Ocicat Shorthair Cats
The Ocicat is an all-domestic breed of cat which resembles a wild cat but has no wild DNA in its gene pool. The breed is unusual in that it is spotted like a wild cat but has the temperament of a domestic animal. It is named for its resemblance to the ocelot. The breed was established from Siamese and Abyssinian stock; later, American Shorthairs (silver tabbies) were added to the mix and gave the breed their silver color, bone structure and distinct markings.
The first breeder of Ocicats was Virginia Daly, of Berkley, Michigan, who attempted to breed an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese in 1964. The first generation of kittens appeared Abyssinian, but the result in the second generation was not only the Abyssinian-pointed Siamese, but a spotted kitten, Tonga, nicknamed an ‘ocicat’ by the breeder’s daughter. Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet, but further breedings of his parents produced more spotted kittens, and became the basis of a separate Ocicat breeding program. Other breeders joined in and used the same recipe, Siamese to Abyssinian, and offspring to Siamese. In addition, due to an error by CFA in recording the cross that produced the Ocicat, the American Shorthair was introduced to the Ocicat giving the breed larger boning and adding silver to the 6 colors. The Ocicat was initially accepted for registration in The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc., and was moved into Championship for showing in 1987. Other registries followed. Today the Ocicat is found all around the world, popular for its all-domestic temperament but wild appearance.
There are twelve colors approved for the ocicat breed. Tawny, chocolate and cinnamon, their dilutes, blue, lavender and fawn, and all of them with silver: black silver (ebony silver), chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver and fawn silver. Ocicats have almond shaped eyes perfect for seeing at night. They also have a large, strong body, muscular legs with dark markings, and powerful, oval shaped paws. The body shape of the Ocicat is partway between the svelte Oriental and the sturdy American Shorthair. The breed’s large, well-muscled body gives an impression of power and strength.
Ocicats are said to be a very outgoing breed. They are often considered to have the spirit of a dog in a cat’s body. Most can easily be trained to fetch, walk on a leash and harness, come when called, speak, sit, lie down on command and a large array of other dog-related tricks. Most are especially good at feline agility because they are very toy-driven. Some even take readily to the water. Ocicats are also very friendly and sociable. They will typically march straight up to strangers and announce that they’d like to be petted. This makes them great family pets, and most can also get along well with animals of other species, although they are likely to assert their dominance over all involved. Ocicats make excellent pets for people who want to spend a lot of time with their cat, but they do require more attention than cats who aren’t so people-oriented.