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March 21, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 6 Faves: 1

The Exotic Shorthair

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Feline 101 Blog Series

Exotic Cat Stats

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Cat of the Week: The Exotic Shorthair

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Exotic Cats

Exotic Shorthair Cat

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Fun Facts About Exotic Shorthair Cats

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  • The Exotic breed owes its existence to breeders with dreams of a pale eyed, silver American Shorthair cat. Attempting to create such a cat, they bred a Shorthair to a silver Persian cat. The resulting kittens were indeed silver with thick short coats, but they retained the distinctive flat Persian faces. It wasn’t what the breeders had been trying for, but still, they realized what they had was a very special cat in its own right.
  • The birth of these unusual kittens triggered a wave of change to the American Shorthair breed in the 1960s. Though to a lesser extent than the more extreme looking Exotic, because of the Exotic inspiration, today’s American Shorthair has larger head, shorter nose, and a thicker coat and body than those of the 1950’s. In fact, in order to prevent the traditional American Shorthair look from disappearing completely in the excitement, the CFA decided they must quickly recognize the Exotic as its own breed not longer after its appearance in 1967. Further signs of hybridization in American Shorthairs were judged defects of the breed.
  • Despite the relatively quick acceptance by the CFA (remember some breeds existed over a hundred years before they were!), the Exotic had a hurdle to overcome. After the lash back by American Shorthair traditionalists, many purebred Persian owners were reluctant to involve themselves by allowing their cats to breed. As such, Exotic breeders began relying on other purebreds such as the Burmese and Snoopy the CatRussian Blues to widen the gene pool.  This genetic diversity has helped to produce the wide variety of coat colors present in the Exotic breed today.
  • By 1987 the original controversy had been all, but forgotten. The Exotic breed was becoming quite popular and there were now enough Exotic cats that outcrossing (mix breeding) with other purebreds besides the Persian was no longer necessary or sanctioned by the CFA.  
  • Today, the Exotic is the second most popular purebred cat in America, after the Persian.
  • Internet sensation, Snoopy the Cat is an Exotic Shorthair.

Exotic Shorthair Kittens

Exotic Shorthair Kitten

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How to Spot an Exotic Shorthair

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CrookshanksFlat Face. Ah, the smoosh-face!  When I think of flat face cats, my nerdy self can’t help but remember Harry Potter and specifically Ron’s disdain for Hermione’s Persian, Crookshanks.“A cat? Is that what they told you? It looks more like a pig with hair if you ask me!” The Exotic’s seems to be a mug that divides the true cat lover from the passing fan. I, of course, fall into the former category.  I would love to own one of these adorable kitties, however, those considering an Exotic should be aware that flat faced cats (and dogs for that matter!) are prone to health issues. Their shortened nose can cause breathing issues and snuffling, and the folds of the face should be cleaned to avoid irritation from dirt which may become stuck there.

Large Head and Eyes. In fact, official breed conformation forms describe the ideal Exotic head as “Round and massive, with great breadth of skull…” (Unfortunate on a human – adorable on a kitty! Haha). Similar to a Persian, the Exotic has a large head with full round cheeks and chin.  Their eyes are round, large and wide set. Their ears and of course, their noses are comparatively small, with ginger cats having the smallest of all noses.

Short, Thick Hair. The Exotic is almost identical to the Persian outside its coat. In fact, they are commonly referred to as “The Lazy Man’s Persian” for their comparatively low maintenance locks. The fur is actually considered to be medium length and is incredibly dense and soft adding to their  cute teddy-bear-like appearance. Show Exotics can come in any pattern or color including pointed.

Exotic Shorthair Cats

Exotic Cat

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What to Expect from an Exotic Shorthair

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A Lap Cat.  If you’re looking for a cat to chill on the couch or in bed with you….if you’ve had experience with a crazy cat that was always running  and jumping through the house (and you’d like to avoid a repeat performance), then the Exotic may be just your speed.  Like the Persian, these are lap cats and among the laziest of all felines.  They do like to play and will appreciate a round of mouse on a string, just don’t expect to see them darting around performing daring stunts like the Cornish Rex, Bengal, or Siamese.

A Tolerant Cat. The Exotic, Persian and Ragdoll are some of the most laid back, tolerant cats you can find. They’re too busy being beautiful to fight back! Go ahead, pick them up. Rub their belly. What do they care?

A Best Friend. Exotics may not be top feline athletes, but they are very sweet and loving companions. They live for admiration and affection, but they demand even more from their favorite person (who tends to be whichever person they believe is most dominant in the household). If this happens to be you, expect them to want in your bed every night and to run and greet you whenever you come home. “Finally! My person!”

Exotic Shorthair Kittens

Exotic Shorthair Kitten

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More Exotic Shorthair Cats!!!

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Exotic Shorthair Kitten

Exotic Shorthair Cat

Exotic Shorthair Cat

Exotic Shorthair Cat

SOURCES

VetStreet: Exotic Shorthair

Animal Planet: Cat Breed Directory: Exotic Shorthair

The Cat Fanciers Association: Exotic Breed Profile

PHOTO CREDITS

_Xti_@flickr

Benja@flickr

Charlyn W@flickr

Rockerz89@flickr

CaptainPancakes@flickr

TomEats@flickr

secondyip@flickr

quasarkitten@flickr

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6 Comments

  • This breed looks like the cat equivalent of my French Bulldog, Wilbur. I'm not normally super into cats, but I want one of these little goofballs.

  • A frenchie and exotic! How cute would that pair be?! My vote is very, and also DO IT! :D

  • It's face looks like it's permanently stuck in the exact expression it had when it ran into the sliding glass door.

  • I'm not really into flat-faced cats.

  • Whats the diff between British shorthair and American shorthair? They look the same. Maybe british have a stricter lineage? I have seen and owned grey and white ones and then I think there are tabby and possibly tortoise colored ones. Please would be interested to know your input on this.

  • Camilla -

    Good question! There are actually a number of differences, but the easiest way to tell them apart is in their faces. American Shorthair have moderate features, while the British Shorthair has a face that is nearly flat.

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