Origin: United States
Colour: Brown, Blue, Lavendar, Fawn and Silver
A recent American breed of spotted cat. It was originally a mixture of three-quarters Siamese and one-quarter Abyssinian, with later additions of American Shorthairs.
Domestic Breed: A recent American breed of spotted cat. It was originally a mixture of three-quarters Siamese and one-quarter Abyssinian, with later additions of American Shorthairs. The name is a combination of 'Ocelot' and 'cat'. Two other names were used in the early days of the breed: 'Ocelette' because it looked like a small Ocelot and 'Accicat' because the first one appeared as a lucky accident in another breeding programme. The breed has been described as 'a purr wrapped in polka dots'.
Appearance: A large, muscular, spotted, short-haired cat with an 'average' body shape, showing no extremes of either stockiness or angularity. In other words, a domestic cat with a 'wild-type' appearance. Despite the strong Siamese element in its original make-up, later breeding programmes, taking it away from the Siamese type of body, have meant that it has not inherited the lean, elongated Oriental look.
History: The first Ocicat appeared in 1964, bred by Virginia Daly of Michigan. It was an accidental by-product of a breeding programme that was attempting to create an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese. It resulted from a mating between a champion chocolate-pointed Siamese male and a hybrid female. This female was a cross between a seal-point Siamese male and an Abyssinian female.
Among the offspring, unexpectedly, was a golden-spotted male kitten. He was named Tonga, and was the first ever Ocicat. However, because he was not part of the official breeding programme, he was sold as a pet and was neutered. Virginia Daly's interest in the idea of developing a spotted cat grew, however, and when she repeated the mating and obtained further spotted kittens, she kept these and used them to create the foundation stock for what was to become an exciting new breed.
Another American breeder, Tom Brown, then took up the Ocicat and initiated a long-term programme. By 1970 he had seen it through five generations. Other breeders improved the type by introducing crosses with American Shorthair Cats. This increased the body size of the Ocicat and made it into the impressive animal we see today. It achieved championship status in the Unites States in 1987, and in the late 1980s the first ones were introduced into the British Isles, where their numbers have been growing ever since. As from 1995, further crossings were prohibited in the breeding programmes of Ocicats, the breed being considered to be fully established by this date.
In the 1980s a separate line of Ocicats was developed in Germany by Karen Dupuis. The foundation animal for the European Ocicat, born in 1984, was named Nadir.
Personality: Terms used to describe this breed include: Affectionate, friendly, companionable, athletic, active, acrobatic, attentive, intelligent, loyal, even-tempered and sweet-natured. It is said to be unusually easy to train.
Colour forms: The typical colouring is light brown or tawny, imitating the coat of a wild cat species. Variant colours include:
CFA: Tawny (Brown Spotted Tabby); Chocolate; Cinnamon; Blue; Lavender; Fawn; Silver; Chocolate Silver; Cinnamon Silver; Blue Silver; Lavender Silver; Fawn Silver.
Ocicat & Bengal Cat Club. Address: Moonfleet, Bakers Lane, Shutlanger, Towcester, Northants, England.
Ocicat Club, which publishes a twice-yearly newsletter, The Ocicat Muse. Address: Copse House, Kitcombe Lane, Farringdon, Alton, Hampshire, England.
Ocicat International. Formed in 1984. Address: P.O. BOX 606, Great River, NY 11739, USA. or 865 Sycamore, Boulder, CO 80303, USA.
Ocicats of North America. Address: Rt.1, Box 190, Harrison, AR 72601, USA. or 1320 Hilltop Road, Susana Knolls, CA 93063, USA.
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