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The Oriental Cat – An Overview
Put simply, the Oriental breed is a non-pointed Siamese. These elegant and elongated cats of many colors and patterns share the Siamese build and personality. This has become a popular breed in both the shorthair and longhair versions.
The Oriental Cat – Breed History
Several historical sources show that the original cats of Siam (now Thailand) were not all colorpointed. Indeed cats of all colors were imported to the west from Thailand at the beginning of the twentieth century. Yet, in the 1920’s, an official decision made by the Siamese breed association, has set the colorpoint coat pattern as the only acceptable pattern in the Siamese breed.
During the 1950’s, breeders in the UK began to explore the new possibilities of multi -colored cats with the Siamese build and personality. Later on, American breeders joined the efforts and in the 1970’s the new breed was recognized as the Oriental. At first, in the UK the breed was also known as the Foreign type cat. The Oriental is the standard name today in most associations. The only exception is the white Oriental, which is still called the Foreign White in the UK.
The Oriental Cat – Breed Description
The Orientals share the svelte body shape of modern Siamese. The body is slender and elongated, with tall legs and a long tail. The wedged head shape is complemented by long large ears and large almond-shaped eyes.
Orientals come in virtually every coat color and pattern. Solid Orientals are quite impressive cats, with dazzling black, blue or white coats, or any other solid variation. Tabbies are also available in the various tabby patterns and colors. In recent years, bi-color Orientals have entered the show ring and become quite popular.
Eye color can vary and should be consistent with coat pattern and color. Only white Orientals can have blue eyes.
Orientals can be either shorthaired or longhaired. Shorthairs have smooth close-lying coat that needs very little grooming. Longhairs have silky semi-long coat that does not mat easily and is relatively easy to groom.
Orientals are active and inquisitive cats that need plenty of attention. Like their Siamese relatives, they are quite vocal and communicative.
The Oriental Cat – Special Needs
Orientals do not require special grooming, other than a weekly brushing to remove dead hair.
These are active cats that need to remain so throughout their lives, in order to maintain the slender body shape. Individuals that do not get enough exercise, may gain weight and lose the unique body shape. This can be changed with daily play sessions and a balanced diet.
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