The Not-so-wild Child
When it comes to the Ocicat, there is more than meets the eye
Adomestic feline that resembles a miniature wild cat, the Ocicat is named after the Ocelot, a small South American wild cat. The Ocicat is easily recognisable from the spots on its coat, which are similar to the spots on an Ocelot. The Ocicat however, is anything but wild.
First bred by breeder Virginia Daly in the 1960s, the Ocicat is the result of an unexpected outcome. Despite tracing its roots to the Abyssinian and the Siamese, the kittens had been born with spotted coats.
The silver coat of the Ocicat was later achieved with the addition of American Shorthairs.
Ocicats have short tight coats, with spotted bodies and a distinctive shape ‘M’ on their foreheads. They generally come in silver coats with variants of chocolate, tawny, blue, lavender and fawn. The Ocicat may grow to be slightly larger than the average domestic cat and weighs at an average of three to six kilogrammes. They may not appear big, but they definitely weigh more than they look.
Unlike most of its feline counterparts, the Ocicat enjoys being around people. A loyal pet, the Ocicat likes to follow its owners around the house. A sociable animal, this feline is also open to the idea of petting and sitting on the laps of guests.
Its love for human company also allows it to ride on the shoulders of people or to be carried around.
The Ocicat is often referred to as ‘a dog trapped in a cat’s body’. Not only can it be trained to walk on a leash, it can be taught dog-related commands such as sit, speak, and fetch. With its high level of intelligence, it can figure out how to open doors and latches with ease – so do cat proof the apartment before getting an Ocicat. Due to its playful nature, it is recommended to provide a variety of puzzle toys, to keep your pet mentally and physically stimulated.
Similar to all felines, Ocicats require a balanced diet that consists of both wet and dry food. Foods high in protein, such as meat and/or fish, are recommended. An unfussy feline, no special requirements are required for this cat.
Grooming for the Ocicat is a simple process. Although its short coat requires little grooming, do be sure to brush or comb your pet, to remove excess fur. Weekly nail trims on the other hand, will help to prevent nails from growing into its toe-pad and wounding your pet. As the Ocicat is prone to periodontal diseases, it is advisable to brush its teeth daily. Although Ocicats may be prone to common heart and liver diseases, it is nothing a regular veterinary check-up cannot pick up.
“Not only can it be trained to walk on a leash, it can be taught dog-related commands such as sit, speak, and fetch.”
Although it makes a great family addition, the Ocicat tends to be a relatively vocal. This behaviour however, can be controlled through verbal correction. The Ocicat does not like to be alone, so be sure it has company. In addition to its sociable nature and enjoyment of human companionship, the Ocicat also gets along well with children and other pets.