Ocicats have a very wild look thanks to their big ears, strong facial features, and spots. This large, athletic breed reminds people of wild felines, but make no mistake — the Ocicat cat is as tame as they come. This is a breed that loves social interaction, activities with their family, and learning new tricks. Smart, energetic, and lovable, the Ocicat cat is the perfect addition to any family looking for a fun and adventurous companion.
Ocicat Cat Breed Origin & History
Did you know that this distinctly beautiful breed was originally an accident! As the story goes, in 1964 there was a breeder named Virginia Daly who crossed a ruddy Abyssinian and a seal point Siamese. She was hoping to develop a Siamese with Abyssinian points, but instead, the kittens all looked like Abyssinians.
Still determined, she then bred one of the Abyssinians with a chocolate point Siamese. This time, Daly saw the results she was looking for, so she kept breeding. But the next litter had a shocking kitten — ivory with gold spots. The kitten was named Tonga, neutered, and then sold as a pet.
While continuing her efforts, Daly discussed Tonga in passing to a geneticist named Clyde Keeler. The discussion piqued his curiosity since he was interested in reproducing the Egyptian Spotted Fishing Cat (now extinct). In response, Daly repeated the breeding and another kitten like Tonga was born. This time, they also added in the American Shorthair to give the cat a silver coloring.
The spotted, silver cat immediately caught the eye of other breeders. They wanted the interesting cat in their own breeding programs. The breed took off from there! In 1966, the Cat Fanciers’ Association registered the Ocicat. They received full recognition in 1987. A year earlier, the International Cat Association also recognized the Ocicat.
Ocicat Cat Breed Personality
Ocicats are as friendly as they come. This talkative and sociable breed will greet people at the door, becoming quick friends with guests. This is a cat that loves spending time with their family. They continuously get involved with whatever you’re doing, always looking for ways to get your attention. This is not a cat that should be left alone for long periods of the day, since this can lead to separation anxiety and destructive behavior.
The Ocicat is a very active cat breed that thrives when many activities are going on. Many Ocicat owners bring their feisty feline with them on vacation or while traveling. This is an energetic cat that loves to play. You can teach them tricks and train them to walk on a leash. Provide them with puzzle toys and other interactive playtime ideas.
While Ocicats can get a little reckless when they’re left alone, they are quite well behaved when given the proper attention. Unlike most cats, this smart cat will comply if you make it clear you don’t want them on the counter. Just make sure to supply them with alternatives, like a stool or nearby cat tree. That way, they can still keep an eye on the action and feel involved in your activities.
They love elevated spots where they can watch their favorite humans — and cats — from above.
Ocicat Breed Characteristics (Physical)
There’s no denying it — the Ocicat resembles the wild big cat, the Ocelot. Daly’s own daughter said the same thing when she first saw Tonga. This is a large cat breed with an athletic and wild appearance. This cat breed’s most notable feature is their spots.
Graceful and lithe, the Ocicat is a large cat breed with fullness to its body and chest. The combination makes this breed look quite powerful. They have a solid, long body with a fairly long, slim tail. Females are often around six to nine pounds, while males can reach up to 15 pounds.
This breed type has a broad and well-defined muzzle, a strong chin, and some males even have jowls. Their ears are large and alert. These powerful features give the Ocicat its striking and wild appearance. According to the CFA’s description, they carry their head “gracefully,” atop their arching neck.
Ocicats have large, almond-shaped eyes that are angled slightly upward. No specific color is standard for the breed, and there is no correspondence between eye color and coat color. The only eye color that is not acceptable is blue.
Legs & Paws
The Ocicat’s substantial legs are muscular and powerful. They are medium to long in length. Their paws are oval and compact, with five toes in front, four in back. They are considered proportionate to their legs and the rest of their body.
This unique cat has a smooth and soft short coat with a lustrous sheen. The cat’s distinctive spots contrast greatly with their base fur color. There is an intricate tabby “M” on their forehead, thanks to their American Shorthair heritage. Their tail always ends in a dark tip. The Ocicat has large thumbprint-shaped spots on their torso and stomach.
While their coat pattern will always be the same, the Ocicat is accepted in 12 different colors. This includes tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender, fawn, ebony silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, and lavender silver.
Ocicat Cat Breed Care
Brush the Ocicat’s short coat weekly to remove dead hair and keep it looking sleek and shiny. Weekly brushing eliminates excess shedding and hairballs. You should also brush their teeth daily to avoid dental diseases. Clean their ears with a vet-approved wipe once a week to make sure wax and dirt don’t accumulate. You don’t need to bathe an Ocicat.
This is a unique-looking cat that should be kept indoors to avoid being stolen or mistaken for a wild feline. Indoor cats also avoid getting attacked by dogs, feral cats, wild animals, and keep them from being hit by a car. Ocicats are also energetic and may hunt down animals, making them an invasive species.
This is generally a healthy breed that can live to 18 years old with proper care and regular vet visits. Some inherited diseases include:
- Renal Amyloidosis (which leads to organ failure)
- Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (anemia)
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, the most common form of heart disease in cats.
When you adopt an Ocicat, make sure the breeder is reliable and offers health guarantees on kittens. Trustworthy breeders will attempt to remove diseases from their breeding program.
Provide your Ocicat with a healthy diet that won’t make them unhealthy or obese. Purchase higher quality cat food with the following qualities and ingredients:
- Protein as the first ingredient. Look for meat like chicken, salmon, or turkey. Avoid food that has “chicken meal” (or something similar) as the first ingredient.
- Taurine is present on the ingredients list. This is an amino acid that cats must have to remain healthy and active.
- A lack of carbohydrates. These are known as “fillers,” because cats don’t need grains and corn. In fact, fillers are the leading cause of cat obesity and food allergies.
Children & Other Pets
Ocicats hate being the only cat in the house. Most pet parents will adopt two Ocicats to make sure their cat has the companionship they need. Ocicats are also great friends for children, who will love playing fetch with this energetic feline. With the right supervision, dogs are also great playmates for Ocicats.
More About This Breed
When you have more than one cat, expect Ocicats to become the boss. These are smart kitties that know what they want. What they usually want? Your love and attention! This breed is often for sale at over $1,200. But having a faithful companion no matter where you go? Priceless.
Ocicats love traveling in RVs, hanging out with you on the couch, or providing company while you work. This cat may look wild, but they thrive best when surrounded by the humans they love. If you love cats as much as we do, you continue learning more about different breeds here.