Exotic Shorthairs

an Exotic Shorthair cat looking off in the distance

Exotic Shorthairs are a breed of cat that have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are known for their unique look, which is a combination of the Persian and American Shorthair breeds. Exotic Shorthairs are often referred to as “teddy bear cats” due to their round faces and thick fur.

These cats make great family pets because they are very affectionate and loyal. They are also very low maintenance, because they don’t need much grooming or exercise. Exotic Shorthairs are also known to be quite intelligent and can be easily trained.

This breed was developed in the 1950s by crossing Persians with American Shorthairs and other shorthair breeds. The cross breeding resulted in the Exotic Shorthair, a breed that shares its features and personality with the Persian, yet has a short, easy-to-care-for coat.

Exotics are extremely loyal and loving. They are very playful, and will enjoy playing games with their family. They are also very smart, and can learn tricks fairly quickly. They are a very healthy breed, and need minimal maintenance.

If you’re considering getting an Exotic Shorthair as a pet, there are a few things you should know. First of all, these cats need plenty of love and attention. They are very social animals and enjoy being around people. It’s important to give them plenty of time to play and interact with you.

Exotic Shorthairs also need regular grooming, as their thick fur can become matted if not taken care of properly. You should brush your cat at least once a week to keep their coat looking healthy and shiny. They may need to be given regular baths to keep their fur clean and free of dirt and debris. 

Exotics make very great family pets, but it’s important to dedicate time to being at home with them. Your cat will vocalize to let you know when they need more attention. They are calm, friendly and obedient as a rule, easily getting along with their family and other pets.

When it comes to diet, Exotic Shorthairs should be fed high-quality cat food that is specifically designed for their breed. This will help ensure that they get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy. Additionally, you should make sure that your cat has access to plenty of fresh water at all times.

Overall, Exotic Shorthairs are a great choice for those looking for a loving and loyal companion. They are low maintenance and require minimal grooming, making them an ideal pet for busy households. With the right care and attention, these cats can provide years of joy and companionship to their owners.

Exotic Shorthairs Information

  • Average Height: 10 to 12 inches
  • Average Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
  • Coat Type: Short 
  • Coat Appearance: They have a short and thick double-coat with a rich texture
  • Coat Colors: White, gray, black, orange, and chocolate
  • Grooming Needs: Moderate
  • Shedding: Medium shedding
  • Brushing Requirements: They need to be brushed 1 – 2 times a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: With family fine but not so much with strangers
  • Excessive Meow: Moderate
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Comfortable in cold, not in heat.
  • Good Pet: They are loving, gentle, and loyal cats, so yes!
  • Safe with Children: With training, yes!
  • Good with Other Cats: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes 
  • Exercise Needs: Medium need
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Polycystic Kidney disease, Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), Dental malocclusions, Cherry eyes, entropion, excessive tearing, Seborrhea, and certain respiratory conditions. 
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 8 to 15 years

Physical Appearance of Exotics

an orange Exotic Shorthair kitten with blue eyes

Exotics have a lot of similarities with the Persians when it comes to their appearance. The only major difference is that these cats have a shorter coat. The plush coat of Exotics is one of the most fascinating features of these cats. They have a short double-coat that is soft and thick. Unlike the Persians, they have a coat that is not as fluffy.

They have a square-shaped, heavily boned body. Though they look bulky, it is not so. The bulky appearance is because of their heavy bones and thick coat. Their legs are short, thick, and strong with large and round paws. The tail is short and proportionate to the length of the body.

They have a big and round head which is supported by a short thick neck. Their snout is short and almost pressed against their face. Their ears are large and rounded at the tips. They have big round eyes.

Like the Persians, their coat can have a variety of colors. The most common colors are white, gray, black, orange, and chocolate. The color of their eyes is related to the color of the coat.

White fur Exotics have deep blue or copper eyes and other color Exotics have copper eyes. Sometimes their eyes will be different colors. For example white fur Exotics can have one blue and one copper color eye.

Temperament of Exotics

Just like the Persians, Exotics are also sweet and obedient cats. They are calm, friendly, and medium energy cats. Exotics tend to be more curious and active than Persian cats. They are loyal to the family members and are very affectionate towards them.

The love that you give them will always be appreciated and returned back to you. They form strong bonds with family members and they love sharing a bed or sofa with you.

They are very out-going and don’t mind interacting with other pets who treat them well. Exotics will get along with most other pets in your home.

Training Exotics

an Exotic Shorthair laying outside near the grass

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but it’s best not to punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they do use the litter box. Positive reinforcement will help them understand what kind of behavior is expected of them.

