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Black Oriental Shorthair: Facts, Traits & FAQs (With Pictures)

Black Oriental cat sits on window sill with home flowers

Despite the superstition surrounding black cats, one can agree that black Oriental Shorthair cats are among the most beautiful felines out there.

This is one of the most popular breeds among cat enthusiasts because of its seemingly endless list of color combinations. 

If you are curious about black Oriental Shorthairs, this is the perfect article for you. Here you will find everything you need to know about this interesting cat.

What Is a Black Oriental Shorthair?

Black Oriental Shorthair in the grass

As its name implies, the black Oriental Shorthair cat is a variation of the Oriental Shorthair breed with a completely black coat. Oriental cats were derived from the more widely known Siamese breed. These cats are playful and affectionate, making them great companions.

The Oriental Shorthair quickly became a popular breed when the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) gave championship status to this breed in 1977. 

The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) followed suit in 1997, with some differences in coat conformation.

A nickname given to Oriental Shorthairs is “rainbow cat” because there are more than 300 coat color combinations possible. This is a result of crossbreeding in the United States.

Black Oriental Shorthair is considered an Oriental Self, which is one of the Oriental Shorthair varieties the GCCF follows. They divided the breed according to different coat patterns.

Basically, Oriental Selfs are the variations that have a single color, specifically black, havana, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, caramel, red, cream, and apricot. The other categories are Oriental Non-selfs, Tabbies, and Oriental Tabbies.

The CFA formally calls black Oriental Shorthair cats “ebony” rather than simply “black.”

Are Black Oriental Shorthair Cats Rare?

Black Oriental Shorthairs are not rare. Black is a pretty common color for cats, in general. In fact, there are many other breeds that boast beautiful black varieties.

If you search online, you can find social media accounts dedicated to this popular variety.

In fact, you can watch adorable black Oriental Shorthair cats play in this video:

Black Oriental Cat Attacks Its Owner

You can easily find a breeder in the United States specializing in Oriental Shorthairs, and the chances of them having a black Oriental cat is pretty high.

Black Oriental Shorthair Appearance

Big black Oriental Shorthair cat sitting on vintage chair

In general, Oriental Shorthair cats are slender and elegant. Moreover, these cats are also muscular and firm. They have almond-shaped eyes, much like their Siamese relatives, and a wedge-shaped head with big ears and a long nose.

The CFA breed standard requires black Oriental Shorthairs to have a dense, coal-black coat, free from any tinge of rust at the tips or smoke undercoat. Their nose and paw pads should also be black and brown to black, respectively.

However, it is highly possible to see a black Oriental Shorthair cat with rusty patches. These patches are caused by sunlight exposure, which this breed actually loves.

Their coats are short, with a smooth, fine texture and a glossy appearance. 

Many cats of this breed have green eyes. Others can have blue, yellow, and gold. However, for the GCCF, Orientals should have green eyes with no flecks of contrasting color.

This breed is a medium-sized feline that can grow between 8 and 10 inches tall and 11 to 14 inches long. On average, an adult male black Oriental Shorthair cat weighs around 8 to 12 pounds, while females are less than eight pounds.

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Black Oriental Shorthair Color Genetics

A cat’s coat color is dictated by its genes. There is a specific gene, known as “agouti,” that is responsible for the melanin pigment in the coats of animals. 

This is a dominant allele, meaning it is easily expressed. It produces the so-called tabby appearance. On the other hand, the recessive allele, called “non-agouti,” blocks the dominant allele to produce a uniform coat color.

In order for an Oriental Shorthair to be completely black, both of its parents should have the non-agouti allele for exhibiting a black coat. 

The two non-agouti alleles then combine to completely block the agouti allele, thus producing a solid black coat. 

Black Oriental Shorthair Temperament and Personality

Black Oriental Shorthair cat playing outdoors

Contrary to their stealthy, regal look, black Oriental Shorthairs are very social and lively cats. They are outgoing and love to play with almost anyone they encounter, humans and other pets alike!

