The Oriental Shorthair is a breed of domestic cat developed from and closely related to the Siamese. It maintains the modern Siamese head and body type but appears in a wide range of coat colors and patterns. Like the Siamese, Orientals have almond-shaped eyes, a triangular head shape, large ears, and an elongated, slender, and muscular body. Their personalities are also very similar. Orientals are social, intelligent, and many are rather vocal. They often remain playful into adulthood, with many enjoying playing fetch. Despite their slender appearance, they are athletic and can leap into high places. They prefer to live in pairs or groups and also seek human interaction. Unlike the breed’s blue-eyed forebear, Orientals are usually green-eyed.
While the breed’s genetic roots are ultimately in Thailand, it was formally developed in the US by a number of New York area cat breeders. In 1977 the Oriental Shorthair was accepted by the Cat Fanciers’ Association for championship competition. Since 1997, it has also received recognition from the GCCF and various other cat breeding organizations. The breed is among the most popular among CFA members.
The Oriental Shorthair is a member of the Siamese family of breeds, and can be found in various solid colors, and patterns such as smoke, shaded, parti-color/tortoiseshell, tabby and bicolor (any of the above, with white). Not all variants are acceptable to all organizations that recognize the breed.
Conforming Oriental Shorthairs, like any of the Siamese type, have almond-shaped eyes and a wedge-shaped head with large ears. Their bodies are typically “sleek” but muscular.