The only spotted domestic breed selectively bred to emulate the cats of the wild, this magnificent cat never fails to steal the show. The Ocicat is an agouti-spotted cat, originating from interbreeding of Abyssinian, Siamese and American Shorthair.
The ideal Ocicat is a large, active animal with an athletic appearance. It is very solid and well-muscled and has a short, tight coat with a satin sheen that shows off muscles and spots to their best advantage.
In 1964, the original Ocicat was the unexpected result of an experimental breeding which attempted to produce an Aby-point Siamese. Virginia Daly, a noted CFA breeder living in Michigan, knew the possibility of getting the sought after Aby-point and was willing to invest the time she knew it would take to breed the two generations that were necessary. But the ivory kitten with golden spots was a surprise!
Mrs. Daly's daughter named the breed the Ocicat, because of its resemblance to the ocelot. Tonga, the first Ocicat, was neutered and sold as a pet. When the Detroit newspaper publicized the lovely spotted cat and when noted geneticist, Dr. Clyde Keeler, expressed his desire to see a domestic cat which would mimic some of the vanishing wild species, the breeding was repeated to produce more Ocicats. Other breeders followed Mrs. Daly's recipe to develop other Ocicat lines with a broad genetic base.
The Ocicat was recognized for CFA registration in 1966, but it took another twenty years to develop the breed and gain the support for provisional status. They can now be seen at many shows, and a few Ocicats have been exported to other countries where their popularity is increasing.
Feline enthusiasts have always been awed by the spotted cats of the wild: ocelots, margays, leopards and others. Never before was there such an effort to breed an entirely domestic cat which can offer the spotted beauty of the wild cats, while maintaining the lovely, predictable disposition of the domestic cat. With so many wild spotteds disappearing as their native habitats are destroyed and invaded, it is increasingly important that this man-made breed can satisfy people who want something ''exotic."
While the Ocicat looks wild, its temperament is anything but ferocious. It is a lot like a dog in that it is absolutely devoted to its people. The Ocicat is confident as well as dedicated to its owners. Most Ocicats are also quite extroverted around strangers, and they are quite bright and easily trained. Many will fetch, walk on a leash, respond to voice commands and readily adapt to household rules.
Their diets are the same as any domestic and their short coats need only the occasional bathing and grooming. They are not prone to any particular health problem and their broad genetic background gives them vigor and vitality.