They love attention and thrive living in groups. These cats are very affectionate and can be lap cats. They make good family cats, especially for families with kids with whom they can play with.

But if you’re the type of owner who tends to be out a lot, a black Oriental cat might not be for you. These cats can be lonely and destructive when left on their own.

Black Oriental Shorthairs are quite intelligent cats. They are easily trainable, and you can teach one to walk on a leash.

This is a breed that vocalizes a lot. Similar to their Siamese cousins, black Oriental Shorthairs tend to express themselves well, making them the perfect companion for people who love to chat with their pets.

Black Oriental Shorthair Lifespan and Health Issues

Having a black Oriental Shorthair cat will bring you around 12 to 15 years of affectionate and playful companionship. Of course, others can live longer with good care and health monitoring.

Oriental cats are generally healthy, but unfortunately, as with any pet, they may have health problems. And because of the close genetic similarities, they are at risk for the same complications observed in their Siamese relatives.

The following are commonly encountered health issues among black Oriental Shorthairs:

  • Obesity: Obesity in cats predisposes them to health complications such as diabetes and osteoarthritis. While black Oriental Shorthairs naturally have a slender, athletic build, they can become obese if left alone and sedentary. The good news is that the risk of obesity is reduced when the cat is neutered and has an active lifestyle.
  • Amyloidosis: This is a serious inherited condition wherein an abnormal protein, called “amyloid,” deposits in the black Oriental Shorhair’s tissues and organs, like the liver and kidneys. Symptoms of amyloidosis develop at ages between one and five years. Sadly, it is a fatal condition with no known treatment.
  • Crossed Eyes: The scientific name for crossed eyes is “strabismus.” This is a condition commonly seen in Siamese cats. Because of their similar genetics, black Oriental Shorthairs are also predisposed to it. Damage to the nerves controlling the muscles of the eyes causes misalignment. Generally, this condition does not cause problems for your feline friend.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA describes a group of inherited diseases that cause blindness to black Oriental Shorthair cats. Affected cats usually show symptoms after the age of three to five years and only when the disease is at its late stage. Currently, there is no treatment for PRA.

Although the possibility of these health problems can cause owners to worry, it is important to remember that it is now possible to do genetic testing to know the risk of your cats developing these conditions. 

Moreover, purchasing black Oriental Shorthair cats from professional and reputable breeders also reduces the chances of your pet developing health problems.

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How Much Does a Black Oriental Shorthair Cat Cost? Kitten Prices & Expenses

Black Oriental Shorthair kitten for sale and adoption

A black Oriental Shorthair can cost you anywhere between $400 and $2,000, depending on the breeder you are purchasing from.

Aside from the black Oriental Shorthair kitten, you should also prepare the budget for your new pet’s food, grooming, health maintenance, and other expenses.

Check out the table below to get an idea of the estimated initial costs of caring for your black Oriental Shorthair:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$20 – $50
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $25
Litter Box$20 – $160
Litter Sand$15 – $25
Collar and ID Tag$5 – $20
Cat Bed$15 – $30
Cat Carrier$20 – $60
Toys and Scratching Post$15 – $70
Grooming Essentials$25 – $35
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $250
Initial Vaccine Shots$25 – $50
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medications$30 – $100
Neutering or Spaying$200 – $500
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$555 – $1,465

As you can see, these are just estimated prices. It is possible to lower your expenses by looking for cheaper alternatives without sacrificing quality.

It is also a good idea to ask your breeder if they have money-saving tips and product suggestions.

In general, the price for black Oriental Shorthair kittens is, more or less, similar to the kitten price of other cat breeds such as the Munchkin and Bengal cat

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Places to Find Black Oriental Shorthair Kittens for Sale and Adoption

Since they were first brought to the United States, the Oriental Shorthair cat has become one of the most popular cat breeds. 

This is not surprising since the breed has a fun and affectionate temperament, making them easily lovable. In addition, the wide array of colors they come in makes them a crowd favorite.

