Get to know the Orientals
All you need to know about the breed
The first thing to know about the Oriental is that they are not a breed for the casual cat fan. They form close connections with their human family – often developing a deep attachment to one person – and require (nay demand) plenty of quality time together.
Surprisingly affectionate in their temperament, Orientals tend to follow their owners like a shadow and will sidle into your lap if the chance arises. Also a very ‘chatty’ breed, they like to communicate how they feel about everything in their own unique way. The Oriental can even be quite loud at times if they are not getting the attention they feel they rightly deserve.
As a descendent of the Siamese breed, the Oriental cat shares many of the same qualities – from that wedge-shaped head and agile body to their innate intelligence. The main way in which they differ, however, is in the Oriental’s colouring. With literally hundreds of recognised variations, the Oriental is one of the most diverse breeds in terms of their coat.
On that note, there are actually two distinct types of the Oriental cat: the Shorthair and the Longhair. The former has a short, shiny coat, which lies close to the body, while the latter has a medium-length coat that is fine and silky.
A natural athlete, Oriental cats require a fair amount of activity to keep them satisfied, both mentally and physically. They also need entertaining. Put it this way, this is a cat that is clever enough to open a door. To avoid them running riot in your home, a quality climbing tree is recommended. And cat toys will help keep the Oriental occupied, even if their favourite distraction will always be you.
A typically healthy breed of cat, Orientals also have a good lifespan. They can easily live for 10 to 15 years and often well beyond that. So, as long as you can invest the necessary time in them, you should have a committed companion by your side for many years to come.
2 facts about Orientals
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Oriental
They can sometimes suffer from urinary issues
Although a generally healthy breed of cat, the Oriental can be prone to cystitis (bladder inflammation). The tell-tale sign is when your Oriental makes frequent attempts to urinate, but with little success, or urinates in odd places. If this happens, they should be taken straight to your vet who will be able to advise on the best course of treatment. Fortunately, plenty can be done for this condition, depending on the cause. Also, a tailored diet is often recommended. Lastly, as stress can be a factor, it’s important to establish if that could be playing a role.
Another thing to be aware of is eye disorders
Like all cats, the Oriental can suffer from issues ranging from conjunctivitis and cataracts to glaucoma. Although Orientals are not the most affected feline breed, they may also experience ‘progressive retinal atrophy’ (PRA) – when the cells of the retina begin to decline – leading to impaired vision or even blindness. Treating any primary cause is important, but unfortunately there is nothing that can be done for the inherited form. The good news, though, is that it is not painful and many cats can go on to adapt and live a happy life. Indeed, cats have a pronounced sense of smell and their whiskers give them spatial information. If buying a kitten, be sure to check that its ancestors didn’t suffer from PRA.
They can potentially be prone to liver disease too
This is something that can affect all cats, but like their ‘cousin’, the Siamese, the Oriental can be particularly susceptible. Liver disease can be caused by a variety of problems. Also, because the bile and pancreas ducts meet before connecting to the intestine, cats tend to develop combined inflammation of the three organs. This is called triaditis. Depending on the cause, treatment can take various forms, ranging from extra vitamins and anti-inflammatories to antibiotics or even surgery. As always, the earlier a problem is detected the better. Your vet is your – and your pet’s – best ally. Also, the right nutrition will be fundamental to support recovery.