white Exotic Shorthair cat with bow-tie
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Exotic Shorthair Cat Breed Profile

Est. read time: 7 min.

The Exotic Shorthair cat is one of the most family-friendly, laid-back cat breeds you can find. People worldwide seek out the Exotic Shorthair due to this cat’s superb personality and adorable features. 

You might see an Exotic Shorthair cat and wonder if you’re looking at a shaved Persian, but that’s not the case. Though very similar in appearance and demeanor to the Persian cat, the Exotic Shorthair has a more easily maintained coat and a very people-oriented personality. 

The Exotic Shorthair is a loyal and dedicated breed and is well-loved. If you are looking to add a relaxed and adaptable cat to your life, put this cutie on your wish list.

Exotic Shorthair cat ...at a glance
Personality Sweet, loyal, affectionate
Life expectancy 10-15 years
Weight 6-13 lbs
Coat & colors Short, dense; various colors & patterns
Energy level Low
Affection level High
Friendliness High
Shedding level Low to Medium
Required grooming Medium

Overview of an Exotic Shorthair cat

Orange and white Exotic Shorthair cat

The Exotic Shorthair cat is a medium-sized cat that deeply resembles the Persian. These cats are heavily boned with thick and dense fur, large round heads, and large round eyes.


Male Exotic Shorthair cats will weigh anywhere from 8 to 13 pounds, and females between 6 and 12 pounds.  

The Exotic Shorthair cat is somewhat lazy. If they don’t get enough regular exercise, they can become overweight. Be sure to watch their weight and prevent obesity with a healthy diet and plenty of fun exercise. Bring out that laser pointer!


The Exotic Shorthair is not regarded as a very long cat, despite being heavily boned. From the tips of their snubbed nose to the end of their tails, they will be between 12 and 18 inches long.

They have a rather short tail that is shorter than their body length but still proportionate. Their short legs keep them a bit lower to the ground than other cats. 


The coat of an Exotic Shorthair is what distinguishes them from the Persian cat. Unlike the Persian, who has long and fine hair, the Exotic Shorthair has a thick, short, dense coat. Their plush coats include a thick undercoat that protects them from the elements. 


If you are looking for a companion for the long haul, the Exotic Shorthair is the cat to adopt. They are a relatively healthy breed. When properly cared for, they can live for up to 15 years! So, you better be willing to live with your furry best friend for a fifth of your life.

History of the Exotic Shorthair cat

black Exotic Shorthair kitten

The Exotic Shorthair is not an ancient breed with a shrouded history. They are a newer breed that developed from a breeder's desire to have a cat with the looks and temperament of a Persian cat, without the high-maintenance coat. 

In the 1950s and 1960s, they were bred in the United States by mixing Persian cats with American Shorthairs. This resulted in adorable kittens with very round faces and bodies, a short, snubbed nose, and large round eyes.

The kittens that looked more like Persians were then bred back to Persian cats to help enhance their Persian features. What resulted from this was a kitten with a short face, short stubby legs, and short fur that is dense when you run your fingers through it. 

The Cat Fanciers Association accepted the breed but ruled that the Exotic Shorthair needed to be bred with either another Exotic Shorthair or Persian cat. At first, they bred Exotic Shorthair kittens with Russian Blues and Burmese cats, but this did not result in the features the cat community wanted. 


Exotic Shorthair cat

The Exotic Shorthair is a short-haired breed best known for their stubby, flat noses and large round eyes. Their features are squashed, and might look a bit crowded on their face. Their nose, eyes, and mouth are all set in the center of their face. 

Their coat is very plush and dense. It will vary from the next Exotic Shorthair because any color or pattern is accepted by the breed standards.

Tabby? Yep. Bicolor. Uh-huh. Lilac? Sure. You get the idea.

Their large round eyes stand out as the most prominent feature on their face. Typically their eyes will be gold or copper, but they can also be blue or green. You probably won’t be able to guess what your Exotic Shorthair will look like before adopting them!

Personality traits

The Exotic Shorthair is one of the best cats to love. Period. 

They are sweet, quiet, loyal, and affectionate. They love a good sunbathing nap and enjoy watching the world go by outside a window. 

These cats are very adaptable, making them great choices for first-time pet parents. You can feel confident knowing your cat will get used to their new homes easily and won’t fret much if you need to move around. 

As relaxed as they are, the Exotic Shorthair still loves to play and receive attention. They might not want to play 24/7, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be active throughout the day.

Many people say that the Exotic Shorthair is more active than the Persian, and requires a bit more daily stimulation. 

Caring for this cat breed

This new cat breed was meant to introduce a cat similar to the Persian, but easier to groom. Indeed, the Exotic Shorthair’s short coat is much easier to maintain than the Persian’s. It does not require daily brushing, though weekly brushing is encouraged.

In fact, the Exotic Shorthair is sometimes called “the lazy man’s Persian” because their coat only needs a gentle combing to remain tangle-free.

With their flat faces, the Exotic Shorthair is prone to more tearing of the eyes. You will need to wipe your Exotic’s face on a regular basis so there's no staining.

You should also pay attention to their ears for any sign of infection or wax build-up. 

Exotic Shorthair cat in Litter-Robot

Your Exotic Shorthair will best take to a litter box that is clean and comfortable. We understand how difficult it can be to scoop the litter box at the recommended daily amount. With a self-cleaning litter box like Litter-Robot, you don’t have to worry about scooping or providing your Exotic with a clean bed of litter. Instead, Litter-Robot does the dirty work for you!

Possible health issues

The Exotic Shorthair is a relatively healthy breed, though their flat faces can lead to breathing problems. Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome is a common issue that can arise in Exotic Shorthairs. 

This condition impacts your cat’s ability to breathe properly and is seen in animals that have flat or squished-in faces (brachycephalics). Airflow through their nostrils is often limited, so they have to breathe more frequently through their mouths.

Exotic Shorthairs can also develop polycystic kidney disease (PKD), resulting in enlarged kidneys that improperly function. DNA kits can test for PKD—if you are buying rather than adopting, it’s a good idea to consult with your breeder about this health problem.

Adopting an Exotic Shorthair cat

When you adopt an Exotic Shorthair cat, you get a friend for a very long time. They will be loyal companions that spend much of their time ready to cuddle on the couch. Otherwise they’ll probably be seeking out the best sunny spots in the house, from which they’ll thoughtfully observe you.

This lap cat will become an integral part of your family and will make connections with all of the important people in your life.

As long as you give your Exotic Shorthair a life of leisure, with affection and plenty of one-on-one time, you will find yourself in the company of a great feline. 


Photo credits:

  • Tarsus ze Exotic
  • Cyrus Chew via Unsplash
  • Dan Wayman via Unsplash

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