The Ocicat is a rare spotted-ticked breed bred in the United States by crossing Siamese, Abyssinian and American Shorthair cats.
Ocicat are domestic cats, outwardly very similar to wild ocelots, which makes them attractive to many connoisseurs of unusual breeds. They have an athletic build, expressive facial expressions, their movements are always precise and confident. A distinctive feature is a spotted pattern on the coat, while the color can be of different tones. The Ocicat is a fairly young breed, but has managed to gain popularity in the world of felinology.
The breed arose as an unexpected result of the work of breeder Virginia Daly. Initially, it was planned to breed a Siamese cat with a tabby color, for which in 1964 representatives of the Siamese and Abyssinian cats were crossed. However, one of the kittens in the litter was white with golden spots all over its body and looked very much like a wild cat.
The baby was named Tongo, and since they did not plan to use a small domestic leopard in breeding, they castrated him and added him to a new house. However, soon the breeders remembered an interesting kitten. It was decided to repeat the result, but this time the American Shorthair was added when crossing.
Cats from subsequent litters began to be used in breeding, wild cats also took part in order to consolidate some of the qualities of the breed. In 1966, the new breed was recognized by the CFA, and after that, in 1987, representatives of the breed took part in the US Championship. In the same year, the breed was officially recognized and registered.
Ocicat gradually became popular in many countries. These cats came to Europe in the late 1980s. The breed was registered by many felinological clubs, including ACF, FIFE, TICA WCF, CFA, ACFA. Several catteries have now been opened where these cats are bred. They are mainly located in the USA and France.
Native country: United States
Description of the breed
Some people, when they see Ocicat, may confuse him with an ordinary yard cat. At first glance, there really are features in their appearance, like the American Shorthair cat, reminiscent of the tabby, spotted cats familiar to everyone. However, the Ocicat has many qualities that are not typical of such pets. These are features of color, physique, size and proportion, style of movement. Now let’s consider all these parameters in more detail.
Physical characteristics of the Ocicat
The Ocicat is a medium-sized cat with a strong harmonious constitution. The limbs are long enough for jumping and running dexterously. Joints and ligaments are very flexible, which makes the breed flexible and graceful. The movements of these cats are precise and confident. Representatives of the breed have expressive eyes and facial expressions; they are emotional and perfectly demonstrate their feelings.
The body of these pets is powerful but not heavy, making the Ocicat strong and elegant. Males are much larger than females, the difference can be up to two to three kg. Males are more aggressive and dominant in behavior, while females are more docile and affectionate. Overall, however, the breed is very peaceful and social.
A distinctive feature of the Ocicat is the spotted color of wild cats. The color of the coat may vary, but it must necessarily retain the following characteristics:
- Ticking (dark areas on light hair, ring-like covering the hair;
- There may be several such darkened places on one hair);
- A mark on the forehead in the form of the letter “M”, composed of stripes and spots;
- The tip of the tail gradually darkens and becomes black;
- On the back and sides, distinct small spots are arranged in rows.
Unlike his wild ocelot counterparts, the Ocicat is a peaceful and totally social cat. They make great pets for the whole family. The character combines will and independence, sociability and curiosity, affection for the owner, which is inherent in the Siamese, Abyssinian and American Shorthair cats, from which the Ocicat originated.
- Red brown;
- Yellow brown;
- Milk and coffee;
- Variations in shades with the addition of a silvery sheen.
The spots are always dark in comparison with the main background, the color of the nose should correspond to the color.
According to the TICA classification, the Ocicat must meet the following standard requirements:
Head: Neat, wedge-shaped; proportional in size to the body; the muzzle is elongated in profile, but not pointed, wide enough in full face; the jaws are strong, the chin is powerful; ears are large, with correct angles, located on the border of a high and low set, which gives the impression of alertness; tassels on the tips of the ears are accepted.
Eyes: Almond-shaped, set wide apart, may be slightly slanted, expression attentive; Any color is allowed, regardless of coat color, but blue eyes are considered an anomaly.
Neck: Muscular, strong, but graceful and flexible, of medium length
- Semi-foreign type of constitution (an average version between light, thin build and heavy, loose);
- Cats have an athletic body that is long, lithe and strong;
- Deep chest (elbow above the level of the sternum), rounded ribs, straight sides;
- An uplift of the back is noted towards the tail;
- The muscles are well developed, the tendons are strong, which provides high mobility and endurance;
- Bones are strong, but not too heavy.
Limbs: Sufficiently long, in proportion to the body, strong; the muscles of the thighs are well expressed; paws are oval, compactly collected, fingers are tightly compressed;
Tail: Long, tapering towards the tip; the color darkens as it moves away from the body, black at the tip.
Wool: Short, thick, silky; soft and pleasant to the touch; there should be several ticking zones on each hair; spots on the coat should be clear and contrasting.
Weight: An adult cat weighs about 6 – 7 kg, cats – 4 – 5 kg.
