The handsome Ocicat may look like a mini Ocelot, but fortunately, they don’t have the personality to match their wild looks. The Ocicat Cat is known for its unusual “wildcat” appearance, and is the only domestic breed specifically bred to this standard. The breed has distinct spotted markings similar to those found in wild breeds, but despite this, has no wild blood at all. As its gentle temperament might suggest, the Ocicat is actually derived from friendly, domesticated breeds including Siamese and Abyssinian cats, and more recently the American Shorthair. Despite being a relatively new breed, the Ocicat can be found worldwide, and is popular for both its striking appearance and pleasant temperament. There are still only a small number of breeders in Australia.
The history of the Ocicat
Ocicats were first bred in the mid twentieth century in the United States. The spotted variety only emerged after two generations of breeding, but was soon sought after enough that a special Ocicat breeding program was established. Other breeders began seeking to produce spotted Ocicat offspring by mixing, in the manner of the original breeder, Siamese and Abyssinian cats. The breed’s stature and colouring developed further when American Shorthair parentage was added into the breed’s lineage.
The Ocicat is a fairly large breed, and is quite strong and muscular in build. The breed’s paws are large and strong, and are often decorated with dark-hued markings. Dark markings can also be found on the tail and down the back, and the breed also has a number of spots over the body. These spots, which resemble those of an ocelet, are what give the breed its name. The breed should also have a distinctive “M”-shaped marking on the head. Ocicats can be one of twelve different colours, many of which are variations of silver, chocolate, blue, or tawny. The breed has distinctive oval-shaped eyes, and has exceptional night vision. Ocicats typically weigh between 2.5 to 6.5 kilos, and are sturdily built.
As their lineage might suggest, Ocicats are fun and outgoing, and are known for being highly spirited. Some even consider them to be dog-like in personality, a fact that derives not only from the breed’s fun-loving nature, but also from the fact that Ocicats can be quite easily trained to use a leash and to perform tricks such as sitting or speaking on command. Ocicats enjoy playing with toys, and need to be kept entertained in order to stave off misbehaviour arising from boredom. Ocicats are extremely friendly and personable, and require a good deal of attention. For this reason they usually work well as family pets, and are also a good choice for a companion cat, or for households where there is already another pet in residence.
Looking after an Ocicat
Ocicats require relatively little in the way of grooming, making them a fairly low maintenance cat in terms of a grooming regimen. However, because Ocicats are quite large and active, they require regular attention, play, and exercise. They are an appropriate choice for active and outgoing households, but may not be suited to older or physically impaired owners. Similarly, they might not fare well in households where owners are often away, or have little time to interact with their pet. Ocicats pair well with other animals, and often benefit from the attention afforded by another family pet.