ALL CAT BREED PROFILES

Ocicat: A Sneak Peek into the Wild

Ocicat lying down in a studio
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Are you one of those people who have an admiration for wild cats? We understand your fascination. Their gracefulness, athletic build, and intricately spotted coats are totally awe-inspiring. Yet we know they belong to the wild, and we can only admire them from a distance. But did you know? Today, it is totally possible to bring a taste of the wild home with you. You need to hear about the Ocicat.

The Ocicat is a charming and intelligent domestic cat with a spotted coat that will satisfy your admiration for wildcats. Does this sound too good to be true? It even gets better. The Ocicat has a personality that is truly heartwarming. They are loyal, affectionate, playful, and easy to train. They not only spice up your household with their untamed, dashing looks, but they also make great family pets.

Ocicat sitting up with her head turned around

In this article, we let you in on how this fascinating feline breed came about. We also give you a detailed description of their physical features and personality. We will also explore the health challenges Ocicats are prone to. This article will also enlighten you on how to take care of an Ocicat. We will explain their feeding schedule and grooming needs in great detail so you can make an informed decision.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: Very High

  • Grooming: Low Maintenance

  • Health: Average

  • All Around Friendliness: Good

  • Exercise Needs: High Exercise Needs

Cat Breed GroupShort-Haired, Crossbreed
SizeAverage
WeightMales: 10 - 15 lbs

Females: 7 - 12 lbs
Lifespan12 - 15 years

Ocicats trace their origin to Michigan, United States, in the year 1964. Interestingly, their origin is considered accidental. A breeder by the name Virginia Daly desired Abyssinian points in her Siamese cats. To achieve this, she mated a seal point Siamese with an Abyssinian. The resulting litter had kittens resembling the Abyssinian. She then crossed one of the kittens with a purebred Siamese and got what she had been looking for. The litter had the characteristics of a Siamese with Abyssinian points.

But there was more; one of the kittens stood out with an ivory-colored coat that had golden spots. This peculiar kitten also had copper eyes. This kitten was then named Tonga. Daly’s daughter named the breed Ocicat because Tonga’s spots were similar to that of a wildcat known as the Ocelot. Later on, Tonga was neutered and sold off. Other litters from his parents, however, yielded more spotted kittens just like Tonga, and from there Daly saw an opportunity for the formation of a new breed.

Studio image of an Ocicat lying down

The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) acknowledged the Ocicat breed in 1966. CFA, however, erroneously listed the breed parents as an Abyssinian and an American Shorthair. This saw the introduction of the American Shorthair into the breed. As a result, the resulting litters had changes in their colors, bone structure, and body shape. The American Shorthair is credited for the size and the powerful features of the Ocicat.

Ocicats are intriguing to many cat lovers for their spotted coats as well as their graceful and athletic bodies that are usually found in wild cats. Their wild aura is wrapped up in a warm, affectionate personality and wholehearted devotion to their owners. Their short-haired coat is a breathtakingly intricate piece of art. Ocicats have smooth, shiny coats that have a satiny feel. Their spots are thumbprint-shaped and run across their spine, shoulders, legs, and rear.

Two Ocicat kitten sitting in a suitecase

Their legs and neck are flanked by fragmented spots. The spots on their bodies and belly are larger and more scattered. Their eyes and cheeks sport darker, more defined lines. Their foreheads have defined lines that mimic the letter M. Two large ears, almond-shaped eyes, and a wedge-shaped head complete their majestic look. They also have a long, winding tail with a tip that is usually dark in color.

The Ocicat is a medium-sized, muscular feline. They have a heavy bone structure and an athletic build. Ocicats are actually heavier than they appear. Ocicats are ideal for families that have children and pets. They are highly intelligent, affectionate, loyal, active, highly adaptable, and playful. Also, they thrive in human company. These intelligent felines are also easy to train and can walk on a leash, tap dance, respond to voice commands, play fetch, and master other stimulating activities.

Main Highlights

  • The Ocicat was first discovered in Michigan, United States, in 1964. They are considered a pleasant yet unexpected result of a breeding experiment.

  • Though Ocicats exude the charm of wild cats, they are domestic cats that exhibit great affection for both humans and other pets.

  • Ocicats come about as a result of crossing three different breeds: the Siamese, the Abyssinian, and an American Shorthair.

  • The American Shorthair was introduced following an error made by CFA while listing the breed’s parents. As a result, the breed acquired some changes in its color, body shape, and structure.

