As of 2019, exotic shorthairs are the second most popular cat breed in North America, according to The Cat Fanciers Association (the Ragdoll being the first). It’s easy to see why these docile, adorable kitties are so widely and well-loved. The exotic shorthair was originally bred to look like a Persian cat, but without the long hair, of course. Here, we will examine some of the fun facts you might or might not know about this popular breed.
Despite their immense popularity today, exotic shorthair cats have only been around since the 1950s. At that time, American shorthairs were first bred with Persian cats, creating the exotic shorthair cat. During this period of time, Russian blues and Burmese cats were also bred with Persian cats to create an exotic shorthair feline. In 1967, the exotic shorthair was first recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association as its own breed.
Although many breeds of exotic shorthair cats exist, there are two main types: traditional and extreme.
- Traditional exotic shorthair cats have longer noses and less flat faces.
- Extreme exotic shorthair cats have flatter faces, smaller noses and larger eyes.
Variety of Colors and Patterns in its Fur
Exotic shorthairs have many patterns and colors in their fur, including white, black, tabby, blue, Calico, and color-point.
The eyes of an exotic shorthair cat are large and may be blue, blue-green or copper. This cat often expresses itself through its large, beautiful eyes. Remember to clean and wipe your exotic shorthair’s eyes often, as their size and position can make them prone to tearing up and staining fur.
Not Fat, Just Big-Boned
While the exotic shorthair might look fat, it is not – it is just big-boned. The exotic shorthair has a thick body with short legs, a wide neck, and larger head, giving it a stocky look. It can weigh up to 15 lbs., but this weight is usually due to the density of its bones, not because of excess fat.
Exotic shorthair cats typically live to be about 15 years old, although some have lived longer than this.
The exotic shorthair is known for its soft, melodious, quiet voice. Many people love these cats for this reason alone!
Love to Cuddle
Exotic shorthair cats are known for their love of jumping in their owners’ laps and cuddling with them. This is another reason that these affectionate cats are so popular as pets.
Exotic shorthair cats love the companionship of others, whether it’s humans, children, other cats, or even dogs! They get along well with others of many species. If you are home often, the exotic shorthair is a good cat to have as a constant companion. If, however, you are away from home a lot, you might want to choose a different cat, as the exotic shorthair needs to be with people often.
Must Warm Up to Strangers
Although they do love companionship, exotic shorthairs need time to become comfortable with strangers. Remember this if you are bringing a stranger, such as a cat sitter, into your home to interact with your exotic shorthair. Give your kitty time to get to know new people before leaving it alone with them.
Low Maintenance Cats
Exotic shorthair cats surprisingly do not require much brushing or combing. Once a week is usually sufficient to take care of their short, plush, double-layer coats. Their undercoat is dense, giving them a puffy appearance, but they do not tend to shed as much as longer-haired cats like Persians who require daily, intensive grooming. In fact, many people who love the look of Persians but not the maintenance requirements choose exotic shorthairs instead.
Love to Play
Even though they do love to lounge around with their owners and cuddle, these kitties are quite playful, enjoying toys. Keeping them active through playing with toys is important for their physical and mental health.
Can Be Expensive
If you are looking to add an exotic shorthair cat to your family, search for one from a cat rescue if possible. Buying a purebred cat from a breeder can be quite expensive, and there are many exotic shorthairs in rescues across the country who need good homes. Private breeders can charge $1600 for a purebred exotic shorthair kitten, while a rescue’s adoption fees, on the other hand, might range from $150 to $300. It is always a great idea to give a rescue cat a good home whenever possible!
Health Problems Commonly Found in Exotic Shorthairs
There are a few health problems that are more often seen in exotic shorthairs. They include:
- Separation anxiety (since they like to be around humans, as mentioned above, an exotic shorthair is not a good choice for a pet if you are often away from home)
- Obesity (due to its love of lounging around and cuddling, these cats can put on weight easily if not controlled by its owner through diet and exercise)
- Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
- Respiratory distress syndrome (also called brachycephalic syndrome, primarily affecting cats with shorter noses and flatter faces like exotic shorthairs)
- Cataracts (can cause blindness in older exotic shorthairs)
- Eyelid agenesis (a birth defect common to exotic shorthairs in which the upper eyelid does not form properly, leaving the eye vulnerable to foreign materials)
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Hip dysplasia (can lead to arthritis)
- Portosystemic shunt – a disease in which blood supply to the liver is shunted around it
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
- FeLV (feline leukemia)
- Neonatal isoerythrolysis (blood type disease affecting exotic shorthairs with type A blood)
- Dystocia (difficulty giving birth)
- Dental disease
- Bacterial/viral infections (many of which are preventable through vaccinations)
- Parasites (such as ticks, fleas, and worms, many of which are preventable through preventive medications)
Famous Exotic Shorthairs
- Garfield, the comic strip cat, is thought to be an exotic shorthair.
- Ferguson is an exotic shorthair featured on the television sitcom New Girl
- Calico is the exotic shorthair sidekick to the villainous cat, Mr. Tinkles, in the movies Cats & Dogs and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
- Snoopy and Pudge the Cat are two famous exotic shorthairs from the Internet
- Winston is a famous exotic shorthair YouTube star and the cat of blogger Rich Juzwiak