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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Oriental Longhair Cat Breed: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Oriental Longhair Cat Breed: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

oriental longhair cat outdoors

Oriental cats, like Oriental Longhairs, are seen as both a breed and a division within a larger group. They were first introduced in the U.K. during the 1950s, when the few remaining breeders after WWII restarted their businesses. The breed itself is a result of the creative efforts of breeding Siamese cats with various other felines, such as the Abyssinian, British Shorthair, and the Russian Blue.

Breed Overview


8 – 10 inches


8 – 12 pounds


12 – 15 years


All patterns and coat colors are possible

Suitable for:

Active families, multi-pet households, families with children


Intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets and children, playful, athletic, sociable

In an attempt to keep the distinctive Siamese coloring, the non-pointed kittens resulting from these crosses — the ancestors of the Oriental Longhair cats that we know today—were bred with Siamese cats. Throughout this process, a variety of different coat colors came about. They were originally considered breeds of their own, but upon realizing the sheer number of colors that the cats could have, they were all encompassed under the “Oriental” title.

These adorable felines are also called British Angora, Javanese, Foreign Longhair, and Mandarin. They were first introduced to the U.S.A. in the 1970s and have since become an adored addition to many families. If you’d like to learn more, this guide contains everything that you need to know.

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Oriental Longhair Kittens

Oriental Longhair Kitten
Image Credit: Heidi Bollich, Shutterstock

Their refined, sleek appearances give the Oriental Longhair a regal look that makes them popular pets. Be wary of breeders who charge too little or don’t have the health history of the parent cats readily available. Make sure you can visit the breeding facilities before making any payment and ensure they have ethical procedures.

Don’t be afraid to check your local animal shelters and rescues either. Adopting is often cheaper than purchasing from a breeder, and you’ll be giving a loving home to a cat in need. When you bring an Oriental Longhair kitten into your home, be ready to have a friendly and intelligent cat by your side.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Oriental Longhair

Siamese cats make no secret of their intelligence, and their descendants are no different. Vocal, energetic, and feisty just like their Siamese ancestors, the Oriental Longhair can give even the most active family a run for their money. The breed is affectionate to a fault and adores cuddling just as much as they love a game of fetch.

Oriental Longhairs are also more than happy to follow you around the house just to talk your ear off. They’ll banter about anything, from their empty tummy to the state of their litter box or the birds that they were watching for hours outside the window.

Their slender, delicate appearance also belies a surprising fierceness. While the breed might look dainty, they’re not afraid to stand up for themselves and are more than happy to rule the household.

oriental longhair cat
Image Credit: Heidi Bollich, Shutterstock

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

More than anything else, Oriental cats are people-cats through and through. They’re happy to be around both adults and children — just ensure that any young children are taught to respect your Oriental Longhair to avoid pulled tails and bitten fingers.

The best families for these felines are experienced cat owners who are active but don’t spend too much time away from home.

While the majority of the breed is family oriented, there are a few individuals that prefer the company of one person over everyone else. They might even go as far as to hide from strangers and other family members, unlike their more sociable counterparts.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

As one of the most social cat breeds out there, the Oriental Longhair does best in a multi-pet household. The company of another cat — Oriental or not — will give these cats a friend to play with on the occasions that you’re busy. Oriental Longhairs also get along well with dogs if they’re both socialized early enough.


Things to Know When Owning an Oriental Longhair Cat

When it comes down to pet care, the basics are more or less the same. Healthy diets and free access to fresh, clean water, toys, and activities are all essential for the happiness of your pet. A few things can differ between breeds, though. This section will tell you how to keep your Oriental Longhair as happy as possible.

Food & Diet Requirements

Like other cat breeds, the Oriental Longhair does best on a balanced, high-quality diet of either wet or dry food or a mixture of both. Commercial cat food with real fish or meat as the main ingredient is the best for these cats.

You can also give your Oriental Longhair cat’s coat a health boost by purchasing food that contains omega fatty acids. These will keep both their skin and fur in top shape.

Exercise 🐈

As energetic and intelligent as they are, Oriental Longhair cats aren’t suited to snoozing all day. Since they can get bored easily, they thrive most when you interact with them regularly. Their athletic abilities and jumping prowess can make them a menace when they’re frustrated. Due to this, it’s a good idea to keep any breakable decorations safe inside display cabinets rather than on open shelves.

