Fans of the “foreign” body type seen in Siamese, Abyssinian, and Russian Blue cats will be fond of the Oriental breeds. The long-haired and short-haired varieties both originated around Thailand and are very similar to the Siamese breed. Both varieties have similar care and needs with subtle differences and make good house cats for the owner looking for a departure from the ordinary.

The long-haired Oriental has a soft and silky coat with a downy undercoat. The longer hair needs frequently combing, usually once a day, to prevent mats and tangles and cut down on shedding. The coloration is usually lighter with darker feet, tail, and face but many different colors, combinations, and patterns have been bred into the Oriental breeds. Eye color in this variety as well as the short-haired variety is usually green, but can be orange or blue.

The short-haired Oriental started to become popular in the 1960's when American breeders crossed a Siamese cat with an American short-hair, then bred the offspring with a Siamese to keep the bone structure of the foreign cats. Since this time, Oriental short-hairs have only been crossbred with Siamese cats. The short-haired Oriental requires only a fraction of the grooming care of the long-haired variety. Gentle brushing and rubbing is usually enough to keep this breed looking show-worthy. As with the long-hair, many different colors, combinations, and patterns are seen from breeders.

Oriental cats are very social. They like to explore and will usually try to “help” you with chores around the house. Orientals are very intelligent and will go searching for their toys in anything and on anything. If they are not given enough attention, they will act out by vocalizing loudly or placing themselves in to middle of whatever you may be trying to do. Orientals are not for owners who do not have a lot of time to spend with their cats.

This breed is not for the owner who is not often home or does not have the time to devote to their animal. It is, however, for the owner who wants a loyal and intelligent animals. It is for the true “cat person” who knows that a cat is part of their family and is prepared to make the committed of time, energy, and affection needed for this unique breed.