Last Updated: 2 years by Caitlin
- Size: Medium-large, 5 to 14 lbs
- Energy Level: 4/5
- Talkative: 3/5
- Coat: Short, fairly silky, smooth and lies close to its body
- Hypoallergenic: No
- Seeking: Experienced, active humans who’ll work out with me
- Child Friendly: Yes
- Personality Snapshot: Very smart, playful and highly active, likes to be handled and inherently curious
The first thing people notice about me are my fierce wildcat looks, which is interesting considering Ocicats have no wild DNA in their gene pool. Yet everything about me is suggestive of the wild, from my large, wide-set ears down to the banded tip of my tail.
Thus my name – it comes from my resemblance to the ocelot, aka the dwarf leopard.
And like the big cats of the wild, I possess a strikingly spotted coat. My spots are as prominent as bull’s eyes and densely packed together, resulting in a distinctly exotic look.
Although most of my markings are spots, they tend to form broken circles along my lower legs and as for my tail – well, that’s a different ball game altogether. No matter what my coat color is, my tail is always highlighted by banded patterns and has a tip that looks like it was dipped in black paint – like the cheetah’s.
My coat is also short, which helps to outline the muscular curvatures of my athletic physique.
To further heighten my wildcat appearance, my chest is broad and my stocky neck has a noticeable arch that makes me look like I am ready to jump and pounce at any given moment.
In contrast to my wildcat body, my face is disarmingly sweet.
‘Though my muzzle is well-defined and I sport a strong chin like the undomesticated big cats, everything is softened by my roundish head and slightly curvy cheeks.
My large, almond-shaped eyes also give me an unmistakably soulful appearance that contrasts beautifully with my overall wild looks.
And as an extra bonus? I sport a distinct “M” shape on my forehead, much like the leopard or the cheetah. It’s just the perfect touch of wild on my otherwise tame face.
Don’t let my wildcat looks fool you – Ocicats are as domesticated as they come. Sure, I may be intimidating at first glance but everyone who knows me knows I am one of the most affectionate, loyal and playful cats in all the feline world.
My exotic looks are just skin-deep, after all – I don’t have a drop of wild DNA in my blood.
And that’s a good thing, since it means I have no issues getting along with humans and even other pets. I am not shy at all and I thrive in the company of people, be they my humans or first-time visitors to the home.
So don’t be surprised to see me clambering up your – or your guest’s – lap expecting a stroke behind the ears or a bit of tickling time. I may even choose to chill out near the front door just to be the first to greet anyone who might drop by.
Yes, I am that friendly. But that’s not my only virtue – I also happen to be one of the smartest pedigreed breeds in the world of cat fancy. That means I can learn tricks easily, master voice commands and love to dedicate parts of my day to puzzle toys that tickle my brain. But it also means I can figure out how to open doors and cabinets – even ones with latches – so keep that in mind before you stash away my treats.
As for my other Ocicat talents, I am a master of acrobatic tricks and won’t hesitate to show off my pouncing and jumping skills, especially when there’s an adoring audience. And even when there’s not, I’ll spend a considerable part of each day pouncing on imaginary prey and clambering up high spots in and around the home.
My active nature is not just for the indoors, either – unlike so many other, more hermit-like cats, I have no qualms about wearing a leash, especially if it means I get to go for a stroll with my humans.
Just keep in mind that it’s easy for me to factor our walks into my daily exercise routine – which is of the utmost importance for me – and I may become a bit cantankerous when I feel it’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper workout.
I am definitely not a couch potato, so if you are – you’ll want to pass on my profile and skip on over to the Persian cat’s.
But before you get to thinking I am a demanding diva, you should know that I’m rather independent and can manage quite well even when left alone. So, no, I won’t claw your furniture out of spite just ’cause you’ve been out all day and yes, you can cuddle other pets without provoking the green-eyed monster in me.
That being said, a cat’s gotta have standards, right? So while I won’t go caterwauling for your undivided attention, I can become noisy when my food or water bowl needs refilling. That’s probably the Siamese in me, ‘though I differentiate myself by voicing my demands in more of a steady trill than a piercing caterwaul.
My Ideal Human
Ocicats are nowhere near as demanding as some other felines, but I’m still not a breed for cat newbies. That’s ’cause I can become rather temperamental and prone to mood swings if not trained properly right from the start.
So while I may win you over with my wild kitten looks, I can become harder to control as time goes by. If it’s your first time with a cat, I’ll probably be too much for you to handle.
Oh, my ideal human must not only be experienced but active as well since I absolutely require a daily exercise regimen. This rules out the busybody professionals who’re going to be out and about all day as well as couch potatoes. Older cat lovers might be a good match, but only if they live active lifestyles.
I will become restless and anxious when left to idle about all day. And that won’t be fun for either of us.
As for parents of young children – I am a very friendly, sociable cat and I can be extremely patient with little humans. But keep in mind that I won’t think twice about showing my displeasure when handled roughly so make sure to supervise whenever your tiny ones want to play with me.
The Ocicat breed is the brainchild of Virginia Daly, a cat breeder who hailed from Berkeley, Michigan in the United States. In 1964, she paired a seal-point Siamese with a ruddy-colored Abyssinian in an experimental breeding program and was surprised to produce a litter of kittens that had unique spotted coats. The kittens sported the overall physique of a Siamese, while somehow flaunting Abyssinian points.
Daly was so impressed with the results of her breeding program that she decided to pair the two cats for a second time and produced another litter with a male kitten named Tonga that sported a wildcat-looking coat. He flaunted golden spots on an ivory background, akin to an Ocelot.
Although it isn’t clear if Daly gave Tonga as a gift to a fellow fancier or sold him to another breeder, the Ocelot-like kitten was featured in a Detroit newspaper and got the attention of Dr. Clyde Keeler, a noted geneticist. Keeler liked Tonga so much that he encouraged other local breeders to include him in their future breeding programs.
Tonga was subsequently paired with American Shorthairs to bring out a silver gray coloration and buff up the size of the kittens produced. Thanks to all their efforts, my breed was officially registered for the acceptance of the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1966. However, breed development continued for another two decades and my lineage was only granted our championship status in May 1987.
How to Keep Me Healthy and Happy
Ocicat are considered a hardy breed since they’re not vulnerable to the kinds of health problems that are prevalent in other breeds like hip dysplasia or kidney trouble. Ocicat don’t even have any special dietary requirements.
I mostly just need occasional grooming and bathing. I’m pretty low-maintenance that way, at least health-wise.
Happiness is a little trickier. I’ll need something like an hour or two of playtime or exercise on a daily basis and some puzzle toys to keep me wits sharp.
Oh, and don’t forget my climbing needs – a few high places in and around the house for me to clamber up is a necessity.
- Here’s a fun fact – it was Virginia Daly’s daughter who coined the name Ocicat.
- In case you’re interested – Ocicats with bigger spots on their coats are more preferred in cat shows.
- And a final confession slash suggestion: I’m a very inquisitive feline so it’s smart to keep your valuables under lock and key or inside childproof cabinets to prevent me from getting my paws on them.