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Exotic shorthair cat

Exotic shorthair cats are the distinctive looking product of crossbreeding Persians and American shorthairs. Essentially a short-haired Persian, exotics have the personality of a Persian without the hassle that accompanies grooming their long fur. Exotics are playful, yet sweet, and form tight bonds with their owners.
Exotic Shorthair Cat Kitten Breed

AT A GLANCE: The exotic shorthair cat

  • Affectionate, attention-seeking, and playful
  • Heavily boned, well-balanced
  • Sweet expression with a short, snub nose
  • Dense, soft coat in all patterns and colors

Physical characteristics of the exotic shorthair cat

Exotic shorthair cats are the result of the crossbreeding of American shorthairs with Persian cats. The Persian’s conformation was popular in the 1950s, and this hybrid that eventually came to be known as the exotic shorthair did well in cat shows and was first accepted for championship status by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1967. When the exotic shorthair breed was being developed, breeders used Burmese and Russian Blues in addition to American shorthairs to introduce the shorthair gene. They used shorthair genes frequently enough that they kept the breed’s fur short, while also keeping the Persian’s characteristic facial conformation. Because the exotic shorthair’s lineage included, and still includes, Persians, the breed retains many of the Persian’s common physical attributes. Exotic shorthairs are medium to large, have large, round heads with small ears that sit far apart and low on the head, full cheeks, a broad, deep chest, and a cobby body. Like Persians, exotic shorthairs are brachycephalic, meaning they have short muzzles.

Personality and temperament of the exotic shorthair cat

The personality of exotic shorthairs closely mirrors that of their ancestor, the Persian. They are laid back and sweet, and want to be included in their owner’s day. They are quiet, and you won’t hear them much unless they have a problem or complaint. Exotic shorthair cats are more playful than Persians, perhaps due to the American shorthair in their lineage. They enjoy chasing “prey” in the form of feathers on a stick or small toy mice, and may solicit you for a game between naps. These cats are affectionate and snuggly to both adults and children, and they make a good addition to any home. This docile breed is also compatible with other pets, given that everyone has been properly socialized. Their easy-going nature makes them perfect household companions.

Common health concerns for the exotic shorthair cat

As a cross between Persians and American shorthairs, exotic shorthairs share many of the same health concerns, including:

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)

PKD is a common inherited condition in cats. PKD typically affects both kidneys, where it causes multiple cysts that grow continuously during the cat’s life. Over time, the cysts become so large that they replace the majority of the normal kidney tissue, resulting in kidney failure.

Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Feline HCM is the most common cardiac disease of cats. In HCM, the muscular heart walls become thickened, making it difficult for the heart to pump efficiently. HCM can lead to congestive heart failure, fatal arrhythmias, and blood clots, and sudden death can occur with no previous signs of heart disease.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome

Because exotic shorthairs have short faces, they are prone to respiratory abnormalities, including small nostrils and a narrowed trachea, or windpipe. They may need extra effort to breathe, and they often snore.

Other health concerns include:

  • Obesity
  • Dental disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Urolithiasis
  • Cataracts
  • Eyelid agenesis

Thinking of adopting an exotic shorthair cat into your own family? Make sure they’re protected and learn more about how Trupanion’s cat insurance can help in the event of injury or illness.

Caring for the exotic shorthair cat

Exotic shorthair cats are relatively easy keepers. Their short, dense fur needs little grooming, since most cats are fastidious groomers and will keep themselves clean. One exception is their facial cleanliness—exotics tend to have perpetually runny eyes that, added to their brachycephalic conformation, can result in facial fold dermatitis. They likely will need assistance with daily face-washing with a warm, moist cloth to keep infections at bay. All cats are prone to dental disease as they age. Daily tooth brushing with pet-specific toothpaste is recommended for exotic shorthairs and should be started as a kitten to become used to the procedure. Regular home dental care should be in addition to yearly veterinary check ups. Like all cats, exotic shorthairs instinctively scratch horizontal or vertical surfaces to condition their claws, stretch their bodies, and mark their territory. Provide suitable surfaces for scratching, such as scratching posts or corrugated cardboard panels, to save your furniture and woodwork.

The exotic shorthair cat is the perfect cat for you if:

  • You want a short-haired cat
  • You enjoy having a lap cat
  • You want a playful cat
  • You have other cats or pets
  • You are a single owner looking for companionship
  • You have a family with children