Appearance and features:
Ocicats have almond shaped eyes, large, strong bodies, muscular legs with dark markings, and powerful, oval shaped paws. Their heads have a wedge shape, that is, longer than wide. Their ears are tilted at a 45 degree angle. One of the most striking things about these cats is the dark contrasting spots. The body shape of the Ocicat is partway between the Oriental Shorthair and the sturdy American Shorthair. The breed’s large, well-muscled body gives an impression of power and strength.
This is a medium to large-size cat weighing 6 to 15 pounds.
The Ocicat is an all-domestic breed of cat which resembles a wild cat
but has no recent wild DNA in its gene pool. The breed is unusual in that it is spotted like a wild cat but has the temperament of a domestic animal. It is named for its resemblance to the Ocelot
. The breed was established from Siamese
stock; later, American Shorthairs
(silver tabbies) were added to the mix and gave the breed their silver color, bone structure and distinct markings.
Twelve variants in color are approved by most registries, including tawny, chocolate and cinnamon, their dilutes, blue, lavender and fawn, black silver (or ebony silver), chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver and fawn silver.
The first breeder of Ocicats was Virginia Daly, of Berkley, Michigan
, who attempted to breed an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese in 1964. The first generation of kittens appeared Abyssinian
, but the result in the second generation was not only the Abyssinian-pointed Siamese but also a spotted kitten, Tonga, nicknamed an “ocicat” by the breeder’s daughter. Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet, but further breedings of his parents produced more spotted kittens, and became the basis of a separate Ocicat breeding program. Other breeders joined in and used the same recipe, Siamese
, and offspring to Siamese
. In addition, due to an error by CFA in recording the cross that produced the Ocicat, the American Shorthair
was introduced to the Ocicat giving the breed larger boning and adding silver to the 6 colors.
Ocicats have inherited personality traits from both Siamese and Abyssinians: They are friendly and sociable and usually not shy around strangers; this makes them good family pets, and most can also get along well with animals of other species.
Their temperament is often described as that of a “dog in a cat’s body”. Most can be trained to fetch, walk on a leash and harness, come when called, speak, sit, lie down on command and other canine-style tricks. Some even take readily to water. Most are especially agile and are motivated by play with toys. Given these attributes, ocicat requires more attention from its owners than most breeds. Ocicats tend to bond with only one person and prefer that person’s company to all others. They do get along well with other animals and people, however, and appreciate an animal companion to keep them company if left alone for any length of time.
The Ocicat is generally healthy and has a long lifespan, but may inherit some of the health problems that affect the parent breeds. They include liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Ocicat’s may also be prone to periodontal disease.