Exotic longhair cat
AT A GLANCE: The exotic longhair cat
- Laid-back, affectionate, playful
- Medium to large
- Stout, cobby build
- Long, dense coat
- All colors and patterns
Physical characteristics of the exotic longhair cat
The exotic longhair cat is a medium to large cat with a rounded, stocky build. These cats come in a myriad of colors ranging from gray to white to orange or even pointed, as a result of their Himalayan heritage.
Similar to their Persian descendants, exotic longhair cats have round, flat faces with wide, closely set eyes. Combined with their short, rounded ears—thanks to their shorthair lineage—they have a cuddly, pedomorphic or kitten-like appearance. They have long, fluffy tails and lengthy, dense coats. With their sweet features, exotic longhairs are often likened to plush toys, making them popular choices as pets.
Personality and temperament of the exotic longhair cat
One of the exotic longhair cat’s most endearing qualities is an affectionate, laid-back attitude. They are perfectly content lounging around on your lap or chasing a small toy. While they love attention and will happily be scooped up for a cuddle, they don’t demand constant recognition. Exotic longhairs are quiet cats with sweet, soft voices and an intense gaze that will grab the attention of anyone nearby.
Given their easy-going nature, exotic longhair cats generally adapt well into any family, including those with other cats or dogs. Whether you are single or have many children, this breed will easily join in.
Common health concerns for the exotic longhair catGiven the exotic longhair cat’s lineage of Persian and other pure breeds, it is important to consider certain hereditary diseases that may affect the exotic longhair cat, including:
All exotic, Persian, Himalayan, and similar breeds characterized by short, flat muzzles, small nostrils, and closely set, often protruding eyes, are considered brachycephalic. Some brachycephalic animals will live without any problems, while others will suffer from many issues, including tear duct problems, dry eye, corneal ulcers, respiratory problems, tooth crowding, and jaw misalignment. These breeds are heat intolerant and are best kept in the air-conditioned indoors on hot days.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
This inherited disease of Persian cats, who have the highest incidence of PKD, is characterized by the formation on the kidney surface of small cysts or fluid-filled pockets that eventually disrupt function. PKD is genetic and begins at birth, but often goes unnoticed until later in life as kidney function declines.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
Another genetic disease of Persian cats, PRA involves the progressive degeneration of photoreceptors in the retina, leading to eventual blindness. This disease also begins at birth, and affected cats typically suffer severe vision loss by 16 weeks of age.
Other health concerns include:
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Cancer, such as lymphosarcoma
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Caring for the exotic longhair cat
Unlike their shorthair counterparts, the exotic longhair cat requires daily brushing. While most exotics are relaxed, others may not tolerate brushing, so start this process as early in life as possible. Regular visits to the groomer for bathing and clipping is recommended if you cannot perform these tasks at home. Wipe the eyes and facial folds daily to remove any build-up and to help prevent eye and skin infections.
Given their brachycephalic conformation and long, dense coats, exotic longhair cats are extremely susceptible to the heat, putting them at risk for heatstroke or respiratory distress.
The environments of exotic longhair cats should be enriched with climbing structures, scratching posts, interactive toys, and food puzzles or toys to keep them active and mentally occupied.
The exotic longhair is the perfect cat for you if:
- You have the time to commit to daily grooming
- You do not mind a furry companion who has to stay indoors
- You enjoy a cat with a unique appearance
- You live in an air-conditioned apartment or house
- You are single, married, or have a large family