A cream-colored Exotic shorthair against a white background.
(Photo Credit: cynoclub | Getty Images)


The Exotic Shorthair is known for their plush, teddy bear-like appearance and easygoing temperament. Developed as a short-haired counterpart to the Persian, the Exotic Shorthair has a compact and well-muscled body with a broad face, round eyes, and a sweet expression. The breed is characterized by their dense and soft coat, which comes in various colors and patterns. Despite their Persian ancestry, Exotic Shorthairs require less grooming due to their shorter fur, making them a popular choice for cat enthusiasts who appreciate the Persian look without the extensive grooming commitment.

Known for their affectionate and laid-back nature, Exotic Shorthairs are often described as lap cats who enjoy lounging and cuddling with their owners. They are adaptable to various living environments and get along well with children and other pets. Their friendly disposition and calm demeanor make them well-suited for indoor living, and they thrive on human interaction. With their endearing appearance and amiable personality, Exotic Shorthairs make wonderful companions for individuals and families alike, offering the perfect blend of charm and low-maintenance care.

When considering an Exotic cat, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a cat in need. However, if you decide to purchase, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the breeder follows ethical practices and prioritizes the well-being of their cats. Reputable Exotic cat breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their cats, conduct necessary health screenings, and provide a nurturing environment for the kitties. This active approach ensures that you bring home a healthy and happy kitty while discouraging unethical breeding practices.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: United States, 1960s, bred by crossing Persians with American Shorthairs to achieve a short-haired version with the Persian’s luxurious features.
  • Size: Medium (8-15 pounds), with females generally smaller than males.
  • Breed Group: Shorthair
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Coat: Short, thick, and plush, with various colors and patterns like solid, tabby, bi-color, and tortoiseshell.
  • Temperament: Gentle, affectionate, calm, playful when young, enjoys lounging and attention.
  • Exercise Needs: Low to moderate – appreciates playtime but content with quiet cuddles.
  • Training: Adaptable to training with positive reinforcement, less demanding than their Persian cousins.
  • Grooming: Weekly brushing recommended to prevent matting, especially around the ears and undercoat.
  • Health: Generally healthy, but prone to some Persian-related conditions like brachycephalic syndrome (due to flat face) and eye problems.
  • Some people believe that Garfield, the cartoon cat, is an Exotic.
  • Occasionally, Exotics will have litters with long hair. Some registries refer to them as Persians, others as Exotic Longhairs.
  • Exotics are nicknamed the “Lazy Man’s Persian,” since they have the same pinched, doll-like face without the heavy grooming.

Exotic Pictures

Exotic History

If the Persian is a cat in a glamorous evening gown, the Exotic is the Persian stripped down to its skivvies. The Exotic Shorthair, or Exotic for short, is a Persian of a different coat. The new breed first began to be developed in the 1950s by crossing Persians with American Shorthairs and, later, other shorthaired breeds such as the Burmese and the Russian Blue, then breeding back to Persians once the short coat was achieved. The eventual result was a cat with the same features and personality as the Persian but wrapped in a short, plush, easy-care coat.

The cross, which had originally been intended to bring the Persian’s striking silver color and green eyes to the American Shorthair, was controversial at first, but Persian breeders became intrigued by the new look and began to cooperate in the development of what became known as the Exotic.

The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed in 1967 and called it the Exotic. In some other associations, it’s known as the Exotic Shorthair to differentiate it from the Exotic Longhairs that sometimes appear in Exotic litters and are considered by some associations as a breed unto themselves. The International Cat Association recognized the breed as the Exotic Shorthair in 1979. Today Exotics are recognized by all cat registries. Exotics these days are outcrossed only to Persians and Himalayans, not to any shorthaired breeds.

Exotic Size

This is a medium-size cat. Exotics usually have a weight range of 7 to 12 pounds.

Exotic Personality

Like the Persian, the Exotic is sweet, docile and quiet, but don’t get the idea that she is merely an adornment for the home. She loves to play when she’s not sitting in a lap or being petted. Exotics have a reputation for being more active and curious than their Persian siblings, and they are more suited to an active family. Males are said by some to be sweeter and more affectionate than females, who are sometimes described as aloof.

Exotics enjoy batting at toys for as long as you will play with them but are capable of entertaining themselves when their people are busy or away. They follow faithfully after family members and wait patiently for any attention to come their way. Exotics are little heard, but when they do speak it is in a soft, pleasant and musical voice. An Exotic’s needs are simple: regular meals, a little playtime with a catnip mouse or feather teaser, and lots of love, which is returned many times over.

