CFA Oriental Breed Council - The Oriental Cat

The Oriental is a study in long straight lines. They have long tubular bodies, long slender legs and tail all in perfect harmony and balance with each other. The dramatic almond eyes and large flaring ears compliment the wedge shape of the head. The body is firm and muscular, though looking as light as air, they have surprising weight and are not fragile by any stretch of the imagination.

While the Shorthair Classes of the Orientals have short, tight coats, often referred to as “painted on.” Outcrossing to Javanese and Balinese gave us the Longhair Varieties of the Orientals. These Longhair Orientals have the same long lines as their Shorthair counterparts with the addition of a long silky coat, and plumed tail.

Orientals bond very closely with their owners and very often they seem more like small children than a cat. They always want to be part of your activities. Should you try to sit quietly and read a book or newspaper, they will find a way to sit in the center of it and give you that look with those dramatic eyes. They seem to know when you are sad and will comfort you in their own special way. If you are gone for long hours, you may expect to be scolded when you return. Open a door or closet that has been shut for a time and they are right there to help you explore the mystery of that new area. Many Orientals learn to fetch, providing hours of entertainment.

The Oriental was accepted to compete in the Championship Classes in 1977 and has quickly become the one of the more popular breeds in CFA. The first Orientals seen in the United States were actually called Foreign Shorthairs. They were "lavender" in color and were imported from Great Britain. As interest in the breed grew, other colors were developed. Originally included in the gene pool were the Siamese, American Shorthair, Colorpoint and later Javanese and Balinese.

The Orientals have a very wide and diverse gene pool both because of their original ancestry and because of their popularity throughout the world. It is because of this diverse gene pool that they are used for out-crossing by the Havana Brown breed and now also the Balinese and Javanese (Longhair pointed colors only).

Text by Laura McIntyre