You’ll want to have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside. As long as you can do that you should have no problems getting them to use it. Just remember to keep it clean because this is the main reason why cats stop using their litter box.

Like most cats, they do enjoy scratching their nails on things. If you like your furniture looking new it’s a good idea to set up one or two scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or anything else, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. A scratching post will give them a place they can scratch anytime they have the urge and prevent damage to your furniture. Like teaching them anything, it may take time for them to understand the purpose of the scratching post. If you stick with it eventually they will learn.

If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets. After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, watch their behavior. If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in to interrupt the behavior. If you want your current pets to accept the new one it’s best to do this before an existing pet gets too annoyed.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. We have an entire article that shows you how to train your pets with clicker sounds. Basically you make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully they will continue to do it.

Their Compatibility with Children

a cream color, a white color and an orange color Exotic Shorthair kitten laying together in a cat bed

Exotics are a great pet for families with children. They are super friendly and love to play with kids. Their sweet and quiet behavior helps them tolerate some mild abuse from smaller kids. Exotics enjoy playing games with children and they don’t mind being cuddled or held by children.

Like with all pets, teach your children how to interact with your cats. Exotics have a dense coat and it could be tricky for the children to hold them.

Though the cat is gentle and non-aggressive towards children, until you know how they play together it is best to have an adult keep an eye on them when they are playing together. This will prevent accidents from happening.

Best Climate for Exotics

For these cats, a cool indoor environment is best. Just like the Persians, these cats are used to living in cold climates. While their thick coat keeps them comfortable in cooler weather, they are not able to tolerate extreme cold like the Persians because of their shorter coats.

They have a short nose and air passages, so they have difficulty cooling their body in hot or humid weather. Their flat faces prevent them from breathing and panting efficiently making it difficult for them to cool down properly.

To keep them cool during summers, it is best to keep them inside in a cool environment. If your home does get a little warm, make sure they have enough water to stay hydrated. Water and a cool environment will keep them happy all summer long.

The Attention the Exotic Needs

Exotics love getting attention from their owners. Like the Persians, they like to play with children and other family members. Letting them sit on your lap and frequent cuddles are something this breed loves. They have medium energy and enjoy playing with all sorts of toys to stay active.

Try not to leave them alone for longer than necessary. They do not like staying alone and leaving them alone can cause them to develop separation anxiety.

Health Issues

Brachycephalic Syndrome

an Exotic Shorthair that looks like an angry cat meme

Brachycephalic Syndrome is a genetic condition affecting cats with short muzzles, like Persians, Himalayans and British Shorthairs. Brachycephalic Syndrome is associated with upper airway obstruction, which causes difficulty breathing. Brachycephalic Syndrome can be mild or severe and is often caused by the anatomical abnormalities of the cat’s head and face. These abnormalities are often seen in cats with a “smushed” face and include a narrowed nostrils, elongated soft palate, and everted laryngeal saccules.

The primary symptoms of Brachycephalic Syndrome are labored breathing, snorting or snoring, gagging or retching, exercise intolerance, and in severe cases, collapse. Although cats with milder forms may not have any signs of the condition, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with this syndrome.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that affects a cat’s kidneys. It’s associated with the formation of multiple fluid-filled cysts in their kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure and other health problems.

PKD is caused by a mutation in the PKD1 or PKD2 gene, which produces proteins that help regulate cell growth and division. In cats with PKD, these proteins are not produced correctly, leading to abnormal cell growth and the formation of cysts on and in their kidneys.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a common and potentially serious condition that can affect cats of all ages. It’s associated with inflammation and irritation in the bladder, which can lead to difficulty urinating and increased urination frequency. 

The exact cause of FLUTD isn’t known, but it’s believed to be related to stress, diet, and environment. Stress can be caused by changes in the household like a new pet or baby, moving, or changes in their routine. Diet may play a role if your cat is eating too much dry food or not drinking enough water. Environmental factors such as exposure to toxins and bacteria can also contribute to FLUTD.

Cherry Eyes

a cat that has cherry eyes resting outside

Cherry eyes, also known as prolapsed nictitans glands, are a common eye condition in cats. The condition occurs when the cat’s third eyelid is pushed out of its normal place and begins to protrude from the corner of their eye. This protrusion can cause irritation and discomfort for your cat, as well as an unsightly appearance.

