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Are Oriental Shorthair Cats Friendly? Temperament & Sociability Explained

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

oriental shorthair cat sitting on the grass

Are Oriental Shorthair Cats Friendly? Temperament & Sociability Explained

Cats are notorious for being loners. Many cat parents find themselves spending most of their day trying to convince their cat to pay attention to them while the kitty enjoys their suffering. That doesn’t mean every cat breed is so dismissive, of course. There are cat breeds out there that heartily enjoy the company of their owners. They spend time with their pet parents, show them love, and even like cuddling. While this may be shocking to some cat owners, those who have an Oriental Shorthair in their home probably understand loving cats better than anyone.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Oriental Shorthair, you may be drawn to their unique characteristics. But there’s more to this cat than meets the eye. If you’re curious as to whether this cat breed is friendly, the answer is a resounding yes—they are one of the most friendly and affectionate cats around. If you’re interested in bringing an Oriental Shorthair into your life, read on to learn everything that you need to know about this breed’s amazing personality.

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A Brief History of the Oriental Shorthair

Siamese cats are extremely popular. In the 1920s and 1930s, this popularity was at its height in Britain. What made so many fall in love with the Siamese breed was the restrictions on coloring or pointing. With people preferring Siamese cats to have particular colorings, breeders at the time decided to disregard any solid-colored Siamese cats. Originally, these excluded cats were called “foreign shorthairs.” Over the years, this name changed, and solid-colored Siamese cats are now called Oriental Shorthairs. While Oriental Shorthairs are basically Siamese cats with solid colors, not all born in litters retain the short hair synonymous with these cats. When this happens, these cats are referred to as Oriental Longhairs and are less common than their shorthair counterparts.

The 1970s saw the introduction of Oriental Shorthairs in the United States. It didn’t take long before this breed won the champion status in 1977 with the Cat Fanciers Association. With extensive breeding in the United States, multiple coat colors were added as acceptable for the breed. Today, there are over 300 color patterns and varieties. This has earned this breed the nickname of “rainbow cat.”

oriental-shorthair-cats-relaxing
Image Credit: VittoriaChe, Shutterstock

The Appearance of the Oriental Shorthair

As we’ve mentioned, Oriental Shorthairs are similar to the Siamese. You can not deny their striking appearance, however. The head of an Oriental Shorthair is long and triangular. They have long ears that are set perfectly inline to continue this triangular shape. This breed has long, slender legs that aren’t equipped to carry extra weight so they are quite slender. Normally, they weigh in at 8 to 12 pounds.  Their coats are short and glossy. These cats have almond-shaped eyes that normally appear green unless the cat is born solid white or pointed.

Are Oriental Shorthair Cats Friendly?

Oriental Shorthairs are elegant cats with great personalities. They are very sociable. This means you’ll rarely spend time at home without this breed being near. Oriental Shorthairs are known for wanting to lay in their owner’s lap when they’re in the mood and even sharing their bed at night. This is a rare breed that even enjoys climbing under the covers when it’s cold out. You’ll also find that this breed is very vocal. Your Oriental will spend lots of time throughout their day talking to you. The sounds they make are referred to as honks and can be quite comical to hear due to their uniqueness.

oriental shorthair cat
Image Credit: Ambiento, Shutterstock

Oriental Shorthair cats are also quite intelligent. With an owner who shows initiative and works with their cat, Orientals can easily learn a few tricks. They will take walks with you on a leash and even play fetch. This breed is so friendly, they are often referred to as social butterflies. They prefer not to be alone, so expect them to make friends with other pets in the home, even your dogs. If you decide to bring an Oriental Shorthair home, they will need company. If you work away from home or are gone for long hours, consider having them a companion animal to spend their day with.

Life With an Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthairs like being lap cats, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy playing. While they love spending time with their parents, they also find climbing and leaping to be fun activities. These cats also enjoy interactive play. They expect their owners to keep them engaged. The need for company is why others who own Oriental Shorthairs recommend having another pet to help keep your Oriental occupied and active. Oriental Shorthairs are relatively healthy, but they are closely related to Siamese cats and share the same potential health issues. Conditions you should keep your eyes open for include kidney and liver amyloidosis, bladder stones, mast cell cancer, and crossed eyes.

oriental shorthair kitten hold by owner
Image Credit: SvetMedvedeva, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

For those curious about the friendliness of the Oriental Shorthair, have no fears. These cats are intelligent, loving, and affectionate. They make great members of the family, get along well with other animals, and even do well with children. If you’re considering bringing one of these cats into the family, you’d be making a great decision. They will easily become your best friend and sidekick. As with any pet you bring home, make sure you take great care of your Oriental Shorthair, and the two of you will be inseparable.


Featured Image Credit: Elena Masiutkina, Shutterstock

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