Short Hair vs Medium Hair Cat – Similarities & Differences

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ


Before taking a cat home, the amount of shedding and grooming they require is one of the first things you consider. This allows you to know whether a particular feline will fit your lifestyle.

If you’re often outside, you should go for a short hair cat. If you have lots of time to spend with your pet, a long hair cat is a fantastic choice.

But aren’t short hair and medium hair cats the same? How do you compare a short hair vs medium hair cat?

Stick with us to find out the answer.

Short Hair Cat Medium Hair Cat
Coat Length The fur of a short hair cat sits very close to its skin, making it look flat. The hair also does not grow any longer than 1.5 inches. Medium hair cats have different hair lengths. Their neck and tail fur are dense and long, while the fur on the rest of their body is about the same length as short hair cats’.
Fur Texture Sleek, smooth, and shiny Dense and wavy
Grooming Needs Does not require frequent grooming but needs brushing from time to time. Requires frequent brushing to prevent matting and tangling

Overview Of A Short Hair Cat


The most common house cat is the domestic shorthair cat. But contrary to popular belief, the term “domestic shorthair” does not refer to a single breed.

Instead, it is a general name used to call mixed-breed felines with short cat coats. Siamese, Devon Rex, and Bombay cats are examples of domestic shorthair cats.

The fur of short hair felines is short, dense, and has various colors and patterns.

Overview of a Medium Hair Cat


Domestic medium hair cats, or DMH for short, are a cross between long and short hair felines in terms of physical appearance. They have a moderate fur length – fluffier than that of the short hair cats but a lot shorter than the coats of long hair species like Persians and Maine Coons.

Similar to domestic shorthair cats, medium-hair felines have mixed ancestry. This is the reason they have diverse physical appearances, such as different colors and patterns.

Another result of this mixed ancestry is the fur length variance throughout the DMH cats’ bodies.

Differences Between Medium Vs Short Hair Cat

1. Cat Fur Lengths

Coat Length
Short Hair Cat Less than 1.5 inches
Medium Hair Cat Has various coat lengths throughout their body. The fur on their tail, neck, and ears is usually longer and denser than the rest of their bodies.

As the cat hair length chart shows, domestic short hair cats have relatively short fur. Their hair does not grow any longer than 1.5 inches, making the entire coat close to their body and unlikely to flow behind them.

On the other hand, medium hair felines have slightly different fur lengths—longer on the neck, ears, and jaw and shorter on the lower part of their bodies.

The tail of a medium-haired feline is also fluffy.

2. Fur Texture


Short hair cats have sleek and smooth coats, while medium hair felines have denser and thicker fur. The latter’s coat is also more textured and wavy.

3. Grooming

Short-hair felines do not experience matting, which makes their fur easier to maintain. They also shed very little, therefore requiring minimal grooming—periodic brushing and occasional bathing.

Meanwhile, medium hair cats, having a slightly longer and denser coat, require frequent brushing to prevent matting and tangling. They also shed more, particularly during seasonal changes.

4. Cost Comparison


As short hair felines consist of different breeds, their prices depend on the type of breed they are. For instance, an American Shorthair kitten costs approximately $1000 to $1500 from a reputable breeder. Another popular short hair cat is the British Shorthair, which costs $1500 to $3000.

Meanwhile, medium hair kittens may cost $100 to $800 from a reputable breeder. However, it is important to note that the price may change depending on the kitten’s breed.

Which Feline Should You Choose?


The choice between short and medium hair cats depends on your lifestyle, the amount of time you can spend caring for it, and most importantly, your preference.

  • If you are often out of your home, gettinga short-haired kitten is ideal. This way, you don’t have to spend a lot of time grooming or cleaning after it’s shedding.
  • On the other hand, medium-haired cats are ideal for people who are patient enough to groom their pets frequently.

Is My Cat Long Or Short-Haired?

If you own a kitten, you may be wondering about its cat hair lengths. Kitten fur makes it challenging to distinguish long from short-haired cats.

The reason is that newborn kittens and those that are a few weeks old have similar hair lengths. Medium or long hair cats will only show their real hair length after a few months.

However, there are several ways to distinguish long from short-haired kittens.

  • Ear Tufts. Long hair kittens usually have tufts or thin long fur sticking out off the front of their ears.
  • Fur Growth Between Toes. Long hair kittens have hair growth in between their toes, something that short hair felines don’t have.
  • Fluffy Tail. Even when they are young, long hair kittens will have fluffy and full tails. Meanwhile, short hair kittens have smooth and sleek tails.


Short hair and long hair cats are usually the common choices when it comes to pet felines. However, medium length hair cats are also a fantastic choice, especially for those who dread frequent grooming and cleaning of loose fur.

Short hair vs medium hair cat – both of these felines come in the form of various breeds. Whichever your choice is, it is important to make sure that you can devote enough time to keep your pet happy and healthy.

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