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Ocicat

The Ocicat is a unique feline breed, wild in appearance but domestic in character. While the spots on its coat give it a wildcat look, its gentle, pleasant disposition is that of domestic breeds, which indeed helps it to carve a special niche for itself. Developed in the United States, it is an outcome of mixing the Siamese, American shorthair and Abyssinian cats.

Quick Information

Coat type Short, tight, spotted
Color 12 different colors including tawny, cinnamon, chocolate, lavender, fawn, blue, silver, cinnamon silver, chocolate silver, lavender silver, blue silver and fawn silver
Pattern Spotted, tabby, striped
Body Type Medium
Physical Description Athletic built, wedge-shaped head, muscular legs having dark markings, oval paws, and pointed ears tilted to a 45° angle
Eyes Almond-shaped eyes that may be slightly slanted
Average Life Span/ Life Expectancy 10 to 15 years
Weight ( Size) Males: 9 to 14 pounds; Females: 6 to 9 pounds
Behavioral Characteristics Sociable, playful, gentle, intelligent, agile, friendly, loyal, obedient
Lap Cat Yes
Shedding ( Do they shed) Minimal
Vocalization Moderate
Good with Children Yes
Hypoallergenic No
Country United States of America
Competitive Registration/ Qualification CFA, TICA, FIFe, AACE, ACFA/CAA, CCA-AFC

Video of Tawny Ocicat Kitten Enjoying a Cuddle

History

Its development was a mere accident as breeder Virginia Daly attempted in producing a Siamese having the color and points of the Abyssinian, but the end product appeared to be different than expected. In fact, on crossing a male Abyssinian with a Siamese female, the resulting kittens were of the latter kind. Daly experimented again by crossing a female kitten of the litter (Dalai She) with a Siamese (Whitehead Elegante Sun), the outcome being a litter of Siamese kittens with Abyssinian points. In this process of breeding, one of the kittens appeared to stand out from the rest as it had a delightful ivory body marked with golden spots. The unique looking kitten named Tonga was sold off as a pet cat after being neutered.

Dr. Clyde Keeler, the famous geneticist, was impressed by this spotted cat, mentioning to Daly of his desire of producing breeds resembling the Egyptian Spotted Fishing Cat, that was already extinct then. Though the Tonga was unavailable, Daly continued breeding its parents, which again lead to some spotted kittens, thus laying the foundation stone of a new breed. Daly’s daughter named them Ocicat because of their similarity with the ocelot.

Later the inclusion of the American Shorthair gave the Ocicat a stronger bone structure alongside a silver body color. Although accepted for CFA registration, it was fully recognized and granted Championship status after a long span of twenty years in 1987.

Temperament and Personality

  • Devoted and playful, it is a people’s pet, bonding well with its family, loving to follow them everywhere.
  • Are friendly and cooperative with guests, not missing the slightest opportunity of sitting on the visitor’s lap and playing with them.
  • Agile, energetic and flexible, they are capable of jumping onto high places of the house like a shelf or cupboard from where they would enjoy in keeping a close vigil of the family.
  • Being obedient and adept at following commands, they would stop doing a mischief when instructed if provided with other options.
  • They get along well with children as well as other pets including cat-friendly dogs.
  • Putting their intelligent brains into action, they are capable of doing complex tasks like opening doors or latches.
  • Easily adaptable and social, it cannot live alone for prolonged periods.
  • Though vocal like the Siamese, they are not loud or demanding.
  • These agile cats would often amuse its housemates by breaking into a tap dance on top of a table or bookcase.
  • Has a strong liking for water, having a joyful time when placed under a shower or in a bath tub.

Who is the Ocicat Good for

  • For those who desire a perfect companion who would cling on to them always.
  • Busy households that always have someone of the other to give them company.
  • People on the lookout for a cat with dog-like traits that would religiously follow their commands as well as accept the leash or harness with ease.
  • Those seeking for a complete entertainer who would keep everyone at home on their toes.

Care

Grooming

The short coats of the Ocicat are easy to groom, needing a weekly brushing using a rubber brush to get rid of the dead hair as well as provide for a proper distribution of the oils in the skin. Cleaning their coats with a chamois once in a while maintains its shine. Bathe your water-loving cats when necessary using a shampoo that suits their coat color like a whitening shampoo for those with a silver coat or bronze tone shampoo for cats with cinnamon, chocolate or brown coat.

Other hygiene measures include cleaning nails, brushing their teeth frequently to ward off periodontal disease, wiping the corner of their eyes using a soft, wet cloth as well as cleaning their ears to combat infection.

Health Problems

Though hardy, they may be affected by the health problems faced by their parents like amyloidosis of the liver and kidney, pyruvate kinase, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart disease). They are also said to be prone to progressive retinal atrophy (which may result in blindness) and gingivitis.

Training

These intelligent and bright cats are easy learners, also adept at following commands, thus making it convenient to train them similar to dogs. You can teach your pet something simple like responding to its name. Most cats like names that are short and pleasant to hear. Let them associate their name with a good experience and thus call them in a sweet tone when you are feeding or pampering them and not when yelling or shouting. After it reacts positively, get it to respond by calling to it mostly when feeding. Give it a little amount of food so that it has the need to come away. Call two to three times and move at a distance, if it comes to give it food or a treat.

Feeding

Feed these big cats with sufficient amount of cat food alongside a nutritious diet of minerals, proteins, and vitamins for maintaining an overall sound health.

Published on April 19th 2017 by under USA Cats. Article was last reviewed on 26th May 2017.

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