Wild or domestic? The Ocicat Breed

Cats Human Classroom

Many cat lovers were dedicated to cat breeding with the desire to be able to have domestic cats with the appearance of a wild cat, one of the most known breeds are the savannah, the Bengal, and the Egyptian Mau, but in this case, I will talk about the Ocicat which is an intelligent cat with a very good personality, has an adventurous instinct and likes to be active, it is perfect for families. Like other recent cats, the Ocicat also has its presence from not many decades ago and its recognition does not have much time either. If you are interested in knowing more about the Ocicat, I invite you to keep reading.

History

Due to the interest of having a wild looking cat, in 1964 a cat breeder called Virginia Daly from Michigan, United States crossed a Siamese with an Abyssinian cat to have a wilder looking Siamese but inside the litter, there was a kitten that was born with a peculiar coat and different from the others with tabby point patterns with an ocelot feline appearance. This cat was adopted and neutered so it didn’t have more descendants, but due to the interest that arose for this cat with similarity to the ocelot without having any type of connection with this animal, and more for the fact that a famous geneticist called Dr. Clyde Keeler was interested in the breed, Virginia made the same crossing again and a kitten with the same pattern came out, being this cat the founder of this new breed and her name ocicat comes between the union of her similar feline the ocelot with the word cat whose idea was expressed by her daughter. 

This new cross attracted a lot of attention among cat breeders so they started to make crosses between the original breeds with descendants of the first ones to achieve genetic reinforcement and improve the breed so as not to make it vulnerable. It was also known that a breeder named Tom Brown incorporated the crossbreed with an American shorthair.

Despite being a very new breed, in 1966 The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) allowed its recognition and registration as a breed, but it took approximately another 20 years to develop and establish its standards, also increasing support and recognition as a breed.  In 1987 The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized this breed, establishing the fixed standards, being able to advance and participate in the Championship Status that same year, and later in 1992, the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFE) ended up recognizing the ocicat. Today it can be seen many Ocicats in many shows.

Features

If you don’t know about cats in general, this breed tends to be confused with the Egyptian Mau due to the similarity they have but each one has its way of differentiating itself. It has a life expectancy of approximately 12 to 15 years. The ocicat is a medium-large size cat, being longer than tall and has a thick build, the female gets to weigh between 9 and 11 lb while the males get to weigh between 11 and 15 lb, they can measure between 16 and 18 inches, being the female slightly smaller than the male; they have an agile, muscular, strong and athletic body. Their head is cuneiform with rounded features, has almond-shaped eyes with black edges, slightly oblique, and well separated, all eye colors are accepted except blue. Its muzzle is well pronounced and wide, its nose is large and its ears are medium size, triangular with rounded tips. It has a neck long enough to demonstrate the separation between head and body, has a deep chest, its legs are long, muscular, and strong, able to jump high, with oval paws, the hind legs are longer than the front. Its tail is long and strong, has a wider base, and is thinner when it reaches the tip.

The coat of the ocicat is one of the features that draws more attention, has a dense coat, smooth and short, which are soft to the touch, has a certain brightness that expands throughout their body and varies with the tones. Its pattern is the tabby point that consists of small spots and certain stripes in different parts of the body. Its tones are lighter on the face and chest while it gets darker along the body, being the tail the darkest area. The most common shades of its coat are usually blue, cinnamon, chocolate, and about 6 varieties of silver tones.

Personality

Although he has a wild appearance, it has nothing to do with his personality, he is a completely domestic cat, who loves to be under the care of people who are willing to give him the necessary attention, he gets along better with families since they don’t tolerate loneliness very much, they like to be both adults and children,  but you must also keep in mind that socialization from a kitten is something very important so that you will not have socialization problems with other animals, but in general, they get along very well with dogs, but with cats, they are somewhat different because they tend to be a little dominant, but always with good socialization, this will not be a problem, apart from giving him a feline partner will help him to distract himself and keep company avoiding loneliness.

This feline is also known for being very intelligent and mischievous, it can learn many things but also takes advantage of it to make its moves and escape by opening doors, so to put double locks on those doors. He also takes advantage of his ability to do intelligent, varied, and fun games that make him distracted and entertained in many ways. Also because they have a great amount of energy let him access toys, scratchers, high shelves, and if you have a safe garden that has space to run, jump, and more in trees because they have a great ability to make great jumps, as he likes to enjoy nature also love to play in the water, puddles, baths or swimming pools.

In addition to being intelligent and independent cats in their daily lives, they need their daily doses of love and attention. Their relationship with their owner or family members is very important since they like to create unique bonds with them, so be sure that your pet will look for you for their dose of love and more if you are their favorite. They also have a unique meow, they usually make some noise but they will have their moments when they let you know. Taking advantage of their ability to learn many things and their curiosity for adventure you can teach them from kittens to use the harness or leash so they get used to using it and can go for long walks together.

