Breeds

Oriental Longhair Cat Breed Profile: Care, Traits, Facts & More

With more than 600 color, pattern, and coat length combinations, the Oriental cat is a true exploration in coat possibilities for bred cats. The Oriental Longhair's beautiful coat and elegant body makes it stand out in crowd, and it's adoring personality will have you in love with breed at first meet. Read this article to learn more about appearance, traits, and care of this spectacular breed in this cat breed overview.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: January 25, 2023 | 6 min read

Oriental Longhair Cat outside walking looking up

The exquisite Oriental Longhair is a study of all the possibilities of coat color and pattern for your furry friend. Also known as the British Angora, the Oriental Longhair shares a physical resemblance to its relative, the Siamese cat, but you’ll learn this breed is one-of-a-kind. Read this guide for a breakdown of the Oriental Longhair breed’s history, personality, appearance, and more.

  • weight iconWeight6-12 pounds
  • height iconHeight9-11 Inches
  • lifespan iconLifespan10-15 years
  • color iconColorsWide variety of colors, shades, and patterns

Breed History

Developed in the 1950s century by breeders looking to expand the coat variety of the Siamese cat, the Oriental cat was born to be a stunner. European breeders crossed the Siamese cat with breeds like the British Shorthair, Russian Blues, and Abyssinians to create what is now known as the Oriental cat. 

By the 1970s, the Oriental cat was being imported to the United States, where it quickly gained a following. While the Cats Fanciers’ Association (CFA) accepted the Oriental Shorthair for championship status in 1977, the Oriental Longhair was not recognized until 1995. 

Today, the Oriental Shorthair, also called the British Angora, Mandarin, or Javanese, is known for not only its beautiful coat but also its friendly and lovable personality. This cat is a social and very talkative breed that loves to be in the company of its family.

Personality & Temperament

If you are looking for a cat that is never aloof, consider the Oriental Shorthair. This cat has a big personality and loves to communicate with their human. The Oriental cat has a good-natured temperament and is energetic and curious. This cat will love spending the day with you and thrives off attention. 

The Oriental cat is intelligent and high energy. This kitty plays well with others and is a great addition to a busy household with multiple pets. Make sure to schedule regular playtime with your Oriental Shorthair and provide additional enrichment activities for your cat to utilize while you’re away.

While this feline has a high activity drive, your Oriental Shorthair really just wants to spend time with you. This lap cat will happily spend the day cuddled up on the couch and may follow you everywhere you go.

Size & Appearance

Oriental Longhair Cat face close up
While this cat has a slender appearance, it is quite muscular.

The Oriental Longhair is a sleek, muscular feline that shares many similarities with the Siamese cat, especially their triangular heads with large ears and almond-shaped eyes. 

This cat is long, reaching up to 18 inches. These sleek, muscular felines cat weigh up to 12 pounds and carry themselves gracefully. This cat’s legs are long, slim, and in proportion to the rest of their body. 

The Oriental Longhair has a medium-length silky coat. Their tale is long and thin, with hair spreading out like a plume. The hair on this cat’s tail is longer than on the rest of the body. The Oriental cat’s coat may be solid, shaded, smoked, parti-color, tabby, bi-color, or pointed. 

Like the Siamese cat, the Oriental cat may have bright blue eyes, but this kitty may also have green or a mix of two different eye colors.

Coat & Colors

While the Oriental Longhair has a foundation in the Siamese breed, their coat is completely their own. The medium-length coat of the Oriental Longhair is fine and silky without a downy undercoat. The hair on this cat’s tail is longer than their body. 

This breed has a full variety of coat colors and patterns: 

  1. Solid – These cats have the same fur color from root to tip. These cats have no shading, markings, or ticking but still come in various hues. The Oriental Longhair may have any of these coat colors: blue, chestnut, cinnamon, cream, ebony, fawn, lavender, red, or white.
  2. Shaded – The shaded Oriental cat has a white, cream, or apricot undercoat with darker-colored shading on the face, sides, and tail.
  3. Smoke – A smoke-colored cat will have hair that’s different colors at the tip and root of the hair. The roots of this cat are white, with only the tips displaying color. The effect is especially visible on long-haired cats.
  4. Parti-color – This cat displays patches of color throughout their coat. The patches may be diluted colors of the main hair color.
  5. Tabby – You’ll notice stripes, whorls, spots, and more throughout this feline’s fur. The patterns are well-defined.
  6. Ticked Tabby – A ticked tabby will have ticked hair with various shades of marking and root color. The cat will have noticeable spots, stripes, or patches, and the legs, face, and tail will have distinct striping. You’ll notice this cat has at least one “necklace” of hair.
  7. Spotted Tabby – A spotted tabby will have spots of various sizes throughout their coat. The spots may be evenly distributed throughout the coat. The underside of the body will have “vest buttons,” and it will have stripes on the legs and tail.
  8. Mackerel Tabby – This cat will have defined stripes running perpendicular to the feline’s spine. The legs and tail will be ringed. This cat will have an “M” on the forehead.
  9. Classic Tabby – A classic tabby will have defined markings that are the same on each side of the body. The legs are evenly barred, and the cat will have “necklaces” coming up the chest. This cat will have the letter “M” on the forehead.
  10. Patched Tabby – A Patched tabby is an established classic, spotted, mackerel, or ticked tabby with patches of red throughout the coat.
  11. Bi-color – The Bi-color cat is an established color, shaded, smoked, parti-color, or tabby with the addition of white.
  12. Pointed – This cat has a clear color and may have subtle shading. The cat has clearly defined color points on the ears, feet, legs, and tail.

