Oriental cats: appearance, characteristics, and history

Oriental cat

Oriental cats are intellectuals, athletes and, simply, beauties, charming with their unique grace and sophistication of silhouette. Possessing a playful character and developed intuition, these green-eyed “Asians” easily gain confidence and are able to fall in love with even the most desperate cat-hater. The owner in the eyes of the animal is a supreme being, to whom the pet is obliged to prove its love and devotion around the clock. In exchange for their affection, the Orientals expect no less generosity from the owner.

Brief information

Breed name: Oriental cat

Country of origin: USA, UK, Thailand

Time of origin of the breed: XIX century

Weight: 3 – 8 kg

Life Expectancy: 15 – 20 Years


-The exotic appearance of the animal is its main trump card. An adult oriental cat is somewhat reminiscent of an alien who mistakenly teleported to our planet and tries to establish contact with its inhabitants.

-The oriental’s favorite place is next to the owner. They follow their own owner with a shadow and are ready to entertain him/her with a good-natured purr at any moment.

-Inside each oriental cat is hidden a small “power reactor”. Usually, a pet splashes out an excess of emotions in active games, although walking in the fresh air will not be superfluous for it either.

white Oriental cat

-Adults are very talkative and like to draw attention to themselves with persistent meows.

-Oriental cats are often called “rainbow pets”, as there are about 300 color variants among the representatives of this clan.

-Oriental eared ears are quite friendly and will calmly accept the neighborhood with other pets, including dogs.

-The breed is not meant for too busy owners. Left alone, the Oriental will suffer from a lack of communication, which will negatively affect its nervous system.

-For those who dream of a dog, but still cannot afford its maintenance, experts recommend getting an Oriental. Its habits are very reminiscent of a dog’s, not to mention an enthusiastic reverence for the owner, in which the eared “energizer” will surpass any watchdog.

Characteristics of the Oriental cats

Activity:    High

Gentleness:    Affectionate

Molting:    Moderate

Need for care:    Minimum

Health:    Average

Sociability:    Very high

Playfulness:    Very playful

Friendliness:    Very friendly

Intelligence:    Very Smart

The appearance of an oriental cat

Oriental cat

Oriental cats are typical Asians: graceful, lean, with the hypnotic power of a jade gaze. A distinctive feature of these charismatic kitties is the phenomenal plasticity of movements, thanks to which even the usual stretching in their performance turns into a full-fledged yoga master class.

According to the type of coat, oriental cats are divided into short-haired and long-haired. The last variety was born in the 60s of the last century as a result of crossing a shorthaired oriental with a Balinese (Balinese cat). As an independent breed, the Oriental Long-haired was introduced in 1977, however, it was able to confirm its solvency at the exhibition competitions only in 1997.


According to the standard approved by the WCF (World Cat Federation), the Oriental head should have a flat forehead and a raised profile. The muzzle of the representatives of this breed should be narrow, and the jawline should be clearly defined. An obligatory item is the wedge-shaped shape of the skull.


Elongated, and flat. It is located approximately in line with the chin.


Almond-shaped, and slightly slanted. The distance between the eyes is visually equal to the length of one of them. Regardless of the color of the coat, all oriental cats have a rich emerald eye color. An exception to the general rule is considered to be white-haired individuals, in which the color of the iris can be blue. Heterochromia (discordance) is found in some murk animals.


In relation to the head, they are quite massive. The auricle is thin and wide, continuing the wedge-shaped line of the cat’s face. The tip is slightly rounded. The most intensive growth of auricles is observed in the first months of an animal’s life, which is why the oriental kitten resembles a hybrid of Cheburashka and Yoda from Star Wars.

Oriental cat lying


Graceful and elongated type.


Slender, noticeably elongated, with a well-developed muscular corset. The body constitution is close to lean: the animals look exquisitely graceful.


Oriental cats have extremely long limbs, giving their silhouette a slight aristocracy and grace. The legs of the animals are oval and relatively small.


Very long with a sharp tip. The thickness of the tail is the same along the entire length.


Oriental cats have practically no undercoat, due to which the coat gently outlines the contours of the body. The hair of short-haired individuals is shiny-satin type. Long-haired animals have fine, silky hair. Since the representatives of the second type of hair fit snugly to the body, its real length is partially “lost”.


What the breeding experts were as loyal as possible was the variants of oriental colors. Today it is one of the few cat breeds that has the right to almost any shade of all existing colors.

The nature of the oriental cat

If buying a baby oriental cat, you expect to get a haughty sofa Buddha in the future, do not hope – the Asian mentality in these cats sleeps soundly. Purebred Oriental cats are quite contact and playful pets, madly in love with their own master. Eastern arrogance and aloofness are absolutely not characteristic of them.

Dog-like behavior is typical for oriental cats. This means that wherever the owner goes, the “wool Yoda” will definitely be attached to the side in order to control its every step. Consider the fact that you will only dream about peace with these perpetual motion machines, jumpers and runners. Sofas for oriental cats are not a habitat, but a convenient springboard from which it is so convenient to “take off” onto a wardrobe, chest of drawers or cornice. The conquest of heights, to which the cat’s so selflessly surrender, brings with it inevitable destruction in the interior, therefore, if a vase broken by a pet can seriously ruin your mood, it is better not to start an eastern murka.

