Siamese vs. Oriental Shorthair: A Complete List of Similarities and Differences

Are you currently torn between getting a Siamese or an Oriental Shorthair cat? Don’t worry, I understand how you feel. 

I know that choosing the right breed can be tough as a cat parent. 

I want to give you a complete list of the similarities and differences between Siamese and Oriental Shorthair cats in this article. This way, you can make an informed decision about which breed is the best fit for you. 

So let’s dive in and examine these beautiful breeds! 

What is the Difference Between Siamese and Oriental cats?

Many people often mistake the two breeds, but they actually have distinct origins. 

Siamese Cats 

The Siamese cat originated in the Kingdom of Siam, now modern-day Thailand. Their history can be traced back to as early as the 4th century. 

Can you believe they’ve been around for that long? 

These felines were not mere household pets. They were considered sacred and guardians of the royal households. 

One exciting piece of Siamese cat history revolves around King Chulalongkorn of Siam. The king was an avid cat lover. He adored these felines so much that he commissioned the creation of the Smud Khoi of Cats. It is a book of cat verses that showcase the grace and allure of Siamese cats. 

In 1884, King Chulalongkorn gifted a pair of his beloved Siamese 

palace cats, Pho and Mia, to the British consul-general, Owen 

Gould. This gesture introduced the Siamese breed to the English people. 

Siamese cats became an instant sensation in England. They first appeared at the Crystal Palace cat show in 1871. Their popularity continued to grow. In 1885, the London Cat Show introduced a more robust Siamese breed to the public. 

But how did these charming felines reach the shores of the United States, you ask? In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes’ wife received a pair of Siamese cats as a diplomatic gift. Talk about a purr-fect gift, right? 

These two beauties became the first Siamese cats to live in the White House. Their arrival paved the way for the breed’s popularity in the United States. 

Oriental Shorthair Cats 

Oriental cats have a more complex history than their Siamese counterparts. 

These elegant felines actually evolved from casual mating with non-Siamese cats. 

However, in the 1950s, a British breeder set out to create a new kind of solid-coloured cat with a Siamese build. This breed was named the Havana or Chestnut Brown Foreign cat. 

Another British breeder made an all-white Siamese cat with stunning blue eyes. This feline beauty was named “Foreign White.” 

Meanwhile, in North America, breeders were experimenting with different Siamese cats. They were called “Oriental Shorthair.” 

But the confusion didn’t end there! A new kind of cat with spots was made. It was named “Oriental Spotted Tabby” in the United States. 

These cats’ names have been debated since then. Some prefer the name “Oriental Shorthair”. This label is now commonly used in the US and UK. 

What are the Characteristics of Oriental Shorthair and Siamese Cats?

Both Siamese cats and Oriental Shorthairs are elegant and graceful. However, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. 

1. Coat Color and Pattern

The Oriental Shorthair might suit you if you’re into pretty fur colors and patterns. 

These cats come in over 50 different colors and patterns. They can have solid coats and tabby, tortie, and ticking patterns. 

Oriental Shorthairs have a broader genetic background. This means they can produce even more unique colors and patterns for their coats. 

Siamese cats, on the other hand, are known for their four colorpoint varieties. These are seal, lilac, chocolate, and blue. 

Siamese cats tend to have a more limited range of colors. However, their coat patterns are still beautiful and distinctive. 

2. Eye Color 

Eye color is another distinctive feature of these two breeds. 

All Siamese cats have striking blue eyes that make them recognizable. Some Oriental Shorthairs can have green eyes. This gives them a distinct appearance. 

3. Body Type 

Both breeds have a slim and angular build. However, Siamese cats have a traditional foreign body type with a wedge-shaped face and thin tail. 

On the other hand, Oriental Shorthairs have a more muscular build 

with broader shoulders and chests. This makes them more athletic than Siamese cats. 

4. Vocalization 

Both breeds have chatty personalities. However, Siamese cats are 

infamous for their loud and frequent meows, especially when they’re in heat. You might hear Siamese cats meowing and crying all day and night! 