If you are interested in buying your own black Oriental Shorthair, you can browse through some of the following breeders:

  • Pfieffurr – This small breeder located in Northwest Indiana specializes in Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs, including black varieties. They have been showing and breeding cats for more than 25 years now. All their kittens are registered in the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and are treated like royalty.
  • SAHJA Siamese and Oriental Cats and Kittens – Another ACFA-registered breeder is SAHJA, located in Winnebago County, Illinois. They are a small hobby breeder with a limited number of kittens per year, and they ask buyers to pick up their black Oriental Shorthair kittens rather than have them shipped. 
  • Oriental Shorthair 4 You – This well-known breeder is a family-owned cattery registered in the CFA. They have been breeding Oriental Shorthair cats since 2010, including the black variation. All their contact information is available on their website. Here, you can also browse through their cats that are up for adoption.

Purchasing a kitten from breeders is not the only avenue you have if you want to get a black Oriental Shorthair. Adopting a cat for free from shelters or rescue organizations is also a great option.

Try reaching out to these organizations if you are looking to adopt a black Oriental Shorthair:

  • Purebreds Plus Cats Rescue (PPCR) – This non-profit cat rescue organization is run by volunteers dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming purebred cats and kittens. They have many different breeds up for adoption, including Oriental Shorthairs. Visit their website to look for your own black Oriental Shorthairs and start the adoption application process.
  • GoKitty – A popular and trusted website for people looking for cats up for adoption is GoKitty. Here you can browse through the kitties they have available for rehoming. It is easy to navigate the website, as you can narrow the search to your desired breed, as well as your location.
  • Adopt-a-Pet – This is another website where you can find Oriental Shorthairs up for adoption. You can easily search for your desired breed and narrow down the results to shelters and rescues close to your location. Details about the adoption process are also available on their website.

As you can see, finding your own black Oriental Shorthair cat is far from impossible. There are a lot of ways to find your own cat companion; you just have to do your research and make sure to transact with trustworthy sources.

READ NEXT: 11 Ways to Find Free Kittens in Your Area for Adoption (2022)

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Oriental cat outdoors

Do Black Oriental Shorthairs Shed?

Despite having a short coat, black Oriental Shorthairs do still shed. In fact, they are moderate shedders, although it might not be as noticeable because of their short fur.

Black Oriental Shorthair cats groom themselves pretty efficiently, but they still need some help to remove any excess loose fur. This is where the occasional brushing comes in.

Are Black Oriental Shorthairs Hypoallergenic?

Yes, black Oriental Shorthair cats are included in the list of hypoallergenic cats. However, take note that no cat is completely hypoallergenic. 

The term “hypoallergenic,” when it comes to cats, simply means a breed is only slightly allergenic. This is because they produce fewer allergens than other breeds.

A black Oriental Shorthair is a good choice for cat lovers with allergies. Their short coats and moderate shedding tendency reduce the possibility of triggering allergic reactions.

What Is the Rarest Oriental Shorthair Color?

Among the hundreds of possible color combinations in Oriental Shorthair cats, one would wonder what the rarest color is.

In general, dilute colors, which are those that are a mix of the dominant colors, red and black, are less common. These include blue, lilac, fawn, cream, and apricot.

For Oriental cats, a very rare color is shaded silver. This color standard requires a coat that is white at the root with darker tips in a specific pattern. It is not easily achieved and requires particular breeding methods.

Final Thoughts: Is a Black Oriental Cat the Right Cat for You?

If you are a cat lover looking for a loyal, outgoing, and graceful feline friend, then a black Oriental Shorthair might just be the perfect match for you.

This elegantly slender and athletic breed is loved for its friendly disposition, making it a great pet for families and owners with time for play. Black Oriental Shorthairs are affectionate cats that love to stick to their owners. 

They require minimal grooming since they are moderate shedders. However, they do need proper health maintenance to prevent the common health issues of the breed.

Share your experiences and insights in the comments if you own a black Oriental Shorthair or if you’re interested in having one!