Exotic Shorthair Cats: Breed Info & Facts
Are you looking for a low-maintenance, affectionate pet that will fit perfectly in your apartment? Look no further than the exotic shorthair breed. These adorable cats are known for their plush coats and round faces, making them an irresistible addition to any household.
Originating from crossbreeding Persian cats with shorthair breeds, exotic shorthairs have quickly become a favorite among American cat fanciers. This new breed was first recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1967 and has since gained popularity due to their unique appearance and personality.
Exotic shorthairs are often compared to their parent breed, Persian cats. However, unlike Persians, they have shorter hair that requires less grooming. They also tend to be more active and playful than their laid-back Persian counterparts.
If you’re interested in adding an exotic shorthair to your family, it’s important to find reputable shorthair breeders who follow the breed standard. With their loyal personalities and easy-to-care-for coats, exotics make wonderful companions for anyone looking for a loving feline friend.
So why wait? Consider bringing home an exotic kitty today and experience all the joys this beautiful breed has to offer.
Physical Characteristics of the Exotic Shorthair Cat
Short, Dense Coat with a Variety of Colors and Patterns
The Exotic Shorthair cat is known for its short, dense coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. This breed is often referred to as the “lazy man’s Persian” because it has the same luxurious coat as the Persian cat but requires less grooming. The Exotic Shorthair’s coat can come in various shades including black, white, cream, blue, red, silver, and more.
This breed’s hair is so thick that it almost feels like plush velvet when you pet them. Their fur is also hypoallergenic which makes them an excellent choice for people who suffer from allergies. The Exotic Shorthair’s hair does not shed much compared to other breeds which make them ideal pets for those who prefer clean homes.
Large, Round Eyes That Are Typically Copper or Gold in Color
Another physical characteristic that sets the Exotic Shorthair apart from other cats is their large round eyes. These cats have big expressive eyes that are typically copper or gold in color. Their eyes are one of their most striking features and add to their overall adorable appearance.
Their eyesight is exceptional which helps them hunt prey with ease. They have excellent night vision which allows them to see well even in low light conditions.
Stocky Build with a Broad Chest and Short Legs
The Exotic Shorthair cat has a stocky build with a broad chest and short legs which gives them an overall sturdy look. They are not very tall but they make up for it with their muscular body type. Despite their small size, they can weigh up to 15 pounds.
These cats are known for being lazy but don’t let that fool you into thinking they cannot be active at times. They love playing games such as fetch or chasing toys around the house.
Flat-Faced with a Snub Nose and Small Ears
The Exotic Shorthair has a flat face, snub nose, and small ears which gives them an overall adorable appearance. Their flat faces are due to their Persian ancestry which is why they are often called “Persians in pajamas.” Their small ears add to their cute look and make them even more endearing.
Their flat faces can cause some health problems such as breathing difficulties which is something you should keep in mind if you’re considering adopting one. However, with proper care and attention, these cats can live long healthy lives.
Personality Traits and Behavior of the Exotic Shorthair
Calm and Laid-Back Demeanor Makes Them Great Lap Cats
Exotic Shorthairs are known for their calm and laid-back demeanor, making them perfect lap cats. They love to cuddle up with their owners and will often spend hours lounging on laps or snuggled up next to them on the couch. This breed is not overly active, which makes them ideal for people who prefer a more relaxed pet.
One of the reasons why Exotic Shorthairs have such a calm personality is because they were bred from Persian cats, which are also known for their laid-back nature. However, unlike Persians, Exotic Shorthairs have short hair, making them easier to groom and maintain.
If you’re looking for a cat that’s happy to just hang out with you and watch TV or read a book, then an Exotic Shorthair might be the perfect pet for you.
Playful and Curious but Not Overly Energetic
While Exotic Shorthairs may be laid-back, they’re still playful and curious by nature. They enjoy playing with toys and exploring their surroundings but aren’t overly energetic like some other breeds. This means that they won’t climb your curtains or knock over your furniture in a fit of hyperactivity.
Exotic Shorthairs are also intelligent cats that can learn tricks and play games with their owners. They love interactive toys that challenge them mentally as well as physically.
However, it’s important to remember that while Exotic Shorthairs enjoy playtime, they also need plenty of rest. Make sure your cat has a cozy spot to nap when they’re not feeling up to playing.
