THE EXOTIC SHORTHAIR CAT

The Exotic Shorthair is a gentle and sweet Persian cat breed and  came about in the 1950’s when the Persian cat breed was bred together with the American Shorthair.

Brief History

It is believed that the Exotic Shorthair was also bred together with the Burmese cat breed, and the Russian Blue cat breed. The mix breed was then bred again with the Persian cat. That said, the Exotic looks like a Persian, but with a fluffy and short coat. Persian cat breeders were so fascinated with the original Exotic look that they continued breeding. At first the colors achieved were silver with green eyes. This breed was recognized by the CFA in 1967. The ICA recognized this breed in 1979. Today, the Exotic is bred only with the Persian and Himalayan cat breeds.

Physical Features

This cat breed’s eye color is directly related to the color of their coats.  Exotics of solid color will have copper colored eyes. White-colored cats will have a brilliant blue or copper colored eyes. Golden or silver Exotics will have green or blue-green colored eyes.

The Exotic’s legs are short and strong. With an oval head and round eyes, the Exotic has a short nose and thick neck. Their tails are short, but in proportion to body length. Their coats are thick, plush, and yield a thick undercoat. There are two types of Exotic cat breeds. One is called the Extreme Exotic, and the other is the traditional. Extremes have a flatter face, while the latter has a lower set nose, and fewer breathing problems. Exotics have stripes with many colors and coat patterns:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Lilac
  • Silver tones
  • Golden tones

There are also numerous particolor, and bicolor tones, as well as smoky, tabby, calico versions.

Average Height:

10-12 inches

Average Weight:

7-12 pounds

Life Expectancy:

8-15 years

Temperament

The Exotic is a sweet and gentle cat that enjoys hanging out with family and friends. This very affectionate cat breed is good with children, as long as they are gentle. The Exotic enjoys playing with anything that is lying around, and is curious, fun, and quirky. This wonderful cat breed is super soft to cuddle with, and is easy to live with. The Exotic needs plenty of love, fun cat toys, and mental stimulation. This cat breed is very vocal.

Special Needs

The Exotic does best as an indoor cat. This cat breed thrives on affection, and plenty of cat toys. The Exotic is a gentle cat that loves to cuddle, and is non-aggressive with other cats. Eye tearing may be a problem with this cat breed. Sedentary Exotics tend to pick up weight, and are prone to more medical conditions, like liver disease.

Possible Health Concerns

The Exotic is a healthy and moderately active cat breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Breathing Problems due to smaller nostrils
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease. This occurs when the polycystic kidney has numerous cysts within the functioning part of the kidney resulting in enlarged kidneys. Consult with your veterinarian if your Exotic vomits frequently, has a decreased appetite, and increased thirst or urination.
  • Heat Sensitivity: Cats will sweat through their foot pads. The Exotic needs to be kept indoors during the hot summer months. The Exotic needs lots of fresh water to drink, cool places to lie in, and a cool home during extreme summers. Flat –faced cats and Persians have breathing problems, and don’t pant as well as other cat breeds. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include a fast heart rate, sunken eyes, and excessive panting. If your Exotic is a senior cat or is obese, it will be necessary to watch closely for heat exhaustion.
  • Ringworm: This is an infection of the skin, hair, or claws, and is caused by a fungus called dermatophyte. This occurs in 98% of cats. It spreads easily from cats to people. Symptoms include circular, bald patches that scale and have broken hairs in a ring-like fashion. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Skin Disorders: The Exotic may be prone to skin disorders. Persian cats are prone to idiopathic seborrhea. This is an inherited skin disorder resulting in the overproduction of an oily substance. This clumps in the cat’s fur, and causes it to smell bad. Symptoms include red and irritated skin with excessive scratching. Consult your veterinarian for advice.
  • Cherry Eye (Eyelid Protrusion): This is a disorder of the third eyelid, resulting in swollen redness of the eye. It is more common in Persian cats. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Entropion: This is the inversion of the lower lid. It is more common among purebred cat breeds like the Persian cat.

Exercise

The Exotic cat breed needs daily exercise. Cat parents can use cat toys like the pole with the feather to play with their cats. This will encourage your cat to run after the feather, and play “chase.” Finding a variety of mentally stimulating cat toys will allow for your Exotic to lead a well-balanced life that has the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation. Cat harnesses also allow for daily walks.

Nutrition

All cat breeds need high- quality fat and protein in their diets. They also need amino acids, including taurine that cannot be found in either human food or dog food. There are also numerous specialty diets for your cat that are formulated specifically for certain medical problems like urinary tract disorder, obesity, or kidney disease.

All cats do well by being fed twice daily. During kittenhood, kittens will need to be fed every few hours. Growing kittens need more calories, nutrients, vitamins, protein, and calories. Your Exotic should be able to enjoy a peaceful meal in a quiet corner of the house. Some cat parents prefer to leave cat kibble out 24/7. Consult with your veterinarian for the best dietary advice for your Exotic Shorthair.

Grooming

The Exotic needs daily grooming to remove shedding hair, and to prevent hair from matting. Because this breed is a shorthair cat breed, taking care of the Exotic is super easy. All cat breeds will groom themselves several times throughout the day. Daily grooming is necessary because it limits the amount of hair that your cat will consume. This helps limit the development of hairballs. 

Ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness and sensitivity. If there is a buildup of wax and dirt, organisms can lead to an ear infection. Consult with your veterinarian about ear cleaning.

Healthy Exotics need minimal bathing with a gentle cat shampoo. Your Exotic will need dental care as well. By feeding dry food, and having professional dental cleanings with your veterinarian throughout your cat’s lifetime, your Exotic will have less of a chance of developing gingivitis or gum disease.

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