Oriental Shorthair - breed information and advice

Long, slim and elegant-looking, Oriental Shorthairs are extroverts and love human contact and lots of attention. A member of the Siamese breed group, they are curious, extremely intelligent and vocal - they love to 'talk'. This breed makes for a good companion, but needs lots of play opportunities to prevent boredom.
To ensure your Oriental Shorthair is protected in the case of an emergency, take a look at our cat insurance policies.

Breed information


Colour: Oriental Shorthairs come in many colour variations - there are believed to be more than 300.

Coat: Short, sleek, fine and glossy. Needs grooming once a week.

Life span: Many Oriental Shorthairs reach their late teens. Average life expectancy is 15.

Eye conditions

Like all cats, the Oriental Shorthair can suffer from eye problems such as conjunctivitis (inflammation of the insides of a cat’s eyelids); glaucoma (caused by increased pressure inside the eyeball); cataracts (opacity of the lens); and entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids). Oriental Shortairs may also experience problems with their retinas (the light-sensitive tissue that lines the inner surface of the eye). These include progressive retinal atrophy, when cells of the retina begin to decline in function, thereby leading to impaired vision or even blindness. Retinal atrophy can be hereditary or caused by glaucoma, trauma, cancer or vitamin deficiencies, among other things. Treating any primary cause of retinal atrophy is important, but unfortunately there is nothing that can be done for the inherited form. However, as it is not painful, many cats can adapt and live a happy life.


We paid £3,669 to treat Carly the cat for eye disorders in 2016

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Feline asthma

Oriental Shorthairs, like other cats, can suffer from problems in the lower respiratory tract (the trachea and the lungs). Feline asthma, for example, occurs when allergies and irritants cause the lower airways (bronchi) and lungs to become inflamed and sensitive. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing. While asthma is not curable, it is manageable with various longterm medications including tablets, injections and even inhalers.


Respiratory problems are the fourth most common illnesses we see in Oriental Shorthairs

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Liver disease

There are several causes of liver disease in cats, and it is something the Oriental Shorthair can be prone to. Liver disease can be caused by direct infection of the organ, inflammation of the gall bladder, the pancreas, the kidney tissue, or inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment involves various medicines depending on the cause and is likely to include antibiotics, antiinflammatories, vitamins, fluids and liver protectants. With these treatments, a cat may be able to lead a relatively normal life.


We paid £2,368 to treat Bruno the cat for liver disorders in 2016

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Kidney disease

Cats’ kidneys are responsible for filtering the waste products from their blood into their urine. Oriental Shorthairs may be affected by kidney disease caused by infections, blockages, tumours or toxins (especially licking anti-freeze) as well as age related changes. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidney function deteriorates gradually over a period of time. Treatment depends on the cause and the extent of damage, but usually begins by flushing the kidneys using intravenous fluids, followed by special diets and medications. Unfortunately kidney disease is irreversible, but with the right support many cats can enjoy a reasonably normal life.


Kidney failure is the most common condition we see in Oriental Shorthairs

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Conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra are collectively known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is more commonly referred to as cystitis. Oriental Shorthairs can suffer from these conditions, which can be caused by stress, not urinating enough, infections and bladder stones or crystals. Cats suffering from cystitis make frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood is often found in the urine. Treatment depends on the cause, but cats diagnosed with cystitis will usually require pain relief, access to plenty of water, special diets and perhaps some help to reduce stress.


We paid £2,168 to treat Sheldon the cat for urinary system disorders in 2016

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