Ocicat? You mean a cross between an Ocelot and a domestic cat, right?
No! Ocicats are wild looking cats with no wild cat genes.
Dawn of the Ocicat
The history of the Ocicat began with an American lady, Virginia Daly. Mrs Daly accidentality created the Ocicat. She was intending to develop a Siamese with the same colour points as an Abyssinian. First of all Mrs Daly mated an Abyssinian to a seal point Siamese female. The resulting kittens looked like Abyssinians. She kept a female from this litter and named her ‘Dalai She’.
Next Mrs Daly mated ‘Dalai She’ with ‘Whitehead Elegante Sun’, a chocolate point Siamese. The litter from this mating included Siamese and Abyssinian points. She repeated this breeding. To her surprise, the litter included a male kitten coloured ivory with golden spots. This male kitten was named Tonga. Mrs Daly’s daughter declared that Tonga looked like an Ocelot, She wanted to call him Ocicat, as a result, the breed was named.
Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet. However, a well-known geneticist heard about Tonga from Mrs Daly. Dr Keeler became very interested because he wished to create a cat that was similar in looks to the extinct Egyptian Spotted Fishing Cat.
As Virginia Daly could not use Tonga she, therefore, re mated his parents. That mating produced a yellow-spotted male, she named the kitten ‘Dalai Dotson’.
Throughout the 1960s Mrs Daly worked on her new breed. However, progress slowed when she became unable to continue her work, in the same way, during the 1980s
Other breeders became fascinated by the spotted cats. They took up Mrs Daly’s work wanting to develop new lines.
American Shorthairs were used to bring in the silver colour. The American Shorthair also increased the muscularity of Ocicats. Eventually, the breed moved forward and TICA granted the Ocicat championship status in August 1986.
Introduction to the UK
The first two Ocicats brought into the were UK Mr Smith and Miss Jones. They were both Tawny. They arrived from the Catoninetail Cattery, Indiana in 1988. Unfortunately nothing much came of them. Then due to caring for them whilst they were in quarantine (this was before an effective rabies vaccine was available) Mrs Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn) got, as she herself says, the Ocicat bug. Very soon she had her first two pairs of Ocicats. These were a Tawny male, a Cinnamon Ocicat Variant, a Cinnamon Female and a Chocolate Silver female. A short time later a Catoninetail Male and a female from L’Belle cattery followed.
Several other breeders helped to develop the Ocicat breed in UK., With Thedallco, Launmeadow, Winnothdale and Nwella, being early prefixes.
In 1997 the GCCF awarded Preliminary Recognition to the Ocicat breed. The in 2001 GCCF granted Ocicats Provisional Status. Shortly afterwards, in October 2004, GCCF granted Ocicats Championship Status. As a result, Ocicats could gain certificates from June 2005.
In order to improve the Ocicat gene pool, breeders in GCCF are able to use The Abyssinian breed (one of the foundation breeds for Ocicats) as an outcross to Ocicats (this is the same for many cat registries).
Ocicats are often referred to as dogs in cat’s fur. This is because of their devotion and confidence. Ocicats love their families. They are highly interactive cats always wanting to know what you are up to. Ocicats are easily trainable. They are also very agile and enjoy a good play session – especially if it involves chasing after their favourite toy.
Ocicats are highly agile cats. Owners therefore often find them on the highest spot in the room, peering down at them.
Ocicats are neither demanding nor clingy cats. They love to be with their humans as much as possible. However, an Ocicat isn’t above nudging you for a bit of attention.
Ocicats have a distinctive and happy purr. They use that purr often and generously. Ocicats are also great talkers after the fashion of their Siamese ancestors. Unlike Siamese cats, Ocicats are not loud. Many owners report their Ocicats will actively engage in conversation. The Ocicat will answer and comment with great sincerity. Ocicats will often follow their humans from room to room to get the last word.
Ocicats Have a low maintenance coat which needs no special attention. While brushing is not a direct requirement, many Ocicats enjoy the attention of being groomed. Running a brushing over them now and again to removes the dead hairs. Followed that by a polish with a chamois to add extra shine, keeps their coat in top condition
Although seen as an exotic breed, Ocicats require no special care. Their broad genetic background gives them a robust vigour and vitality.
Patterns Of the Ocicat
Ocicats come in four patterns.
The four Ocicat patterns are – Spotted tabby, Classic Tabby, Ticked Tabby and Solid (Self and Smoke). Sometimes as a gift a Siamese pointed kitten is born. Recently Ocicat breeders have confirmed the presence of the Burmese Colour Restriction (BCR) allele in Ocicats. After some research, some breeders believe the American Shorthair introduced BCR into Ocicats.
GCCF and Classic Patterned Ocicats
In 2013 GCCF recognised Classic Tabby Patterned Ocicats for showing under the name Ocicat Classics’ an example of which is here. Since then, The GCCF name for Classic Tabby Patterned Ocicats has changed to ‘Aztec”. That Aztec name can be confused with the original Aztec cat (also called the New Mexican Hairless). They are, however, unrelated
Ocicats come in 12 Colours. Those colours are:-
Tawny and Black Silver
Blue and Blue Silver
Chocolate and Chocolate Silver
Lilac and Lilac Silver
Cinnamon and Cinnamon Silver
Fawn and Fawn Silver