The Ocicat is a domestic feline with a wild appearance, bred from Abyssinian, Siamese, and American shorthair breeds. Ocicats are totally domesticated, social, and playful, despite their appearance.
Tonga, the first non-intentional Ocicat, was conceived in 1964 as a result of Virginia Daly’s experimentation in breeding a “Abypoint” Siamese, a Siamese with the same color markings as an Abyssinian. Dalai Deta Tim of Selene, a ruddy Abyssinian male, was bred to a seal point Siamese called Dalai Tomboy Patter, resulting in an Abyssinian litter.
Dalai Lama She, a female from that litter, was bred to Whitehad Elegante Sun, a chocolate point Siamese, and the result was Siamese kittens with Abyssinian points.
Tonga, an ivory kitten with golden spots, was born after a repeat breeding; Daly’s daughter said Tonga looked like an ocelot and that it should be called an Ocicat. Daly, on the other hand, was not interested in developing a new breed, so Tonga was neutered and adopted.
Dr. Clyde Keeler, a geneticist, was intrigued by a domestic cat that resembled an ocelot. He was looking for a domestic cat that looked like some of the endangered wild cats, including the Egyptian spotted fishing cat. Daly replicated the play, resulting in Dalai Dotson, a tawny spotted male she called for the new project. The next move was to add the American shorthair for boning and substance, as well as silver to the mix.
Daly’s work was replicated by others and new lines of Ocicats were developed.
In 1966, the Cat Fanciers’ Association approved the Ocicat for registration. The International Cat Association awarded championship status to the breed in August 1986. The American Cat Fanciers’ Association and Cat Fanciers’ Federation all recognize the Ocicat.
The Ocicat is a large, athletic creature with a long, graceful frame. The short, tight coat of this strong, well-muscled cat gleams over its well-developed body, highlighting the stylish spots to their best advantage. Their triangular faces are topped by large, pointed ears, and almond eyes gaze out with an open, fascinated expression. The spots on an Ocicat’s spine stretch in rows from the elbows to the tail.
The spots on an Ocicat stretch in rows from the shoulders to the tail, then are dispersed across the body and down the thighs. The torso spots are about the size of a thumbprint. The majority resemble a traditional “bull’s eye” design. Because of his short, compact hair, the Ocicat is a very low-maintenance animal. Most owners literally wipe them clean with a chamois cloth once or twice a week to remove dead hairs and keep their coats gleaming.
- Weight: 3 to 7 kg
- Coat length: Short
- Amount of shedding: Low
- Color: Blue-spotted, blue/silver-spotted, lavender-spotted, lavender/silver-spotted, cinnamon-spotted, cinnamon/silver-spotted, fawn-spotted, fawn/silver-spotted, chocolate-spotted, chocolate/silver-spotted, silver-spotted, and brown-spotted
- Pattern: Tabby
The faithful and devoted Ocicat has a temperament that is far from “wild.” The Ocicat is neither a demanding nor a clingy cat, but he does like to spend as much time as possible with his humans and isn’t above nudging you for any affection. They are very emotional cats that have a direct reaction to being scolded, displaying a dog-like embarrassment for being in “trouble.”
They often react well to being trained to fetch, stop, heel, and lie down on orders, as well as to walking on a leash. They get along well with kids and other dogs, but they dislike being left alone for long periods of time. They have a distinct and cheerful purr that they use often and generously, and they are excellent talkers in the Siamese tradition.
The majority of owners say that their Ocicats will regularly participate in conversation, responding and commenting with considerable honesty, and even trailing them from room to room to get the last word. Since Ocicats are such athletic cats, it’s not uncommon to see one peering down at you from the highest point in any room.
- Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
- Active: High
- Intelligence: High
- Vocalize: High
Responsible breeders thoroughly test their cats for any known or unknown health conditions associated with the breed. Ocicats are vulnerable to a variety of health problems, including:
- Renal amyloidosis: When an insoluble protein called amyloid is stored in organs like the kidneys or liver, it may cause a genetic disorder. It causes organ failure by causing lesions, dysfunction, and organ failure.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: The heart walls, especially the left ventricle, thicken due to a common heart disease that affects many cat breeds.
- Gum disease
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