Care

Oriental Longhairs loves socializing with their family. Make sure to give your kitty daily cuddles and playtime. This breed needs attention and will be unhappy if left alone too often. 

Use puzzle feeders, puzzle games, and interactive toys to keep your cat mentally stimulated. “Cat proof” your space before bringing home this curious kitty. Oriental Longhairs are an active breed and will love exploring their new home.

Keep a tidy litter box for your Oriental Longhair. It is critical for your cat’s hygiene that you clean the box daily, if not twice daily.

Nutrition

As a carnivore, the Oriental Longhair requires a meat-centric diet. Feed your feline a well-balanced, quality food that is from a variety of protein sources. Quality food will ensure your cat is getting all of its essential nutrients.

Your feline will also need access to water throughout the day. Choose a ceramic or metal bowl that will not cause whisker fatigue. Avoid a plastic bowl that can hold bacteria in the small scratches on the bowl’s surface. Change your cat’s water daily, as they prefer fresh, clean water. 

To encourage better hydration, consider purchasing a cat water fountain. The moving water encourages your cat to drink more water throughout the day.

Shedding & Hypoallergenic

The Oriental Longhair does shed and should not be considered hypoallergenic. Consider a different breed if you are looking for a cat that sheds minimally.

Grooming

Despite having a long, sleek coat, the Oriental Longhair does not require intense grooming. This cat does not have a double coat, so a once-a-week brushing to remove debris and conditioner the hair will be plenty for this furry friend.

Because this breed is prone to periodontal disease, it is recommended that you practice regular tooth brushing with your cat. In addition, check your cat’s ears and skin for signs of irritation. This could be a sign of an underlying health condition, and regular check-ups could prevent serious issues in the future.

You should always trim your cat’s nails, which can be done at home or by a groomer.

Training

Interested in teaching your cat new tricks? The Oriental Longhair is highly trainable and will enjoy the time spent with you learning new tasks. With positive reinforcement, this intelligent breed will be an A+ student. Train your Oriental Longhair to come, fetch, high-five, and even walk on a leash.

Health & Lifespan

Oriental Longhair Cat face with smirk in dark room
While this purebred cat is not extremely common, you may get lucky and find one of these lovable furballs at your local shelter.

While the Oriental Longhair is generally considered healthy, certain genetic conditions are commonly found in this breed, including periodontal disease, progressive retinal atrophy, liver amyloidosis, kinked tails, and crossed eyes. The life expectancy of the Oriental Longhair is up to 15 years.

Price

Expect to pay between $400 to $2,000 for an Oriental Longhair cat. Breeder lineage will play a large role in cost, as well as the kitten’s color and markings. Always seek out a reputable breeder to ensure your kitten is healthy and well-socialized before entering your home.

As Family Pets

The mild-mannered Oriental Longhair makes a great family pet. This vocal cat will be happy to chat with anyone who will listen and will enjoy spending time with the whole family, including children. While this cat prefers the attention of human companions, the Oriental Longhair will also tolerate other cats and dogs. Keep this feline away from small pets that may be viewed as prey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Oriental Longhair Cats Affectionate?

Oriental Longhairs are extremely affectionate and will love cuddling and following you around everywhere you go.

Do Oriental Longhairs speak a lot?

This is a very vocal breed. Expect to hear your Oriental Longhair’s “thoughts” throughout the day.

Final Thoughts

The Oriental Longhair takes everything we love about the Siamese cate and gives it a bit of flair. This feline’s intelligence and pleasant demeanor make it a great addition to a household that wants a cat that keeps everyone on their toes. Give this kitty all the love and attention it deserves, and you will have a very happy furry friend.

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