A lot of people will think that when they see this cat it is a Persian, but really it is another breed called Exotic Shorthair, and well as it says its name is a cat that has a short coat and it is the way to differentiate it from the Persian cat because it comes from that breed. This cat is a recent breed that was born in the ‘50s and has called the attention of many cat lovers because of its similarity to its predecessor, but with an easier coat to take care of. If you are interested in knowing more about this breed read on.
Due to the great fame that Persian cats had through the years and more because they belong to the ancient breeds group, many people started breeding this pet’s breed, but there were always breeders with the idea of looking for something new and more attractive to people’s eyes. At the end of the ‘50s in the United States, some American Shorthairs breeders were influenced by the fame of the Persian cat, so they wanted to make a cross between them to look for a cat with a similar appearance to the American shorthair, or the British shorthair with a silver coat with green eyes. However the results were really different, the kittens born from these crosses were born with the appearance of the Persian but with a short coat. Countless people were interested in this new hybrid cross as it shared many looks with the Persians, but had a short coat that made it easy to groom and didn’t require full care.
As the popularity of this new cat began to increase, more specimens started to emerge and The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) officially recognized it in 1967, so they began to participate in show competitions. In 1971 an Exotic shorthair cat breed became the first in its breed to reach the status of Grand Champion. As a result of all these many Persian breeders began to opt for this type of crosses. Further, some began to do it with the Russian Blue, or the Burmese to present the short hair, so the gene pool grew larger and the CFA didn’t like the great variety that was being presented. So, in 1987 they decided to prohibit any breed crossing being only the one allowed between the American Shorthair and the Persian cat. Today these two cousins share the same breed standards being almost identical only the Exotic differs by length and type of their coat.
Features and Personality
The Exotic Shorthair’s characteristics make it look like the perfect cat for many with its cute features, which makes it one of the most loved and famous cats within the CFA. He has an approximate life expectancy of 15 years or more, depending on how you take care of his health. He is a medium-large cat, with a solid and muscular body of wide frames and reaches a weight between 6 lbs and 13 lbs. There are cases where they can weigh more. Its head is round and wide, it has triangular shaped ears with good separation between them. They are small, pointed, and straight. Its face is flat, with a wide forehead, big and rounded eyes that draw a lot of attention by keeping them wide open. Its color varies depending on the type of coat it has, its nose is small and flat, its muzzle is slightly protruding that connects to its round cheeks. It has a well-formed chin with a good round curvature. Its neck is short and wide. Due to its body and a wide back, its legs are thick, strong but short, straight with long firm and round paws. Something curious is that its front legs have five toes and the hind legs have four toes. Its tail is in proportion to the length of its body, is short without curvature, and begins a little after the back.
His coat as its name says is of a short length, luxurious, dense, and soft, which attracts a lot of attention. This cat has a thick undercoat that makes his upper coat stand out giving him a very cute look. As for the colors of his coat, all the tones, patterns, and styles are allowed in this breed, some of the main colors are cream, white, red, black, blue, lilac and chocolate. As for their patterns, the most well-known are tabby, colorpoint, shaded and smoke, parti-color, bicolor, pointed, and many more.
Compared to the lazy man’s Persian, the Exotic shorthair personality is more affectionate and sociable, and all thanks to his other progenitor the American shorthair. Although he doesn’t have much time compared to other cats, the Exotic has shown to have a very calm, sociable, loving temperament and he likes to receive love when he wants it. This is a cat who enjoys being indoors so it makes him adaptable to life in an apartment or any style of home, he has energy so he likes to focus on certain moments of the day to play or exercise, which is good because it allows him to stay active and can avoid a future overweight. They are cats that create unique bonds with their families or with a specific person, they like to feel surrounded by people. Nevertheless, they are cautious with strangers, they look for their people to play with, to give them affection, to sit on their lap to enjoy a good time, and although they are this way they are not cats that require attention all the time, is when they want it. Still, it has been seen that many exotic shorthair cats do not tolerate being alone and may become attached to their owners so they may suffer from separation anxiety as they become bored or more anxious quickly. So they begin to have destructive attitudes, mewing too much, even having litter box amnesia. To avoid this type of behavior you can make a schedule or a routine where he can be distracted and not be affected by anxiety. Try not to leaving these affected kittens many hours alone and at the same time leave him a wide variety of toys, controlled food dispensers, special toys, scratchers, whatever keeps his mind busy. Something that has been seen a lot in this breed is that the male exotic is more affectionate and dependent on their owners, in comparison to the female who is more independent and does not show much affection like the male.
The advantage of the coat of these domestic cats means that it is quite easy to care for, because it has a short coat you should brush it at least once a week to remove the dead hair, to avoid knots. Also, to stimulate its skin when it is molting season try to brush it more continuously to avoid seeing loose hair everywhere and to avoid making hairballs. Bathe him only when necessary; every few months, he should not be bathed so often, try to use shampoos with natural ingredients and free of chemicals that can harm them. Do not forget to regularly check its ears for dirt and clean them by using special cat products, or a slightly wet gauze applied very gently to avoid discomfort or injury to evade the accumulation of wax, debris, or to avoid signs of infections. You should be aware of their oral hygiene, Exotic Shorthairs have generally good teeth but you can brush their teeth twice a week with a toothbrush and special toothpaste for cats, their oral health is very important because this way you can prevent dental disease.
Don’t forget to regularly or better yet daily clean his face with a damp cloth, especially around his eyes to prevent tears from staining his face. Always leave a clean litter box within reach if he spends a lot of time indoors, changing it regularly to avoid bad smells. Keep in mind that stimulating your cat to be active is very important, like any other cat that has a lot of energy-giving her a sedentary life that is just eating, slacking off, and no motivation can cause depression, stress, and develop overweight pets to the point of being a diabetic cat. Owners must be informed of all these advice to greatly prevent a fatal disease.
