Exotic Shorthair Cats

Persian cats are among the most popular cat breeds in the world, but many people avoid this cat breed because of its long fur that can be difficult to maintain. What if I told you there was a cat breed almost identical to Persian cats but with short fur? I am talking about the Exotic Shorthair cats.

This is a breed that caused controversy when it first appeared. Many breeders felt these new cats gained more recognition than their purebred ancestors. However, some breeders saw potential in this new breed. To learn more about this breed and its controversial history, keep reading this article!

Exotic Shorthair Cat Characteristics


Fur colorBrown, sable, cinnamon, lavender, silver, fawn, blue, gray, black, beige, lilac, white, orange.
Fur patternSolid, bi-color, calico, tabby, color point.
Fur lengthShort
Eye color & shapeLarge and rounded eyes that can be green, blue, gold, copper, yellow, etc., depending on the fur color.
LengthMales 16”-19”
Females 14”-16”
WeightMales 10-12 lbs
Females 8-10 lbs
Expected lifespan8-15 years


TemperamentAffectionate, sociable, loyal, calm, friendly, loves being handled.
Kids and other petsFriendly towards children and other pets
Sociable and cuddlyOutgoing and sociable cats that love to cuddle with their owners

Requirements & Traits

FeedingAdult Exotic Shorthairs should eat 2-3 times a day, while kittens and juvenile cats need to eat 3-4 times a day. The food should be rich in protein and meat-based.
GroomingFur brushing or combing with a steel brush/comb once or twice a week and more often during the shedding season. Occasional baths and regular eye and ear cleaning.
SheddingInfrequent and moderate

History and Origins

Exotic Shorthair history

In the late 1950s, Persian Cats were sometimes used as an outcross breed for American Shorthair cats. Cat breeders did this in order to improve some of the characteristics of the American shorthairs, but they did it in secret. 

However, the word spread out, and many American Shorthair breeders considered this practice to be unfair because crossbred cats started gaining more recognition than purebred American Shorthairs. As a result, these breeders created new breed standards that disqualified American Shorthairs with signs of crossbreeding.

Fortunately, one cat breeder saw potential in the Persian/American Shorthair crossbreed and proposed that it should be a separate cat breed. In 1966, this crossbreed was officially recognized and named Exotic Shorthair. 

Since some breeders crossed Russian Blue and Burmese cats with American Shorthairs to produce Exotic Shorthairs, in 1987, the Cat Fanciers’ Association decided that only Persian cats were allowed as outcross. 

Exotic Shorthair Cat Personality

The Exotic Shorthair is a very affectionate and loving cat, known for being very devoted to its owners and enjoying being around people. They are also known for being cuddly and loving when their owners hold and pet them. They are a perfect choice for anyone looking for a calm, loving, and affectionate cat.

Additionally,  Exotic Shorthair cats are known for being very laid back and easygoing. They are not usually the type of cat that is always running around and getting into trouble. Exotic Shorthair cats would much rather spend their time lounging around and being lazy. However, this does not mean that they do not like to play. They just prefer to do so at a more relaxed pace.

When it comes to children,  Exotic Shorthair cats generally do quite well with them. They are patient and tolerant, which makes them a great choice for families with young kids. They also tend to be very good-natured and enjoy being around people in general.

Other pets,  such as dogs, can sometimes be a bit of a challenge for Exotic Shorthair cats. They can be a little bit stand-offish and aloof with other animals. However, with patience and time, they can usually learn to get along just fine, especially if another pet has a calm and gentle demeanor.

Exotic Shorthair Cat Appearance

Exotic shorhair appearance

Exotic Shorthairs are popular because of their adorable, toy-like appearance. They are a perfect mix of American Shorthairs and Persian cats, so let’s take a closer look at their most distinct features:


As their name suggests, Exotic Shorthair cats have short furs. The fur is soft, dense, and plush-like. Although short, the Exotic Shorthair’s fur is a bit longer than the fur of most other shorthaired cat breeds. Since Exotic Shorthairs have thick undercoats, their guard hairs are erect, which makes these cats look bigger than they actually are.

When it comes to fur patterns, Exotic Shorthairs can be solid, bi-color, calico, tabby, and color point. All Persian fur colors are possible, including black, brown, white, orange, blue, gray, lilac, sable, cream, etc. 


Exotic Shorthair cats have large and rounded eyes. These eyes are widely set on the face, giving the Exotic Shorthair cat a sweet and kitten-like appearance.


Exotic Shorthair cats are medium-sized cats, with males being slightly larger than females. The body length of these cats is 16-19 inches for males and 14-16 inches for females. The body weight is 10-12 pounds for males and 8-10 pounds for females.

Other Body Characteristics

Exotic Shorthair cats have stocky and rounded bodies, with broad chests and short legs. Their whole bodies and legs are muscular and strong. The paws are large and round, with five toes in the front legs and four toes in the hind legs. The tail is short and proportionate to the rest of the body.

