Oriental Shorthairs come in every color and pattern as evidenced by their nickname, “Ornamentals.” An Oriental Shorthair looks very much like their Siamese cousin, but are not restricted to the colorpoint pattern or limited color.
An Oriental Shorthair is a svelte cat with long, tapered lines, lithe and muscular, fine-boned, tubular and elongated. The head is a long, tapered wedge atop a slender neck. Males weigh 7 to 10 pounds, females weigh 5 to 8 pounds. The ears are large, pointed and wide at the base. Legs are long and thin. Hind legs are higher than the front, with dainty, small oval paws. The tail is long and tapered, but not kinked. Eyes are almond-shaped, medium in size and come in blue, green or odd — dependent on coat and pattern color.
An Oriental Shorthair has a fine coat of soft, short, satin-feeling hair that lays close to the body. The Oriental Shorthair is divided into classes of solid, shaded, smoke, parti-color, bicolor, pointed and tabby patterns. Solid ebony, pure white and tabby patterns are the most popular shades/patterns.
The Oriental Shorthair was developed in the 1950s. They aren’t a direct Thai (once Siam) import, they’re more a Siamese hybrid. Oriental Shorthairs were developed by British breeders that wanted a wider range of color for the Siamese breed. They took Siamese and crossed them with domestic shorthairs and Russian Blues. In the late 1960s, inspired by the British, American breeders took Siamese and crossed them with domestic shorthairs and Abyssinians. As with most change, some fanciers had a problem with yet another Siamese hybrid. But the Oriental Shorthair is not a cat to fade into the background and accept a dismal lot in life, their charm and striking looks won over even the most ardent opposition.
The Oriental Shorthair is an active, agile cat that enjoys a good game of fetch. Anything a Oriental Shorthair does, he does with wild abandon. He will keep you entertained for hours. You will definitely need to invest in a tall cat tree to keep him from high places where you’d rather he not be. Oriental Shorthairs remain playful for their entire lives. That high activity level, natural curiosity and mischievousness as well as a high dose of intelligence will ensure that when you’re not there to entertain (or distract as the case may be) him, he will find something on his own. Expect him to routinely inspect contents of cupboards, drawers, closets and any other place you don’t want his nose in. He’ll get in. At the end of a long day (for you both), an Oriental Shorthair loves nothing more than to curl up on your lap or by your side for some cuddles. An Oriental Shorthair is a people cat that develops a strong bond typically to just one person. Once the bond is established, he will be your completely devoted and trusting companion (read SHADOW). Unless you’re able to give him the attention he craves, you may need to consider another breed. Long hours alone will make him unhappy and depressed. These kitties are just too naturally devoted to their person to be left alone. They are also sensitive to their human’s tone and mannerisms. When you hurt, they hurt. When you yell, they’ll be hurt.Think of an Oriental Shorthair a bit like a dog. He will greet you at the door and follow you around just waiting for you to shower them with your attention.