The exotic Shorthair cat usually enjoys very good health and more if it was born under a good breeder and its owners have given it all the necessary care to avoid developing more diseases but like any cat, it can suffer from some diseases and more because it comes from two different breeds so it has a genetic predisposition to many diseases. But equally this does not mean that it will have or suffer some of those that will be mentioned below.
Due to the flat shape of their nose and face, they belong in the group of Brachycephalic cats. So, they are predisposed to suffer from respiratory distress syndrome. It is also called Brachycephalic syndrome cats, in which they begin to develop breathing problems due to the little tissue they have in their nose accumulating infections that can affect their health. Many cats can breathe well with this syndrome, others snore in their sleep and others may have complications. This can be solved by surgery to help your cat live a longer life, but unfortunately, many cats die young from a complication. Prevent your cat from getting heatstroke, as its respiratory level can affect it more. It is recommended that your cat is kept in a cool environment or under the air conditioning.
Another disease that is often inherited by exotic shorthair breed is a condition called Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) due to enlarged kidneys and kidney dysfunction, some can be detected at 12 months of age or with a blood test at birth. When you get your exotic cat you can ask your breeder to show you if your cat has this disease or not. Currently, many breeders are looking to establish Pkd free breeding programs to try to prevent new kittens from inheriting this disease.
Although it is normal in dogs, it is also known in cats to suffer from hip dysplasia, it is an Inherited disease that makes the hip bone doesn’t fit with the femur, causing wear and joint pain. Then, if you see your cat limping, or acting like an old cat, or something strange in their walking you should go to the vet as soon as you can as with any other changes in his behavior. Another disease that is very rare and appears in newborn kittens with different breast blood types and puts their life in danger is called neonatal isoerythrolysis. This issue occurs when the mother’s antibodies attack the kittens’ red blood cells, and the newborn kittens can die. This could occur when there is not correct breeding and the cat is in bad condition and do not have the care they deserve. Some affected kittens can survive if they are treated in time and can consume milk from another cat of the same blood type, the best way to prevent this disease is to make the corresponding tests before dedicating yourself to the breeding of this breed. If you notice that a newborn kitten is having problems eating, take them at once to the vet so that he can take all the necessary measures in case he presents this condition.
They are also susceptible to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease that causes the enlargement of the heart. It’s an Inherited disease of many cat breeds so you should never miss appointments with your vet, and make sure they always check their heart. If your cat has this heart disease, your veterinarian will be able to advise you on how to make its life easier by following a suitable diet and the right medication. If you see that your cat is presenting any symptoms of discomfort or you see that something is happening to it that is not common, go directly to a veterinarian so that it can be checked and discard any diseases that can be common in cats such as Portosystemic shunt (liver disease), hepatic lipidosis, lower urinary tract disease, a dental disease that could lead to a respiratory problem, kidney disease, and many others.
Do not forget to visit your vet every 6 months for a check-up and rule out any diseases. Be up to date with all their vaccinations especially in this breed as it is prone to get sick by bacteria, viruses such as panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and multiple more that can be prevented. But you have to be very aware to vaccinate for protection against the dangerous diseases like Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and perform the de-worming and care recommended by the vet.
As this breed is prone to many diseases, many pet owners decide to buy Pet health insurance, which helps them with future expenses and avoids large payments on possible surgeries. You can investigate which insurance is the most beneficial for you and covers all your needs.
Being Exotic shorthair cats are quite chubby, their weight is something that must be controlled, so the type of feeding you want to give your cat must be under a lot of care. Their food should be of high quality and you can choose what type of food it can be if you want it to be dry cat meals, pâté, homemade meals. It all depends on what they like and the lifestyle, metabolism, age of your pet. You can always ask your vet what kind of food is best for your pet. Be very careful with cat treats, these cats are lovers of snacks so they should not consume more than the established. Always remember to leave a plate with fresh, clean water every day to keep them hydrated.
If you decided to have an Exotic Shorthair cat, like any other pet’s breed, you have to make sure that it comes from a professional cattery and it’s a purebred cat. First of all, because this way you can be sure that this pedigreed cat has been raised in the best possible conditions, that their work is professional and meets all the required criteria. A responsible breeder makes sure that the mother can recover after each birth, this reduces the number of litters per year and the earnings from breeding, but the health and balance of the cat are important to him. Also employing a reputable breeder you can make sure that the kittens had a good development and prevent any diseases related to genetic predisposition or tell you by medic exams that don’t have any disease, also that has been fed with quality food, completely vaccinated, dewormed and don’t hand over the kittens before 12 weeks, because in this phase of 3 months is vitally important for them to make sure that they have a healthy and balanced growth, allowing the Exotic Shorthair to become an easy and complication-free cat.
Additionally, if you want you can go to shelters or Exotic shorthair rescue groups to adopt them and give them a second chance to be with a family, as there are many Exotic’s that are abandoned as the people who get them are not aware of the responsibilities that come with carrying this pet, so before making a decision about having this breed inform yourself!
After reading all this I hope you liked all this information and help you decide if you want to have an Exotic shorthair, it has a beauty that many people love, it’s unique and at the same time a little independent, the best of all is that it’s easy to take care of, if you really choose to fulfill all the responsibilities that this cat needs, it’s a very good option to have it as a new family member. If you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section below and I hope this guide has been of use to you.
Pictures courtesy of zooplus, prettylitter, and thehappycatsite.com