Exotic Shorthair Cat Breed Information and Health

The most famous example of an Exotic shorthair cat is a ginger cat that loves lasagna and hates Mondays. Yes, it’s Garfield. But this short hair isn’t only ginger. The Exotic shorthair comes in different colors. 

The Exotic shorthair is a relatively new breed of cat. During the 1950s, American shorthairs and Persian shorthairs bred with each other and other Burmese and Russian blue cats. Then during the 60s, breeder Jane Matinke realized that there was potential for a new breed of cat. In 1967, she petitioned the American Cat Fanciers’ to recognize this new feline breed. 

Exotic Shorthair
Exotic Shorthair

Quick facts about the Exotic Shorthair

Weight: 7 to 12 pounds Height: 10 to 12 inches
Life span: 8 to 15 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate
Playfulness: medium Activity level: calm
Vocalness: quiet Coat length: short
Shedding amount: infrequent
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: Exotic Shorthairs are a breed of cat that require lots of grooming. They are friendly toward humans and other pets, and they have a low prey drive. They are strong-willed and loyal to their owner.

The Exotic Shorthair is similar to the Persian cat in almost every way. The main difference is their coat. Exotic Shorthairs have a big oval head with a broad skull. They also have round, full cheeks and a round forehead. Their muzzle is also round and short. 

This breed also has a short and broad that has a distinct stop. The Exotic Shorthair cats also have powerful jaws and strong chins. They also have small ears with a rounded tip that doesn’t open too much at the base. There is also hair on the inside of their ears. 

They have big and round eyes with colors that match their coats. In some cats, their eyes will be a golden color to match their copper coats. In other cases, white Exotic Shorthairs will have blue eyes. 

They are medium-sized cats with a stocky build that keeps low to the ground. They are also big-boned with strong muscles. The Exotic Shorthair can weigh between 7 – 12 pounds. The Exotic Shorthair only has a life span of 8 to 15 years. 

They have a dense and fluffy fur coat. Unlike the Persian cats, the Exotic Shorthair can keep their fur neat and tidy. You will have to do very little maintenance and grooming for your Exotic Shorthair. 

Exotic Shorthair

All you’ll need to brush and comb their fur once a week. This will help get rid of any loose hair and decrease the number of hairballs and shedding. 

You might have to monitor your Exotic Shorthair’s tear ducts. 

Their tear ducts are susceptible to overflowing because of the nasolacrimal duct. This can lead to stains on your cat’s face. This can be fixed by regularly wiping your cat’s face with a damp cloth. 

They mature slowly and only become adult felines when around two years old. These cats have calm and gentle personalities. 
These cats are also playful and curious. They are also friendly to other dogs and cats. So you can keep an Exotic Shorthair with other pets. But these cats don’t like to be left alone.


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Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

With a similar body appearance as the Persian cats but with shorter hair, a better muscular framework, and a more lively personality, the Exotic shorthair cats take their origin from crossing Persian cats with American shorthairs, Burmese, and even Russian blues.

The Exotic shorthair cats, also known as the ” Lazy man’s Persian,” have also enjoyed good health due to the crosses they were created, with a life expectancy of 8-15 years.

Albeit healthy, because of the shared genetic contents with the Persians, American shorthairs, and other breeds, the Exotic shorthair cats have been found to share inherited conditions found in both breeds. 

These medical conditions associated with Exotic hair cats include Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and a kidney-related condition known as polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in exotic shorthair cats is an inherited cardiac issue affecting the walls of the hearts in the breeds.

The left ventricular walls of the heart thicken or hypertrophies in exotic shorthair cats having this condition. This eventually affects how the heart pumps blood out to the body system.

As this condition progresses, blood clots might be formed and fluid accumulation around the lungs due to the slow-paced action of the left ventricle. 

There might be blood clots blocking various vessels in the Exotic shorthair cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, leading to paralysis and even stroke if the clots lodges in vessels in the brain.

Some common signs are seen in Exotic shorthair cats with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy include;

● Exercise intolerance in the cats.

● Rapid and irregular breathing.

● Cracking sounds heard in the lungs 

● Heart murmurs.

● Limb paralysis or lameness.

● Fluid could build up around the legs or abdomen.


It is essential to report any of these signs to your Veterinarian when seen in Exotic shorthair cats.

In turn, your Veterinarian would carry out numerous tests to reach a confirmatory diagnosis.

In situations where hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been diagnosed in Exotic shorthair cats, it is important to stop breeding programs for such cats to avoid transferring the inherited condition to new kittens of the Exotic shorthair.

Another genetic condition the Exotic shorthair cats have been associated with is Polycystic kidney disease. 

This condition occurs right from the birth of the Exotic shorthair cats, where multiple cysts (fluid-containing pockets) are present on the kidney. 

The multiple cysts continue to increase and multiply as the cats grow, which eventually damages the kidney in the Exotic Shorthair cats having this condition.

Some common signs to watch out for in Exotic shorthair with polycystic kidney disease are;

● Cats may appear to pee more than usual.

● Increased thirst and water intake. 

● Abdominal swellings may be noticed.

● Painful urination, sometimes blood-tinged urine.

● Lethargy and vomiting in cats.

If some of these symptoms have been noticed in the exotic shorthair cats, it is important to take swift action by reporting to your Veterinarian, who might want to screen for the defective gene (PKD1 gene) known to cause this condition.

Other tests that may be recommended in diagnosing polycystic kidney disease in the Exotic shorthair cats include ultrasound of the kidney, complete blood count, and even urinalysis tests.

It’s best to discontinue breeding the Exotic shorthair cats if screened and found positive for the PKD1 gene that causes polycystic kidney disease.

Another medical condition the Exotic shorthair cats may be prone to due to their anatomical structure, as seen in the short face (Brachycephalic face), is brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome. 

The condition affects the upper airway of the Exotic shorthair cats resulting in obstruction of air, swelling of the soft tissues around the mouth and nose, and difficulty breathing.

It’s best to watch the weight of the exotic shorthair breed. Avoid housing them in a hot environment or under hot, humid conditions.

7 thoughts on “Exotic Shorthair Cat Breed Information and Health”

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