Oriental Cat Breed Profile

Oriental cat breed

About Oriental Cats.

When describing the Oriental Cat the first thing that I always want to say is that these are beautiful cats and are the closely related cousins of the Siamese. Oriental Siamese KittensWhen Siamese Cats were imported to the UK from Thailand in the 1880’s both the Self and Pointed varieties were imported and through selective breeding the  Pointed variety became the norm. Many believe the Non Pointed version, though since cross bred with many breeds such as the Russian Blue and also the common Moggy, are in fact what we now refer to as the Oriental though they only began to reach recognition as a breed in their own right in the 1950’s.

Oriental Cats have the Siamese as their closest ancestor and you will often find that they are bred alongside each other and compliment each other very well. Some would argue that in fact they are actually the same breed of cat separated only by the appearance of the Pointed coat pattern and the blue eyes of the Siamese as opposed to the green eyed and Non Pointed coats of the Oriental. An Oriental Cat when bred with a Siamese can produce a mixed litter of both Siamese and Orientals in the same litter and this is in fact an established breeding practice.

So what does an Oriental Cat look like?

Oriental Cats are a green eyed cat that can be both long or shorthaired and come in a variety of colours and patterns. Like the Siamese they have large ears, long faces, long legs, body and tail. The basic patterns are divided into Selfs and Non Selfs with both these patterns having in turn their own varieties and coat length variations. Oriental Cats can be divided into three distinct varieties which are Selfs, Non-Selfs and Longhair.

Below are some photos of Selfs in the more popular colours and also examples of the three Non-Self patterns and an Oriental Longhair for good measure.

Self Orientals

Self Orientals- Foreign White The most easily recognisable Orientals are probably Black, Havana (Chocolate), Blue and Lilac Selfs and as the name suggest are self coloured (all one colour). There are also five other colours which are Foreign White (they have blue eyes), Cinnamon, Fawn, Caramel and Red which are also Selfs.It should be noted that although the Foreign White is classed as an Oriental genetically, it is in fact a Siamese that is all white, this is why Foreign Whites have blue eyes and not green.

Non Self Orientals

oriental-ticked-tabbyThe basic Non-Self counterparts come in all the same base colors except for the Foreign White. The Non-Self patterns are Tabby, Tortie and Bicolour, it is also possible to have a Tortie Tabby a Tabby Bicolour or even a Tortie Tabby Bicolour. The Oriental Tabbies are divided into four patterns – Ticked Tabby, Spotted Tabby, Mackerel Tabby and Classic Tabby. The photograph above shows a Ticked Tabby., indeed any variation or mixture of the three Non-Self patterns are possible.

Oriental Longhair

The Oriental Longhair is a cat of very similar appearance to an Oriental Shorthair though they do seem to be slightly heavier boned, they still have the large ears, green eyes and long body, legs and tail. They have a long flowing but close lying coat over the body with a fluffier tail that is referred to as a Plume and longer hair around the neck which is referred to as a Ruff. It is possible to have Oriental Longhairs in all the colours and patterns mentioned above in the shorthaired varieties.
There are actually three other patterns of Oriental which are Shaded, Smoke and Silverbut to the untrained eye really are not so very different from their Self, Non-Self and Longhair counterparts and to be fair is a subject only cat breeders would probably be interested in and so not covered in this article other than to be mentioned.With all these colours, patterns and different permutations possible it is not surprising that there are over 200 different possible variations of Oriental Cat!

Moderate vs Modern Style Orientals

 SONY DSCThere are two styles of Oriental, one is the moderate or traditional look of Oriental which is a more old fashioned style and is probably the most common image that people hold of Oriental Cats. The other type of Oriental is the Modern Style which is the type that many new breeders are trying to breed and are often the more striking Orientals at the cat shows.
 modern-style Both the moderate and the modern style are common place at cat shows and both seem to be popular and it is really just a case of personal preference. Equally both can be found at many of the breeders houses as some prefer these moderate and non exaggerated style while some prefer the more modern and extreme type. The longer faces and bigger ears of the more extreme or modern type are not associated with any health problems and are viewed as very attractive to some whilst being the exact opposite to others.


Oriental BlueThings to consider when thinking about a Oriental Cat as a pet.

Orientals Cats are very intelligent and require a lot of stimulation. This is fantastic if this is what you want in your pet but less so if you are looking for a much less demanding and a more sedate feline companion. Oriental Cats are also very vocal and love to talk to you, or should I say love to tell you want they want you to do! This is not a trait admired by everyone and if you prefer your cats to be less in your face and demanding then perhaps Orientals are not for you.

Oriental Cats love both human and feline company and do seem to fare better in pairs than on their own. They thrive equally well accompanied by a Siamese or a Burmese partner in crime. They will live happily with other breeds but do seem to get more stimulation from breeds with similar temperaments. If you are out at work for more than a few hours a day then it is recommended to have company for your Oriental Cat due to their high level of intelligence the fact they are easily found getting up to mischief if bored!

To summarize the Oriental Cat Breed Profile it would be fair to say Oriental Cats are the ideal pet if you are looking for a highly intelligent cat with boundless energy that whilst quite capable of coping without human company does actually seem to thrive on it.

If you are looking for a far less energetic pet that has that ‘I can take you or leave you’ attitude and perhaps the sort of cat that you have to nudge occasionally to make sure they are actually still breathing then an Oriental Cat is not for you!

So do you think an Oriental Cat is the breed for you??

Bio – Ross Davies is the main contributor the popular Latest Mews Blog all about Siamese and Oriental Cats. He is also a regular author and photographer for the popular website Oriental Cat Breeder.