Adding a cat to your home is a great option, especially for those who have a smaller space and busier life than other pets may require. If you are attracted to a Persian’s beauty and elegance, but you don’t want the coat maintenance of one, a unique cat breed you may want to consider adding to your home is the Exotic Shorthair cat.
This is a relatively new breed that was developed by breeding American Shorthairs with Persians to create what we now know as the Exotic Shorthair.
If you are considering adding an Exotic Shorthair to your home, we will share with you the many reasons why their owners love them and what makes this breed so interesting. Let’s start with a quick dive into the history of these amazing cats.
A Quick History of Exotic Shorthair Cats
Cats have dated back thousands of years, but the Exotic Shorthair is a relatively new breed with only about a 50-year lineage. The cats are sometimes referred to as a Shorthaired Persian and have a relatively short breed history that started when American Shorthair cats were bred with Persian cats. The goal of this cross-breeding was to create a green-eyed, silver coated, sturdy cat, which they were successful in doing.
There are a few stories that supposedly tell the origin of the Exotic Shorthair. Still, the most commonly told and believed story is that sometime in the 1950s or 1960s, an American Shorthair breeder decided to mate their cats with silver-haired, green-eyed Persian cats. The resulting kittens did not necessarily favor their American Shorthair parents but instead had the facial features of the Persian.
If you are familiar with Exotic Shorthairs, you will note their flat and round faces, stocky bodies, and snub noses, highly resembling a Persian.
In 1966, a breeder named Jane Martinke took notice of the cats and proposed to the Cat Fancier Association (CFA) directors that the unique shorthairs be used to create a new breed. These cats were initially intended to be referred to as a Sterling since the original breed standard required the cats to be silver. However, the name became the Exotic Shorthair because the cat has a greyish color and was exotic amongst the American Shorthair breeds.
Today, the term Exotic Shorthair can also be shortened to simply Exotics, which you may also find them referred to as. This term now encompasses Exotic Shorthairs of all colors and patterns, versus just those with the original grey tone. Other than the coat length, the breed standards for the Exotic Shorthairs are identical to those of the Persians, with these cats having highly similar features. Today, the Exotic Shorthair is one of the most popular cat breeds and continues to grow in popularity each year.
Why You Should Get an Exotic Shorthair Cat
Now that you know more about where this fantastic breed came from, we will go through some of the many benefits of these adorable felines. While their unique appearance is a huge plus, there are several other reasons why cat owners love their Exotics and why you will too. If you have ever considered adding one of these adorable kitties to your home, this list of 12 reasons is sure to make up your mind.
1. They Have an Amazing Plush Coat
While this may be included in their appearance, which we already discussed, these cuties’ plush coat is something we need to discuss further. A huge reason why many choose Exotics over Persians is because of their more manageable coat. The Exotic Shorthair has short, plush fur that is easy to maintain but still amazingly soft.
These impressive kitties have a double-layer coat with a thick, downy under-layer that lifts the topcoat away from the body. They have gotten plush fur from their Persian ancestors, but their coats’ length comes from their Shorthair parents. Overall, this coat is one you will love to pet and is easy to take care of.
2. Exotics Have the Sweetest Personality
While we will further discuss the personalities of each gender, the Exotic Shorthair is one of the sweetest you will find available today. The breed tends to be very docile and friendly, similar to their Persian ancestors, with a little more of an adventurous side. They love to play and enjoy toys but are also very intelligent and sweet.
They are not an overly taxing breed and do not excessively demand your attention. Of course, these cats love to be petted and will gladly receive your affection but are also content on laying around in a cool spot all day. As far as gender is concerned, females tend to be a little more standoffish towards their owners, while males tend to be cuddlier.
Though Exotic Shorthairs are a great breed and very affectionate, it is essential that you remember that not all cats are the same. Even the best breeds can have cats within them that are more aggressive or not an excellent fit for families. It is important that you purchase from a responsible breeder and raise your kitten or cat in a loving and safe environment, encouraging positive behaviors.
