The Oriental has been called the “rainbow cat” as it comes in over 300 colour combinations and markings. It is like the Siamese, but in designer clothing, so to say.
Although this feline is not exactly a new breed, it started to be developed as a distinct breed in the 1950s. It was said to have been first bred in the UK, in the years after the importation of Siamese in the country. The Siamese was crossed with domestic shorthairs, Abyssinians, and Russian Blues. One of the primary motivations reportedly was the exploration of all possibilities of colour and patterns in the resulting kittens.
A number of generations later, some kittens looked very much like the Siamese. However, these kitties had a more varied coat pattern and colour. The long-haired varieties were also later developed after crossing the Oriental with the Balinese.
The Oriental cat was later recognised by the CFA and the GCCF. Today, it is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.