Looking for a loyal, talkative companion? An Oriental cat might just be the best friend you’ve been looking for. The Oriental cat breed is known for their many colors and patterns as well as their love for company and conversation.
Image Credits: Title Image – Nickolas Titkov via Flickr All other Images – Public Domain via Pixabay
History of the Oriental Cat Breed
The devastation of World War II left a number of cat breeding programs in Europe with a dwindling number of cats. In an effort to rescue the Siamese cat breed, breeders in 1950’s England began to broaden the gene pool by cross-breeding their Siamese cats to Russian Blue cats, British Shorthair cats, Abyssinian cats, and domestic cats. The result of this breeding was kittens that were very Siamese-like, but varying in coat colors and patterns.
The kittens that had the traditional pointed coat pattern were considered Siamese cats and bred back to other Siamese cats. The non-pointed kittens would become the beginning of the Oriental cat breed. To this day, some cat fancier organizations require that pointed Oriental cats be shown as Siamese cats.
At first, there was an attempt to treat each different color Oriental cat as a separate cat breed. That became tedious and eventually, the Oriental cat breed was consolidated. The breed became very popular when it made it’s way to the United States in the 1970s. Breeders in the United States looked to increase the number of coat color and pattern combinations, using more cross-breeding to achieve their goal.
Not all Siamese cat breeders were happy about the emerging Oriental cat breed. They didn’t want yet another Siamese-hybrid in competition. Still, the Cat Fancier’s Association accepted the Oriental cat breed for championship status in 1977. Later, in 1995, a long-haired variety of the Oriental (Oriental cats bred with Balinese cats) was also accepted. The International Cat Association still separates Oriental Shorthair cats and Oriental Longhair cats.
One Cat Breed, Over 300 Looks
Keeping the sleek look from the Siamese cat breed, Oriental cats are tall, thin, and angular. They have a long neck, legs, and tapered tail. Despite their very fine look, they are quite muscular, sturdy cats.
Oriental cats have unforgettable faces with their wedge-shaped heads and large flaring ears. Their eyes are almond-shaped and often colored green or blue. It is not unusual to find one of these kitties with one blue eye and one green eye!
The most distinctive feature of the Oriental cat breed is their variety of coat colors and patterns. Colors include:
- Tabby (classic, mackerel, spotted, and ticked)
According to the CFA, there could be as many as 600 combinations when longhaired cats are included.
A Playful Best Friend
An Oriental cat wants nothing more than to share every part of your life with you. They are intelligent, loyal, energetic, sometimes mischievous, and very chatty. One of these kitties will follow their favorite person around wherever they may go and help them with whatever activity they might be attempting. Anything can become a toy! They never grow out of their kitten-like playfulness.
When given proper attention, these cats are highly trainable and affectionate. They will play fetch and learn to walk on a leash! If they are not given the attention that they want and need, they can become very depressed. While these kitties are great with children and other pets, they are not great for homes where they will be left alone often.
If you are considering adding an Oriental cat to your family, check out these adoptable kitties on Petfinder!