There had been experimental breeding during the 1970s and 1980s in the United Kingdom for the Oriental Bicolor by crossing the Siamese and the Cornish Rex. It was being further developed in the 1970s in the United States by breeder Lindajean Grillo from Ciara Cattery. Grillo initiated the development by carrying out a series of crossbreeding between the Siamese and Bicolour American Shorthair. The best of the offspring were picked out to be mated back to either the Siamese or Oriental in order to develop the ideal type. The variety received recognition by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1983. European breeders, during the same period of 1980s, initiated their own Oriental Bicolor breeding lines. Cats of different lines were imported from the U.S for this very purpose. The variation in the lines has helped to avoid excessive inbreeding and at the same time allowed the breed to still obtain a higher proportion of white on its coat. The Federation Internationale Feline (FIFe) granted the Bicolor Oriental Shorthairs the championship recognition in 2003 and did the same to the color-point and white cats in 2005.
Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium sized cat that weighs an average of 12 pounds. The body structure and form boasts of sleekness, elegance and grace. Out from the rump of the slender body extends a whip-like tail that is slightly shorter than its body. It treads in long, lean legs with dainty oval paws.
The distinct wedge head and the compositions of its facial features are its other exotic attributes. It has an angular face in keeping with the Siamese line. In fact, this pointed or angular profile is a highly sought after shape. It is the result of a wedge bone structure that starts at the tip of the nose and flares out evenly to the ears. From a frontal view, it forms a perfectly triangular face. Its large, wide-set ears are set at a complementing angle without distorting the imaginary lines. Viewed in profile, the nose appears long and straight without a break. It possesses a firm chin and a substantial muzzle that extends from angular and high cheekbones. Eyes of the Oriental Bicolor are oval in shape and can come in a variety of colors with green being the most desired. Color-point varieties have blue eyes of equal beauty.
It wears a coat of sleek, close-lying and glossy hair. The amount of white on the coat is key to this breed. A true Bicolor must be one-third white, with white on the face and paws. The rest of the coat can then come in a rainbow of colors.
Personality and temperaments
The personality of the Oriental Bicolor reflects its Siamese root. It is a vocal cat that loves to be in the center of attention. Being a true extrovert, it is a very sociable cat that thrives in the company of human as well as other cat-friendly pets. It does not hesitate to show its loving and affectionate nature. It is also highly intelligent, athletic and has great dexterity; capable of opening doors and drawers as well as climbing and chasing. With its intelligence, it enjoys brain-stimulating toys and tricks.
Care and health issues
The Oriental Bicolor has no known health problem and is able to live up to a general lifespan of 10 – 15 years. An annual health check and vaccination will be desirable to maintain the cat’s overall good health. To ensure that the cat is not contracted with any common feline diseases, it is important to obtain a written health guarantee from the qualified breeder.
To keep this breed looking its best, it requires weekly brushing. As its layer of the coat is thin, you might damage the skin or give it what is usually called the brush burn if you brush the coat out too hard. Thus, a gentle brush through would be ideal to remove any loose hair. For oral health, brush the teeth frequently with vet-approved toothpaste. Also, trim the nails weekly and check the ears periodically for infections. Clean them with damp cloth if necessary.
The ideal home
This breed can be suited for indoor living. It needs a lot of attention to keep its curious mind busy. Thus, to prevent boredom and to promote an active growth, provide it with puzzle and teaser toys as well as cat trees and cat gym sets. It will be a bonus to have an outdoor space to widen its explorative possibilities and play options. However, the space must be safe and escape-proof. There will be no issue to have the Oriental Bicolor around children or other family pets as long as they are introduced well. The Oriental Bicolor will thrive under a responsible, loving and active family. It will reciprocate with much affection and loyalty, bringing much joy and liveliness to the home.