Oriental kitten

Oriental cats are inveterate gambling addicts, and this addiction cannot be cured, so buy your pet more clockwork mice, teasers and balls – let it have fun at your own pleasure. With age, orientals do not lose interest in games, so even elderly individuals happily chase candy wrappers and paper balls on the floor. Another characteristic feature of the breed is a burning curiosity. Secrets, no matter how insignificant they are, oriental cats simply cannot stand. The contents of any closed container are subject to careful inspection, and the slammed doors to another room are generally regarded as a military secret that must be disclosed at all costs.

Oriental cats are highly dependent on human attention. They can hardly endure loneliness, so before buying a Thai eared eeyore, you should thoroughly think about who will stay with your pet while you are at work. As for the annoying meow, which many owners of orientals complain about, it really does take place, so the “talkativeness” of the breed will have to be taken for granted. But the timbre of the voice of these kitties is more pleasant than that of the same Siamese.

Most oriental cats have a strong personality. So, for example, some individuals are not very disposed towards children, while others, on the contrary, relate to the younger generation with great condescension. Oriental cats get along well with other cats. But dogs can feel a slight mistrust, which eventually passes. According to experts, the green-eyed “Asian” should not be the only pet in the house, because the presence of other animals in the room helps it to tolerate separation from the owner less painfully.

Health and disease of oriental cats

Oriental cat

Despite the fact that the average life expectancy of Oriental cats is 15-17 years, you cannot call them real big ones. By inheritance from Siamese ancestors, a whole set of genetic ailments that significantly complicate their lives have passed to the kotofes. Many individuals are diagnosed with hepatic amyloidosis, which, if not treated promptly, can cause liver failure. Another scourge of the breed is myocardial diseases (dilated cardiomyopathy), therefore, at least once every six months, the animal must undergo ultrasound diagnostics.

Eye problems are common among Oriental cats too. Most often “Thais” suffer from strabismus and progressive retinal atrophy. In addition, there is always a risk of having kittens with flat chest syndrome. If the disease is not recognized and treated in time, the baby’s lungs will not be able to work at full strength, and it will simply suffocate.

How to choose a kitten

When buying an oriental kitten, be sure to ask about its age. Nurseries that value their own reputation do not sell animals that are under 3 months old. When evaluating the conditions for keeping babies, pay attention to the presence of cages in the breeder, in which unscrupulous sellers often lock their wards. Experienced specialists who love their job bring up kittens at home: they play with them; they are not put in an aviary and are not limited in communication with other pets. Accordingly, such individuals will socialize faster.

Oriental kitten

The appearance of an oriental kitten will also help to assess the health of an oriental kitten. Ears with sticky fur discharge from the eyes and nose, and swollen stomachs will not bring anything but problems. Any kitten purchased from the cattery must have a metric or pedigree. If there are none, then, most likely, under the guise of a purebred oriental, they are trying to hand you a mestizo. Sometimes breeders explain the absence of documents for a kitten by unplanned mating, although this is nothing more than excuses and attempts to hide the truth about the true origin of the animal.

Those who are planning to breed their pet in the future and receive offspring from it should look into catteries where oriental breed-class cats with impressive pedigrees are sold. If you do not intend to breed kittens for sale, visit the places where orientals are engaged without breeding rights. Most of these catteries offer already neutered or neutered kittens.

Some breeders have a negative attitude to early neutering, which can seriously affect the external parameters of the cat, and do not carry out this procedure. In this case, all responsibility for the reproductive function of the pet lies with the future owner. Usually, before the sale, the buyer signs a contract, according to which he undertakes to neuter the kitten as soon as it is 8-12 months old.

History of the oriental cat breed

Genetically oriental cats are close to the Siamese, with whom they began to be exported from Thailand in the 19th century. British breeders did not consider (or did not want to consider) an independent breed in green-eyed cats, so they ranked them as a classic Siamese tribe with a modified type of color. It is worth noting that orientals were not particularly favored at European exhibitions, systematically disqualifying mustachioed emigrants for either non-standard colors, or for the emerald shade of the iris.

Oriental cat on table

The animals also did not arouse much interest among potential owners, therefore, until the beginning of the 20th century, oriental cats were bred only by enthusiasts who were keen on breeding activities. The real crisis fell on the Thai eared cats in 1923, after the American Club of Siamese cats strictly tabooed the breeding of any species of pets, with the exception of blue-eyed individuals with a Himalayan color.

For more than 30 years, the Orientals were in limbo: they were expelled from the Siamese clan, but they were not recognized as an independent breed. Remembered about catfishes only in the 60s, British and American breeders, carried away by the extremalization of the external appearance of animals. Initially, breeders planned to breed another species of Siamese cat, which would have a uniform coat color, but would not lose the grace of its lines. To achieve this goal, orientals began to cross with Abyssinians and other short-haired breeds.

1977 is a landmark year for orientals, in which the wards of American breeders received their own standard of appearance. By the way, the first set of breed characteristics, developed for the overseas Murk, was almost completely copied from the Siamese standard (with the exception of the items “body” and “colors”). But in Britain, they were in no hurry to celebrate Asian catfishes and for a long 20 years they looked closely at them, scrupulously weighing all the pros and cons. As a result, the English eared cats were able to become an independent breed only in 1997, after the official recognition of the GCCF.