Well-tempered, friendly, and oh-so-adorable, it is no wonder why the Exotic Shorthair cat is one of the most popular cat breeds. Similar to Persian cats, in more ways than one, read on to learn what makes these cats unique and such a wonderful companion.
As far as cat breeds go, the Exotic Shorthair, also called Exotic, is fairly new, especially when compared to breeds that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years.
Around the 1950s, American Shorthair cat breeders began breeding their cats with Persian cats, in the hopes of getting the silver coat and green eyes of the Persian onto the American Shorthair. To their surprise, they instead ended up with a bunch of shorthaired Persian cats.
This new type of cat was further bred with Russian Blues and Burmese cats, in order to get the gene for short hair. The offspring of those cats were then bred back with Persian cats, and the new breed of Exotic Shorthairs was created.
For all intents and purposes, the Exotic Shorthair has nearly all identical traits as a Persian, except that Exotics have a shorter coat.
If these cats had to be described using one word, that word would be ‘round.’ They have large, round eyes that are placed on their round head, which sits atop their thick, round neck and body. Even their short, stocky legs have a rounded appearance.
With such a description, it is easy to assume that most Exotics are overweight, and they certainly may appear so, but more often than not, this is simply an optical illusion. Exotics are, in fact, big-boned, and when combined with their extremely thick and plush coat, it creates a chubby appearance. This may raise the question, “Exactly how big do Exotic Shorthair cats get?” Well, these cats can weigh quite a bit—up to 15 pounds.
The Exotic Shorthair personality can simply be described as calm and friendly. Due in part to their easy-going nature, these felines acclimate well to apartment or household environments, and they enjoy being around kids and adults. Exotics prefer to have company, so if you have a job that requires you to be out of the house for long hours, your Exotic will be thankful for another animal companion.
More energetic than Persians, Exotics enjoy playing simple games, but at the end of the day, they will just want to curl up in your lap—don’t be offended when your cat doesn’t want to cuddle in bed at night, Exotics prefer a cool place for sleeping.
These cats are not overly vocal, but they may let out a little purr or chirp on occasion. Although a very friendly cat, many are often hesitant towards strangers, at least at first. After getting to know them for even a short amount of time, most Exotics will warm up to their new friend and even want to play or cuddle on their lap.
Grooming and Care
Unlike Persians, which require a hefty amount of grooming, Exotic Shorthairs only need about one brushing per week. This dramatic decrease in grooming needs is one of the main factors leading people to adopt an Exotic over a Persian. This also leads many to wonder, “Are Exotic Shorthair cats hypoallergenic?” In short, the answer is no, Exotics are not a hypoallergenic cat breed, so if you have cat allergies, this is not the breed for you.
With a plush, short coat, this cat’s hair is not prone to tangles, but a weekly brushing can help reduce the chances of hairballs, and it can help your cat maintain a healthier coat. Their beautiful coat can be found in nearly any color or pattern, and their eyes are often a blueish-green or a bright copper color.
Besides brushing, you will also need to check your Exotic Shorthair’s ears and teeth for any signs of an infection. To help keep infections at bay, it is useful to brush your cat’s teeth once or more a week and clean their ears with recommended animal-safe cleaning solution. If you are unsure of which health products to purchase for your cat, talk to your veterinarian about their recommended items.
Due to their flat faces, the tear ducts on Exotics tend to overflow, causing discoloration and staining to the fur near the eyes. To avoid this, use a damp cloth to gently clean the corners by your cat’s eyes. Don’t forget to use a separate corner of the cloth for each eye, in order to prevent spreading any possible eye infection.
Common Health Issues
Like any other cat breed, Exotic Shorthairs are also prone to certain health problems.
One of the most common issues among this breed is nasal congestion, which, in turn, can lead to poor respiration. Due to their scrunched-up faces, Exotics have a more difficult time allowing air to flow in and out easily. This, in addition to their thick coat, can cause many to be sensitive to the heat. In order to help keep them cool, it’s beneficial to live in an air-conditioned home, and they appreciate having access to cooler areas, such as hardwood or cement floors.
According to our claims data*, other health issues that are common among these felines include,
- Corneal ulcers (damage to cat’s cornea)
- Upper respiratory infections
- Heart murmurs
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart disease)
- Urinary tract infections
Just because your cat’s breed is susceptible to these health problems in particular, there is no guarantee that your cat will experience any or all of these conditions. One of the best ways to help keep your cat healthy is to schedule regular checkups with their veterinarian. With routine visits, your veterinarian can better monitor your cat’s overall health, and they will be able to catch any health problems early on.
Another great way to help keep your cat happy and healthy is to provide them with a nutritious diet and an appropriate amount of exercise. The right diet can help give your cat more energy, keep their coat healthy, and provide nutrients to help with their growth. And although treats are a great thing that most cats adore, remember only to allow your cat to have a few a day—too much of a good thing is not always good.
Exercise is an important habit that should also be implemented into your cat’s routine. Exotic Shorthairs are not overly active cats, but they still require daily exercise. They enjoy games such as chasing after a ball, and they often enjoy playing with fishing pole toys—puzzle toys are also an excellent option that can help provide mental exercise.
Convincing your Exotic to get up off of the couch may require some coaxing at first, but soon they will enjoy this new part of their routine, especially because they get to spend time with their favorite people.
A combination of a healthy diet and exercise will help ensure that your cat does not become overweight. Unfortunately, many pets suffer from obesity, which can lead to a long list of other health problems. If you believe your cat may have a weight issue, talk to your veterinarian about their recommended steps on how you can get your cat to a healthier weight.
As many cat parents are probably all too familiar with, cats are oftentimes more entertained by random household objects than by expensive, store-bought toys. A great alternative to buying toys that your cat will just ignore is to make your own. Check out our guide on how to make homemade toys for your cat.
Fun Facts About Exotic Shorthair Cats
No doubt, there is much to learn when it comes to the adorable Exotic Shorthair. Check out these fun facts!
- On occasion, Exotics Shorthairs are born with long hair. When this occurs, the kittens may be referred to as Persians or Exotic Longhairs.
- Exotics are not jumpers or sprinters, although they may still have an occasional run around in the house. Instead of finding them perched atop of your refrigerator, there’s a much greater chance you will find your Exotic lounging on the couch.
- The initially proposed name for this breed was the “Sterling,” since the cats were supposed to be silver.
- These fluffy felines have appeared on television, in movie theaters, and across social media. In the early 2000s movie Cats & Dogs, one of the villainous cats is an Exotic named Calico. Meanwhile, in the sitcom New Girl, an Exotic called Ferguson often accompanies one of the show’s main characters. Even on social media, various cats such as Snoopy and Pudge the Cat have accumulated hundreds of thousands of fans.
- Everyone’s favorite cartoon cat, Garfield, is said to have been partially inspired by the Exotic Shorthair.
- A nickname that some people have for the Exotic Shorthair is “the lazy man’s Persian.”
No doubt, Exotics have always been full of surprises!
Picking a name for your four-legged friend is an important decision. Most cat parents want a name that reflects the personality and/or the appearance of their cat. Here’s a list of possible names for your Exotic.
One of the best parts about selecting a name for your cat is that you can be as creative as you want, and you can draw inspiration from practically anything. Your cat’s name can be inspired by the time of year you adopt them, a character from your favorite movie or television show, the place of origin of their breed, or even your favorite snack food—the possibilities truly are endless.
*Internal Claims Data, 2019
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.