Ocicat

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ocicat portrait
Unleash your wild side with the Ocicat, a feline marvel that's the purrfect combination of domestic charm and untamed allure. With their striking spots resembling a miniature jungle cat, these mischievous beauties will keep you on your toes and steal your heart with their playful antics.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, care, health concerns, history, and more!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEOcicat
ORIGINUnited States
HEIGHT10-12 inches
WEIGHT8-15 lbs
LIFESPAN12-15 years
COAT LENGTHShort
SHEDDING LEVELLow
GROOMING NEEDSLow
SOCIAL NEEDSModerate
ENERGY LEVELHigh
VOCAL LEVELLow
ocicat standing on a tree trunk
Photo: kenez/Getty Images

Appearance

The Ocicat, a delightful and striking breed of cat, flaunts a beautifully spotted coat that resembles a wildcat but exudes the charm of a domestic feline. Hailing from the United States, the Ocicat stands out with its agile and muscular body, a testament to its high energy levels and playful nature.

As an overall medium to large breed, male Ocicats typically weigh between 12 to 15 pounds, while females often fall within the 8 to 12-pound range. Don’t be mistaken, though—this breed is far from bulky! Ocicats possess a well-sprung rib cage and a firm, powerful abdomen, akin to the physique of an athlete.

From head to tail, the Ocicat is a study in balance and harmony. Their heads are a modified wedge shape, slightly longer than wide, and their expressive almond-shaped eyes can be anything from a vibrant copper to a rich, deep chocolate. The eyes are quite large and angled, adding to the exotic allure of this breed.

Their ears, large and tuftless, sit at a 45-degree angle on the top of their head, contributing to their alert and friendly expression. A broad muzzle with a strong chin complements their powerful jaws, giving them a distinctive, strong profile.

Now, let’s talk about the star attraction—their coat. Oh, the Ocicat’s coat! It’s short, silky, and adorned with spots that add to its wild appearance. The spots are well-distributed and contrast sharply with the background color, ranging from lighter or darker shades of the same color or a complete contrast color.

The color options are diverse, with 12 possible colors including tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender, fawn, and various silver combinations.

But it’s not just about the spots. The Ocicat’s coat exhibits a slight sheen, making it look as if it’s been glossed and polished for a catwalk show. Its tail, moderately long and slightly tapered, is ideally tipped in dark color matching the spots.

The Ocicat’s appearance, striking yet charming, aligns perfectly with its friendly and sociable temperament. This breed is a stunning blend of the wild and the domestic, bringing the best of both worlds to cat lovers everywhere.

close up view on an ocicat's face
Photo: Traveling/Getty Images

Temperament

Ocicats are known for their playful, outgoing personalities. Imagine a friend who is always the life of the party – that’s your Ocicat right there. From a young age, they are filled with an insatiable curiosity, ready to explore every nook and cranny of your home, garden, and, if given half a chance, even your neighbor’s yard.

They are the embodiment of social butterflies in the feline world. Unlike some cat breeds that are more aloof, the Ocicat enjoys being in the mix of things. If you’re cooking, they’ll want to watch. Reading a book? They’ll snuggle up next to you, their curious eyes following the moving pages. They thrive on interaction and will often initiate games, ensuring there’s never a dull moment when an Ocicat is around.

Don’t be fooled by their wild appearance and active nature. Ocicats are affectionate pets who love their human families. They form strong bonds with their owners and can become quite attached. They’ll happily curl up on your lap for a cozy nap or nudge their head against yours in a gentle show of love. They adore attention and reciprocate affection in their uniquely expressive way.

One cannot mention Ocicats without talking about their cleverness. They’re intelligent cats who enjoy puzzles and mental stimulation. An Ocicat can figure out how to open doors or cabinets and enjoys interactive toys. They’re quick learners who will appreciate the challenge of puzzle feeders or learning new tricks.

Despite their sociable nature, Ocicats aren’t overly demanding. They won’t incessantly demand your attention or disrupt your activities. Instead, they’re content to sit by your side, sharing in your daily routines. They’re also adaptable and tend to handle changes in their environment pretty well.

But it’s not just their intelligence and sociability that endears Ocicats to people. They’re also known for their vocalization. While they’re not as talkative as, say, Siamese cats, Ocicats have a range of sounds that they use to communicate their needs and emotions. You might hear a low trill when they’re excited, a soft purr when they’re content, or a chirp as a greeting.

two ocicat kittens on a couch
Photo: chairboy/Getty Images Pro

Care

Grooming

Ocicats have short, sleek coats that require minimal grooming, a simple weekly brush should suffice. Brushing helps to remove loose hair and maintain the natural sheen of their coat. They’re not prone to matting or tangling, making them an ideal choice for those who prefer low-maintenance felines.

Bathing, while not regularly necessary, can be done every few months or so. But remember, most cats, Ocicats included, aren’t exactly fans of water. So use a gentle, cat-friendly shampoo and warm water. To keep your Ocicat looking their best, also remember to regularly clean their ears and brush their teeth.

Exercise and Play

Ocicats are active cats who enjoy a good play session. Their love for interactive games and mental puzzles means they’ll be more than happy to join you for a round of fetch or a puzzle-solving session. They appreciate toys that stimulate their hunting instincts like feather wands or laser pointers.

While they’re not overly demanding, they still need a good amount of physical and mental stimulation. Lack of adequate activity can lead to boredom, and a bored Ocicat may resort to mischief to entertain themselves.