Supplying plenty of activities will help keep your Oriental Longhair active too. They can benefit from cat trees, comfortable cat beds placed by windows, and an assortment of toys. You can also challenge them with puzzles to keep their minds at work while you handle chores.

Oriental Longhair cats are also partial to playing fetch with their favorite humans. Toss around their well-loved stuffed mouse, and they’ll happily spend all day bringing it back.

Oriental longhair Cat
Oriental longhair Cat (Image Credit: Gnew17, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Training 🧶

Many people believe that cats can’t be trained, but that’s not strictly true. It might take a little more dedication than it would if you were training a dog, but training a cat is possible. The Oriental Longhair is one of the many breeds that excel at learning new tricks and adore the attention that comes with positive reinforcement.

Stay consistent with your commands, and keep plenty of treats on hand to reinforce the requested behavior. You’ll be well on your way to wowing your friends with your cat’s skills in no time at all.

Grooming ✂️

The “Longhair” part of this breed’s name is a bit of a misnomer. Compared to other long-haired cats, like the Maine Coon, the fur of the Oriental Longhair looks short, though it’s sleeker and longer than that of the Oriental Shorthair. On the positive side, the single-layered coat and manageable medium-length hair mean they’re not a breed that requires extensive grooming. That said, your Oriental Longhair will still benefit from a quick brush every day to remove any loose fur. Removing the dead strands will help reduce shedding and the build-up of hairballs.

Introducing your new kitten to a toothbrush and nail clippers will help you in the long run too. Keeping your cat’s nails filed can help you protect your furniture. They won’t think twice about dragging themselves up the back of your couch with their claws while they’re playing.

Brushing their teeth at least once a week can help reduce the risk of them developing dental issues.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Crossed eyes
  • Kinked tail

Despite being a relatively healthy breed (which is likely due to the amount of cross-breeding in their family tree), Oriental Longhairs are still prone to a few common health issues. Many of them stem from their Siamese ancestors.

Male vs. Female

The debate about whether male or female cats are better than their counterparts does not have an easy answer. For the Oriental Longhair, the males can be friendlier compared to the females. Intact cats, though, regardless of their sex, can exhibit unwanted traits, such as yowling for a mate or spraying your furniture.

In the end, whether you choose a male or female cat is up to you. Don’t judge your new family member too harshly based on their sex, though. Cats are all individuals and have personality quirks just like people do. Whichever sex you choose, your Oriental Longhair will be a devoted and loving companion that is happy to spend time with you.


The 3 Little-Known Facts About the Oriental Longhair Cat

1. Oriental Longhair cats can have one of 300 coat colors

The original kittens produced from crossing Siamese cats with other breeds had a wide variety of colors. These colors were initially made into breeds of their own, such as the Havana, Foreign White, and the Oriental Spotted Tabby. Eventually, the first breeders of these cats realized that there were far too many possibilities when it came to potential colors and patterns.

This was the original introduction of the Oriental breed. Whether your Oriental cat has short or long hair, they can have one of any of the 300 coat colors possible for the breed. Compared to other cat breeds, including the Siamese, the variety is impressive.

2. They’re kittens at heart

While most breeds slow down over the years, the Oriental Longhair refuses to grow up. No matter how old your cat gets, they’ll never lose their kitten-like playfulness and curiosity. They’ll happily chase their favorite toy and pounce on your toes when they’re well into their seniority.

3. The Oriental Longhair is both a breed and a breed division

The Cat Fancier’s Association lists the Oriental Longhair as a division for the Oriental breed, the original name for the non-pointed kittens brought about by the initial Siamese cross-breeding programs. Other cat fanatics, however, see the Oriental Longhair as a breed of their own. In this case, we think that it’s safe to say that you can decide for yourself whether they’re a breed or part of a larger group.

oriental longhair cat
Image By: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Originally introduced in the 1950s when cat breeders experimented with cross-breeding after WWII, the Oriental Longhair is a descendant of Siamese cats. Their bloodline also contains genes from the Russian Blue, Abyssinian, and British Shorthair, which provides a wide base for potential colors and patterning throughout the breed.

Even with the blood of other breeds running through their veins, the Oriental Longhair is most similar to their Siamese ancestors. Not only do they share the same slender body, athletic skills, and intelligence, but they’re also devoted to their human family members and love to chat.

If you’re interested in getting your own Oriental Longhair, we hope that this guide has helped you decide whether they’re the right cat for you and your family. Remember to spend time interacting with them every day, and give them plenty of activities to stop them from getting bored or lonely.

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Featured Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

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