The head is large and round, with a thick and short neck. The face is flat, with full cheeks, a round muzzle, and a well-developed chin. The ears are large and rounded, set far apart and tilted forwards. 

Daily Life With Exotic Shorthair Cat 

Exotic Shorthairs are low-maintenance cats that will thrive anywhere, even in small apartments. However, there are still some requirements you need to fulfill to keep them happy and healthy!


Exotic Shorthairs don’t have specific dietary needs. Feed them just like you would feed any other cat breed – with meat-based foods rich in protein. Both wet and dry commercial foods are good choices for your Exotic Shorthair, and it would be best if you offered both food types. Apart from commercial cat food, you can feed your Exotic Shorthair with meat, raw or cooked, but make sure it isn’t too spicy. 

Adult Exotic Shorthairs need larger meals, but you should feed them less often than you would feed kittens and juvenile cats. 2-3 meals per day are enough for adult Exotic Shorthairs, while 3-4 meals are enough for kittens and juvenile cats.

You can spoil your Exotic Shorthair with occasional snacks and treats, but make sure you don’t give them too often. Avoid feeding your Exotic Shorthair with human food, especially foods that are rich in carbs. If you have any specific questions about Exotic Shorthair’s diet, contact your vet!


Unlike their cousins, Persian cats, Exotic Shorthairs aren’t too demanding when it comes to grooming. Brushing or combing their short fur once or twice a week will be enough to keep it pretty and free of knots and matting. 

After the winter, Exotic Shorthairs enter their shedding season, and that’s when you should comb these cats more often. If needed, you can even bathe your Exotic Shorthair during that period, but in most cases, brushing will be enough. Always use steel brushes and combs.

Since Exotic Shorthairs have flat faces, the discharge from their eyes can drip all over their cheeks area. That’s why you should clean their faces with a damp cloth once a week. Additionally, clean their ears with a damp cotton pad. 

Dental hygiene is also important for Exotic Shorthairs, so make sure to use your Exotic Shorthair to teeth brushing while it is still a kitten. If that’s impossible for some reason, you can at least buy them teeth-cleaning snacks.  

Don’t forget about nail trimming, which should be done every two weeks or at least once a month. Again, if you get your Exotic Shorthair cat used to nail trimming while it is still a kitten, it won’t resist it so much when it grows up. However, if that’s also impossible, you should take your Exotic Oriental Shorthair to a professional groomer. 


Persian cats are known to be lazy, and such reputation follows Exotic Shorthairs too. Still, Exotic Shorthairs are a bit more playful and energetic than the Persians. They enjoy playing and exploring their surroundings, but not all the time.

Most of the time, these cats will enjoy napping, cuddling, or just being close to their owners. This makes them perfect for first-cat owners, people with no time or energy to own a highly active cat, and people with small apartments. 

However, you should still get them some basic cat toys and cat scratching trees and provide them with enough activity to keep them happy and fit. 

Exotic Shorthairs are cats that are made for staying all the time indoors, but you can let them play outside occasionally. Of course, it is important that you strictly supervise the outside playing, and it would be best if you had an enclosed outside area. 

Most Common Exotic Shorthair Cat Health Issues

Exotic Shorthair health

Overall, Exotic Shorthair cats are a healthy cat breed. However, they can still fall ill, and their close genetic connection to Persian and American Shorthair cats makes them prone to the same health conditions. Some of those conditions are:

Respiratory Issues

Since their faces are so flat, Exotic Shorthair cats have short breathing canals, which in turn causes breathing difficulties. These difficulties are worsened by hot and humid weather, which is another reason why your Exotic Shorthair should stay inside, where you have an air conditioning system to control the temperature and humidity.

Difficulty breathing, labored breathing, noisy breathing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and coughing are only some of the signs that your cat is struggling to breathe. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your Exotic Shorthair to the vet as soon as possible. 

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Feline polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that affects cats. Polycystic kidney disease causes the development of cysts in the kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure. There is no cure for polycystic kidney disease, but treatment options are available to help manage the disease and extend your cat’s life.

If you think your cat may have polycystic kidney disease, it’s important to see a veterinarian so they can diagnose and treat the condition. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to giving your cat the best possible quality of life.

The symptoms of polycystic kidney disease can vary depending on how far the disease has progressed. In the early stages, there may be no symptoms at all. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include increased thirst and urination, lethargy, weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal Atrophy is a degenerative disease of the retina that leads to blindness. There are many different causes of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in cats, but the most common is an inherited form of the disease. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is incurable and will eventually lead to blindness.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to notice the symptoms of this disease until it is too late. Symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in cats typically include night blindness, followed by a gradual loss of day vision. As the disease progresses, affected cats will eventually lose all vision. Other symptoms may include dilated pupils, changes in eye color, and involuntary eye movements.

There is no known cure for Progressive Retinal Atrophy in cats, and once the disease has progressed to the point where blindness occurs, there is no way to reverse the damage. 

