Trupanion Cat Breed Guide - Exotic ShorthairTrupanion Cat Breed Guide - Exotic ShorthairTrupanion Cat Breed Guide - Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Shorthair Breed Highlights

A brownish-colored Exotic Shorthair Cat with a swopping tail
  • Original breeders of the Exotic Shorthair wanted to name the breed the “Sterling,” as they intended the coat to be a shiny silver color. However, the American Shorthair colors kept popping up in kittens and were very popular, so the term “Exotic” was used instead.

  • Known as the “Lazy Man’s Persian,” this breed was developed to be lower maintenance, grooming-wise, but still have the easy-going temperament and distinguishable features of the Persian.

  • As a flat-faced, or brachycephalic, breed of cat, the Exotic has a harder time keeping itself cool due to those cute flat noses. For this reason, they are prone to overheating and owners should take care to keep their coat brushed out and provide plenty of cool spots to rest.

  • The Exotic Shorthair is a relatively new breed on the scene, developed in the 1950s. But its Persian lineage can be definitively traced back to 1620 when they were imported to Italy from Iran. And they’re believed to have been around for hundreds of years before that, in Mesopotamia.

  • According to many breeders and owners of Exotic Shorthairs, the males of this breed tend to be more affectionate, while the females act a bit more aloof.

Unique Physical Features

Trupanion cat breed guide - Exotic Shorthair illustration

  • Round everything. Exotics have round eyes, face, and body.

  • Flat face (also called brachycephalic)

  • Thick neck — often described as having a “linebacker” body, the Exotic Shorthair is thick and big-boned. So while they might look a bit chunky, it’s just the way they’re built.

Unique Personality

Trupanion cat breed guide - Exotic Shorthair illustration 

An Exotic Shorthair is sweet and affectionate, with a playful side too. Often you find them entertaining themselves with anything they can find, like a balled-up piece of paper. But they’ll happily engage in playtime with their people, especially if you have something they can chase. The American Shorthair parentage makes them a bit more outgoing and active, while the Persian in them means they’re quite content cuddling on the couch all day. The Exotic might be a bit reserved when meeting new people and may hide when there’s lots of activity in the home, but will warm up if given a bit of time and space to check things out on their own terms.

Preferred Lifestyle

Energy Level

Cat breed energy level - high (ninja warrior)

Exotic Shorthair cats have a low activity level and are extremely docile, but can be very playful and affectionate with their guardians. They also need a fair amount of attention from their favorite people, so expect to be followed around your home by this breed. These kitties bring a calm and relaxed attitude into the household and enjoy plenty of cuddles and lap-time. They have a dense coat that traps heat close to the body, so Exotic Shorthair cats enjoy finding cool places to “chill out”, including tile and brick floors. These kitties and cats may do well with people who enjoy having an affectionate cat to spend time with, and those who may not have the patience for grooming or providing constant mental stimulation or exercise that more active breeds require. However, because these cats prefer to be around people, they are best in a home where their guardians are not frequently away for longer periods of time.

Average Lifespan

12 to 15+ years

Average Size

Medium to large-sized
7 - 15 pounds

Similar Breeds

History of the Exotic Shorthair

A white exotic shorthair cat with two different-colored eyes and a fluffy tail

The Exotic Shorthair made its debut on the cat scene in the mid-20th century. American Shorthair breeders wanted to cross the breed with Persians, in an effort to create a “Sterling” Shorthair with a silver coat, emerald eyes, and blockier body type. The silver coat didn’t come through as planned. But the resulting mix of coat colors was too much to resist, especially when paired with the new breed’s overall roundness and more manageable coat. The American Shorthair Breeders also used Russian Blues and Burmese crossed with Persians in the early stages of the Exotic’s development to keep the coat length shorter.

The new breed was officially recognized in 1966 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association and the Exotic Shorthair quickly gained popularity throughout the world. Outcrossing the breed with Russian Blues and Burmese was allowed until 1987 when the CFA decided to only allow crossing with Persians. The Exotic Shorthair is regularly crossed with Persians in breeding programs. For this reason, the longhaired gene still makes its presence known every so often. Exotic kittens with a long coat are known as Exotic Longhairs but are also recognized by many registries as Persians.

Plays Well with Others?

Exotic Shorthair cats are laid-back and easy-going and are fairly tolerant of children and other pets. As long as younger children are taught how to gently handle cats, and other pets don’t play too roughly with them, this breed should get along with everyone just fine, especially when socialized as a kitten.

Graphic - multi-color feather toy for cats

Exercise Requirements

The Exotic Shorthair needs exercise to keep their blocky body from getting pudgy, and their love of play makes it easy. They especially like chasing toys, so using a fishing-pole style toy to entice them to run and pounce will do wonders to keep them in shape.

Mental Enrichment Needs

Exotic Shorthair cats enjoy their lap-time and naps, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a need for entertainment to keep their minds active and healthy. It doesn’t take much to serve as enrichment for this breed, who can be kept busy with catnip mice and other small toys. They have retained the hunting instinct from the American Shorthair so play sessions with a wand toy and prey-like lures will be fun and appreciated by these cats. This breed likes to be around their human guardians and watch what they are doing, so be sure to provide them with plenty of spots so they can keep an eye on you, like a stool or shelves.

Fun Activities the Exotic Shorthair Enjoys

Trupanion cat breed guide - Exotic Shorthair kitten illustration 

The Exotic Shorthair is calm like the Persian, but slightly more active and playful. They also have a hunting instinct from their American Shorthair ancestors. Give these activities a try:

  • This breed gets hot quickly; a cooling mat will be appreciated on hot days.

  • Try putting a few ice cubes in a bowl of water for cats to bat at for a fun game. For a treat, try freezing chicken broth or tuna water in ice cube trays.