Some even compared their meows to that of a baby crying. They may not be a good match if you prefer a quieter environment. 

Oriental Shorthairs, on the other hand, may not be quite as vocal, 

although individual cats can vary. 

Robyn, my Siamese cat, was always a talker. But her meows were louder than ever when she went into heat. I could hear them echoing through our house – even when I had gone to bed and drifted off to sleep. 

Robyn would pace around at night and during the day too. So I’d take the time to play with her more every morning, when she still meowed a lot. 

I give her some special treats and buy her new toys. That way, she had something exciting to keep herself entertained. 

5. Personality 

  • Oriental Shorthairs are playful and intelligent. They need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to thrive. You’ll have a blast playing games like fetch and hide-and-seek with your Oriental Shorthair cat. 
  • Oriental Shorthairs are also some of the most social cats out there! They love nothing more than spending time with their humans and other pets. People often describe them as “people cats” because of their outgoing personalities. 
  • Another great thing about the Oriental Shorthair is that they are adaptable. They can adjust to new environments and situations easily.

    They are more relaxed than Siamese cats and don’t mind a change in routine. 
  • Oriental Shorthairs love to curl up with their humans for a good cuddle session. In fact, they’re often referred to as “velcro cats” because they tend to stick close to their owners.

    You’ll likely find them snuggled up next to you whenever you’re lounging on the couch. 
  • Siamese cats are known for their social nature, like the Oriental Shorthair. They’re playful and love to explore their surroundings. However, they might not be as adaptable to new situations as Oriental Shorthairs. 
  • Siamese cats are more sensitive and demanding than other breeds. It’s essential to give them plenty of attention and affection. 
  • Siamese cats are intelligent and curious. They love to explore their surroundings and can learn new tricks and commands. However, their intelligence can sometimes lead to being mischievous. It’s better to keep a watchful eye on them. 
  • Siamese cats can be very territorial and may not tolerate other cats in their home. They can be protective of their humans and may become aggressive towards strangers. 

6. Health 

  • Owning a Siamese cat requires some extra attention to its health. Dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay are prevalent in this breed. Schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups with your vet.
  • Siamese cats are prone to respiratory issues, such as asthma and bronchitis. Seek veterinary care if you notice your Siamese cat having trouble breathing. 
  • Another issue that Siamese cat owners need to be aware of is their tendency to become overweight. An unbalanced diet and lack of physical exercise can cause Siamese cats to become obese.

    Ensure your Siamese cat has a proper diet and opportunities for regular exercise. 
  • Dental health is likewise essential for Oriental Shorthairs. These cats are prone to dental issues, so provide them with proper dental care. 
  • Oriental Shorthairs are susceptible to upper respiratory infections. Keep them up to date on their vaccinations and provide them with a healthy environment. 
  • Oriental Shorthairs have a higher risk of developing kidney disease. This can be managed with early detection and treatment. 

What Breeds are Similar to Oriental Shorthair Cats?

Here are a few breeds that share similarities with the Oriental Shorthair: 

1. Russian Blue 

These felines have a lot in common with Oriental Shorthairs. This includes their toned and lean physique and their beautiful, short-haired coat. 

However, they have plush and dense coats, which makes them extra cuddly. They’re also known for their loyalty to their humans. 

2. Bengals

These kitties have a muscular build. They, too, love to climb and explore their surroundings. Bengals have distinctive short, shiny 

coats in various patterns, including spots and marbled designs.

3. Siamese 

Siamese felines are known for their strong-willed personalities, like Oriental Shorthairs. 

Siamese cats and Oriental Shorthairs share their long, sleek body 

type, pointy ears, and striking big eyes. 

4. Abyssinian 

These cats are known for their stunning ticked coat pattern. This gives them a wild and exotic look. 

Abyssinians have a slender build and short coats like the Oriental Shorthair. They are active and playful, making them a great choice if you live an energetic lifestyle. 

They are very loyal and make great companions. 

