All About Oriental Shorthair Cats!


Oriental Shorthairs are a sleek, elegant and very striking breed of cat. From the tips of their pointed noses to their long, sleek tails, and large, pointed ears, they are a breed that certainly makes a statement. And no, we're not talking about their tendency to be very talkative!

Oriental Shorthairs come in a variety of colors and patterns; so much so that they are often nicknamed "Ornamentals." But that's not the only reason this breed has become so popular among cat lovers - it's their high intelligence, energy, and affection!


Kamée, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

History and Origins

Unlike some of the older cat breeds that can be traced back to ancient history, the Oriental Shorthair got its humble beginnings in 1950s England, and wasn't recognized as an official breed until the 1970s in the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).

In the wake of World War II many cat breeders ceased their operations and put many cat breeds in jeopardy of going "extinct", including the British ShorthairNorwegian Forest Cat, and even the beloved Siamese.

To bring back the Siamese and expand their gene pool, breeders in England began a process of crossbreeding into other breeds like the Abyssinian, British Shorthair, and Russian Blues. The traditional "pointed" kittens were bred back with Siamese, but the non-pointed kittens became the foundations of modern-day Oriental Shorthairs. 


They're Intelligent and Energetic 

Oriental Shorthairs are also known to be highly energetic and intelligent and may need more environmental enrichment and physical/mental stimulation than other cats. Orientals like to stay on the move and can be avid climbers, explorers and can get bored if not given proper mental and physical stimulation.

According to The International Cat Association (TICA), Orientals are known to be excellent "fetchers" and may play fetch with their favorite catnip toys. 

Vertical space is a must to keep these energetic kitties entertained as they jump and climb their way to happiness; be sure to provide your cats with tall cat trees and window ledges for climbing. The higher, the better!  


Oriental Shorthairs have more color and pattern combinations than any other breed. 

Sometimes referred to as "Ornamentals" or "Rainbow Cats," for the variety of their colorful coats, Oriental Shorthairs can come in over 300 different color and pattern variations, some even say up to 600.

Be it spots, stripes, calico or tortoiseshell, black, silver, smoke, cinnamon, lavender (yes, lavender!) ... the list of colors and patterns seems almost endless!

Nickolas Titkov from Moscow, Russian Federation, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They're Chatty Cathys

Or should that be chatty catty? Much like their Siamese origins, Oriental Shorthairs are known to be quite vocal and love to express themselves and their moods in all sorts of vocalizations.

It's important for families looking to bring an Oriental Shorthair into their lives to expect a very "outspoken" feline; while all cats are as different and unique as humans, their breed does tend to share this trait.

And did you know that cats can make over 100 different vocalizations - from trills and purrs and meows - while dogs can only make about 10? 


The Bold and The Beautiful

Oriental Shorthairs are more than just their pretty fur! While a lot of cats are shy of strangers and may act scared or aloof, Oriental Shorthairs are known to be a bit more bold when it comes to making new friends.

They are also known for forming very deep, affectionate bonds with their owners - many Oriental Shorthairs can be a "one person" cat and will seek out (or demand!) companionship and affection from their humans.


oriental shorthair cats

Where to Find an Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthairs can be quite expensive to purchase from breeders, depending on certain factors of their breeding. If you are considering purchasing a cat from a breeder, be sure to do your research beforehand

Here at Meowingtons we always encourage our fans to adopt cats in need from rescues or shelters; these cats are often fighting for their second chance at life.

Believe it or not, purebred cats like Oriental Shorthairs do end up in shelters and rescues due to owner death, divorce, and many other factors. You can look for adoptable Oriental Shorthairs by contacting Oriental breed rescue organizations or checking your local shelters or the listings on Petfinder or for Oriental Shorthairs available for adoption.


Have a cat of your own? Now you can get their photo printed on any custom item, like a mug or blanket! Click below for more details.



  • Ann Egerton

    Some people call Oriental Shorthairs “Dobby cats” because their large ears remind them of the House Elves from Harry Potter.

  • Alison Sirak

    Adopt, don’t shop.

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