  • A long wand toy with feathers or mouse/rat lures to “hunt” will satisfy that prey drive. Alternatively, use a long ribbon or fleece string to stand in for a snakey prey item.

  • Grow a cat-friendly indoor garden with cat grass and catnip.

  • Make an easy tent from a blanket draped over a chair, or put paper bags and boxes on the floor to create private napping spots.

  • Sprinkle catnip on open phone books or on packing paper and watch your cat go crazy!

  • Easy food puzzles that your kitten has to manipulate with his paws to get a treat item from will be appreciated.

  • Provide window perches and beds from which your cat can watch wildlife outside. You can also try playing wildlife videos on your TV for kitty to enjoy.


Never leave your cat alone near an open window that doesn't have a secure screen. If it's on the first floor, your cat can get out of the house and get injured, lost or any of the other possible problems that outdoor cats face on a daily basis. If the window is on the second floor or above your cat is at risk of suffering from severe injuries of "high-rise syndrome," and you don't even need to live in a true high-rise building. The injuries of "high-rise syndrome" tend to be worst in falls from between the 2nd and 7th floors!

Coat Type

A short to medium-length coat that is thick and dense

Shedding Level

shedding level - 2 of 5 piles of fur

2 out of 5 piles of fur

Grooming Requirements

  • Low Maintenance
  • Weekly Brushing
  • Seasonal

The Exotic’s coat might be shorter than their Persian cousin’s coat, but it’s still thick and multi-layered. Weekly brushing at minimum is recommended to keep the fur and skin healthy and to prevent matting and furballs. The Exotic also tends to shed more during seasonal shedding periods and will benefit from more frequent brushing during these times.

The flat face of the Exotic requires frequent cleaning to prevent yeast and bacteria buildup from developing in the skin folds and keep them comfortable. Brachycephalic cats are less tolerant of upper respiratory infections, in that their respiratory system is already compromised and infection/inflammation worsens it. Be very observant and proactive with keeping your cat's nostrils clear of any discharge should a respiratory infection set in. As with all cat breeds, Exotics also need twice-monthly nail trimming and regular teeth brushing to stay happy and healthy. Introduce your kitten to these experiences at a young age, keeping the experience calm and positive.

Famous Owners of Exotic Shorthairs

  • Blasko (Musician/Cat Advocate)

  • Justin Bieber (Singer)

  • Rich Juzwiak (Writer)

Famous Exotic Shorthairs

Snoopybabe, an Instagram-famous cat

Non-Endorsement Statement: The social media posts displayed here do not imply any endorsement of these people or products, nor does it imply they endorse Trupanion or our product.

Common Health Conditions for Cats

Use the chart of Trupanion claims data below to find out what health conditions happen most frequently for cats. Every cat is unique, but understanding what health conditions are likelier to occur can help you be a more prepared pet owner.

Your best friend deserves the best coverage

Call to learn how medical insurance can help your pet


Here's what our
cat-loving members say about Trupanion

Trupanion member Rexford


Gwynn Oak, MD

Condition: Urinary obstruction

The Trupanion policy paid: $19,031.43

"When my cat, Rexford, became ill, it was a great relief knowing I had Trupanion. It allowed me to focus on Rex and get him the care and treatment he needed without worry. Rexford required multiple surgeries and extended hospitalizations; to know that we had the support of this wonderful company was such a comfort. I will never have a pet not covered by Trupanion."

- Juliana H.

Trupanion member Gator


Calgary, Alberta

Conditions: Ear infections, diarrhea, enteritis, allergic reaction to medication

The Trupanion policy paid: $4,672.13

"Gator struggled with a weak immune system, ear infections and chronic diarrhea. After months of medical intervention, she was healthy enough for her spay. At the beginning of the procedure she had an allergic reaction to the medication and her airway swelled. She had to receive emergency drugs and luckily she recovered! We cannot thank Trupanion enough for being with us. I will always have Trupanion for my cats."

- Heather M.

Trupanion member Mason


Peyton, CO

Conditions: Giardia, Pancreatitis, infection, lymphoma

The Trupanion policy paid: $17,057.92

"Mason got what seemed to be a UTI but ended up being an intestinal disease. He has also been treated for giardia, trichomonas, irritable bowel disease, pancreatitis and a UTI. Throughout this entire ordeal, Trupanion stood by us all the way. Trupanion continues to pay for Mason’s care and when I call, I get such personal service! I even got a handwritten card from the staff, expressing their thoughts for Mason!"

- Carrie B.

Here's what our cat-loving members say about Trupanion

Explore previous breed

Exotic Longhair

Explore next breed

Maine Coon

Unconditional love deserves unlimited coverage

Call to learn how medical insurance can help your pet


The information in the Trupanion Breed Guide is robust and always expanding. You can learn more about this breed by exploring this list of all the resources used in its creation:
The Original CatFancy Cat Bible, by Sandy Robins. i-t Publishing, LLC, Irvine, CA. 2014, 544 pp.
Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds, 2nd Edition, by J. Anne Helgren. Barron's Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, NY. 2013, 384 pp.
The Complete Cat Breed Book, Kim Dennis-Bryan, editor. Korling Kindersley, New York, NY. 2013, 256 pp.
Cool Cats: the 100 Cat Breeds of the World, by Desmond Morris. Ebury Press, London. 1999, 256 pp.
Beyond Squeaky Toys, by Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey & Cinthia Alia Mitchell. Smart Pets Press, LLC, Lafayette, OR. 2013, 160 pp.
Brain Games for Cats, by Claire Arrowsmith. Firefly Books, Buffalo, NY. 2016, 96 pp.
Getting Started: Clicker Training for Cats, by Karen Pryor. Karen Prior Clickertraining, Waltham, MA. 2001, 81 pp.