5. Devon Rex 

The Devon Rex has a slim build and a short coat. However, their fur is curly, giving them a unique and distinct appearance. 

These cats are intelligent and crave social interaction with their owners. They are playful and love to engage in games and puzzles. This makes them an excellent choice for families with children. 

What are the Differences between Siamese Cats?

There are four types of Siamese cats: Seal point, Chocolate point, Blue point, and Lilac point. 

1. Seal Point Siamese 

This is the most common and traditional type of Siamese. They have a pale fawn or cream-colored coat with dark seal brown points on their face, ears, tail, and legs. Their nose and paw pads are also dark seal brown. 

Seal point Siamese is the classic Siamese look. This is what most people imagine when considering the breed. 

2. Chocolate Point Siamese 

This color variation is less common than the Seal Point, but no less gorgeous! 

Chocolate Points have a lighter cream or ivory base coat. They have milk-chocolate colored points on their face, ears, tail and legs. Their nose and paw pads are also a light pinkish-brown color. 

3. Blue Point Siamese 

This type has a white or cream-colored coat with grayish-blue points on its face, ears, tails, and legs. Their nose and paw pads are also a bluish-gray color. 

4. Lilac Point Siamese 

This is the rarest type of Siamese cat. They have a white or cream-colored base coat with light grayish-pink points on their face, ears, tail, and legs. Their nose and paw pads are also a light pinkish-gray color. 

Lilac points are unique and have a very distinct and stunning appearance. 

These Siamese variations differ in their coat and point color. They still have the same distinct body type and personality traits. They also have large ears, almond-shaped eyes, and pointed faces. 

What Cat Breeds Look Like Siamese But Aren’t?

There are other cat breeds that bear a resemblance to Siamese yet 

have their own unique characteristics. 

1. Balinese Cats

These cats have the same pointed coloring and slim frames but with longer coats and fluffy tails. 

2. Tonkinese Cats

Tonkinese is a cross between a Siamese and a Burmese cat. Tonkinese cats have a more muscular build than Siamese cats. Their coat can come in various colors. These include blue, champagne, natural, platinum mink, pointed class, and solid class. 

3. Oriental Shorthair 

The Oriental Shorthair has the same lithe and slender body as Siamese cats. Still, they come in a wider variety of colors and patterns. They come in shades of solid colors, tabbies, and bicolors. 

4. Snowshoe Cats 

Snowshoe cats have little white paws. These cats were developed by crossing Siamese cats and American Shorthair cats. They come in white and dark gray or black coloring. 

However, their body shape is more stocky, and they have a broader head shape. 

5. Javanese Cats 

This breed is often referred to as a Colorpoint Longhair. They come in various colors, including chocolate, lilac, and red. 

They share many of the same personality traits as Siamese cats. These include their intelligence and vocal nature. 

6. Birman Cats 

The Birman has distinctive “points” on their ears, face, tail, and paws like the Siamese. However, they have longer, fluffier coats and more rounded faces. They are often referred to as “the sacred cat of Burma”. They are known for being affectionate, gentle, and playful. 

7. Himalayan Cats 

Himalayan cats are also known as Colorpoint Persian. This breed was created by crossing Siamese cats with Persian cats. They have the same “pointed” coloration as Siamese but with a luscious and long coat. 

They also have a more rounded face, which sets them apart from the sharp, angular features of the Siamese. 

Their personalities are also more laid back than their Siamese counterparts. They’re great if you want a more relaxed and cuddly companion. 

8. Burmese 

These cats have thick and plush fur, unlike the short, sleek hair of the Siamese. They come in various colors, but their eyes are always a striking shade of gold.


I hope you enjoyed learning about Siamese and Oriental Shorthair cats. These two breeds share a lot in common but also have unique features. 

Remember to research and consider your lifestyle before bringing 

home your new feline friend.

Be the Siamese Cat expert you always wish to be! From color points to similar cat breeds, discover everything you need to know about their unique charm and characteristics in our comprehensive guide: Siamese Cat Breed: Types, Color Points and Comparison to Other Cat Breeds

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