Enjoy Human Company but Can Also Entertain Themselves
Exotic Shorthairs are social cats that enjoy human company. They’ll often follow their owners around the house or curl up next to them on the couch. However, they’re also independent enough to entertain themselves when their owners are busy.
This breed is known for being easy-going and adaptable, which makes them great pets for families with children or other pets. They’ll get along with just about anyone as long as they’re treated kindly.
Can Be Shy Around Strangers but Warm Up Quickly
While Exotic Shorthairs are friendly cats, they can be shy around strangers at first. It’s important to give your cat time to warm up to new people and situations. Once they feel comfortable, they’ll be happy to meet new friends.
It’s also worth noting that Exotic Shorthairs can be sensitive cats that don’t respond well to loud noises or sudden movements. If you have a noisy household or young children who like to run around, then this may not be the best breed for you.
Tips for Socializing Your Exotic Shorthair
Start Early to Prevent Shyness or Aggression
Socialization is a crucial aspect of owning an Exotic Shorthair. It involves exposing your furry friend to different people, animals, sounds, and environments from a young age. The goal is to help your cat develop positive associations with new experiences, reducing the risk of shyness or aggression in adulthood.
If you have an Exotic Shorthair kitten, start socializing them as early as possible. Kittens are more receptive to new experiences before they reach 14 weeks old. After this period, their socialization window begins to close.
To start socializing your kitten, introduce them gradually to different stimuli like sounds and textures. Reward them with treats and praise when they approach new objects or people. Make sure you expose your kitten to various people of all ages so that they learn how to interact with humans appropriately.
Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques Like Treats and Playtime
Positive reinforcement techniques are essential when socializing your Exotic Shorthair. They involve rewarding good behavior with treats and praise while ignoring bad behavior.
When introducing your cat to new people or animals, reward them with treats when they show curiosity rather than fear or aggression. This positive reinforcement will encourage them to approach new situations calmly and confidently.
Playtime is also an excellent opportunity for socialization. Encourage interactive play sessions using toys like feathers on strings or laser pointers. These activities help build trust between you and your cat while improving their confidence around new people or animals.
Introduce Your Cat Gradually
Introducing your Exotic Shorthair gradually is key. Overwhelming them with too many stimuli at once can cause fear and anxiety leading to shyness or aggression later in life.
Start by introducing your cat to one person at a time in a quiet room without any other distractions. Allow your cat to approach the person on their own terms, and reward them with treats when they show curiosity.
Once your cat is comfortable with one person, gradually introduce them to more people or animals. Always supervise these interactions and intervene if necessary.
Provide Plenty of Hiding Spots and Vertical Spaces
Exotic Shorthairs are known for their love of hiding spots and vertical spaces. Providing these areas in your home can help your cat feel safe and secure, reducing the risk of shyness or aggression.
Consider adding cat trees or shelves that allow your cat to climb up high. This will give them a chance to observe their surroundings from a safe distance while feeling secure.
Hiding spots like cardboard boxes or tunnels provide a place for your cat to retreat when feeling overwhelmed by new stimuli. Make sure you place these in different areas of your home so that your cat has access to them whenever they need it.
Grooming and Care Requirements for Exotic Shorthairs
Regular Brushing to Prevent Matting in Their Thick Coats
Exotic Shorthairs are known for their thick, plush coats that require regular maintenance grooming. These cats shed moderately throughout the year and heavily during shedding season, which is usually in the spring and fall. To keep their coats healthy and free from matting, it’s important to brush them regularly.
A metal comb or slicker brush is recommended to remove any loose hair and prevent tangles. You can start by brushing your cat’s back and sides, then moving on to the legs, chest, and belly. Be gentle when brushing around sensitive areas such as the face, ears, and tail.
If you notice any mats or tangles in your cat’s coat, use a dematting tool or scissors to carefully remove them. It’s important not to pull too hard on the fur as this can cause discomfort or even pain for your cat.
Regular grooming not only keeps your cat looking great but also helps prevent hairballs from forming in their digestive system.
Weekly Nail Trimming Recommended as They Have Strong Claws
Exotic Shorthairs have strong claws that can easily scratch furniture or people if they are not trimmed regularly. Therefore, it’s important to trim their nails at least once a week to keep them short and blunt.
You will need a pair of sharp nail clippers designed specifically for cats. Hold your cat firmly but gently while trimming each nail one at a time. Be careful not to cut too close to the quick (the pink part of the nail), as this can cause bleeding and pain.
