat. While this might seem a shame to some pet parents, it’s for very good reasons. Firstly, the Exotic Shorthair breed isn’t exactly an outdoor cat as it can’t defend itself against other animals very well. It’s also worth noting that its perfect coat wouldn’t look nearly as good after a day of outdoor adventures. However, the most convincing reason to keep an Exotic Shorthair inside is to keep it safe. This beautiful breed could easily be harmed by natural dangers outside. Many pet parents also suggest keeping this breed indoors as they are often the unfortunate victims of theft. So, to keep your Exotic Shorthair safe from harm and to keep their good looks in check, it might be wise to keep them indoors. Just be sure to provide enough simulating toys to keep them busy while you’re out of the house.
This beautiful breed is surprisingly low maintenance considering how perfectly trim and styled its coat is, and especially easy to groom compared to its parental breed – the Persian. Thankfully it only requires brushing or combing about twice per week as the breed is effective at cleaning its own coat. Regular brushing will significantly reduce shedding and hairballs by removing loose hairs, while simultaneously improving the cat’s appearance. Like most other cats, Exotic Shorthair cats also require regular teeth cleaning and nail trimming. Teeth cleaning should be at least weekly but daily if possible and can be assisted by using treats and cat toys which strengthen teeth and improve general oral health. A more rigorous teeth cleaning schedule will be required for Exotic Shorthair kittens with dental malocclusions to ensure their teeth are cleaned properly and to prevent any more dental problems developing. Nail trimming regularity entirely depends on the cat. Some fluffy friends will only need their pretty paws tamed every month while others may need to be trimmed weekly. You’ll be able to tell how often this must be done by carefully examining your cat’s paws after trimming their nails. If you need a hand, you can always ask your vet for some advice tailored to your specific cat or you could have a professional groomer do this for your instead.
A key aspect of grooming the Exotic Shorthair breed which shouldn’t be overlooked is eye cleaning. Although this aspect is crucial for general eye health in every breed, the Exotic Shorthair known for having problems with excessive tearing. This can cause the eye area to stain and can become dirty with tears, water, food or dirt particles and can subsequently become sensitive or prone to infection. Regularly clean the eye area with a damp cloth, stroking away from the eye to remove water, dirt, debris or to remove stains. A solid grooming schedule will keep your precious puss happy and healthy, it’ll also keep them looking beautiful and feeling good too.
The Exotic Shorthair personality is calm, easygoing and playful. They love to play with their owner and require toys, scratch posts and engaging games to stay mentally and physically stimulated, especially if they’re left alone during the day while their owner is out. Keeping your Exotic Shorthair stimulated will keep them happy and healthy and they’ll show their appreciation with love and loyalty in return.