Differences between the Ocicat and the Bengal cat
Outwardly, the Ocicat is very similar to a wild cat, just like the representatives of the Bengal breed. Not surprisingly, you can easily confuse these different pets. However, there are important differences between these cats.
The Bengal arose as a result of crossing a wild Bengal cat with a regular domestic cat, while the ancestors of Ocicat are domestic cat breeds. The physique of the representatives of both breeds is also similar, however, the features of the muzzle, the size and position of the ears, and the shape of the eyes are different.
The head of the Bengal cat is somewhat rounder than that of Ocicat, the nose is larger. Perhaps the main distinguishing feature of Ocicat from Bengal is the shape and location of the spots. In the latter, large spots are clearly distinguished on the golden wool, often ring-shaped, also marbled color is acceptable. Such colors are unacceptable for Ocicat.
Ocicat cats are loyal, energetic and love to “chat”, so they are perfect for people with an active lifestyle. These cats are usually attached to only one family member. They are completely and utterly devoted to him, although they show affection for other family members as well. However, the favorite host is always alone.
Compared to cats of other breeds, Ocicat can be called fearless. They are restless extroverts who can entertain themselves, but are sociable and people-oriented. These are not the cats that will hide under the bed when guests come.
Like its Siamese relative, the Ocicat may loudly demand food when it is hungry or resent the lack of attention, but its voice is not as squeaky as that of Siamese cats. This breed likes to “talk” to people, but if the person it is addressing does not respond, the Ocicat can get bored for a long time.
This cat is very intelligent, quickly remember its name, easily learn a variety of tricks, including those that are usually performed by dogs. Ocicat easily learn to open doors, container lids, etc. on its own. Graceful and interesting, it finds a way to get what it wants.
Ocicat does not tolerate loneliness. This breed is absolutely not suitable for single people who spend little time at home. However, if a cat has company, such as another pet, it is possible that it will survive the expectations of a beloved owner.
In general, the breed is very strong and has a stable immunity. However, sometimes there are diseases adopted from Siamese, American Shorthair and Abyssinian cats. For example, hypertrophic cardiomyopathies, metabolic disorders, blood disorders. In severe cases, circulatory disorders can lead to the death of young cats. But these cases are rare, rather exceptional than regular.
Thanks to good health and a robust body, the average lifespan of the Ocicat is 15 – 17 years, but with proper care, the breed often lives longer.
Since the coat of the Ocicat is short and soft, these cats need to be combed out with small combs or short-toothed slickers. In general, care is simple and does not require any special wisdom. Ocicat’s coat is short and does not tend to form tangles, which means that you will not need a collar cutter.
Due to their tendency to form plaque, these pets need to brush their teeth regularly. The owner should get a special toothbrush, toothpaste or other hygiene products for cats.
Since the representatives of the breed are very active cats, it is necessary to equip the house with a play area. This can be a post for sharpening claws, shelves, transitions, other climbing devices, and also be sure to provide your pet with toys. Some dog toys are also fine.
For a person who spends a lot of time outside the home and cannot pay enough attention to the Ocicat, it is better to think about purchasing a cat of another calmer and lazy breed.
Periodically, claws will need to be trimmed, like other cat breeds. The usual claw cutter used in such cases will be quite enough.
You will also need to brush your ears no more often than representatives of other, similar breeds. If you accustom the kitten to this hygienic procedure in advance, then there should be no problems in the future.
Special eye care is not required for this breed, however, all that is needed for this is better to have at home in stock until the moment when your pet is one year old. As a rule, the adult Ocicat has no eye problems.
From time to time it is necessary to bathe the cat in warm water. Since this breed has short hair, frequent bathing is not necessary, however, even a domestic cat needs to be washed 2-3 times a year. It is imperative to use a special shampoo, not necessarily expensive.
There are no specific rules for feeding this breed. All the standard rules for feeding kittens by age are perfect for kittens.
In adults, food can be both natural and ready-made branded, suitable for the age and lifestyle of the cat. It is important to choose quality fresh produce. Due to the high mobility of the breed, the portions should be voluminous, and the composition should be nutritious and high in calories.
It is best to purchase an automatic cat feeder so that you can safely go to work, knowing that the fluffy pet will be fed correctly and on time in your absence. And we also recommend adding an automatic drinker to the kit to provide it with clean, filtered water.
Ocicat breed highlights
The Ocicat is a very remarkable breed, and many cat lovers wish to have just such a cat.
- Devotion to the owner;
- Sharp lively mind;
- Gentle and affectionate disposition;
- Excessive noisiness;
- The tendency to climb all kinds of high places;
- Dependence on the company, demanding attention.
This breed is suitable for keeping in a house with children or other animals, but older people, as well as those who work for a long time, should not have an Ocicat, as these cats are bored, worried and sad in long solitude.
The Ocicat is a friendly and playful cat, well suited for active people who have enough time. These pets get along quite easily with other animals in the house and with children, and become interesting companions. However, for calm owners who love silence and regularity, such a playful cat will not work.