If you’re unsure about how much of the nail to clip off, ask your veterinarian or a professional groomer for guidance.
Eye Cleaning May Be Required Due to Their Flat Faces
Exotic Shorthairs have flat faces with prominent eyes that require special attention. Their tear ducts may become blocked, which can cause eye discharge and discomfort. Therefore, it’s important to clean their eyes regularly to prevent infection and irritation.
Use a soft cloth or cotton ball moistened with warm water to gently wipe away any discharge from your cat’s eyes. Be careful not to touch the eyeball itself as this can cause injury or discomfort.
If you notice any redness, swelling, or excessive tearing in your cat’s eyes, contact your veterinarian for advice.
Dental Care Is Important as They Are Prone to Dental Issues
Exotic Shorthairs are prone to dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. Therefore, it’s important to take care of their teeth by brushing them regularly and providing dental treats or toys.
You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for cats along with pet-safe toothpaste to brush your cat’s teeth at least once a week. Start slowly and be gentle when introducing this new routine to your cat.
In addition to brushing, you can provide dental treats or toys that help clean your cat’s teeth and freshen their breath. These products are specifically designed for cats and are safe for them to chew on.
Regular dental care not only helps prevent dental issues but also promotes overall health and well-being for your Exotic Shorthair.
Feeding and Nutrition Guidelines for Your Exotic Shorthair
High-Quality Cat Food is Essential for Your Exotic Shorthair
Choosing the right cat food for your exotic shorthair is crucial to their overall health and well-being. Look for high-quality cat food that meets their nutritional needs based on their age group. Kittens, adult cats, and senior cats all have different nutritional requirements, so it’s important to choose a cat food that is appropriate for their specific stage of life.
When selecting cat food, make sure the first ingredient listed is a quality protein source like chicken or fish. Avoid foods with fillers like corn or wheat as they offer little nutritional value to your cat. Avoid foods with artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors as these can be harmful to your pet’s health.
Overfeeding Can Lead to Weight Gain
Exotic shorthairs are prone to weight gain due to their sedentary nature. It’s essential not to overfeed them as this can lead to obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and joint issues. Follow the feeding guidelines provided on the cat food packaging based on your pet’s age group.
It’s best not to free-feed your exotic shorthair but instead feed them at regular intervals throughout the day. This helps regulate their calorie intake and prevents them from overeating.
Fresh Water Should Always Be Available
Your exotic shorthair should always have access to fresh water throughout the day. Make sure you change their water bowl daily and provide clean water at all times. If you notice your cat isn’t drinking enough water or seems dehydrated, consult with your vet immediately.
Consult With Your Vet About Your Cat’s Diet
If you have any concerns about your exotic shorthair’s diet or if they have any underlying health conditions that require special dietary needs, consult with your vet immediately. They can recommend the best cat food and feeding schedule for your pet based on their specific needs.
Common Health Issues in Exotic Shorthairs to Watch Out For
Breathing Difficulties Due to Their Flat Faces
Exotic Shorthairs are known for their adorable flat faces, but this feature can also lead to breathing difficulties. These cats have a shortened nasal passage and a smaller-than-average trachea, which can cause respiratory problems. They may experience wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing, especially during hot weather or after exercise.
If you notice your Exotic Shorthair having trouble breathing or making unusual noises while breathing, it’s essential to take them to the vet immediately. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to widen the airways and improve their quality of life.
Dental Issues Such as Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
Like many other cat breeds, Exotic Shorthairs are prone to dental issues such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. These conditions occur when bacteria build up on the teeth and gums, leading to inflammation and infection.
To prevent dental problems in your Exotic Shorthair, it’s crucial to establish a regular oral hygiene routine early on. Brush your cat’s teeth at least twice a week using a soft-bristled toothbrush and pet-friendly toothpaste. You can also provide them with dental treats or toys that promote healthy teeth and gums.
Regular check-ups with your vet are also essential for maintaining good dental health in your cat. They can perform professional cleanings and identify any potential issues before they become more serious.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is Common in the Breed
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited condition that affects many Exotic Shorthairs. This disease causes cysts to form on the kidneys over time, eventually leading to kidney failure if left untreated.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for PKD in cats, but early detection can help manage the condition and prolong your cat’s life. Your vet can perform a blood test or ultrasound to diagnose PKD, and they may recommend dietary changes or medication to slow its progression.
