Oriental Cat Breed Profile

Oriental Cat Breed Profile

How would you like an in depth look at the Oriental cat breed profile from an expert?

You've always been attracted to Oriental cats and just want to make sure the breed is right for you before finding a kitten.

You have a few questions, maybe even a few concerns . . .


So as a GCCF Oriental cat judge and Oriental cat breeder I am sure I can help.

Let me introduce you to the wonderful Oriental cat breed.

Introducing Oriental Cats

Oriental cats are a very intelligent breed of cat that are very affectionate and demand attention from their owners. They are extremely vocal and are very happy to tell you exactly what they think.

The Oriental cat is very closely related to the Siamese and they are in fact often bred together. An Oriental cat bred with a Siamese can produce a mixed litter of both Siamese and Orientals in the same litter, this is in fact an established breeding practice.

Oriental Cat Description

Oriental cats have green eyes and come in a variety of patterns and colours in both long and shorthaired varieties. Like the Siamese they have large ears, long faces, tall legs, tubular long body and a long tapered tail. The basic patterns are divided into selfs and non selfs. Selfs being cats that are all one colour and non selfs being cats that are not all one colour such as bicolour, tortie and tabby cats.

There are two styles of Oriental, one is the moderate or traditional look of Oriental and the other type of Oriental is the modern style. Both the modern and traditional styles are easily found as both styles are popular with different breeders.

History of the Oriental Cat

In the 1880’s when Siamese cats were imported from Thailand both the self and pointed varieties were imported. Through selective breeding the favoured pointed variety became the norm, the non pointed version were not favoured at the time and many believe these were what we now refer to as the Oriental.

Despite their early lack in popularity, this was not the end for the Oriental. In an effort to increase the gene pool after the second world war, Siamese were cross bred with many breeds such as the Russian Blue, Abyssinian, British and also the common Moggy. These offspring were the foundations of the Oriental cats we know today, though they only began to reach recognition as a breed in their own right in the 1950’s.

Interesting Oriental Fact

Oriental cats come in the widest variety of colours and patterns than any other breed with almost 300 different varieties!

Personality of Oriental Cats

The Siamese and Oriental cat may have different coat and eye colour but underneath these basic differences in appearance the two breeds are identical in both temperament and personality. Oriental cats and kittens are very intelligent and loving. Extremely active and playful and love both feline and human company. Orientals are probably best paired with another breed of similar temperament such as Siamese, Abyssinian or Burmese rather than the more sedate breeds such as the British Shorthair or Persian.

If you are looking for a pet that is very active, talkative and demands your interaction then the Oriental cat is an ideal candidate.

GCCF cat judge Ross Davies

Ross Davies

"If you are looking for a cat that is not particularly demanding and happy left to their own devices then perhaps the Oriental cat is not for you."

Grooming & General Care

The shorthair Oriental is requires very little grooming, owners usually find just the normal petting and stroking of their cat and the clipping of the claws is all that is required. The longhaired varieties require only weekly grooming as although the coat is long, it is also thin and silky and has no undercoat, which decreases the occurrence of matting.

Health of Oriental Cats

There are varying degrees of inherited health issues and just like every other breed, the Oriental cat does have a couple of potential health problems to be aware of.

  • Oriental cats have an elongated face which some believe leaves them prone to dental issues.
  • They are also more prone to feline obsessive compulsive disorder which can result in over grooming to the extent of leaving bald patches.
  • Cardiomyopathy is present in the breed but thankfully not very common.
  • Some Oriental cats display kinked tails and cross eyes, neither should really be classed as health issues, rather breed traits.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy is present in the Oriental gene pool and is thought to cause blindness in later years.
  • Hepatic Amyloidosis and Feline Lymphosarcoma are two diseases that are believed to be inherited. With Amyloidosis there is no cure and with Lymphosarcoma courses of chemotherapy have proved successful.

Oriental Cat Gallery

Below are some Oriental cat pictures including examples of some of the different colours and patterns. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to contribute any photos of your own cats, we would love to include them!

Commonly Asked Questions

Click the questions to reveal the answers...

How long do Oriental cats live?

Do Oriental cats need a feline companion?

Are Oriental cats hypoallergenic?

What do Oriental cats eat?

Useful Resources

Here are a few of the most useful resources I am happy to recommend.


About the author

Ross writes extensively about cats and kittens and has been featured in magazines such as Your Cat and Our Cats and has also guest authored on newsletters for various cat organisations. He is also a guest speaker at cat seminars.

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  1. Beautiful pictures – and I’ve found everything here to be absolutely right. I’ve recently lost my beautiful tortie Oriental Shorthair, who reached the grand old age of sixteen years and eight months. She was the best companion ever, and stayed playful and bossy and talkative and loving right until the end.

    I’m now looking for another Oriental – I can’t envisage life without one!

  2. Hi. I have previously owned 2 beautiful oriental boys, both kept as very loved indoor pets. I lost my last one in May last year at the age of 16 and a half years and was absolutely heartbroken. I am getting to the point where I want to get another one to love but am finding it very difficult to find breeders that advertise kittens. I have hunted high and low on the Internet for oriental or foreign white kittens. There are plenty of ‘public’ advertising sites such as Gumtree but I would not buy from them, preferring to get my next little angel from a reputable breeder where I know it has been properly bred and looked after. I would very much appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction. I live in Leicestershire. Thank you for any advice you could give me.

    1. Hi Angela

      Unfortunately, less and less people breed Foreign White cats in the UK. I would suggest contacting breed clubs such as the Oriental Cat Association and ask for their help locating a reputable breeder.

      Best wishes,


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