Exotic Health

Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Although they are beautiful and sweet, Exotics are prone to a number of potential health problems, most commonly related to their facial structure:

  • Breathing Difficulty: Brachycephalic syndrome is a condition that affects certain cat breeds with distinctive short-nosed or “brachycephalic” facial features. Breeds prone to this syndrome include Persian cats, Himalayans, and Exotic Shorthairs, among others. Brachycephalic cats have a distinctive appearance characterized by a short skull, flat face, and compressed upper respiratory tract.
  • Dental Malocclusions: Dental malocclusions in cats refer to misalignments of the teeth or jaws, disrupting the normal occlusion, or the way the upper and lower teeth fit together when the mouth is closed. Malocclusions can occur in various degrees of severity and may affect a cat’s ability to eat, groom, or may cause discomfort.
  • Excessive Tearing: Excessive tearing in cats, also known as epiphora, can be caused by various factors. While some tearing is normal, persistent or increased tearing may be indicative of an underlying issue.
  • Eye Conditions: Entropion in cats is a medical condition where the eyelids, usually the lower eyelids, roll inward, causing the fur and skin to rub against the cornea (the clear front part of the eye). This can lead to irritation, discomfort, and potential damage to the cornea. Entropion is not as common in cats as it is in some dog breeds, but it can still occur.
  • Heat Sensitivity: Cats can be sensitive to heat, and excessive heat can pose risks to their health.
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease: Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is an inherited genetic disorder that affects cats. It is characterized by the formation of fluid-filled cysts within the kidneys, which can gradually lead to kidney enlargement and impaired kidney function. PKD is most commonly observed in Persian cats, but it can also affect other breeds.
  • Ringworm: Ringworm in cats is a fungal infection caused by dermatophytes, which are fungi that can infect the skin, hair, and nails. Despite its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm but rather by various fungi, with the most common culprit being Microsporum canis. Ringworm is contagious and can affect not only cats but also other animals and humans.
  • Seborrhea Oleosa: Seborrhea oleosa, also known as oily seborrhea, is a skin condition in cats characterized by excessive oil production. This condition is often associated with an overactive sebaceous (oil-producing) gland, leading to greasy and oily skin and coat. Seborrhea oleosa is a form of feline seborrheic dermatitis, a group of skin disorders that affect the sebaceous glands.

Exotic Care

The Exotic is often nicknamed “the lazy man’s Persian.” Comb the Exotic twice a week to remove dead hair and keep the coat shiny and healthy. A monthly bath is a good idea. Be sure to blowdry the cat thoroughly.

Excessive tearing can be a problem in this breed, so wipe the corners of the eyes clean daily to prevent under-eye stains from forming. Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing.

It’s a good idea to keep an Exotic as an indoor-only cat. He’s not a scrapper and would fare poorly against other cats, dogs, coyotes and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors. Exotics who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.

Exotic Coat Color And Grooming

 In all respects but coat length, the Exotic shares the Persian’s sweet expression and soft round lines. It has a large, round head; large, round eyes; a short nose; full cheeks; and small ears with rounded tips. The head is supported by a short, thick neck and a deceptively sturdy, muscular body—a type known as “cobby.”

An Exotic’s legs are short, thick and strong with large, round, firm paws. The tail is short but proportional to the length of the cat’s body. A medium-length soft, thick, plush coat with a rich, thick undercoat completes the Exotic’s look. It does not have the ruff or the plumelike tail of the Persian.

Exotics come in different “looks,” known as extreme and traditional. “Extreme” Exotics, those seen in the show ring, have a flatter face, which may come with breathing problems. Cats with the traditional look have a more old-fashioned appearance, with a face that is not as flat and a nose that is set lower on the face with more of a “break,” permitting easier breathing. They are registered by the Traditional Cat Association.

Exotics of all stripes stand out for their infinite variety of coat colors and patterns. Imagine, if you will, seven solid color divisions — white, blue, black, red, cream, chocolate and lilac — plus silver and golden division colors of chinchilla and shaded silver or golden and blue chinchilla and blue shaded silver or golden; and then there are the shaded, smoke, tabby, calico, particolor and bicolor divisions. That’s not counting the various pointed patterns of the Himalayan.

Eye color is related to coat color. For instance, white Exotics have deep blue or brilliant copper eyes, or odd eyes—one copper and one blue; other solid-colored Exotics have brilliant copper eyes; silver and golden Persians have green or blue-green eyes; and so on.

Children And Other Pets

Exotics are adaptable and can do well in homes with children who treat them nicely. They also get along with cat-friendly dogs.

Life Span
8 to 15 years
7 to 12 pounds
Country Of Origin
United States
monitoring_string = "44e5bb901650ec61e9e0af1ff1bef5fe"