Diet and Nutrition

In terms of diet, Ocicats require nutritionally balanced cat food. Since they’re active cats, they benefit from a diet rich in quality proteins. Be cautious with portion sizes as they might overeat if given the chance. A mix of both wet and dry food can provide the necessary nutrients, along with variety.

Always ensure fresh water is available. Treats can also be used as a form of reward during play or training sessions. However, keep in mind treats should not make up more than 10% of your cat’s daily caloric intake.

ocicat with green eyes
Photo: Nazanin Esfandyarpour/Getty Images

Health

Ocicats, often praised for their robust health, typically live between 12 to 15 years, some even longer with proper care. While they’re a generally healthy breed, like all cats, they can be susceptible to certain health issues.

Periodontal Disease: Ocicats can develop dental problems like periodontal disease, which can lead to more serious health concerns if left untreated. Regular dental check-ups are a must.

Obesity: Due to their love for food, they can become overweight. This can lead to various health problems, like diabetes or joint issues. Portion control and regular exercise are key.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This is a heart condition that can affect Ocicats. Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect early signs of HCM.

Amyloidosis: This is a rare but serious disease that can affect the liver in Ocicats. Early detection through regular vet checks is crucial.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Ocicats can be prone to UTIs. Ensuring they drink plenty of fresh water can help prevent this.

Maintaining an Ocicat’s health goes beyond being mindful of these common health concerns. A balanced diet is fundamental. As active cats, Ocicats need a diet rich in high-quality proteins. Fresh, clean water should always be available. Regular vet visits are essential for preventative health care and early disease detection. Vaccinations should be kept up-to-date to prevent various infectious diseases.

Remember, they might look wild, but Ocicats are domestic felines who require human love and care. Every purr and playful pounce is worth the effort in nurturing their well-being. After all, a healthy Ocicat is a happy Ocicat.

ocicat sniffing a halloween pumpkin
Photo: Traveling/Getty Images

History

The story of the Ocicat breed is fascinating and worth telling. It’s a tale of accidental beginnings and purposeful development, and it all began in the United States in the 1960s. The breed was born out of an experimental breeding program led by Virginia Daly, a Michigan-based breeder.

Daly was aiming to create a Siamese cat with Abyssinian points, but the genetic cocktail produced something entirely unexpected – a kitten with spots, similar to a wild Ocelot. This unique kitten, named Tonga, was the first of the Ocicat breed.

Despite Tonga’s intriguing appearance, he was sold as a regular pet. However, his distinct look didn’t go unnoticed. Dr. Clyde Keeler, a renowned geneticist, saw a photo of Tonga and expressed interest in Daly’s spotted kitten. He encouraged her to continue her breeding experiments, and so, the Ocicat breed development took a new turn.

Tonga might have been the first, but it was his sibling, Dalai Dotson, who left an indelible mark. Dotson became the model for the Ocicat breed, laying the foundation for the spotted wild-looking, yet entirely domestic breed we know today.

This exceptional breed’s journey to recognition was relatively swift. The Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) provisionally accepted the Ocicat breed in 1966, a mere five years after Tonga’s birth. In 1987, the CFA granted the Ocicat full championship status.

The International Cat Association (TICA) was equally enamored with the Ocicat breed. In fact, TICA was quick to embrace this feline. By 1979, less than two decades after the breed’s accidental inception, TICA officially recognized the Ocicat.

So, the story of the Ocicat is one of serendipity and scientific curiosity, resulting in a breed that serves as a living testament to the wild beauty that can be found in our very own living rooms. It’s a tale as unique as the spots on an Ocicat’s coat, and it’s a story that continues to charm cat lovers worldwide.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines that describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breed standards are devised by breed clubs and recognized by various cat registries worldwide.

These standards provide detailed descriptions of the breed’s physical characteristics such as body shape, size, coat type and color, eye color and shape, ear placement, and tail length.

ocicat lying on the sofa
Photo: Traveling/Getty Images

FAQs

Are Ocicat cats rare?

Yes, Ocicats are relatively rare compared to other domestic cat breeds. Their unique look and the specific breeding process make them less common.

How can I tell if my cat is an Ocicat?

Determining if your cat is an Ocicat can be tricky without a pedigree. However, Ocicats have distinct characteristics such as a well-muscled body, a short coat with distinctive spots, almond-shaped eyes, and a powerful, agile appearance that resembles a ‘wild’ cat. If you suspect your cat might be an Ocicat, a genetic test or consultation with a vet or a cat breed expert might help.

Can Ocicats be left alone?

Ocicats are social animals and generally do not do well when left alone for long periods. They enjoy the company of their humans or other pets. If you’re often away from home, it may be worth considering having another pet to keep your Ocicat company.

What’s the difference between the Ocicat and the Bengal cat?

Ocicats and Bengal cats might look similar due to their spotted coats, but they are different breeds. The main difference lies in their lineage and coat patterns. Bengals have rosette or marbled coat patterns, resembling a leopard or a jaguar, while Ocicats have spots similar to a wild Ocelot.

The Bengal breed originates from crossbreeding between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard Cat, while Ocicats are purely domestic, originating from Siamese and Abyssinian breeds.

Are Ocicats hypoallergenic?

No, Ocicats are not considered hypoallergenic. They produce dander and proteins in their saliva and urine that can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Regular grooming can help manage allergens.

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