About the Ocicat Cat Breed
Similar to something you would see in the wild, the Ocicat is a spotted cat with a strong, athletic build.
Ocicat Physical Characteristics
The Ocicat is muscular and exotic-looking with a distinctive spotted coat. While the ideal cat is large, it can also be medium in size.
There are twelve colors approved for the breed: tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender, fawn, silver, chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver, and fawn silver.
Like an Ocelot, its short and soft coat has rows of spots that run along the spine from the shoulder blades to the tail, and large thumbprint-like spots across the side of the torso.
Ocicat Personality and Temperament
Looks can be deceiving. As such, the Ocicat is not wild, but rather warm and affectionate. An intelligent cat, it can be taught to recognize its name and come and go at your command. It is also a great cat for people who own other pets, as it is very social. The Ocicat can even use its agility to tap dance on the table or play various games with toys and objects around the house.
Things to Consider
Confident and curious, the Ocicat can use its athletic abilities to jump up on high bookcases or shelves and may also become possessive over its toys.
Ideal Living Conditions
Graceful, adaptable and social, the Ocicat loves to play fetch and visit with new people and other pets but can become lonely and unhappy when left alone for too long.
The breed has a low maintenance coat that can be kept healthy and shiny with a weekly brushing to remove dead hairs.
Though the breed is generally healthy, it may be affected with some of the same health conditions as its parent breeds, the Abyssinian, Siamese and the American Shorthair.
Ocicat History and Background
The original Ocicat was the unexpected result of a breeding experiment. In 1964, a cat breeder named Virginia Daly sought to create a Siamese with Abyssinian color points. To accomplish this she mated a Siamese female and an Abyssinian male, which produced Abyssinian-looking kittens. She then crossed a half-Abyssinian with a purebred Siamese and achieved the desired result. However, there was one unusual kitten with golden spots and copper eyes in the litter. It was later named Tonga, and nicknamed “ocicat” by Daly’s daughter because of the similar-spotted wild cat: the Ocelot.
Daly realized she had unwittingly produced a new breed. And though Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet, further breedings of his parents would later provide the base for a breeding program.
The first Ocicat was exhibited in 1965, and by 1966 the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognized the breed. Unfortunately, the CFA made an error and listed the parent breeds as the American Shorthair and Abyssinian. For a short time the American Shorthair breed was introduced into the Ocicat’s bloodline, changing its color, shape and body structure.
Despite its early popularity, the Ocicat did not reach championship status until 1987. However, it can now be seen at many cat shows across the United States. A few Ocicats have even been exported to other countries, where it is also achieving much success.