The Ocicat is a newly-developed feline variety with exotic and somewhat wild appearance but amicable and affectionate personality of a domestic cat. This slim and strong breed is endowed with boundless supplies of energy and will make an excellent pet for an active family or a person.
Photo: © Gladkova Svetlana (Ocik cattery)
The Ocicat appeared as the unexpected result of crossing a ruddy Abyssinian male and a seal point Siamese female. In 1964 the breeder Virginia Daly mated these two breeds in order to achieve the Siamese with spotted coat of the Abyssinian. However all kittens from the litter looked similar to the Abyssinian and Virginia decided to keep a female, which she was subsequently bred to chocolate point Siamese. Finally she attained her goal and received Siamese-like kittens with Abyssinian points.
Inspired by this success Virginia repeated the crossing. This time the litter included an ivory white kitten with gold spots. Virginia’s daughter noticed its likeness to an Ocelot and suggested to name it an Ocicat. Despite the appealing look of this kitten its appearance was a pure accident so the breeder called it Tonga, neutered and sold as a household pet.
However, it was just the beginning of the story. In one of her correspondence with a geneticist Clyde Keeler Daly portrayed Tonga in details. At that time Keeler was engaged in the project of reconstructing the extinct Egyptian Spotted Fishing Cat and proposed breeding Tonga to its mother. Evidently it was impossible but Daly replicated her breeding experiment, which produced another kitten with such a unique coat. Later on the American Shorthair was also added to the mix in order to introduce greater size as well as the silver colour.
Gradually other breeders demonstrated interest in the Ocicat and initiated separate breeding programs. The Cat Fanciers Association granted its full recognition to the breed in 1987. It was recognised by The International Cat Association in 1986.
The Ocicat is notable for its sociable and cheerful demeanour and usually gives generous love and attention to its family. This cat thrives on human companionship and should not be left alone for any considerable amount of time. It can even put up with being carried about as long as it stays besides its favourite people. It welcomes every opportunity to play and tends to be friendly with visitors hoping for their caress. This cat can be kept in a multi-animal household because of its mild temper and peaceable nature. Children will admire its resourcefulness and buoyancy and will make this cat a customary participant of their game.
Thanks to its high intelligent and liveliness the Ocicat usually becomes an eager and highly capable learner. The master can teach it to retrieve toys or walk on a leash with minimal efforts. Interactive toys are also an agreeable method to keep your pet occupied and amused. Its specimen is very crafty at using its paws at opening doors and drawers so make sure to hide anything you don’t want your cat to reach.
The Ocicat took from its Siamese progenitor its tendency to be talkative although it uses its voice more moderately. This sensitive cat responds adequately only to calm and mild verbal correction. This breed is best suited for families where it will be always surrounded by humans or other pets since it’s prone to severe separation anxiety.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· progressive retinal atrophy;
· hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;
· renal or liver amyloidosis;
· early periodontal disease.
The short coat of the Ocicat is easy to maintain. It will stay shiny and free of loose hair if you brush or comb it once a week. Bathe your cat only when it’s absolutely necessary. Since this breed is susceptible to periodontal disease it’s highly advisable to brush its teeth on a daily basis (or at least once a week).
The cat’s nails need regular trimming as long as its ears should be periodically checked and cleaned when they get dirty. Start to groom the kitten of the Ocicat as early as possible so the grown-up cat won’t shy away such types of activities.