Breed Introduction: Ocicat
This breed is devoted and playful it loves people and will trail their footsteps through the house or ride on a shoulder. Guests are welcomed by this generally social cat as new opportunities for petting or lap sitting. Ocicats don’t even mind being carried around as long as they are with you.
Some of its favourite activities include retrieving toys and learning to walk on a leash. Ocicats are highly intelligent and learn tricks easily. Puzzle toys are a good way to keep them occupied and entertained. Ocicats are perfectly capable of figuring out how to open doors or undo latches.
In an attempt to achieve Abyssinian points in her Siamese cats, breeder Virginia Daly crossed a seal point Siamese and a ruddy Abyssinian in 1964. The resulting kittens looked like Abys, and when she crossed one of them with a Siamese. She not only got Aby-pointed Siamese, but also one kitten that had an ivory-colored coat dotted with gold spots. She named him Tonga and sold him as a pet. When repeated breeding produced more spotted kittens, they became the foundation of a new breed. American Shorthairs were also used in their development, to add greater size and bring in the silver colour.
Ocicats were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association in 1987. They are also recognized by all other cat registries.
The Ocicat ranges in size from 6 to 15 pounds.
Ocicats are generally healthy, but they have the potential to develop certain health problems.
Progressive retinal atrophy, which leads to blindness, has been seen in a few cats in the breed, but it is not thought to be a major problem. Some Ocicats have also been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the most common form of heart disease in cats. Their Siamese and Abyssinian heritage may also predispose them to renal or liver amyloidosis and early periodontal disease.
The Ocicat’s short, smooth coat is simple to groom with weekly brushing or combing to remove dead hairs. A cat bath is rarely necessary for Ocicats..
Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails weekly. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.
Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water.
The Ocicat stands out for his spotted coat, which gives him the look of a small wildcat. The short, smooth, satiny coat comes in 12 colours, all of which feature dark thumbprint-shaped spots on a light background. Like the Abyssinian, which was one of his ancestors, the Ocicat has what’s called an agouti coat, meaning that each hair has several bands of colour (the exception is the tip of the tail). The spots are formed where those bands of colour meet.
Rows of round spots run along the spine, and more spots are scattered across the shoulders and rear end, extending down the legs. Broken “bracelets” of spots encircle the legs and broken “necklaces” adorn the throat. Large, well-scattered spots appear on the side of the body and on the belly.
Attitude towards Children and Other Pets
The gentle and playful Ocicat is well suited to life with families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He can learn tricks, enjoys interactive toys, and loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect. Supervise young children and show them how to pet the cat nicely. Instead of holding or carrying the cat, have them sit on the floor and pet him.
It is likely that the Ocicat will dominate other cats in the household and may even rule the dogs.