Symptoms of Feline Cherry Eyes

Common symptoms of cherry eyes include:

  • Redness and swelling in the corner of their eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • A “bulging” appearance in the corner of their eyes
  • Eye discharge
  • Squinting or pawing at the affected eye
  • General irritation


Entropion is a condition in cats, associated with one or both eyelids turning inward into their eyes. This condition can cause irritation and discomfort to the cat and can even lead to sight loss if not treated promptly. Common causes of entropion include genetic predisposition, trauma, or inflammation due to infection.

Another common condition with Exotics is dental malocclusion (crooked teeth) which happens when there is a misalignment of the teeth of the two dental arches. Tooth extraction may help correct the problem. Your vet will be able to give you the best advice after examining your cat’s teeth.

Teary Eyes

Just like humans, cats can also have teary eyes. There could be several reasons why your cat’s eyes are constantly watery. One of the most common reasons is allergies. Cats are known for being allergic to a wide range of things such as pollen, dust, and even certain foods. When this happens, their eyes can become red, itchy and watery.

Another possible cause of teary eyes in cats is conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of their eye’s conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, as well as other irritants such as smoke or chemicals. Other signs of conjunctivitis include eye redness, swelling, discharge and squinting.

In some cases, teary eyes can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as glaucoma, uveitis or corneal ulcers. These conditions require immediate veterinary attention to prevent permanent damage to their eyes and prevent vision loss.

If you notice that your cat’s eyes are constantly watery, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to perform a thorough examination and determine the underlying cause of their teary eyes. Depending on the cause, your veterinarian could prescribe medication or recommend other treatments to manage their condition.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease in cats is a common problem affecting their gums and teeth. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth, which leads to bacterial infection in the surrounding gum tissue. The condition can result in pain, inflammation, tooth loss, and other serious health complications if left untreated.

Symptoms of Feline Periodontal Disease

The symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and could go unnoticed until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Drooling or excessive salivation
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Difficulty eating or reluctance to eat – Pawing at their mouth or face
  • Swelling in their face or jaw

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a dental examination.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

an Exotic Shorthair cat laying on the floor in a kitchen under the kitchen table

Exotics don’t have high grooming needs. You should still brush their fur two times a week. Regular bushings will help remove the loose fur from their body and also untangle any clumps of fur and minimize matting. You might have to brush them more frequently in spring because that is when they shed their undercoat more.

Check and trim their nails once a week. If their nails get too long it can make walking difficult. With shorter nails, it gives them reasons to use it on your furniture to wear their nails down.

Brushing their teeth once a week helps them keep good dental hygiene. If you see any signs of plaque or smell anything bad in their mouth, call your vet for a check-up. Preventing periodontal disease isn’t too hard with regular teeth brushings.

Exotics’ eyes can tear excessively which can cause staining around the eyes. As needed, clean the area around the eyes using a soft cotton cloth. Similarly, check their ears for dirt or wax build-up. If there is any buildup, use a moist cotton cloth to clear only the visible part of the ears.

Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your cat while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.

Feeding Exotics

a close up of a pile of cat food

We recommend that you feed your Exotic between ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality cat food that is split between two meals.

The exact meal size will depend upon the activities that your cat does during the day. A high energy cat who spends a lot of time playing will need more food than a low energy cat who prefers to relax. Exotics have a tendency to gain weight. Monitor their activity level and how much you feed them and don’t feed them table scraps or people food.

The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you feed them has the necessary nutrients.

Related Questions:

How did Exotics Originate?

Exotics are a relatively new breed and were developed during the 1950s. Carolyn Bussey, an American breeder, cross-bred a Persian with a brown Burmese to create a brown Persian cat. What resulted was a cat with similar features like Persian in terms of looks and personality, except that the crossbred cat had short hair. This interested other breeders as well, and they started working on developing shorthair versions of the Persians. The breed was officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) as ‘the Exotics’ in 1967.

Do Exotics Have Two Different Appearances?

Yes. These cats have two different appearances – called the extreme and the traditional. The Extreme Exotics have a slightly flatter face and shorter snouts. They have a higher chance to have breathing problems. As for the Traditional Exotics, their face is less flat and the snout is a little longer. Because their snout is longer they don’t have as many breathing problems as the extremes. Other than the shape of their face, everything else is the same for both Exotic types.

Are Exotics Hypoallergenic?

No, Exotics are not Hypoallergenic. Because of their shorter coats, some people think that they will not trigger allergies but this is not true. People with allergic reactions have it because of dander (dead flakes of skin on your cat). When the dander is shed from your cat, people with allergies can have a mild allergic reaction.

Author Profile
A woman with curly hair holding a cat.
Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.