Exotic Shorthair

Often called the “lazy man’s Persian” the exotic shorthair has the same body type and personality of the Persian cat, but with a shorter coat. Find out everything you need to know about this docile cat breed.
By Doug Jimerson
August 24, 2020
Exotic Shorthair
Coat Length
Pattern
Other Traits
Temperament
All filters

Exotic Shorthair

height
  • 10 to 12 inches
weight
  • 10 to 12 pounds
life span
  • 8 to 15 years
good with
  • children
  • seniors
  • dogs
  • cats
  • families
temperament
  • sociable
  • affectionate
intelligence
  • medium
shedding amount
  • infrequent
playfulness
  • medium
activity level
  • calm
vocalness
  • quiet
coat length
  • short
colors
  • chocolate / brown / sable
  • cinnamon
  • lavender / silver
  • fawn
  • blue / gray
  • black / ebony
  • cream / beige / tan
  • lilac
  • white
  • red / orange
patterns
  • bi-color
  • solid
  • tabby
  • calico / tri-color
  • color point
other traits
  • requires lots of grooming
  • friendly toward humans
  • friendly toward other pets
  • low prey drive
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good lap cat
  • tolerates being picked up

If you’ve always wanted a Persian cat, but were concerned about the time it takes caring for their long coats, then an exotic shorthair might be for you. This sweet and loving breed has the looks and personality of a Persian, but it sports an undemanding short, dense coat that’s a snap to maintain. In fact, a weekly brushing is all an Exotic Shorthair really needs to keep it in top form. Exotic shorthair cats also come in the same wide range of colors and patterns as Persians. 

Appearance

Exotic shorthair cats are a medium-sized breed with beautiful round heads, eyes, and bodies. Most will tip the scales between 10 and 12 pounds. Exotic shorthairs are a quiet and curious breed that is a bit more active than their long-haired cousins. You won’t have to turn your living room into a kitty hair salon when you own one of these cats. Although they are close cousins to Persian cats, exotic shorthairs are noted for their plush, dense coats. Yet, they have the same flat faces and round heads as Persians do. Exotic shorthairs are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Their eyes can be blue, blue-green, or copper, depending on the animal’s coat color. Like Persians, exotic shorthair cats have a short, solid appearance with large paws and short, thick tails.

Temperament

Living with an exotic shorthair is a real joy. These warm, loving felines make an easy-to-please pet that’s fun to be around. Exotic shorthairs are active and love a good game of “chase the ball.” But when the activities end, they’re equally content to join you on the couch for movie night. Exotic shorthairs are quiet cats with soft voices they use only when they need to (like at dinner time). With early training, exotic shorthairs are fine sharing their space with other cats or dogs. They are a loyal breed that may lavish all its attention on its family and turn up its nose if a stranger stops by. The exotic shorthair’s personality makes them especially good pets for families with older children and seniors.

Living Needs

Exotic shorthair cats will be happy living anywhere you are. That’s because they’re only focused on their owners and not too concerned about square footage. These cats are a low maintenance breed that don’t require a lot of space and will be as happy in an apartment as a sprawling home. These social cats aren’t a big fan of being alone, so it’s a good idea to provide them with a kitty partner to keep them happy if you travel a lot.

Exotic shorthair cats are a moderately active breed so providing a cat tree is a great way to keep them stimulated. They also love toys, so provide a variety, possibly rotating them out every few weeks so your kitty doesn’t get bored. And, like most every breed, your exotic shorthair cat will love at least one padded window seat where they can spy on the outside world. You can also offer them a cat bed of their own, but because they are such lovebugs, it’s more likely your exotic shorthair will end up sleeping next to you.

Care

Keeping your exotic shorthair in top form is easy. Their short, dense coats only require a weekly brushing to remove dirt and shedding hair. Ingrid Johnson, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant, Cat Groomer, and author of Fundamentally Feline, uses three grooming tools for cats:

  1. A dematting comb (also called a shedding comb) with wide teeth of varied length to remove undercoat. 
  2. A slicker brush, which is a wide bristled brush that removes dirt and dander
  3. A flea comb or FURminator which strips away the flyaway hairs. 

Johnson recommends starting out grooming sessions with cats when they are kittens. “Pleasure brushing teaches a cat to learn to love grooming,” she says. Plus, since they like to spend a lot of time in your lap, you can brush them as you watch TV. You also should wipe their faces regularly to minimize staining from the build-up of tears.

Exotic shorthairs can entertain themselves pretty well since they are a medium energy breed. You won’t find your exotic shorthair cat climbing the curtains—you’re more likely to find them batting a ball up and down the hallway or snoozing on the couch. These cats are fine with other pets as long as everyone is introduced properly.

Health

Overall, exotic shorthairs are a healthy breed, but because they share so much of their DNA with Persian cats, they can have some of the same medical issues. These include heart disease or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Most of these problems can be avoided to some extent by purchasing your kitten from a reputable breeder.

Like Persian cats, exotic shorthairs can also suffer severe breathing issues due to their flat noses. This is especially a problem in cats that have been exclusively bred to have super flat faces. It’s important to talk to the breeder before buying a kitten to make sure your new kitten will be able to breathe normally through its life. Obesity can also be an issue with exotic shorthairs, which is why it’s important to keep track of your cat’s diet.

Exotic shorthairs also need to be spayed and neutered, kept indoors at all times, and given regular dental and nail care. The typical exotic shorthair lifespan is about 15 years. 

History

The exotic shorthair is a relatively new breed, developed in the 1950s by crossing Persian cats with American shorthairs as well as some Russian blue and Burmese animals. The goal was to create a silver-coated American Shorthair cat that resembled a Persian. By the mid-60s, breeder Jane Martinke saw the potential of the new breed and petitioned the American Cat Fanciers’ Association to recognize it in1967. The International Cat Association did the same in 1979. As more Persian cats were used to create the breed, additional coat colors began to appear, such as tabby and orange exotic shorthairs. This type of cat is now one of the most popular breeds of short-haired cats in the world.

Fun Facts

  • One of the most famous exotic shorthair cats was Garfield, the lasagna loving, sarcastic cartoon cat. Of course, Garfield was in a breed of his own when it came to wisecracks and laziness, traits real exotic shorthairs don’t share at all.
  • A popular living member of the exotic shorthair breed is a cat named Snoopy. This golden and white beauty hails from China where her owner continually posts photos of her life on social media. She also shows off a little bling now and then