Information about exotic shorthair cats
January 1, 2012 2:51 AM   Subscribe

I want to learn everything I can about exotic shorthairs (aka shorthaired persians). I have the opportunity to adopt an exotic shorthair kitten, and need to figure out if one of the little munchkins would be happy living with me. I have 3 specific questions.

(1) Googling seems to bring up mostly advertisements and super basic fact sheets. Are there any clubs or dedicated websites with in-depth information on this breed? Are there good books?

(2) We live in a tiny apartment (40 sq. m). I understand exotics are a good apartment cat. But a concern in this regard is how to keep kitty litter from stinking up the house. Any anecdotes / advice / Ikea hacks?

(3) Do exotics require constant company? I will give my future kitty oodles of attention when I am home. I am a homebody and love staying in; however, I am a student, and work 2 shifts a week at my P/T job, so I wouldn't be home all the time. But I would be home quite a lot. My boyfriend works Mon-Fri 9-5.
posted by KLF to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
2) Litter robot.
3) I don't know about this breed specifically, but I suspect it will be like every other cat breed: depends on the cat, the mood the cat is in today, and the number rolled on a d20 by a special monk sitting on a hidden mountain peak. Cats are weird, and even littermates can have completely different personalities. That said, if you're home quite a lot and provide things for the cat to climb and destroy when you're not home then you're fine for most cats, especially as the cat ages, although it'll be interesting for the first few years while you have a "teenage" cat regardless of how much time you spend at home.
posted by anaelith at 4:36 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

2: Keep it in the bathroom if possible. (Under the sink? Remove cabinet doors.) Read a lot of reviews if you get one of those automatic cat boxes. They all seem to break down a lot. Also check YouTube video reviews.

3: Agreeing with anaelith. Different cats have different personalities, breed is less important than temperament and nurture. My dad's Ragdoll was afraid of me (and everyone except my dad and his girlfriend) all her life despite knowing me since she was a tiny kitten. After an hour or so she would slink out and sit on my lap an want to cuddle for hours. She was naturally skittish and didn't meet a lot of people when she was young. Socialization is as important for a cat as it is for a dog. Expose the kitten to lots of people if you want a friendly, cuddly cat, but know there is also a large immutable personality factor. But pretty much no cat is going to require you to be there all the time. Even the most cuddly, affectionate cat will be fine on its own for long stretches. That is the beauty of cats as pets.
posted by catatethebird at 4:51 AM on January 1, 2012

2. Clean the box a couple of times a day. Use scoopable litter, change the whole box on a regular basis as well. We've switched from the clay based litter to Swheat Scoop, primarily to reduce the cloying oder of most litters and to cut back on the dust created by the clay litter. Other than regular cleaning of the boxes, there is no way to eliminate the odors.

3. I always recommend getting two sibling kittens. The labor involved is about the same (although, you do, of course, double your food and vet costs). But they will be happy together when you're not around.
posted by tomswift at 5:29 AM on January 1, 2012

The litter box won't be an issue if you clean it regularly (as in, every day). In college I lived in an even smaller apartment with a cat and it was fine. And seconding tomswift's recommendation for scoopable litter.

Cats are solitary animals and he or she won't mind being home alone for the amount of time you describe.
posted by something something at 6:30 AM on January 1, 2012

Instead of using a standard litter box, I use a storage tub with a hole cut in the lid. Cuts down on litter mess and odor quite a bit (along with scooping every day).

I had a rescue Persian cat. He was a nice cat (RIP, Mr. Tickles), but also not too bright. I would look up breed-specific health problems and make yourself aware so that you can have an idea of clinical signs to watch for (polycystic kidney disease and such).
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:42 AM on January 1, 2012

Seconding doing some research on common breed-specific health issues. I've never owned a Persian or Exotic, but I've read they can have issues with clogged tear ducts due to their shortened faces, and you need to clean their squish-face folds regularly because they can't really reach in there themselves.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:58 AM on January 1, 2012

Flat-faced cats have eye issues, and often need special food (it has to be shaped differently so they can pick it up).

As a general rule, cats don't need square footage, they need height, so you want to give them things to climb up and sit on top of. A covered litter box works fine to avoid scent if you clean it daily or twice a day.

I use the Litter Locker to keep my used litter between garbage pickups, and it works perfectly if you cannot get rid of garbage immediately.
posted by jeather at 8:36 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Long-haired cats may also need help keeping their nether regions clean and free of tangles, mats and foreign matter. Also, you may need to be more vigilant about hairballs. Your vet should have advice about whether it's necessary to add supplements to kitty's food to keep things moving along.

Good luck, and don't forget to post pictures!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:57 AM on January 1, 2012

Okay, surprisingly no significant tales of caution. Hooray! My little smushed face furball is more of a possibility. That litter robot is pretty much the coolest gizmo ever invented. I hope it works.
posted by KLF at 10:28 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Update: it works!
posted by KLF at 7:23 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

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