  • Male Ocicats are significantly bigger in size than the female.

  • The breed was named Ocicat due to their resemblance to a wildcat known as the Ocelot

  • The Ocicat has 12 coat colors that are approved by most of the cat registries, including the CFA.

  • Ocicats have an agouti coat with each hair strand bearing alternating colors that are darker towards the end.

  • Ocicats are considered hypoallergenic, which means that they are better tolerated by some cat allergy sufferers. This is because they produce less of the allergy-triggering protein, Fel d 1. Their short coats also shed less and may be another reason for their hypoallergenic status.

  • Ocicats have short coats that require minimal grooming.

  • These felines are vocal—a trait they may have been inherited from their Siamese parents.

  • The breed was accepted for registration by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1966. But it was not until 1987 that the breed was accepted for the championship.

  • The Ocicat has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Exercise, a good diet, and an overall healthy lifestyle can increase this feline’s lifespan.

Breed History

The first Ocicat was discovered in 1964 by a breeder in Michigan, United States. Virginia Daly carried out an experiment to see if she could replicate the points on her Abyssinian cats’ coat on Siamese cats.

She, therefore, crossed the two breeds. The initial litter had kittens that looked like the Abyssinian. She then crossed one of the resulting kittens with a pure Siamese and the litter gave her what she had been hoping for.

An ocicat cat walking in a studio

The litter mostly comprised Siamese kittens with Abyssinian points. It also had one unique kitten donned in an ivory coat and golden spots. This spotted kitten was named Tonga. Virginia’s daughter also gave him the name Ocicat since he reminded her of a wild spotted cat known as the Ocelot.

Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet. His parents, however, went on to have other kittens who were also spotted. This gave rise to the Ocicat breed—a beautiful feline whose spotted coat is similar to that of wild cats.  The American Shorthair was then introduced into the breed. This brought about some changes in the breed’s body structure, size, and color. Today, the Ocicat is a medium-sized, muscular feline.

Size

The Ocicat is a graceful, elegant, athletic, and muscular feline that exudes power and strength. Male Ocicats are noticeably bigger in size than the female. Male Ocicats weigh between 10 and 15 lbs while females weigh between 7 and 12 lbs.

Two ocicat kittens sitting together

Ocicats have muscular, powerful limbs and strong paws. Their bone structure is also heavy and dense. The introduction of the American Shorthair into the breed is thought to be the reason for the large size of these felines. Also, Ocicats are heavier than they appear.

Personality and Character

The Ocicat personality is another feature that endears this feline to cat lovers. Ocicats are affectionate, explorative, playful, and confident. They are very loyal and loving towards their owners and love to curl up in their laps for a cuddle.

Ocicats are sociable and adapt easily to new people. They also crave company and would be miserable if left alone. They enjoy the company of other pets and love playing with children. They, therefore, make great household pets. Ocicats are also vocal, though not annoyingly so.

an ocicat cat preparing to run

Being highly intelligent, Ocicats are easy to train and enjoy stimulating activities. They can walk on a leash, play fetch, retrieve toys, and tap dance among other dog-related activities. They also respond to voice commands like sit, lie down, and come, among others.

Health and Potential Problems

Ocicats are generally a healthy feline breed. There are, however, a few health issues that have been reported among them:

Health Issue #1: Gingivitis

Feline Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. Its symptoms include:

  • Reddening of the gum

  • Bad breath

  • Plaque accumulation (plaque is a layer of bacteria in the mouth)

The gum inflammation is caused by an allergic reaction to the bacteria. Fortunately, gingivitis in felines can be easily eliminated with proper vet care. The vet may remove the plaque by cleaning your cat’s teeth. Antibiotics and nutritional supplements may also be recommended to aid the healing process. 

Picture of and ocicat-cat taken in a studio

Cat parents can avoid gingivitis by ensuring proper dental hygiene in their felines. Daily oral care using a feline toothpaste and a soft brush is mandatory.

Health Issue #2: Renal Amyloidosis

Feline Renal Amyloidosis occurs when abnormal proteins are deposited in a cat’s kidney—thereby affecting its normal functioning. As it progresses, it may then cause kidney failure. Symptoms of this disease in felines include:

  • Frequent urination

  • Appetite loss

  • Excessive thirst

  • Vomiting

  • Weight loss

  • Swelling of the face and/or the limbs

  • Blood clots

Veterinarian treatment of this disease may include administering antibiotics, a special diet targeted at kidney health, hormonal therapy, and medication against hypertension. Renal amyloidosis is hereditary and cannot be prevented. Therefore, be extra careful when adopting a cat.

