Ocicat: Cat Breed FAQ -- The Call Of The Wild

[Ocicat]

Authors

Copyright © 1994, 1995 by the authors, All Rights Reserved.

Contents

i. FOREWORD
I. DESCRIPTION/SHOW STANDARD
A. Head
B. Body
C. Coat & Color
D. Pattern

II. BEHAVIOR
A. Temperament
B. Training
C. Adaptability
D. Intelligence

III. GENETICS/HISTORY
A. Origin
B. Breed Recognition
C. Health/Longevity

IV. OCICAT CLUBS

V. COLOR CLASSES
A. Tawny Class
B. Chocolate Class
C. Cinnamon Class
D. Dilute Class
  1. Blue
  2. Fawn
  3. Lavender
E. Silver Class
  1. Silver
  2. Chocolate Silver
  3. Cinnamon Silver
  4. Blue Silver
  5. Fawn Silver
  6. Lavender Silver
F. A.O.V. (Any Other Variety) Class

VI. COMPETITION/STANDARD
A. Quality Levels
  1. Pet
  2. Breeder
  3. Show

Foreword

"Spots! Is it tame? What kind of cat is this? "It must be something special!" Indeed they are. When we take our Ocicats out in public, we are constantly questioned about them. This magnificent spotted cat never fails to steal the show, not to mention the hearts of those fortunate enough to own one.

In the years we have been involved with the breed, typical comments at shows have changed from a perplexed "Ocicat? ...What is that?" To "I have heard so much about them, we drove two hours just to come and seen one."

Rare, wonderful, exotic, and beautiful are all words used to describe this breed of cat. The Ocicat clearly answers the wish many cat fanciers have for a well muscled, imposing, and intelligent cat that resembles the spotted cats of the wild, while displaying the gentle temperament of a domestic cat. Ocicats are the best of both worlds: the feral look of a wild jungle cat, without the wild cat blood and thus, none of the problems associated with raising an animal that has wild blood.

The Ocicat is still considered a rare breed, but the interest in, and number of people breeding and showing this feline has risen steadily.

I. Description & Show Standard

The most general breakdown of the Ocicat Show Standard is the Head, Body, Coat and Color, and Pattern. Each of these four areas of confirmation is allotted 25 points for a total standard score of 100. Point's and description:
A. HEAD

Large alert ears at a 45 degree angle, slightly slanted almond shaped eyes and a modified wedge head completes the picture, of a cat that looks as if it would be more at home in a Tarzan movie than in your living room. Eye color is typically golden, green or copper.

B. BODY

The Ocicat is a well-spotted cat of medium to large size, displaying the look of an athletic animal. They are well muscled and solid, graceful and lithe, yet with a fullness of body and chest. People are usually surprised when they first hold an Ocicat, as Ocicats are very heavy for their size. An Ocicats weight is primarily composed of muscle and great bone. Female Ocicats weigh between 6 to 9 pounds. Male Ocicats weigh between 9 & 14 pounds and larger.

C. COAT & COLOR

The short, spotted coat lays flat against their bodies and shining like satin over rippling muscles. An Ocicat radiates power and grace.

D. PATTERN

While the Ocicat is not the only spotted breed, it is distinctively different in its spotting pattern. The Ocicat has thumbprint-shaped spots in a bullseye pattern on the torso (from the classic tabby pattern). In contrast, the Egyptian Mau's spots are randomly scattered. Each hair has several bands of color and where these bands fall together a thumbprint-shaped spot is formed.

II. Behavior

A. Temperament

The Ocicat looks wild and displays the characteristics of the wild cats in the jungle, but the temperament of the Ocicat is that of a true "pussy cat." It is a lot like a dog in that it is absolutely devoted to its people. The Ocicat is not a demanding, clinging vine type. An Ocicat owner often feels like they have a shadow following behind them. These cats do not meet strangers, just new laps upon which to sit. Laps are not a requirement - many Ocicats will gladly perch on your shoulders and "allow" you to carry them around the house. They check out the possibilities for that new playmate too. Their playful inclination coupled with an unmatched curiosity often result in humorous and comical antics. We find that Ocicats are extremely playful, but when playtime is over, they curl up on their people's lap for an extended purring session.

B. Training

Ocicats are quite bright and easily trained. Many will fetch, walk on a leash, respond to whistled commands and readily adapt to household rules. Because of their adaptability, they are a joy to show in the show ring. If accustomed early to traveling and being handled by strangers, they look forward to road trips and conduct themselves in the show ring with glee.

C. Adaptability/Sociability

Their adaptability also makes them ideal companion animals, whether you are a stay-at-home or frequent traveler in search of a travel companion. They are extremely people-oriented, living well with children and people of all ages and types. They do not display an aloof temperament and actually act more like a dog than a cat. Their sociable nature may make them less suited than some other breeds to being left alone for long periods on a regular basis, but it does make them a good choice for a household already blessed with other cats and dogs. In general, they get along well in groups and with individuals of other breeds as long as their personalities and energies do not conflict.

D. Intelligence

The intelligence of the Ocicat is also intriguing. There are times when Ocis are fully capable of opening doors or cage latches, many others who in a "dog-like" manner will fetch, and the interesting case of an Ocicat who would sit and wave "bye-bye".

The Ocicat is also a consummate hunter, lion-like in repose but when a possible prey is presented they are like lightning with their attention. It is a full body, intense attention and they will leap higher that you can imagine to catch whatever has their interest. A few moments later, they sit or recline and you would not know they have moved.

