“Oh, look spots! Is it tame? What kind of cat is this? It must be something special.’’
Indeed they are! This magnificent spotted cat never fails to steal the show, not to mention the hearts of those
fortunate enough to own them.
The Ocicat is an agouti spotted cat of moderate type. Originating from interbreeding of Abyssinian, Siamese and
American Shorthair, it is the only spotted domestic breed selectively bred to emulate the cats of the wild.
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, 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. The Ocicat was advanced to championship status May 1987. They can now
be seen at many shows, and a few Ocicats have been exported to other countries where their popularity is
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." How sad that so many wild spotted cats have suffered
abuse and destruction. Perhaps the Ocicat will do its part in preventing the poaching and importation of the
endangered wild cats.
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 not a demanding, clinging-vine type, but is confident as well as dedicated to its
owners. Most Ocicats are also quite extroverted around strangers, not at all bashful about checking out the
possibilities for a few playmates or a lap to curl up on when visitors come to call.
Ocicats are quite bright and easily trained. Many will fetch, walk on a leash, respond to voice commands and
readily adapt to household rules. Because of their adaptability, they are a joy to work with and easily get used to
traveling. Their sociable nature may make them less suited than some other breeds to being left alone for long
periods of time, but it does make them a good choice for a household already blessed with other cats or dogs.
Though Ocicats fill the need for the exotic, they are easy to keep and require no special care. 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.
There has been tremendous controversy about the genetics of inheritance associated with the spotted pattern. In
the earlier days of the cat fancy, when life was simpler, all patterned cats were believed to display one of the three
tabby patterns: ticked (Aby), mackerel (tiger striped), or classic (blotched or bull's eye). The spotted pattern of the
Ocicat, at least on the better examples of the breed, is notedly different from other spotted breeds or varieties.
While some believe this comes from a different gene altogether, there is no conclusive evidence and it might be
that selective breeding is responsible for the Ocicat's lovely pattern.
Ocicats come in many colors and at least all those colors associated with the three foundation breeds: tawny,
chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender, fawn, silver, chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver, and