However, some treatments can help slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for affected cats. Treatment options include dietary supplements, special eye drops, and injections into the eye. Surgery is also an option for some cats, but it is not always successful.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

A common condition among many cat breeds, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is characterized by the thickening of the heart’s wall muscles. This condition reduces the heart’s efficiency and can lead to heart failure. 

Symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy may include exercise intolerance, lethargy, coughing, difficulty breathing, and sudden death. A diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is made based on symptoms, physical examination findings, X-rays, echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart), and sometimes blood tests and cardiac MRI. 

There is no cure for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, but treatment options are available to help manage the disease and extend your cat’s life. This is why it is important to take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice the first signs of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. 

Skin Issues

Since Exotic Shorthairs and Persian cats are so closely related, they share similar skin issues. These skin issues can be inherited, but they are often a consequence of an inappropriate diet and/or lack of grooming. 

The most common symptoms of skin issues are excess loss of fur, bald patches, red and swollen bumps, skin reddening, and excessive scratching. Fortunately, skin issues are curable, and they aren’t life-threatening. However, you still need to take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. 

Exotic Shorthair Cat Name Suggestions

Such cute cats deserve cute names, right? Or, maybe you want a more fierce name for your new feline friend? Either way, there are many cool names you can give to your Exotic Shorthair, and here are some of them:

  • Banjo
  • Chewy
  • Fella
  • Griffin
  • Leeroy
  • Momo
  • Pepe
  • Timmy
  • Dixie
  • Gabby
  • Libby
  • Mitzi
  • Sadie
  • Wilow

Buying or Adopting an Exotic Shorthair Cat

It is highly unlikely, almost impossible, that you will find an Exotic Shorthair kitten in the shelter, at least when it comes to purebred ones. However, you might be more fortunate to look for adult Exotic Shorthair cats. If you find one of these cats in the shelter, it will cost you $75-$150 to adopt.

On the other hand, if you prefer to buy your cats directly from a breeder, it will cost you $1200-$2200 to get an Exotic Shorthair cat. Although it is quite pricey, it is worth having peace of mind knowing that you bought a healthy cat from a reputable breeder.

Exotic Shorthair Cat Alternatives

As you can see, Exotic Shorthairs are great pets and beautiful animals, but maybe you want something different yet similar enough. Since Exotic Shorthairs were basically created as a combination of Persian cats and American Shorthairs, these two breeds are probably the best choices.

British Shorthairs are also cute and similar-looking to exotic Shorthairs. Finally, if you like how stocky Exotic Shorthairs are, you should choose one of these breeds: American Bobtail cat, Ragdoll, Maine Coon, or Norwegian Forest Cat

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Exotic Shorthair cats meow a lot?

No, Exotic Shorthair cats are quiet cats, and you will rarely hear them meow. However, they purr a lot, almost all the time.

Are Exotic Shorthair cats intelligent?

Yes, Exotic Shorthair cats are intelligent and curious and can be taught some basic tricks and commands.

Do Exotic Shorthairs like to be held?

Exotic Shorthairs love to cuddle and spend time in their owners’ laps, and they will even tolerate being held, but they don’t like being carried around.

Can Exotic Shorthairs be left alone?

Exotic Shorthairs generally don’t like to be left alone, especially for prolonged periods of time. If you know that you will be away from your home quite often and for several hours, you should either consider getting another cat breed or getting a second cat to play with your Exotic Shorthair.

Are Exotic Shorthair cats hypoallergenic?

No, although they don’t shed as much as other cat breeds, Exotic Shorthair cats aren’t hypoallergenic, so keep that in mind if you have a cat allergy.

Exotic Shorthair Cat Fun Facts

  1. Although they are basically a shorthaired version of Persian cats, and their name implies that they have short furs, not every Exotic Shorthair will actually be shorthaired. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Exotic Shorthairs will be born with long hair.
  2. Apart from being one of the most popular breeds among cat owners, Exotic Shorthairs are often seen in various movies and TV Shows. Exotic Shorthairs appeared in the TV show New Girl, Cats&Dogs movies, and in viral Internet videos (Snoopy and Pudge the Cat).
  3. The original breeding standard required that Exotic Shorthairs must have silver fur. This is why one of the earliest proposed names for this cat breed was Sterling. However, since many of these cats were born with fur of other colors, the breeders decided to accept those other colors, and they gave up on the name Sterling.  


Exotic Shorthairs are beautiful and adorable cats that inherited calm and gentle demeanor from their Persian ancestors. They also inherited rounded bodies and cute faces. However, their fur is much shorter and easier to maintain than the Persian cat’s fur, which makes the Exotic Shorthair particularly popular.

If you want a loving, affectionate, loyal, and moderately playful cat that doesn’t require constant activity, then the Exotic Shorthair cat is a perfect pet for you. So, what are you waiting for, get your Exotic Shorthair today!