3. Exotics Are Very Low Maintenance
While some breeds are a little lower maintenance than Exotic Shorthairs, they do tend to be on the list of the most low maintenance cats. The American Shorthair itself is very low maintenance, and the Exotic takes more after this side of its lineage. They do require more work than the American Shorthair but far less work than their Persian ancestors.
Most Exotic Shorthairs simply require an occasional brushing and no special grooming services. They have a thick, plush coat, but it is short enough that it does not need the daily brushing of the Persian. Some have even referred to the Exotic as a “Lazy Man’s Persian,” because you get the look of the Persian without the excess work.
The Exotic does not shed much, but it does need a proper brushing every week or two. They have a flat face, which can require you to wipe and clean around the cat’s eyes to avoid staining and watering. They can experience sinus issues, which is something you will want to look out for when bringing an Exotic into your home.
4. They are a Very Attractive Breed
Many people gravitate towards Exotic Shorthairs because they look unique. While this may seem materialistic, this adorable breed does not care if you judge them based on their look. They have a charming stout frame and solid features that make them stand out from the basic housecat.
Exotic Shorthairs come in a variety of colors and patterns, but they all feature an adorable teddy bear look that people love. Even older Exotics have a kitten-like appearance that keeps them cute well into their senior years. If you bring an Exotic into your home, you are sure to get plenty of questions and comments from visitors about their cute look.
5. Exotic Shorthairs Come in All Shades and Patterns
As mentioned, Exotics used to be a term that described only silver cats, but now it is used to encompass any Exotic Shorthair. They come in a vast range of patterns and colors, ranging from black to white and tabby or Calico. Of course, some Exotics still come in the original shade that was desired through the breeding process, which was silver.
Today, the Exotic breed can come in a range of eye colors as well. They come in blue or blue-green to copper, depending on the cat’s coat. It is important to remember that if you want a particular color or pattern of Exotic kitten, you may have to wait some time for that shade to become available with your local breeder.
6. They Are Adorably Big Boned
Exotic Shorthairs have a round face and adorable thick body that can make the cat look very pudgy. They can weigh up to 15 pounds, but for most Exotics, this weight comes from their bone density and not their actual weight. Many love this cute chubby look that naturally comes with the Exotic Shorthair.
It is important to note that the Exotic Shorthair can become overweight if you do not feed them properly and often become obese. You will want to keep an eye on your Exotic’s weight and ensure that they stay within the appropriate weight range. You can find quality cat foods that help your pet stay in a healthy weight range that leads to a longer, happier life.
The Exotic Shorthair is considered a medium-sized cat that has an exceptionally large and round head. Since they have this adorably round head, they also need an equally thick neck to keep them stable. The Exotic has a neck with a pronounced wideness that makes them look like a plush animal or toy.
Since the Exotic has a natural thickness both in body shape and coat, they prefer colder areas. You may find that your Exotic regularly hangs out in the cool areas of your home to help regulate their body temperature. There is nothing cuter than these chubby little guys stretching out to cool off on a warm day.
7. They May Not Cuddle with You at Night
Going hand in hand with the previous comments, you may find that your Exotic Shorthair will not prefer to cuddle in your bed with you each night. These cats tend to run on the warmer side and enjoy resting in cooler areas where they can better regulate their temperatures. If you tend to sleep with many blankets and in a warm bedroom, they may shy away from this. However, for many homeowners, not having their cat in the bed each night is actually a huge benefit as they prefer no pets in the bed. While you may love your affectionate kitty during the day, a nightly break is often great for both you and your pet. You must have a cool, safe place for your Exotic to rest and sleep each night.
8. They Are Commonly Seen in Movies and on Television
If you think you may have seen an Exotic Shorthair before, you have likely seen them on your favorite TV show or movie. Their popular, adorable, teddy bear-like appearance makes them a favorite in movies, television shows, and even viral videos. They have been seen in several popular hits like Cats & Dogs and New Girl.