III. Genetics & History

A. Origin

The origins of the Ocicat can be traced back to 1964, when Virginia Daly of Berkeley, MI crossed a Seal Point Siamese and a Ruddy Abyssinian, in hopes of developing an Aby-pointed Siamese. The first generations of cats were phenotypically Abyssinian. A cross between one of these females and a Siamese produced not only the Aby-pointed Siamese, but also a spotted cat, Tonga, dubbed an "Ocicat" by Virginia's daughter, due to its resemblance to its wild cousin, the Ocelot. Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet. Subsequent breedings of the sire, dam, and other Abyssinians and Siamese formed the foundation of the Ocicat breeding program. American Shorthairs were eventually added to introduce the silver color, placement of spots, and enhance size and boning.

B. Breed Recognition

The Ocicat was promoted to provisional status in the Cat Fanciers Association in 1986. At that time, the registry was closed to Siamese and American Shorthair outcrosses, although the use of Abyssinians is allowed until 2005. The Ocicat reached championship competition status in both CFA and TICA for the 1987 show season. The breed is recognized in all other registries as well.

C. Health/Longevity

1. Health

To the best of our knowledge, there are no genetic problems specifically associated with the Ocicat. The decision to allow the use of Abyssininan outcrosses until 2005 will allow the creation of new Ocicat bloodlines, with the intent on keeping the gene pool diverse enough to prevent genetic defects from arising. Of course, responsible breeding is the key to producing healthy, robust cats. We strongly recommend that prospective buyers check out breeders and pedigrees before purchasing an Ocicat, or any purebred animal.

2. Longevity

Ocicats have known to live as long as 18 years of age.

IV. Ocicat Clubs

There are currently two Ocicat clubs. They are: Ocicats International and Ocicats of North America. For more information regarding these clubs send your request to the address at the beginning of this article.

V. Color Classes

Ocicats currently have twelve colors recognized for show competition. The colors are broken down into the following Color Classes for competition:
A. Tawny Class
Tawny: Black or brown spotting on a ruddy or bronze agouti ground. The nose leather is brick red rimmed with black and the paw pads are black or seal brown.

CH Rabeau's Buddy Boy (Tawny Spotted Male)

B. Chocolate Class
Chocolate: Chocolate spotting on a warm ivory agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed with chocolate and the paw pads are chocolate pink.

GRC,RW Shamizod's Rusty Nail of Rabeau (Chocolate Spotted Male)

The color chocolate is one of the popular colors of the Ocicat and probably the most misunderstood. This color has a very wide range. On one end of the scale chocolate is referred to by breeders and exhibitors as "HOT." On the other end it is referred to as "COOL" or "COLD." There are many shades of chocolate such as: milk, bittersweet, and dark.

Hot Chocolate refers to warm russet tones in the background color of the coat with chocolate spotting. The russet tones are also called rufous because of the rust color. The rust color is considered warm or hot by breeders and exhibitors.

Cool Chocolate refers to the background color, which is more oatmeal ivory color with chocolate spotting. With the lack of rust in the background, the background is a more cool color.

C. Cinnamon Class:
Cinnamon: Cinnamon spotting on a warm ivory agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed with cinnamon and the paw pads are pink or rose.

GRC Lovedots Bit O Honey of Rabeau & CH Lovedots Spice of Rabeau (Cinnamon Spotted Females)

D. Dilute Class
  1. Blue: Blue spotting on a pale blue or buff agouti ground. The nose leather is blue rimmed with dark blue and the paw pads are blue.

    CH Rabeau's Blu Mist of Wyldots (Blue Spotted Female)

  2. Fawn: Fawn spotting on a pale ivory agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed in fawn and the paw pads are pink.

  3. Lavender: Lavender spotting on a pale buff or ivory agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed with dark lavender and the paw pads are lavender-pink.

E. Silver Class
  1. Silver: Black spotting on a pale silver/white agouti ground. The nose leather is brick red rimmed with black and the paw pads are black.

    CH Rabeau's Tiffany (Silver Spotted Female)

  2. Chocolate Silver: Chocolate spotting on a white agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed with chocolate and the paw pads are chocolate pink.

    GRC Rabeau's Sparkling Krystal (Chocolate Silver Female)

  3. Cinnamon Silver: Cinnamon spotting on a white agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed with cinnamon and the paw pads are pink or rose.

  4. Blue Silver: Blue spotting on a white agouti ground. The nose leather is blue rimmed with dark blue and the paw pads are blue.

  5. Fawn Silver: Fawn spotting on a white agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed in fawn and the paw pads are pink.

  6. Lavender Silver: Lavender spotting on a white agouti ground. The nose leather is pink rimmed with dark lavender and the paw pads are lavender pink.
F. A.O.V. (Any Other Variety) Class
Solids/Smokes (Very faint spotting), Classic/Mackerel Tabbies (American Shorthair markings).

VI. Competition & Standard

A. Quality Levels
As in all registered breeds of Cats, the Ocicat is available in different levels: Pet, Breeder, and Show.
  1. Pet
    A Pet quality Ocicat may be one of solid color, classic or mackerel tabby markings, blue eyed type, smoke with a ghost pattern, or a spotted with serious flaws in pattern or conformation.

  2. Breeder
    A Breeder quality ocicat is one that displays excellent conformation or other qualities, but would be disqualified from the show ring by virtue of non-standard pattern (i.e. classic tabbies or solids), or markings (i.e. barring on the torso).

  3. Show
    A Show quality Ocicat closely resembles the written standard in type and pattern.

For a copy of the complete breed standard, contact CFA.

Breeders of all breeds of cats may be found through the Fanciers breeder listing page

We hope that this article about the Ocicat is helpful to all who read it. If there is anything we can do for you, please contact us at the numbers above. [an error occurred while processing this directive]