ExcitedCats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Exotic Shorthair Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Traits & Facts

Height: 10–12 inches
Weight: 10–15 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: 96 colors, including blue, black, cream, and tortoiseshell
Suitable for: Families looking for a loving and loyal cat with a sweet personality
Temperament: People-loving, friendly, gets along well with children and other pets

If you’re looking for a sweet and loving cat with a sweet personality and a sprinkling of sass, the Exotic Shorthair is an excellent choice. These cute kitties were bred as a shorthaired alternative to the Persian and share many of the same character traits. You might also see this breed referred to as simply “Exotics.”

While they are similar to Persian cats in many ways, there are also differences to be aware of. Unlike Persians, Exotic Shorthairs have high energy levels and enjoy living with active families who can keep them entertained when they’re not being cuddled.

Exotic Shorthairs are a relatively young breed, having only been in existence for the last 50 years. As a result, you might not know as much about them as some of the more well-known cat breeds. All that is about to change! Join us as we tell you everything you need to know about these adorable chunks of cuteness.Cat ball divider 1

Exotic Shorthair Kittens — Before You Welcome One To Your Family …

Three little Exotic Shorthair Kittens_Studio95_shutterstock
Image Credit: Studio95, Shutterstock

We’re sure that once you lay eyes on an Exotic Shorthair kitten, you might find it practically impossible to come home without one! While it’s undeniable that these cats are cute, there’s much to find out about them before you take the plunge and bring that kitten home.

There are a few different health issues that affect Exotic Shorthairs, in part due to the snub-nosed shape of their face. While this combination of short noses and large eyes makes these cats classically cute, it can also create breathing difficulties, as well as eye problems. That means your Exotic may need more trips to the veterinarian than other cat breeds, including the possibility of expensive surgery.

Exotic Shorthairs love people, so they can suffer from separation anxiety if they end up in a home where everyone is out for much of the day. They’re not so keen on strangers, though, so don’t be surprised if they make themselves scarce when you have guests over.

What’s the Price of Exotic Shorthair Kittens?

Exotics are a relatively young breed, having only been in existence for the past 50 years, but that doesn’t mean they’re not popular! It’s best to buy one from a reputable breeder with plenty of experience with Exotics. The price of Exotic kittens will often depend on their pedigree, so expect to pay anywhere from $1,000–$2,000 for a standard pedigree and up to $5,000 for a kitten with premium breeding.

Kittens with excellent pedigrees, perfect markings, and a classic Exotic appearance will command the highest prices. Don’t make the mistake of buying from the first breeder you make contact with, especially if their prices seem too good to be true. It’s important to speak to any breeder to check that the parent cats don’t carry the genes for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), as this can cause significant health issues for any kittens who inherit it. It’s also recommended to meet the parent cats if you can, as well as ask the breeder for a written guarantee of health.

While you might find an Exotic Shorthair in a cat shelter, as a pedigree breed, they probably won’t be in there for long! It’s worth registering your interest with local rescue centers. As well as working out much cheaper than buying a kitten, it’s also a wonderful way of giving an Exotic a loving new home.3 cat face divider

Three Little-Known Facts About Exotic Shorthair

1. Exotics are nicknamed “The Lazy Man’s Persian”

The Exotic Shorthair breed came about from a desire to create a breed as similar as possible to the longhaired Persian, but without a high-maintenance coat that requires daily grooming. In the 1950s, breeders crossed Persian cats with American Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, and a variety of other breeds. The result was named the Exotic Shorthair.

The breed was officially accepted by The Cat Fancier’s Association in 1966. The breed standard is identical to that of the Persian, except for the coat, which is described as plush, dense, and having a rich undercoat. As well as being nicknamed, “The Lazy Man’s Persian,” thanks to their low-maintenance coat, you might see these cuddly and chunky cats referred to as “teddy bears,” and it’s not hard to see why!

2. They come in a huge range of colors

While some breed standards only accept a small number of colors or even just one in the case of the Singapura cat, the Exotic Shorthair doesn’t fall into either of those categories. Just like the Persian, the Exotic can be found in a staggering 96 color variations!