Care

Due to the short coat that the Ocicat has, its care is very simple, many cat breeders of this breed recommend brushing once or twice a week to remove their dead coat, also to help to stimulate their skin to maintain its natural shine, keep in mind that in the molting time, I recommend you to brush it more often to avoid it from making hairballs and you can facilitate the work of molting, you can bathe them every 2 months or only when you see it very dirty, try to use shampoos with natural ingredients and free of chemicals that can harm it. Keep their eyes and ears clean by using special cat products or a slightly wet gauze applied very gently to avoid discomfort or injury. Always check their teeth to maintain good oral hygiene using a special cat toothbrush and toothpaste, this way you can prevent any type of dental disease like gingivitis. Always leave a clean litter box within reach if he spends a lot of time indoors, changing it regularly to avoid bad smells.

Keep in mind that stimulating your cat to be active is very important, like any other cat that has a lot of energy, giving it a sedentary life that is just eating, slacking off, and no motivation can cause depression, stress, and develop overweight to the point of being a diabetic cat.

Do not forget to visit your vet every 6 months for a check-up and rule out any diseases. Be up to date with all their vaccinations, perform the de-worming and care recommended by the vet.

Health

Because since it is a very recent breed, there is not much known about the Ocicat, but until today it is considered a very healthy breed, but just like all cats, they are susceptible to having inherent diseases, but this doesn’t mean that they will suffer from any of these, with good care and attention many diseases can be prevented.  One of the diseases that they are prone to developing is renal amyloidosis, through kidney disease, either by chronic infection or cancer, which is a fatal disease. Your vet will try to help your cat as much as possible to relieve their symptoms, but unfortunately, there is no cure. Also, they are prone to have pyruvate kinase deficiency, which is a lack of this enzyme, causing a decrease in red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia resulting in other severe symptoms, make sure your breeder knows if your cat can inherit this disease and take all necessary precautions with your vet.

They are also susceptible to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease that causes the enlargement of the heart. It’s an Inherited disease of many cat breeds so you should never miss appointments with your vet, and make sure they always check their heart. If your cat has this heart disease, your veterinarian will be able to advise you on how to make its life easier by following a suitable diet and the right medication. If you see that your cat is showing any symptoms of discomfort or you see that something is happening to it that is not common, go directly to a veterinarian so that it can be checked and discard any diseases that can be common in cats such as hepatic lipidosis, lower urinary tract disease, ear infection, a dental disease that could lead to a respiratory problem, kidney disease, and many others.

As this breed is prone to many diseases, many pet owners decide to buy Pet health insurance, which helps them with future expenses and avoids large payments on possible surgeries. You can investigate which insurance is the most beneficial for you and covers all your needs.

Feeding

Feeding is extremely important for any animal, its feed must be of the best quality and you can vary between wet and dry food. It is also advisable to ask your breeder or veterinarian what type of food is best for your pet, and how much you should give him/her since it also depends on the age, weight,  physical activity, and metabolism your cat is carrying. It is always important to have a balanced and healthy diet for kittens so that it can develop well to avoid any type of illness, also to keep its coat healthy and wear that bright color is based on which kind of food it receives. Also keep in mind that if your cat doesn’t have an active life, is lazy and you don’t stimulate it to any physical activity it can develop obesity, along with entrance and possibly depression, so it depends on you how you want your new companion to live and take their lifestyle. Don’t forget also to leave him his plate of clean, freshwater every day. Be very careful with the cat treats, these cats are lovers of snacks so they should not consume more than the established because they are known to be overweight pets without care.

Breeding

If you want to have an Ocicat breed, you must be well informed about how to take care of it and make sure you are responsible to give it a good life. Nowadays this cat is worldwide, you can get breeders dedicated to this breed. I suggest that if you want to get this cat breed you should do it by a reputable breeder even if it costs you a little. Buying it from a store or a particular person is not going to give you the security that your cat is in good health, and that it is most likely from a cattery dedicated to exploiting animals for sale, and not living in good conditions. 

An honest breeder must show you all the legal documentation to dedicate himself to the breeding of this breed, be registered in a recognized cat association, and show you the pedigree of your domestic cat. Also, shows you that it has been taken care of and fed in the best conditions and the mother has been taken care of in the proper way. Make sure it has been checked and vaccinated by the veterinarian, and that it has been dewormed. Also, a reputable breeder shouldn’t give you an Ocicat kitten before the age of 12 weeks, making sure it has done the weaning well with the mother and can live with her so that it can learn everything necessary to be a cat. So you can be sure that it’s a healthy, happy, and socialized cat.

Additionally, if you want you can go to shelters or Ocicat rescue groups to adopt them and give them a second chance to be with a family.  Maybe as a cat that is not very well known looking for it in this way can be quite difficult but maybe some irresponsible persons do not want it and end up abandoning it because they are not aware of the responsibilities that come with carrying this pet, so before deciding on having this breed inform yourself! 

Many cat lovers have the dream of having a pet but with the appearance of the wild cat, and several cats share that resemblance including the Ocicat, if you are looking for a purebred be sure that it will cost you money to get one of these cats, but if you have the capacity to pay and take the responsibility it requires to give it the lifestyle it deserves, this breed is undoubtedly a very good choice. He is a cat that enjoys every moment with his favorite people, he is brilliant and active, you won’t get bored with having him, together you will be able to create great memories. If you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section below and I hope this guide has been of use to you.

Pictures from hip wallpaper.com

Professor Whiskers
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