Ocicat Cat - Complete Information, History, and Care

Side profile of an ocicat on a plain yellow background

The ocicat is a domestic feline with a wild appearance, produced from Abyssinian, Siamese, and American shorthair breeds. Ocicats are totally domesticated, gregarious, and playful, despite their looks.

Breed Overview

Weight: 6 to 15 pounds

Length: About 16 to 18 inches

Coat: Short

Tabby with blue spots, blue/silver spots, lavender spots, lavender/silver spots, cinnamon spots, cinnamon/silver spots, fawn spots, fawn/silver spots, chocolate spots, chocolate/silver spots, silver spots, and brown spots.

Eye Color: All colors, appearing rimmed with eyeliner

Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Ocicat

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Vocalize High
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Ocicat

Tonga, the first non-intentional ocicat, was produced in 1964 as a consequence of Virginia Daly's experimentation in producing a "Abypoint" Siamese—a Siamese with the same color markings as an Abyssinian. Dalai Deta Tim of Selene, a reddish Abyssinian male, was mated to a seal point Siamese named Dalai Tomboy Patter, producing in an Abyssinian litter. Dalai She, a female from that litter, was mated to Whitehad Elegante Sun, a chocolate point Siamese, and the outcome was Siamese kittens with Abyssinian points.

Tonga, an ivory kitten with golden spots, was produced after a repeat breeding; Daly's daughter remarked Tonga looked like an ocelot and that it should be called an ocicat. Daly, on the other hand, was not interested in producing 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, particularly the Egyptian spotted fishing cat. Daly repeated the pairing, resulting in Dalai Dotson, a tawny spotted male she named after the new project. The next phase was to add the American shorthair for boning and solidity, as well as silver to the mix. Others followed in Daly's footsteps, and other ocicat lines were created.

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 both recognize the ocicat.

Ocicat Care

The ocicat's thick short coat requires only a light brushing with a rubber curry comb. The luster is enhanced by polishing with a chamois cloth. Nails should be cut on a regular basis (it's better to teach a kitten to accept this early on), and a scratching post or cardboard scratcher (ideally multiples) will maintain the nails sharp and safeguard your furniture.

To sustain their athletic body, these cats have robust, muscular bodies and medium-length legs. Because ocicats (and all cats) prefer to be indoors, give a tall cat tree for climbing, access to outside vistas, and lots of toys to keep them occupied. Cats require both horizontal and vertical room.

When trained to walk on a harness or walking jacket and leash, the clever, high-energy ocicat may also enjoy exploring the outdoors securely.

Ocicats are said to have a dog-like personality and are quick to socialize with family members and visitors. They are happy in a busy household and prefer not to be left alone for a long time.

Common Health Problems

Responsible breeders screen their cats thoroughly for any health problems, known and unknown, associated with the breed. Ocicats may be susceptible to several health issues:

  • Liver or renal amyloidosis, a possible hereditary disease that occurs when an insoluble protein called amyloid is deposited in organs such as the kidneys or liver. It results in lesions, dysfunction, and eventually, organ failure.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common heart condition affecting many cat breeds, causes the heart walls, specifically the left ventricle, to thicken.

Be sure to have an established veterinarian on hand and schedule regular checkups.

Diet and Nutrition

To maintain its health and vigor, an ocicat's robust, athletic body requires a species-appropriate diet. Raw diets and grain-free meals are popular choices. Feeding a range of meals keeps a cat from becoming picky and prevents a nutritional shortage that might result from just feeding one brand. Do your homework and talk to your veterinarian about your cat's nutritional requirements.

Pros
  • Completely domesticated cat with wild, exotic look

  • Playful, energetic, and dog-like personality

  • Social, gets along well with other cats and dogs

Cons
  • Prone to conditions affecting the liver, kidney, heart, and gums

  • Does not like to be left alone for periods of time

  • May prefer a specialized diet of grain-free or raw proteins

Where to Adopt or Buy an Ocicat

You may be able to find a purebred ocicat through a breeder in your area, but if you would rather adopt from a rescue organization, check out:

  • Petfinder
  • Adopt a Pet

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

Do your homework before purchasing an ocicat or any other purebred cat. Before reserving a kitten, get to know the breeder; it's typically advised that you visit the breeder's house (breeders often have waiting lists).

You might be able to contact with local breeders on Facebook. Breeders have their own Facebook accounts and participate in Facebook groups where they may share their experiences. Don't be concerned about distance; there is an active network of people that transport cats all across the nation, if not the world.

If you like the ocicat, check out the following similar breeds:

The Cat Fanciers' Association recognizes 42 distinct and hosts cat events around the country. Examine a few before deciding which one is best for you.

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