Obesity and Related Health Problems
Exotic Shorthairs are also prone to obesity, which can lead to a range of health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint issues. These cats love to eat and may be less active than other breeds, making them more susceptible to weight gain.
To prevent obesity in your Exotic Shorthair, it’s essential to monitor their food intake carefully. Feed them high-quality cat food in appropriate portions and avoid giving them too many treats or table scraps. Encourage exercise by playing with your cat regularly or providing them with toys that promote physical activity.
Regular check-ups with your vet are also crucial for monitoring your Exotic Shorthair’s weight and overall health. They can provide guidance on diet and exercise as well as identify any potential health issues early on.
Regular Veterinary Checkups for Your Exotic Shorthair
Why are regular veterinary checkups important?
As a responsible pet owner, you want to ensure that your exotic shorthair cat is healthy and happy. One of the most important things you can do to achieve this is to schedule regular veterinary checkups. Annual checkups with your veterinarian are essential for maintaining your cat’s health and preventing potential health problems from becoming serious.
During these checkups, your veterinarian will examine your cat from nose to tail, looking for any signs of illness or disease. They will also discuss any concerns you may have about your cat’s health or behavior, and provide advice on nutrition, exercise, and other aspects of care that can help keep your pet healthy.
What should I expect during a regular veterinary checkup?
When you bring your exotic shorthair in for their annual checkup, there are several things that will typically happen:
Physical examination: Your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination of your cat’s body. This includes checking their eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, heart rate and rhythm, breathing rate and pattern, skin and coat condition.
Vaccinations: Depending on the age of your cat and their vaccination history, they may receive one or more vaccines during their visit.
Parasite prevention: Your veterinarian may recommend flea/tick prevention medication as well as deworming medication if necessary.
Blood tests: Blood tests may be recommended in order to screen for common diseases such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD) which is common among exotic shorthairs.
Discussion: You’ll have an opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you have about caring for your pet with the vet.
How often should I take my exotic shorthair to the vet?
It is recommended that cats receive annual veterinary exams at minimum; however it is not uncommon for veterinarians to recommend twice yearly exams for senior cats or cats with chronic health conditions.
What should I do if I notice any concerning symptoms?
If you notice any changes in your exotic shorthair’s behavior, appetite, or physical condition, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.
Exercise and Playtime for Your Exotic Shorthair
Toys to Keep Them Active and Stimulated
Exotic Shorthairs are known for their low energy levels, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise and playtime. Providing toys that stimulate their hunting instincts can be a great way to keep them active and engaged. Interactive toys like puzzle feeders or treat balls can provide mental stimulation while encouraging physical activity. Feather wands or laser pointers are also great options for playtime with your kitty.
Encouraging Active Play Sessions
While Exotic Shorthairs may not have the same energy levels as some other cat breeds, it’s still important to set aside time each day for active play sessions. This can help prevent obesity and keep your kitty healthy both physically and mentally. Try scheduling playtime at the same time each day so your cat knows when it’s time to get moving.
Providing Vertical Spaces for Climbing and Exploration
Cats love to climb, so providing a cat tree or other vertical spaces can be a great way to encourage activity in your Exotic Shorthair. Not only does climbing provide exercise, but it also gives your kitty an opportunity to explore their environment from new heights. Make sure there are plenty of safe places for your cat to perch and relax as well.
Diet and Heat Considerations
It’s important to remember that Exotic Shorthairs are prone to overheating due to their flat faces, so make sure they have access to cool areas during playtime. Diet plays a big role in maintaining a healthy weight in cats. Make sure you’re feeding your kitty an appropriate amount of food based on their age, weight, and activity level.
While Exotic Shorthairs may not require as much exercise as some other breeds of cats, it’s still important to commit some time each week towards playtime and activity. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of active playtime each day, and consider incorporating toys or activities that your kitty enjoys.
Training Tips for Your Exotic Shorthair
Positive Reinforcement Techniques
Exotic Shorthairs are known for their friendly and affectionate personalities, making them great pets. However, like any other pet, they require proper training to ensure that they behave well and follow commands. The best way to train your exotic shorthair is by using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise. Whenever your cat does something good or follows a command, reward them with a treat or some verbal praise. This will encourage them to repeat the behavior in the future.
Start Early on Basic Commands
The earlier you start training your exotic shorthair, the better it will be for both you and your cat. Start with basic commands like “sit” or “come.” These commands are easy to teach and will help establish a foundation for more advanced training later on. To teach your cat these commands, use treats as rewards whenever they follow through with the command.