This includes a range of solid colors, including cream, chocolate, lilac, chocolate, red, black, and blue. Silver and gold coats are also listed, with chinchilla silver, shaded silver, shaded golden, and blue chinchilla golden all accepted. In the smoke and shaded division, you’ll find shell cameo, shaded tortoiseshell, shell black, chocolate smoke, and many more! As if that wasn’t enough, you also have the tabby division with an incredible 23 tabby variants, the parti-color division with four variants, the calico and the bi-color division with 20 shades, and last but not least, the Himalayan division with 21 variants.

The Exotic really does come in every shade of the rainbow and then some!

3. Exotics Shorthairs can suffer from separation anxiety

While many cat breeds are more than happy to spend a significant amount of time on their own (napping in the sun, probably!), the same cannot be said of the sensitive Exotic. These cats can become so attached to their human family members that they can become anxious if left alone for long periods.

For that reason, it’s best to only consider adding an Exotic Shorthair cat to your family if there’s usually someone at home for most of the day. Their separation anxiety can lead to destructive behavior, including scratching, excessive vocalization, or toileting outside of their litter box.

If you do have to leave your Exotic alone for longer periods than normal, consider providing them with plenty of enrichment activities that they can amuse themselves with while you’re away from home. You can leave an automatic feeder to release food at set intervals and provide interactive toys and puzzles to minimize boredom and anxiety.

Exotic shorthair cat_Ewa Studio_shutterstock
Image Credit: Ewa Studio, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Shorthairs are smart cookies. While they’re generally peaceful and content to enjoy the company of their family members, they’re also clever and can quickly pick up new tricks. They love to be challenged with food puzzles or particularly tricky toys that will challenge them to use their brain cells to the maximum.

While overall, they’re a calm breed, they do have a relatively high energy drive, which means they also enjoy plenty of playtime in between all those important naps. Their curious nature means you’ll need to come up with plenty of games and challenges to keep them entertained.

Adorably, Exotics take well to being trained. So, if you’ve always wanted a cat whom you can teach to high-five, sit, or play fetch, you might just have met your perfect match.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Exotics are an excellent choice for families, thanks to their outgoing nature. They’re inquisitive without being pushy, as well as friendly and kind. They enjoy playing and learning new tricks, so they are great mates for children. Once playtime is over, they’ll be happy to curl up for a nap or sit on someone’s lap for endless cuddles.

As we mentioned further up, they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. They bond strongly with their family and can find it stressful when everyone is out of the house. For that reason, it’s probably best to only consider an Exotic if you know there will normally be at least one member of the household at home at any given point.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The Exotic is an adaptable breed, meaning they’re likely to get along with most other pets in the household. They rarely use their claws, so your dog’s nose should be safe from scratching! When introducing pets to each other, make sure you do so slowly and always in a controlled environment. Keep the first few sessions short and sweet, and reward each pet with their favorite treats once they’re back in their own space.

Having another pet in the same house as an Exotic can help minimize the chances of them developing separation anxiety when their owners are away from home. If there is another cat or friendly dog around to keep them company while you’re at work, they’ll be much more likely to find ways to pass the time before you get home.

3 cat divider

Things to Know When Owning an Exotic Shorthair

Deciding to add a sweet and friendly Exotic to your family is a tempting decision, but not one you should rush into. You’ll need to make sure you have enough time and money to give them the life they deserve. There are a few important issues to think about before you take the plunge, so let’s go through those now.

Food & Diet Requirements 

While many Exotics will do well on high-quality cat food, others will require a more specialized diet. To start with, see if your breeder or rescue center can let you know the brand of food they use, and start feeding your new cat the same variety. This will minimize the chances of an upset stomach, while also maintaining consistency as your kitten adjusts to their new surroundings.

If you decide to switch to a different brand, do so over a week or so, and ask your veterinarian for advice if unsure. Feeding a diet that’s higher in wet food can help reduce the possibility of your Exotic developing feline urinary tract infections.

