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Cat Breeds A-Z: The Elegant Oriental

Sleek and elegant, Orientals are the models of the feline world. Their vibrant personality is equally as bold as their striking appearance. It’s no wonder this combination of traits makes Orientals one of the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s (CFA) most popular breeds!

Learn more about Oriental

A Man-Made Breed

Originating in the 1950s, Orientals were selectively bred from Siamese and Abyssinians in England.

The only differences between Orientals and Siamese are color and pattern.

The breed — which comes in Longhair and Shorthair varieties — made its first appearance in the United States in the 1970s and gained CFA recognition as two separate breeds in 1977. In 1995, the CFA combined the Oriental Longhair and Oriental Shorthair into one breed, simply titled the Oriental.

Sophisticated Style

Similar to Siamese, Orientals are recognized for their large, flaring ears, almond-shaped eyes, and wedge-shaped head. These graceful cats have tall, svelte bodies, dainty paws, and plumed tails. Their long or short coat comes in a myriad of colors and patterns. In fact, more than 600 combinations are possible!

Whatever you do, don’t call these felines fragile. Naturally athletic, they are surprisingly muscular for their size.

Model Behavior

A playful, spirited breed, Orientals have an endearing, vivacious personality that’s just as colorful as they are. With a combination of curiosity and intelligence, nothing gets past this mischievous breed! These people-oriented felines usually attach themselves to one person, forming a close bond with him or her. In return for your love and affection, they will do anything to please you.

Orientals are not a breed for those who enjoy living in peace and quiet. They are very talkative and enjoy entertaining anybody who will watch their antics. This healthy breed retains their liveliness well into adulthood, living for 15 years or even longer.


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