THE OCICAT CAT

The Ocicat was first bred by Virginia Daly in the United States. The Ocicat looks a lot like the Ocelot, hence the name. This cat breed, while loving, is notorious for needing the most attention. They can be taught to sit, lie down, and swim. They enjoy leash walking, and are very smart.

Brief History

The Ocicat bloodline was Siamese and Abyssinian. The American Shorthair cat breed was introduced to this bloodline and produced larger boned cats with seven colors, including silver.  The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) registered the breed in 1966 and accepted the Ocicat for showing in 1987. The Ocicat was then accepted in to other cat registries. Today, the Ocicat is a popular domestic cat breed worldwide and shares no DNA with the wildcat.

Physical Features

The Ocicat has a powerful, large-boned body. Their legs are muscular with dark markings. With wedge-shaped heads, their large and pointed ears are tilted at a 45% angle. Their famous spots are dark and contrasting — changing to a bull’s eye pattern on their bellies. There are twelve variants of color which are approved by most registries: chocolate, tawny, cinnamon, and the dilutes, which include blue, lavender, fawn, black silver, chocolate silver, blue silver, lavender silver, and fawn silver. The Ocicat has almond-shaped eyes. Their expressions are always interested and curious.

Average Height:

9-11 inches

Average Weight:

6-15 pounds

Life Expectancy:

12-14 years

Temperament

The Ocicat is sensitive. They enjoy being with humans bur are neither clingy or independent. This cat breed delights in hanging out at home with family. The Ocicat dislikes being scolded and will sulk for hours. The Ocicat thrives on learning new tricks and going for long walks. This cat breed is best indoors where they are safe and away from wildlife or aggressive dogs. Ideally a safe enclosed outdoor area for the Ocicat works best, so that this cat breed can be both indoors and outdoors. This cat breed gets along well with other non-aggressive pets. The Ocicat needs plenty of love, fun cat toys, and mental stimulation. They also tend to be very vocal.

With their sensitive, yet feisty personalities, this vocal cat breed brings plenty of humor and love to any household. Give your Ocicat time to adjust to his new surroundings.

Special Needs

The Ocicat needs to be indoors during the hot summer months, and indoors during the cold months. This intelligent cat gets bored easily, and depressed and anxious when alone for too long. It is an extremely sensitive cat breed. If you need to be away from home for long periods of time, consider adopting a friend to keep your Ocicat company.

Possible Health Concerns

The Ocicat is a healthy and moderately active cat breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is a heart muscle disorder where the heart walls of the left ventricle thicken. This results in the walls becoming stiffer. This is a common primary heart disease in cats. It tends to get noticed at around 3 months to 17 years of age. Most cats will be middle aged when this disorder occurs. This disorder tends to affect males more than females, and it is an inherited genetic defect. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs. Fluid may also accumulate in the lungs, and in the space between the lungs and chest wall. Veterinary treatment will aim at improving cardiac function, and reducing blood clots. There is a good long-term outlook for mildly affected cats. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Pyruvate Kinase: Cats when deficient in PK will develop anemia. It is a hereditary condition resulting from a recessive gene. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  •  Gingivitis: This is when the gums become inflamed due to bacterial plaque. At this stage the ligaments and bone are not infected. Gum color in cats will change from a light pink to red or purple. The gum edge wills well. Symptoms include bleeding and bad breath. This can be reversed with proper teeth cleaning. That said, it can worsen and result in periodontitis. Consult with your veterinarian for an effective treatment plan.
  • Ringworm: This is an infection of the skin, hair, or claws, and is caused by a fungus called dermatophyte. This occurs in 98% of cats. It spreads easily from cats to people. Symptoms include circular, bald patches that scale and have broken hairs in a ring-like fashion. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Amyloidosis: This is thought to be hereditary and occurs when amyloids get deposited in the kidneys or liver. This results in organ failure.

Exercise

The Ocicat cat breed needs daily exercise combined with plenty of mental stimulation through active play and interaction with people.

Finding a variety of mentally stimulating cat toys will allow for your cat to lead a well-balanced life, with the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation. Cat harnesses also allow for daily walks, but you should consult with your veterinarian first.

Nutrition

All cats do well by being fed twice daily. During kittenhood, kittens will need to be fed every few hours. Growing kittens need more calories, nutrients, vitamins, protein, and calories. Your cat should be able to enjoy a peaceful meal in a quiet corner of the house. Some cat parents prefer to leave cat food out 24/7. When looking for a high-quality cat food, here’s what to look out for:

  • No low-quality fillers
  • No artificial additives
  • Low grade ingredients or toxic ingredients
  • All cat food has to be meat-based because all cats are carnivores.
  • No garlic
  • Plant-based ingredients should be listed after the protein-based ingredients

Consult with your veterinarian for the best dietary advice for your Ocicat!

Grooming

The Ocicat needs daily grooming to remove shedding or dead hair. Because this breed has a short and fine, soft coat, grooming is easy. Stainless steel combs help to remove dead hair. Care must be taken when grooming leg hair and body hair to avoid sensitive areas.

Daily cleaning with pet wipes beneath the tail is necessary. Ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness and sensitivity. If there is a build-up of wax and dirt, organisms can lead to an ear infection. Consult with your veterinarian about safe and gentle ear cleaning techniques. Nail trimming is necessary every few weeks. Eyes should also be cleaned gently every morning with cotton wool or a soft wipe. Each eye should be cleaned with different wipes or cotton balls to avoid eye infection contamination in both eyes.

Healthy cats need minimal bathing with a gentle cat shampoo. Your Ocicat will need dental care as well. Cats should also have their teeth brushed a few times a week with a special feline toothpaste and brush.

Small and frequent effective hygiene habits will make a big difference in maintaining healthy skin, healthy teeth, and good overall health. Look for environmentally safe pet products that have natural ingredients. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.

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