Health Issue #3: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This is a heart disease caused by the thickening of the muscles of the left ventricle. This, in turn, affects the heart’s ability to pump blood into the aorta.

Image of three Delightful Ocicat Kittens

Symptoms of this disease are as follows:

  • Body weakness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Labored breathing

  • Heart failure

  • Limb paralysis

Felines with this disease will need hospitalization, and the vet will administer a series of medication. Oxygen therapy may also be administered to aid their breathing. Some dietary restrictions may also be advised. Cat parents may also need to isolate the affected feline from other pets and children to eliminate any stress-triggering elements.

Care Features

The Ocicat does not have any special needs that cat owners need to be wary about. Like with all felines, Ocicat owners should ensure they keep up with routine vet visits and vaccinations to provide a healthy lifestyle for these kitties.

Ocicat owners should also bear in mind that these kitties thrive in company. Owners should be available to spend time with their Ocicats. If you lead a busy lifestyle and are often away, we recommend that you ensure there are other pets in the home to keep your Ocicat company.

Image of two ocicat cats lying down near a window

Ocicats are playful and explorative. They should, therefore, be provided with lots of stimulating toys and activities. A cat tree, a scratching post, and a lounging spot are the basics.

A busy Ocicat is a happy Ocicat. If your neighborhood is cat-friendly and you don’t mind letting your cat roam outdoors, we recommend installing a cat door. Ocicats can also thrive as indoors-only cats, though, as long as their owner is willing to invest some time for them.

Feeding Schedule

Ocicats do not require a peculiar feeding routine. Like all felines, they should be fed with high-quality cat food with meat as the primary ingredient. They should also be offered small portions throughout the day as opposed to singular large meals. Ensure your cat has access to clean, fresh water at all times. You can also offer them treats once in a while to keep them appeased.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

The Ocicat has a short, smooth, and shiny coat that has a satiny feel. Ocicats are famous for their beautiful spots that set them apart from other domestic felines and give them an exotic allure.

Beautiful brown ocica cat

There are 12 colors that are approved by cat registries (e.g. CFA) for this breed. Their coats appear in 6 standard colors and 6 silver shades of the standard colors:

Standard Colors

  • Lavender

  • Chocolate

  • Fawn

  • Tawny

  • Cinnamon

  • Blue

Silver Shades

  • Ebony Silver

  • Lavender Silver

  • Chocolate Silver

  • Fawn Silver

  • Cinnamon Silver

  • Blue Silver

Due to their short coat, Ocicats do not require frequent grooming. A weekly brush is enough since their coat does not shed much. You can bathe them once in a while, though, they do not require regular baths. Ensure daily dental hygiene to ward off dental diseases. Their nails should also be trimmed weekly. Ocicat owners should also ensure their felines have a clean litter box. Like most felines, Ocicats are very keen on their hygiene.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

Ocicats thrive in households that have other pets and children. They are friendly and warm towards even strangers. Ocicats do not like to be alone. They require the company of other pets to thrive. They get along well with both cats and dogs—just make sure you do the introduction right.

Wrap Up

An experimental breeding led to the creation of one of the fascinating domestic felines. The Ocicat’s beauty, gracefulness, and affectionate personality are hard to resist. Many cat owners adore this domestic cat that is donned in a wild cat’s coat. Furthermore, the Ocicat is fairly easy to maintain as they do not require any special care. Their short coats need minimal grooming. A weekly brushing, daily dental care, and a weekly trimming of their nails is all the grooming they will require.

Ocicats are considered a generally healthy breed. There are, however, some health conditions that have been reported in a few of these felines. Be wary of gingivitis, renal amyloidosis, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

A gorgeous ocicat cat lying down

If you are planning to adopt an Ocicat, make sure you have other pets—especially if you can’t always keep them company—because Ocicats do not like to be alone. You should also be prepared to offer stimulating activities as Ocicats are very active and playful.

Do you have an admiration for wild cats and would love to adopt an Ocicat? Does their affectionate and warm personality appeal to you? If you’re less concerned about the color of a cat’s coat and more about the kind of companionship they offer, consider this hairless cat with a heart full of love. Let us know what you feel about the Ocicat in the comments.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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