The Ocicat history began by a happy accident, the surprising result of a cross in 1964, between an Abyssinian male and a Siamese female, in order to develop a Siamese with spots similar to those of the Abyssinian.
The Ocicat history
Breeder Virginia Daly kept a female kitten – which resembled the Abyssinians – and raised her with a chocolate Siamese kitten. This time she managed to get Siamese with points like the Abyssinian ones and repeated the reproduction. The following kittens obtained had something new: an ivory kitten with golden spots. The Ocicat history began to unfold.
Daly’s daughter noticed the resemblance of the Ocelot cat and said that the new cat should be called Ocicat. The kitten, named Tonga, was beautiful, but it was not what Daly was looking for, so she was spayed and sold as a pet. But it was not the end of the story. In a letter to geneticist Clyde Keeler, Daly described the cat she created, Tonga.
Keeler, who was interested in breeding cats that are now extinct: the Egyptian catfish, suggested she recover the cat named Tonga. This was not possible, but Daly repeated the crossing and created another kitten. At the next cross the American Shorthair breed was then added to the “recipe” for creation and the silver version. Eventually, other breeders became interested in these cats and began their own breeding programs and the Ocicat history continued.
The Cat Breeders Association began registering cats in 1966, but did not give them full recognition until 1987. The International Cat Association recognized the Ocicat breed in 1986.
The temperament and personality of the Ocicat cats
If you know anyone who thinks that cats are unfriendly and independent, you can meet them with the cat Ocicat. This is a confident cat, who loves his family and likes to meet other people.
The Ocicat cat goes to the guests in the hope that he will find a good knee to sit on or someone to play with. A busy family with a lot of activities, activities that involve the Ocicat whenever possible – it is to her liking. It is a very adaptable cat and is a good travel partner for people who like to travel in a caravan or take their pets on vacation with them.
Ocicat is a very sociable cat, so it is not suitable for a house where it will be left alone all day. If it happens, it would be good to have other pets in that house – even puppies that are cat-friendly can stay with them. The Ocicat is very intelligent. Challenge her by learning new tricks and offering puzzle toys that will reward her with beads or rewards when she learns how to handle them. She likes to make a contribution, to come when she is called and to do other strange things and she can willingly learn to walk on a leash. If you show him what you want – for example, that you don’t want to jump on the kitchen table – he may comply, especially if you give him an alternative, such as a chair he can sit on and be able to watch when you prepare the meals.
It is not surprising that she is able to reach the highest points in your home and most of the time you will find her, watching over her family. When she’s not perched, she’s busy playing with her toys. Don’t be surprised if the cat becomes possessive with her toys and tries to play by keeping them aside when you want to take them away. Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises newly hatched kittens in the house and takes care of them from an early age. Try to see at least one parent, ideally both parents, to make sure they have a pleasant temperament.
What you need to know about the health of an Ocicat
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all humans have the potential to develop a particular disease. Any breeder who says that his breed does not have health problems or genetic problems, either lies or does not know about these problems. Run away from breeders who do not give you kitten health insurance, or who tell you that the breed is 100% healthy and has no known problems, or who tell you that their kittens are isolated from the main part of the house for health reasons. . Ocicat cats are generally healthy and have a long lifespan, but can inherit some of the health problems that affect the breeds from which they have developed.
These include: hepatic or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They may also be prone to periodontal disease. Amyloidosis is a possible inherited disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid, an insoluble protein, is stored in organs such as the kidneys or liver. It occurs in lesions and possibly in organ dysfunctions. Pyruvate kinase is a key enzyme in regulating the energy metabolism of red blood cells. PK-deficient cats can develop anemia. The hereditary form is caused by a recessive gene, which is easily removed from the genetic code by DNA testing.
Testing for PK deficiency and the reproduction of healthy individuals will ultimately help eliminate the disease from the breed. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of heart disease found in cats. This causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle. An echocardiography can confirm if a cat has HCM. Avoid breeders who claim to have HCM-free cat lines. No one can guarantee that their cats will not develop HCM. Ocicat cats that want to breed should be examined for HCM, and cats identified with HCM should be removed from breeding programs. Ask the breeder to show you evidence that Ocicat kittens are checked annually for heart murmurs.
It is always recommended to buy a kitten from a breeder that offers a written guarantee for it. Remember that after you take a new kitten into your home, you have a duty to protect it from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping the Ocicat at an ideal weight is one of the easiest ways to protect the general health of the animal.
Use all your prevention skills to ensure your cat’s health for life. The basics of caring for an Ocicat’s short cat fur is easy to care for. Comb it weekly with a rubber brush to remove the hair to be dried and to distribute the skin’s oils. Give the fur a little shine with a suede cloth (not the same one you use on your car – and make sure it’s not treated with any chemicals). Baths are rarely necessary, but if you decide to wash it, look for a special shampoo for cats that enhances the gorgeous color of the fur: bronze shades for cats with brown fur, chocolate and cinnamon; pearl shade for blue, lilac and beige and a shampoo with whitening effect for Ocicat silver.
The rest is basic care. Cut their nails whenever needed, usually weekly. Check their ears every week for signs of redness or bad smell, which may indicate an infection. Only clean the ears if they look dirty. Wipe them with a cotton swab moistened with an ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian. Brush their teeth frequently with a veterinary toothpaste for general health and fresh breath and take them to the vet regularly for a dental cleaning. Start brushing them, cutting their nails and brushing their teeth from an early age to get used to these activities.