Oriental Breed Profile

The Oriental Shorthair is a unique feline breed that belongs to the Siamese family. This breed comes in a variety of solid colours and patterns, such as smoke, shaded, parti-colour/tortoiseshell, and bi-colour. It should be noted that while not all variants are acceptable by all organisations that recognise this breed, these cats make excellent companions for those who appreciate their unique qualities.

The Oriental Shorthair shares various features with Siamese cats, including almond-shaped eyes, a triangular head shape, large ears, and a lean, muscular body type. Furthermore, their intelligence, sociability, and vocal tendencies make them reliable partners, particularly for households that enjoy having an active and interactive pet. Additionally, they are athletic, and playful, and are known for their agility in high places.

Finally, though they may differ from their blue-eyed forebear in appearance, they maintain the warm green eye colour and prove themselves a warm and lovely companion.

Oriental Breed History

As per the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), “Orientals are an assorted group of felines that originated from the Siamese breed.” The Siamese breed was imported to the UK in the latter half of the 1800s, available in both pointed and solid colours with their foundation in Siam (Thailand).

The breed gained immense popularity and spread rapidly. The colour-restrictive pointed trait is due to a recessive gene. Therefore, the general population of Siam’s cats were mostly solid. The pointed cats were ultimately enrolled as Siamese, while the rest were labelled as “foreign shorthair” or “non-blue-eyed Siamese.”

Other breeds which were bred from Thailand’s landrace cats include the Havana Brown, which some breed registries consider as a mere variant of the Oriental Shorthair and the Korat.

The Oriental Shorthair breed was officially recognised by the US-based CFA in 1977, allowing them to compete in championship competitions. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognised the bi-colour variant in 1985, while the UK-based Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) acknowledged the breed two decades later, but with some nuanced differences in their coat conformation policies. 

DB GD CH RISLANI BINDI (Cinnamon Oriental)
DB GD CH RISLANI BINDI (Cinnamon Oriental)

Today, the GCCF has separate breed registration policies for distinct-coated Oriental Shorthair variants. Although the Germany-based World Cat Federation (WCF) recognises the breed, it has relatively permissive colour requirements except for white, stating, “All colours and patterns without white and without points are recognized.”

In the CFA, point-coloured kittens born to Oriental Shorthair parents are usually categorized as “any other variety” (AOV), but depending on their pedigree, may compete under the Colourpoint classification. The International Cat Association (TICA) and various other cat breeder and fancier associations sometimes consider these cats as Siamese, if acknowledged at all.

Coat Patterns

Under CFA conformation rules, a vast variety of over 300 coat colour and pattern combinations are possible. These coat types are broadly categorized into basic types such as:

  • Solid: The coat colour is uniform across the entire cat. Each hair shaft should be the same colour from root to tip, and be free of banding and tipping. CFA-acceptable colours for this breed are red, cream, ebony, blue, lavender, cinnamon, fawn and white. The corresponding GCCF colours are (respectively) red, cream, brown, blue, lilac, chocolate and apricot (white is not permitted as the base colour in GCCF, and WCF does not permit white at all).
  • Shaded pattern: Will have a white undercoat with only the tips being coloured CFA and GCCF recognize this. Other breed registries call this the chinchilla pattern.
  • Smoke pattern: The hair shaft will have a narrow band of white at the base which can only be seen when the hair is parted. This white undercoat to any of the above solid colours (except white, of course) is provided by an interaction of two different genes. CFA and GCCF recognize this.
  • Parti-color: Has patches of red and/or cream, which may be well-defined blotches of colour or marbled. This colour pattern is referred to as tortoiseshell (or “tortie” for short) in non-pedigreed cats by CFA, and this alternative term is used by GCCF and organizations for pedigreed cats as well.
  • Tabby coat pattern: Recognized by GCCF and CFA. Each hair shaft should have a band of colour around the middle of the hair shaft. GCCF recognizes four variants of tabby: classic, mackerel, spotted and ticked.
  • Bicolor pattern: Recognized by GCCF and CFA. The bi-colour pattern is created by the addition of a white spotting gene to any of the other accepted colours/patterns. The cat will have white on its belly, on the legs/paws, and in an inverted “V” on the face. WCF does not permit this variant, as it is opposed to white in this breed.
CH Rislani Morpheus
CH Rislani Morpheus


Oriental Shorthair cats are known for their energetic personalities and friendly nature. These feline companions are highly active and are naturally gregarious, often engaging in lively conversations with their owners.

Breeders and veterinarians alike praise these cats for their curiosity and interest in their surroundings, making them a beloved choice for pet enthusiasts.

As adults, Oriental Shorthair cats maintain their playful and inquisitive demeanor, bringing joy and entertainment to their owners.


The Oriental Shorthair is considered a medium-sized cat and males tend to have an average weight range of 8-12 pounds (3.6-5.4 kg) while females may weigh slightly less than 8 pounds (3.6 kg).

General Health

The Oriental breed shares a close relationship with Siamese cats, inheriting a similar propensity for certain health issues. Among these are:

  • amyloidosis
  • asthma/bronchial disease,
  • congenital heart defects,
  • crossed eyes,
  • gastrointestinal conditions
  • hyperesthesia syndrome
  • lymphoma
  • nystagmus
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Nevertheless, Oriental cats demonstrate low seroprevalence of feline coronavirus antibodies.

Additionally, Oriental Shorthairs exhibit lower rates of obesity following neutering.