You may also find that these cuties are a favorite for many Internet memes, including viral favorites Pudge the Cat and Snoopy. If you add an Exotic Shorthair to your family, you may find that these cuties grow their own online audience.
9. They Have a Relatively Long Lifespan
While cats are known for living longer than many other pets you can buy today, the Exotic Shorthair has an average to long lifespan. You will want to provide your Exotic with routine vet care and ensure that you feed the cat a safe, healthy diet. By doing this and more, you can expect your Exotic to have a lifespan of up to 15 years with proper care.
Although there are some health issues that your cat may experience, these cats can be easy to maintain and live long, healthy lives with some TLC and proper preventative care.
10. Exotic Shorthairs Tend to be Quiet
Compared to other breeds, the Exotic Shorthair is a very quiet breed that is not prone to nuisance meowing. Like their Persian ancestors, the Exotic tends to prefer to be seen and not heard. They are often exceptionally quiet and do not meow when it is not needed.
While Exotics will snuggle and do love affection, they will not follow you around meowing. You will find that they do not demand attention by being vocal. Often, you will only hear noises out of your Exotic if they truly need something or if there is an injury.
Going along with their lack of vocal nuisance, Exotic Shorthairs are some of the most mellow cats you can find today. The breed is very calm and will often lounge around for hours with little need from their owner. While Exotics tend to be more playful than their Persian ancestors, they have many of the same mellow traits.
11. They are Great for Apartment Living
Since Exotic Shorthairs are some of the most mellow, quiet breeds, they make a great addition to an apartment. You will find that they can go for long periods with little human interaction, perfect for those who work regularly.
Of course, you will want to give them their fair share of attention, but they do not need an excess of entertainment or care. Exotics can easily be trained to use a litter box, and with proper toys, they tend to avoid bothering furniture or scratch surfaces.
If you have limited space and want to add a cat to your life, an Exotic Shorthair is a great option. They can easily live in even a smaller apartment and need limited space. You simply need room for their litter box, food bowls, and safe sleeping space, and your Exotic will be a happy cat.
12. Adult Exotics are Great for Adopting
If you are interested in adding an Exotic Shorthair into your home but do not want to take on the work of a kitten, adopting an adult is a great option. Exotic kittens are rarely found in shelters or rescues, but adults can be found at times. You can often find older Exotics at your local shelter or can search for them online through Persian cat breed rescue groups.
Of course, some cats may be at shelters due to negative experiences, but many are only there because their owners have relocated. You want to visit your local shelter and see if any Exotics are available for adoption. You should then spend time with the cat and experience its behaviors firsthand to decide if it is a good fit for your household.
If you decide to adopt an adult Exotic, you will want to take it to a veterinarian soon after the adoption process. You will be able to see any health problems that may be present and start a preventative regimen that can extend the cat’s life. Overall, it is essential to consider all Exotics and not discredit the adults who need love.
Final Things to Keep in Mind About Exotics
While Exotic Shorthairs are a great addition to almost any home, there are a few health issues that you will want to keep in mind before bringing the cat into your family. You will want to note that Exotics are prone to some underlying hereditary conditions such as:
- Enlarged kidneys and kidney dysfunction
- Breathing issues due to their flat face
These health issues can cause you to spend additional money on vet care and require routine testing to ensure your pet’s health. You will also find that the breed is not allowed on many airlines because they cannot be transported in the cargo bay. The cargo bay can cause potential respiratory distress due to the shape of the cat’s face. However, these health issues should not deter you from adding an Exotic to your home as long as you can afford these added health costs.
There are many reasons why Exotic Shorthair cats work well in a variety of homes and would make a great addition to your family. While these cats are sometimes not the best with children, they can often adjust to a variety of families and have a rather calm demeanor. There are endless reasons why owners love these cats, but their fantastic personalities and unique look are some of the top reasons.