Exotic Shorthair Cat Breed Info
Photo credit: RobynRandell by Pixabay

Exotics can be at a higher risk of developing obesity than some other breeds. This means you’ll need to keep a close eye on their weight and implement a weight loss management program with the help of your veterinarian if your cat puts on excessive weight. Encouraging exercise is also a great way to keep obesity at bay, but remember that any exercise will have to be balanced with any airway issues that your cat may have. We discuss this in more detail later.

Some Exotics can suffer from something called Calcium Oxalate Urolithiasis, which results in bladder stones. This can be minimized by feeding a specific diet designed to promote feline urinary health. These feeds are usually high in protein and contain potassium citrate. They can usually be found in specialist pet stores and at your veterinary clinic.


The Exotic Shorthair has a relatively high-energy drive and definitely enjoys good play sessions. You’ll want to set aside time every day for either training or playing with your Exotic to make sure they get enough exercise. They’ll enjoy going for short walks outside (in cool weather) and playing with food puzzles, interactive toys, and more!

After they’ve had their exercise, most Exotics are more than happy to curl up and enjoy a lazy nap. You may find that your Exotic is most active at dawn and dusk, so you can tailor your exercise sessions to coincide with those times.

Many Exotic Shorthair owners decide to keep their cats indoors, using air conditioning during hot weather to reduce the risk of any breathing problems.

Training 🎾

Some cats might think that training is a waste of time, and they’d rather take another nap instead. The Exotic doesn’t fall into that category. Their intelligent and curious nature makes them the perfect candidate for learning tricks, as well as simply enjoying playing with their toys.

You will have so much fun teaching your Exotic new tricks, anything from fetch, sit, and wave to going for a walk on a harness. The world’s your oyster when it comes to training your Exotic!

Just make sure not to do anything too strenuous, such as an agility course requiring a great deal of running, during high temperatures. This can cause breathing difficulties for Exotics due to their short noses, especially when it’s hot.

black exotic shorthair cat
Image Credit: Unsplash

Grooming ✂️

“The Lazy Man’s Persian” comes into its own here. With their short, low-shedding coat, a quick brush once a week is all they’ll need—for most of the year. Their dense undercoat may shed once or twice a year, in which case, you’ll probably want to increase the amount you groom them at this point.

While it might not take long to get their coat looking in top condition, remember that they’ll still need their nails trimmed regularly. This is something you can easily train your Exotic to accept without any trouble, as long as you have plenty of rewards on hand!

Check your Exotic’s ears, teeth, and eyes regularly. They can be prone to tear staining and several eye problems, so if anything seems unusual, be sure to seek out your veterinarian for a checkup.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Exotic is prone to a fairly long list of possible health conditions. While these may not affect your kitten, it’s still important to be aware of them.

Minor Conditions

  • Calcium Oxalate Urolithiasis
  • Eye problems, including cataracts
  • Obesity
  • Dental issues

yarn ball divider

Male vs. Female

If you’ve decided that an Exotic Shorthair kitten should be joining your family as soon as possible, the only thing left to decide is whether you’d prefer a male or female.

Bear in mind that every kitten is an individual, and their personality is going to depend on so much more than if they’re female or male. You might well have a firm idea about which sex you’d prefer, but then choose the exact opposite when you go to visit a litter of kittens!

Males are slightly larger than females and are often said to be extremely loving and devoted to their owners. Female Exotics may be slightly more free-spirited than their male counterparts, but just as affectionate when the mood strikes them!cat + line divider

Final Thoughts

The Exotic Shorthair is a popular and well-loved breed and with good reason. Their adorable attitude of being devoted but not over-the-top, clever but not demanding, and kind yet playful mean they’re the perfect breed for plenty of households.

Just make sure you’re able to provide them with a cool enough house, as well as members of the family who understand that while Exotics love exercise, they shouldn’t be pushed to the point that they have trouble breathing. They also love companionship, so a home where they’ll have company most of the time will keep them at their happiest.

If you think you’re the perfect match for an Exotic, we doubt that you’ll be disappointed. In fact, you might just find yourself with a new fluffy shadow who loves to spend all their time with you. And what could be better than that?

thematic break

Featured Image credit: Mos Kosalakorn, Shutterstock / Fish Icon