Meet the Breed: The Ocicat

1

Overview:

The Ocicat is a beautiful cat with a wild appearance, yet only domestic breeds were used to created this affectionate, outgoing breed. It was named for its resemblance to the Ocelot wildcat.  

Physical Characteristics:

The Ocicat is a medium to large-sized cat with surprising weight for their size. They are solidly built and well muscled. There are 12 colors recognized in the Ocicat. The coat is short and satiny with varying base-colors with the ever-present spots. For a thorough pictoral description, visit Ocicat Info. The spotting extends from the shoulder blades to the tail and extends down the legs. The head is wedge shaped, being longer than it is wide. The facial features are pronounced including a strong chin and jaw. 

History of the Breed:

The Ocicat was created by accident when Virginia Daley, from Michigan, attempted to create an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese in 1964. The second generation produced an ivory kitten with golden spots. They named the kitten Tonga and had him neutered and was sold as a pet as this was not the desired result. Daley's daughter called this new color an "ocicat," named after the Ocelot. Noted geneticist Dr. Clyde Keeler, had correspondence with Mrs. Daly regarding her spotted kitten as he was interested in producing a cat similar to the extinct Egyptian Spotted Fishing Cat. Further pairings of Tongas' parents produced more spotted kittens, and became the basis of a separate Ocicat breeding program. Other breeders used the same recipe to further broaden the new breed's gene pool. The American Shorthair was also introduced to give the breed larger boning and added silver to the colors.  

Temperament:

Though the Ocicat looks wild, they are very devoted to their families. In fact, they have been said to have more of a dog-like personality in the way that they can be trained to fetch, walk on a leash and come when they are called. This cat is highly social and is consequently unhappy if left alone for long periods of time. They love their toys and can be quite possessive of them. Their powerful builds mean they can go nearly anywhere they desire in your home. These cats generally get along well with other pet species in the home, but may tend to dominate them. 

  • Best suited for: Any family or single person who works from home. Not for a person looking for an independent, low-maintenance pet. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This cat prefers to be with their people as much as possible. Provide lots of toys, scratchers and climbing trees for this athletic cat.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Run a rubber brush through this easy-care coat once a week for best results. 
  • Exercise needs: Enjoys walks on a leash and playing with toys. 
  • Life expectancy: 15-18 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy, but this breed may inherit some of the health issues of their parent breeds including liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Breed Club Links: TICA, CFA, Ocicats of North America.

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Savvy Tabby Wild Time Kitty Playland - Brown

Have any stories about an Ocicat? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Visit Petfinder.com to see adoptable Ocicats! 

This entry was posted by Mary.
cheryl on October 5 at 12:39 PM said:

I have read about these cats before, and this article was the best. very wonderful looking cats ! I read this because I just love the larger breeds ! ... Thank you very much ..............
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