If the Persian is a cat in a glamourous evening gown, the Exotic is the Persian stripped down to its skivvies. The Exotic Shorthair, or Exotic for short, is a Persian of a different coat. The new breed first began to be developed in the 1950s by crossing Persians with American Shorthairs and, later, other shorthaired breeds such as the Burmese and the Russian Blue, then breeding back to Persians once the short coat was achieved. The eventual result was a cat with the same features and personality as the Persian but wrapped in a short, plush, easy-care coat.
The cross, which had originally been intended to bring the Persian’s striking silver color and green eyes to the American Shorthair, was controversial at first, but Persian breeders became intrigued by the new look and began to cooperate in the development of what became known as the Exotic.
The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed in 1967 and called it the Exotic. In some other associations, it’s known as the Exotic Shorthair to differentiate it from the Exotic Longhairs that sometimes appear in Exotic litters and are considered by some associations as a breed unto themselves. The International Cat Association recognized the breed as the Exotic Shorthair in 1979. Today Exotics are recognized by all cat registries. Exotics these days are outcrossed only to Persians and Himalayans, not to any shorthaired breeds.