Breed Profiles
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Who’s That Cat? The Exotic, a Gorgeous, Sweet Breed

The relatively young breed is great for families and plays well with other pets, including dogs.

Kim Campbell Thornton  |  Mar 1st 2017


Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our March/April. 2017 issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

Love the Persian’s sweet and laid-back personality but dread the thought of grooming one? Consider the Exotic. Plush and personable, the Exotic is aptly described as “the lazy person’s Persian.”

This engaging and affectionate cat has a short, thick coat that’s beautiful but easy to groom. In personality, he’s more outgoing than Persians but still maintains a mellow vibe.

“They are so adaptable,” said Exotic expert Penni Richter of Pasco, Washington, who has loved the breed for 18 years. “They’re great for a family with kids and other pets, like dogs.

“They’re also really good for someone who lives alone and wants a companion. They have such an easygoing temperament that they really adapt to almost any family situation.”

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Photo by Tetsu Yamazaki

Living with an Exotic

  • Exotics are calm and easygoing, playful but not rowdy. They like to be in the same room with you but don’t demand attention — except for an incessant stare that you may be unable to resist.
  • Exotics pick up your habits. They’re waiting at the door when you get home, and they sleep when you sleep.

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  • The Exotic adapts to many types of homes and families as long as he gets lots of love and attention from people who appreciate his constant presence.
  • The Exotic enjoys playtime and attention. Do get an Exotic if you want a cat who will get along with other cats and dogs and enjoy playing with kids.
  • Don’t get an Exotic if you don’t have the time or desire to give him the attention he seeks.

You should know

  • Exotics are a comfortable armful, typically weighing 8 to 13 pounds. As with any cat, do not let them become obese.
  • Given good care and nutrition, an Exotic can live 10 to 14 years or more. These cats tend to mature more slowly than other breeds.

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  • The Exotic’s low-maintenance coat doesn’t tangle easily. A weekly combing and face wash and a bath every month or two keeps this cat beautiful.
  • The Exotic has some of the same health problems as the Persian. Make sure a kitten’s parents have been tested clear of heart disease (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), as well as polycystic kidney disease. Some may have mild eye issues or upper respiratory problems because of their flat facial structure.

History

  • The Exotic was born of a desire for an easy-care Persian. In the 1950s, breeders crossed the longhaired cats with American Shorthairs to achieve their goal. Today, Exotics can be outcrossed only to Persians.
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Photo by Gina Cioli / Lumina Media

  • The Exotic was granted full championship status by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1967, and the breed received champion recognition in The International Cat
    Association in 1979.

Fun facts

  • Exotics come in all coat colors and patterns, including solid, calico, pointed and tabby, with and without white on the coat. Depending on their coat color, their large, round, brilliant eyes can be copper, green or blue-green. Odd-eyed Exotics have one copper and one blue eye.
  • The Exotic has a dense double coat that gives him the appearance of a teddy bear.
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Photo by Shutterstock

  • Exotics and Persians can differ in personality. Exotics are more outgoing and adventurous, while Persians tend to be aloof, although they are happy to accept admiration.

Did you know?

Litters of Exotics can include long-haired kittens. Some registries such as The International Cat Association consider those long-haired kittens Persians, while the American Cat Fanciers Association labels them Exotic Longhairs.

About the author: Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning writer in Southern California. Her subjects include pet care, health and behavior, and wildlife and marine life conservation.