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Persian Cats and Exotics

The breed is still relatively new, having been developed in the United States in the 1960s by crossing American Shorthairs with Persian cats. This attempt was intended to give a more Persian look to the American Shorthair, but was not intended to create a new type. A similar attempt was made in Great Britain after the Second World War when a shortage of British shorthairs forced breeders to use Persians for breeding. However, this was a one-off attempt and was subsequently discontinued.
The American programme seems to have had two objectives. One, according to some US cat fanciers, was to demonstrate the obvious expertise of the show judges in judging Persian cats. The second was to create an ‘easy to care for’ ‘Persian’ that had all the charm and characteristics of a Persian cat, but was not so difficult to care for.

However, the results of this programme were resented by American Shorthair breeders who wanted to keep their breed pure and were disturbed by the constant changes in the breed that occurred during the trial. The texture of the fur changed, becoming soft and plush, the eyes became larger and rounder, and the muzzle shortened. It was also believed that some breeders were trying to mate American Shorthair cats with Burmese cats, whose genetics were questionable to some.
In 1966, it was decided to give the name Exotic Shorthair to the new hybrid. The following year, the new breed was first shown at an exhibition, and in 1969, a breeders’ club was founded to seek recognition for the breed. In 1972, the Exotic Shorthair was recognised in the USA and crossbreeding was strictly controlled. Cross-breeding between exotic shorthairs and American shorthairs, between exotic shorthairs and between Persian longhairs and exotic shorthairs was allowed. The breed has also attracted interest in Great Britain.

The Exotic Shorthair is a short-haired “Persian”. The best confirmation of the popularity of this breed is the American favourite name ‘teddy bear cat’.
Basically, this breed meets the same physical and colour standards as the Persian, except for the coat, which, although short, is a little longer than is usual for a short-haired cat.
Exotic cats are calm, gentle and ‘intelligent’. They enjoy a comfortable home life and are excellent companions and easy to train. They get along well with other animals. They love children, are playful and retain this tendency even in old age. Although playful, they are not noisy – their voice is rarely heard. Exotics are the ideal breed for those who want a quiet, affectionate, loyal companion with baby-like open eyes. They are calm and seem impossible to upset. They are also extremely sensitive and gentle. They calmly and unobtrusively ask for attention – they just stare intently into your eyes with an irresistible gaze. Exotics also love to jump up on your lap and curl up there to snooze or just cuddle up to you.

Exotics do not require as much care as Persians, but daily brushing is necessary to remove dead hair.
Breeding exotic cats is difficult. Usually a cat will have up to 4 kittens, but about half of those kittens will be long-haired. It is difficult to tell immediately which kittens are long-haired and which are short-haired. Cats have a hard time getting kittens because the kittens’ heads are massive and round in shape.

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