Oriental blue spotted
GC Shonstar Jezebelle of 7th Heaven
Breeder and owner: Marva Marrow, 7th Heaven cattery, California, USA
Photo: Marva Marrow

What are Oriental (Shorthair)?

There seems to be some common sense amongst the various organizations to call the non-pointed Shorthair cats of this breed an Oriental.
Some organizations call the breed only Oriental and list the Shorthair and Longhair as variant, other organizations call the breed Oriental Shorthair and distinguish it from the Oriental Longhair, which is its own breed.

It is interesting, when it comes to Pointed & White:

  • In CFA the color variety Pointed & White is listed in the Orientals.
  • In FIFe the color variety Pointed & White is its own breed, called Seychellois Shorthair.


There are many different colors and patterns:

  • white
    Besides white Siamese (Foreign White) there are also white Oriental, which are not recognized in all organizations.
    The eye color of a white Oriental may be: blue, green, odd-eyed (one eye blue, the other one green).
  • black (Ebony), blue, chocolate (Chestnut), lilac (Lavender), cinnamon, fawn
LaVaYaRa's Faja Lobi
Breeder: Astrid Kamerling, LaVaYaRa cattery, Netherlands
  • red, cream
  • (black) tortie, blue tortie (blue-cream), chocolate tortie, lilac tortie, cinnamon tortie, fawn tortie
    The tortie-colors are called in CFA Parti-Color.
Oriental cream mackerel
GP Kattalyst Mango Tango
Breeder: Roy & Julie Keyer, Kattalyst cattery, New Jersey, USA
Oriental blue-cream
GC Kimcheekatz Yobo of Kattalyst
Best of Color (Parti-Color Division) NAR (CFA, 2000-2001)
Breeder: Roy & Julie Keyer, Kattalyst cattery, New Jersey, USA
  • All colors may be with tabby-pattern: blotched (= classic tabby), mackerel, spotted, ticked
    The colors tortie tabby are called in CFA Patched Tabby, in TICA one can find the name Torbie.
Oriental Ebony patched ticked tabby
GC Shonstar Jezebelle of 7th Heaven
Breeder: Janet & Steven Shon, Shonstar cattery, USA
Owner: Marva Marrow, 7th Heaven cattery, California, USA
Photo: Marva Marrow
  • All tabby colors also exist with silver as silver tabby in all patterns.
  • All colors also exist with silver: smoke, shaded
    Red and cream silver shaded and silver tabby are also called Cameo, Dilute Cameo.
  • All colors may with white: Van, Harlequin, Bicolor
    The Harlequin pattern is not recognized in all organzations.
    In TICA the Bicolor-colors are called Parti-Color.
Oriental cinnamon-white Bicolor
Maramao Kamikatze
Breeder: Mimina Mancini, Maramao cattery, Mainz, Germany

Parti-Color is not equal to Parti-Color

Note: What is called Parti-Color in CFA, the tortie colors, are in TICA the colors with white.

Patched Tabby and Torbie

In CFA the colors tortie tabby are called Patched Tabby.
In TICA the colors tortie tabby are called Torbie.

Cameo and Dilute Cameo

In CFA red/cream silver shaded and silver tabby colors are called Cameo, Dilute Cameo:
Cameo for red silver shaded,
Dilute Cameo for cream silver shaded,
Cameo tabby for red silver tabby,
Dilute Cameo tabby for cream silver tabby.



Standard AACE
Standard ACF
Standard ACFA
Standard CCA
Standard CFA
Standard CFF
Standard FIFe
Standard GCCF
(You must buy the booklet.)
Standard LOOF
Standard SACC
Standard TICA
Standard WCF
Show breeders
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Breed profile

Oriental (Shorthair) are, as their relatives, Balinese, Oriental Longhair (also called Javanese or Mandarin) and Siamese, cats of oriental type:
very elegant, graceful and slender.

The Oriental has medium size, the body is slender and long, yet with a very well developed muscle strength, which is quite firm in feeling. The legs are high (long) and slender with fine oval paws. The bones are fine and delicate.

The head builds a long wedge, which tapers to a fine muzzle. The nose is long and absolutely straight. The jaws are fine built. When the head is viewed in profile, a long straight line can be seen, which starts at the top of the head and continues straight to the tip of the nose. When the head is viewed from the front, the outer edges of the head build a long triangle.

