The 'wild' look of these beautiful cats is often what captures people at the outset, but it will be the wonderful temperament and personality of the Ocicat that will truly win your heart.
Ocicats tend to be very food-driven, and a cat biscuit is unlikely to be caught by any other cat or dog if an Oci is in the room. They are incredibly fast, agile and athletic and love to run around - laser-pointers & feather sticks make fantastic interactive toys which they adore. They are people-oriented & will readily talk to their human companions, they are very inquisitive and sociable, and like to be involved in everything that is going on.
Open a cupboard door & expect your Ocicat to have its head in there with you to check what interesting things it can see. They like water & will happily try catching the water sprays while you’re in the shower, they will lend you a paw while you’re taking a bath or having a wash in the sink. There are not many places in a house that an Oci cannot get into or onto; however they are not destructive like some other breeds.
Ocicats are often described as being 'dog-like' in their behaviours, they are also very trainable, and can be trained to play fetch and do various other tricks, not to mention their ability to walk nicely on a harness and lead.
They may behave like sprites whilst awake, but are very cute come sleep-time, when cuddling becomes a permissible activity!
The Ocicat Breed History
The Ocicat originates in a deliberate mating in 1964 between an Abyssinian and a Siamese. The breeder, Virginia Daly was attempting to develop an 'Aby-point' (Ticked Tabby Point) Siamese.
The second generation included not only the desired Aby-points, but also a tawny spotted kitten. Virginia's daughter pointed out his resemblance to the wild Ocelot, and the 'Ocicat' was born.
The American Shorthair was then introduced which gave the additional bulk and athletic 'substance', which the Ocicat exhibits, and also the Silver gene. Official recognition was finally achieved in the USA in 1986.
The first pair of Ocicats to arrive in the UK was during 1988, but for some reason nothing came of them. However, during their time in quarantine, they were cared for by Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats in Hampshire), who in her own word’s “caught the Oci bug” she then brought in four breeding animals of her own - two male, two female.
The Ocicat Breed
Increasingly over recent years Ocicats with the Classic coat pattern have been appearing in Ocicat litters in the UK. The Ocicat Classics are extremely beautiful, and it is hoped that their recognition as a separate breed alongside their spotted relatives will be a success. Apart from the beautiful coat pattern there are no other differences from the Ocicat itself. The Classic pattern can occur in all 12 of the Ocicat colours.
The FIFe breed standard is available here