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Exotic Shorthair Persian 101

MYLYON

What is an Exotic Shorthair?

I believe the Cat Fanciers Association captures the essence well: “They are bred to meet the Persian standard in every way with one very special exception: the coat. The cat has a thick, dense, plush, short coat. The Exotic coat is unique to the breed, giving them a soft, rounded, teddy bear look. Their wonderful coat requires much less combing than a Persian’s and will not mat or tangle nearly as much. Due to the ease of grooming for this special breed, Exotics are sometimes affectionately referred to as the lazy man’s Persian.”

Absolutely gorgeous! Honestly, everyone who is around one will notice their unique look. Couple that with a sweet demeanor that was bred to be a lap cat, and they are worth the effort to find one!

Persians

Persians, whether Classic Persians or Exotic Longhairs, are an iconic breed of lapcats. They have an incredible coat that is dramatic and beautiful. I acquired my first Persian at the age of 23 and have never been without one since. I prefer extraordinary, quality cats of medium to large size with short, muscular legs, a short back, cobby body, and a deep chest. They should have a very flat face, full cheeks, a short muzzle, large deeply colored eyes, and a short snub nose. Many of my cats are CFA CH and Grand Champions or have lineage tracing back to them. I do not intentionally breed “Doll Face” kittens except by chance or as a throwback.

Persians are a rather lazy breed that likes to be in the middle but not necessarily manhandled. They have moments of explosive activity and loveliness, then settle into being sweet, calm house companions. When started young, they are quite content with daily combing and the occasional bath.

If you are considering lion cuts and shaving for grooming, you should consider an Exotic Shorthair instead.

MYLYON Cattery produces both Exotic Shorthair and Exotic Longhair, i.e., Persian, registered CFA kittens. I consistently cross Shorthaired females with my CH and GCH males to retain the very dense plush short coat of my Exotic Shorthair kittens. In short, if you breed shorthairs to shorthairs, your coat quality suffers.

When a litter arrives, it is nearly impossible to visually identify the long-coated kittens from the short-coated kittens. At the age of 4.5 weeks, and not a day sooner, it becomes evident as the Persians begin to add coat in a big way. I take holding deposits after this can be identified, not sooner.

Male or Female

It is often thought that a female is a better pet than a male cat, perhaps more gentle or loving. I believe this belief is linked to our childhood and some old wives’ tales about spraying Tom Cats. It is a relatively new development that we care for our cats as cherished members of the household. In the past, people allowed feral cats, both intact males and females, to roam unvaccinated, unwormed, and unmanaged, resulting in a population of howling, territory-marking cats, preparing for the next litter of kittens located in the woodpile. It was mostly an awful situation, and much of the blame was placed on the poor Tom Cat. He indeed fought and scrapped, howled, and peed, all in the name of LOVE.

So, I am here to tell you that when you neuter your male kitten, he will indeed love you! The territorial marking is driven by testosterone. He won’t think of spraying once neutered or while still a kitten. Intact female cats are not a lot more fun than their unaltered brothers, with their howling and silly desperation. However, once spayed, they tend to concentrate more on their people.

Males are usually a little bigger, but after that, the individual cat’s personality takes over. Some are complacent, some active, some quiet, but most are interested in you and what interesting things you are doing today. As a very broad statement, it seems that neutered males tend to be a bit more loving than their sisters.

Food

When it comes to food, use a good one that is balanced, preferably recommended by your vet. It results in less poop volume, better coat quality, less smell, and appropriate calorie content for your easy keeper or the skinny minny. Brands like Science Diet, Iams, and Purina are good choices. Royal Canin produces Persian Cat food with easy-to-eat kibble.

I always feed my babies some dry and some wet food. Cats are very tactile in their eating nature and can become obsessed with one form of food only. If your vet later prescribes wet food and she will only eat dry, it can be challenging.

Exotic and Persian 101

Persian and Exotic Shorthair kittens make wonderful pets, but here are a few hints that will help ensure your ultimate success:

Vaccines: All kittens will receive a once-over and vaccinations. The kittens will need up to two more shots before they are fully vaccinated, typically 3-4 weeks after their last vaccination. The kittens will come with a vaccination history to bring to your next scheduled appointment. Vaccination is crucial as cats can die from Leukemia and can develop upper respiratory problems. FVRCP + Leukemia and Rabies vaccinations are recommended. I do not believe in the FIP vaccine, as it is not recognized as a core vaccine by the Feline Veterinary Practitioners and has questionable efficacy in the real world.

Food: Provide free-choice, high-quality dry cat food and occasionally canned food. This allows your kitten to develop a preference for wet food early on, which can be helpful for future medication or hydration. Always provide fresh water.

Spay or neuter: Schedule the spaying or neutering of your cat after 12 months of age, preferably before they exhibit adult breeding behaviors but have been allowed to mature. This is best for the long-term health of your cat, as hormones mature their bodily functions. If your cat does cycle, schedule an appointment right after she settles back to her old self.

INDOOR ONLY: Persians are house cats and should not be allowed outside. They have not been bred to survive in the wild.

Grooming: While Exotics require minimal grooming due to their plush coat, it’s important to keep dead hair removed. Bathing is routine for Persians, and it’s essential to do it regularly. If the coat looks clotted, it has too many oils and needs to be cleaned. Blow-drying on low heat can help maintain their appearance. Washing the hindquarters can be necessary for long-haired kittens to prevent potty accidents.

Clean Eyes: Clean around the eyes, nostrils, and ears daily using gentle methods like dollar store makeup remover pads moistened with saline, contact lens cleaning solution, or colloidal silver when needed. After cleaning, use boric acid powder or a commercially available eye envy powder to keep the area dry and clean.

Litter Boxes: Provide 1.5 litter boxes per cat you own, with at least 1 per floor in your home. Confine your new kitten to the litter box area for a week to help them remember where it is. Remove any rugs, towels, or clothes from that area, as kittens may forget where they left it.

How About Two!!!

Having two kittens can be twice the fun! They often love each other and play together, providing companionship and entertainment. They can be littermates or born within the same 12 months. However, older cats who have never had to share you may not be as welcoming to new cats or kittens. Some may “hate them,” so it’s essential to consider your cat’s personality before introducing a new feline friend. I offer a small discount when you adopt two kittens within the same year, as it can be a great experience for both you and them.

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Get to Know Your Exotic Shorthair / Persian Kitten

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