The skull is rounded, in some organization the top shall be flat.
The neck is long, slender and graceful, thus emphasizing the elegant lines of this breed.
The eyes are almond in shape and slanted toward the base of the ears. Their color is green. This combination between the almond shape and the oblique placement of the eyes together with the wedge-shaped head with its straight lines is called oriental appearance of the breed.

The ears are large and wide at the base (i.e. one can look into the ears from the front). They complete the triangular shape of the head when continuing the outer lines of the head.

The coat is extremely short, very fine and lies sleek to the body. When you stroke the coat you get the feeling of pure silk.

The tail is very long, rather thin and tapers to its tip.



Already before World War II there existed black and blue Orientals in Germany.
In fact the Oriental exists already for a much longer time. The manuscript Cat-Book Poems, dated between 1350 and 1767 and written in Siam (Thailand), describes and displays, besides the royal cats with points, various native cats, which are black, black-white bicolor, brown, blue (also called gray) and silver shaded. The first cats imported from Thailand to England mostly were brown or blue. It was around 1920 that the British Siamese club decided to ban the solid colored cats from breeding Siamese.

The breed 'Oriental Shorthair' was created about 1950 in England, when Baroness von Ullmann (Roofspringer cattery) decided to create a new breed with short coat and solid colored. She used Russian Blue and Abyssinians, which she crossed into the Siamese to conserve the "foreign" body-type (long, slender and elegant), which is characteristic for the Siamese. Baroness von Ullmann was mainly interested in creating chocolate (chestnut brown) and lavender (=lilac) Oriental Shorthair.
Originally the Oriental breed was called Ebony for the black Oriental and Chestnut Foreign for the chocolate Oriental. The cats were registered by GCCF as Foreign Cats in 1958. The brown Orientals were renamed to Havana in 1970. These Havana were exported to the US, where the Havana of today was developed, heavier and more sturdy.
Quite soon the breeders also developed other colors, such as white blue-eyed cats of oriental type, which became well known as Foreign White.
In 1972 Peter Markstein and Vicky Markstein (Petmark cattery) visited England to buy some new Siamese. They were fascinated by the large color variety in the Orientals having the elegant type of the Siamese, and imported some Orientals to the USA. They suggested to CFA to recognize these cats as a new breed. CFA recognized the Oriental Shorthair in 1977 for championship, the Oriental Longhair followed in 1995.
Breeders have consequently assimilated the body structure to that of the Siamese by outcrosses to the Siamese.


Breeding and Genetics

The breeding rules are different in each organization, thus one should know the rules very well.

In CFA cross-breeding between Siamese and Oriental is permitted for the Oriental, but for the Siamese it is not permitted. A cat can be registered as Siamese only having 8 generations of Siamese, and only the 4 basic color (seal, blue, chocolate and lilac) are called Siamese. See CFA Rules for Registration, effective February 2007, Article II, Section 3.
That means, Siamese resulting from Orientals (carrying the Siamese-gene cs) cannot be registered as Siamese.

In FIFe Oriental and Siamese are called sister breeds. That means, Siamese may also have Orientals in their pedigree, as it is a cross-breeding between related breeds. See FIFe Breeding and Registration Rules, issue 1/2007, 4.1 List of recognized breeds with recommended outcross.

These are only two examples, how much breeding rules may differ from each other.

Concerning the genetics, you may read in detail about it in the chapter Genetics, Gene C and Gene cb & cs. You will also find examples from the breeding practice here.



Oriental cats are talkative cats, they can get quite loud sometimes. Females, which are in heat, and lonely studs can cry with an ear splitting voice. The Oriental loves to communicate with her owner. They are active cats, who like to play. They like to jump quite high, but they keep their balance on the narrowest space with great elegance, thus disrupting or disturbing very seldom something.

These extremely intelligent cats make very good companions for people, who like to have constant companionship. The Oriental will follow you, wherever you go, if you sit down, it will sit on your lap, if you eat, it will sit besides you on the chair, without being demanding or begging for food, if go to bed, it will enjoy to sleep in your bed with you. Orientals will be your friends for a life time.



Orientals require little grooming. Rubbing their coat with chamois skins will remove dead hears and will produce a silk-like glistening coat.


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