Oriental Longhair


The Oriental is a slim, athletic and stylish cat, which owes its gracefulness and intelligence to its immediate forebear, the Siamese. This breed stands out against other members of the Siamese group for its impressively wide variety of coat’s colours. It gained vast popularity not only for its stunning beauty but also for its energetic and cheery disposition.

Photo: © cattery Derry Downs (derrydowns.com)


The Oriental was developed in the 50s of the XX century in England. In the post-war ears the cat breeders faced certain difficulties because of shortage of available pure-bred cats. Some of them chose to resort to outcrossing in order to reconstruct some feline varieties. The Oriental Shorthair/Longhair appeared as the result of these experiments. Initially the Siamese was mated with such feline varieties as the Russian Blue, the British Shorthair, the Abyssinian and ordinary domestic cats. The offspring of these crosses then were bred back to the Siamese.

It required just few generations to create the cat, which was undistinguishable from the Siamese in every aspect except for colours. The pointed kittens were produced only occasionally because this coloration was caused by recessive gene. They were included in the breeding of the Siamese to broaden and enhance its gene pool. And non-pointed cats became the foundations of the present-day Oriental.

At first each cat with distinctive colour was referred as a unique breed but soon it became evident that it’s impossible to have a breed for each. That’s why all the non-pointed cats were classified as members of one breed, the Oriental Shorthair/Longhair. These cats were originally brought to the United States in the 70s of XX century. In the same decade the Cat Fanciers Association granted the breed its full recognition. Nowadays the Oriental exists in more than 300 colours and patterns, including pointed varieties.


The Oriental is a confident, out-going and imposing cat, which will rule the house with its clever and skilful paws. This cat won’t hesitate to voice its point of view in loud and hoarse meows and won’t stop talking until it has your undivided attention. It tends to cling to its favourite people and faithfully follows them around observing their activities and trying to be helpful. It will also gladly play the role of a lap cat and snuggle beside you in your bed at nights.

With its sociable nature the Oriental hates being alone so it won’t make a good pet for a full-time worker. In this case it’s recommended to acquire it one or several feline companion so the cat won’t feel itself abandoned. This breed can co-exist peacefully with other types of pets as long as they recognise its superior position. It loves to play with children although it won’t put up with disrespectful treatment from their part.

The Oriental is frisky and intelligent cat, which needs proper mental stimulation to be fully satisfied with its life. It’s crucial to exercise its busy brain with some basic training or at least offer it various puzzle toys. This cat will thoroughly explore your house, and doors or latches won’t become considerable obstacles for its crafty paws. A tall cat tree and teaser toys are good ways to entertain its specimen so it won’t be destructive in your absence. Choose the Oriental if you enjoy living with a talkative, affectionate and lively pet with strong and independent character.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· amyloidosis;

· asthma/bronchial disease;

· congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis;

· eye problems;

· gastrointestinal conditions such as megaesophagus;

· hyperesthesia syndrome;

· lymphoma.


The Oriental is simple to groom. The longhaired variety requires bi-weekly brushing to keep its coat shiny and healthy. For both coat variants it’s quite sufficient to occasionally wipe the cat’s body with damp tissue to get rid of any loose hair or superficial dirt.

The rest care consists of such basic routines as regular nail trimming and ears cleaning. The Oriental shared the susceptibility of the Siamese to periodontal disease so it’s highly important to pay enough attention to its dental hygiene. Daily brushing is preferable although weekly brushing is also acceptable.

Cat Breeds