Be Patient and Consistent
Training an exotic shorthair requires patience and consistency. Cats have their own personalities, so it may take time for them to learn new behaviors or commands. It is important to remain consistent with training efforts by using the same cues or words when giving commands. Repetition is keySo don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow at first.
Avoid Punishment-Based Training Methods
Punishing an exotic shorthair during training can lead to negative associations with both you and the behavior being trained. Instead of punishment-based methods, focus on positive reinforcement techniques as mentioned earlier. If your cat isn’t responding well to a certain command or behavior, try changing up the approach rather than resorting to punishment.
Providing a Safe, Comfortable Home Environment for Your Exotic Shorthair
Plenty of Hiding Spots and Cozy Beds
Exotic Shorthairs are known for their playful, curious personalities. They love to explore their surroundings and find cozy spots to nap in. As cat fanciers or cat parents, it is essential to provide them with plenty of hiding spots and comfortable beds where they can feel safe and secure.
One way to create hiding spots is by using cloth materials such as blankets, towels, or even cardboard boxes. Place these items in various locations around your home so that your furry friend has multiple options when they need a break from the world. Invest in a few comfortable beds that are made specifically for cats. These beds will provide your pet with a cozy spot to rest after a long day of play.
Keep Toxic Plants, Chemicals, and Small Objects Out of Reach
Cats are curious creatures that love to explore their environment by sniffing and tasting everything they come across. Unfortunately, this behavior can be dangerous if they ingest toxic plants or chemicals.
To keep your exotic shorthair safe, make sure you keep all toxic plants out of reach. Some common household plants that are toxic to cats include lilies, tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and ivy. You should also ensure that all chemicals such as cleaning supplies or pesticides are stored away safely.
Small objects such as rubber bands or paperclips can also pose a threat if ingested by your pet. Ensure you keep these items out of reach at all times.
Ensure Windows Are Securely Screened
Exotic shorthairs love spending time near windows watching the world go by outside. However, it’s essential to ensure that windows are securely screened before allowing your cat access to them.
Cats have been known to jump through open windows or push through screens when trying to get closer to something outside. This behavior can be dangerous as it could lead to your pet falling from a significant height. Ensure that all windows are securely screened so that your cat can enjoy the view without any risk.
Create a Designated Scratching Area to Protect Furniture
Cats have a natural instinct to scratch, which can result in damage to furniture and other household items. To prevent this, create a designated scratching area for your exotic shorthair.
You can purchase scratching posts or pads made specifically for cats. Place these items in areas where your cat spends most of their time, such as near their bed or food bowl. Encourage them to use the scratching post by placing treats on it or rubbing catnip onto it.
Final Thoughts on Owning an Exotic Shorthair
If you’re looking for a unique and affectionate feline companion, the Exotic Shorthair might be the perfect breed for you. With their adorable round faces and plush coats, these cats are known for their charming personalities and playful nature.
When considering bringing an Exotic Shorthair into your home, it’s important to understand their physical characteristics, personality traits, grooming needs, and health concerns. By providing a safe and comfortable environment, proper nutrition, regular veterinary care, socialization opportunities, and plenty of playtime and exercise, you can ensure that your furry friend thrives.
Remember to always prioritize your cat’s well-being by staying up-to-date on their vaccinations and scheduling regular checkups with a trusted veterinarian. With proper care and attention, your Exotic Shorthair can live a long and happy life as a beloved member of your family.
What is the average lifespan of an Exotic Shorthair?
Exotic Shorthairs typically have a lifespan of 12-15 years with proper care.
Do Exotic Shorthairs shed often?
Yes, they shed regularly throughout the year. Regular grooming can help manage shedding.
Are Exotic Shorthairs good with children?
Yes! These cats are known for being friendly towards children due to their gentle nature.
Can I leave my Exotic Shorthair alone at home while I’m at work?
While they enjoy human company, they can also entertain themselves when left alone for short periods of time. However, it’s important to provide them with toys or activities to keep them occupied during your absence.
Are there any common health issues that affect Exotic Shorthairs?
Some common health issues in this breed include respiratory problems due to their short snouts, dental issues due to overcrowding in the mouth, and obesity if not provided with enough exercise and a proper diet. Regular veterinary checkups can help prevent and address these issues.