The Ocicat

by Sue Threapleton
(Yorkshire, UK)

Ocicat - this is Nancy, a UK Champion. Photo copyright Sue & Paul Threapleton.

Ocicat - this is Nancy, a UK Champion. Photo copyright Sue & Paul Threapleton.

The Ocicat has a zest for life that makes it a joy to live with, providing you have the energy to keep up with it!!

Inquisitive to the point where it is usually under your feet, and always ready to play, the Ocicat needs a person, or family, that wants an interactive feline "member of the family" - the Ocicat is definitely not suitable if you want a quiet decorative lap-cat; a bored Ocicat will get up to all sorts of mischief!

The Ocicat is a medium to large cat, solid and substantial, of wild appearance, with a short spotted coat. They are graceful, well-muscled cats, effortlessly jumping long distances both vertically and horizontally. The Ocicat has expressive almond shaped eyes, acceptable in any colour except blue. Their head is a modified wedge, with a broad muzzle and moderately large ears, giving them their "wild" appearance and they also have a fairly long tail.

The Ocicat comes in 12 colours: Tawny, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Blue, Lilac and Fawn and the silver version of each of these, where the ground colour is mixed with silver hairs, giving a much lighter overall appearance.

Although the Ocicat is usually spotted occasionally a marbled kitten is born, with a pattern resembling the classic tabby. In New Zealand these are called Jungalas, but in this country they are still called Ocicats. Although they cannot be shown they are very pretty, make wonderful pets, and can still be used in breeding programmes.

The Ocicat has a wonderful temperament, not only bonding with the whole family but also greeting visitors with equal enthusiasm. They are easy to train, being very intelligent and eager to please. They love to play and can make virtually anything into an entertaining toy. The Ocicat is also happy to walk on a harness and lead if it means it can go outside with the family. They hate being left out of anything!

The Ocicat also gets on very well with other cats and dogs; they are so sociable that they love everyone and everything. They would not be a happy cat if they were the only pet and they were left totally alone for hours a day. Their exuberance for life makes them a total delight to have around, and it is rare for them not to be purring. They are extremely popular in the USA but still relatively unknown in the UK, which is a great shame - they are wonderful pets!

The Ocicat was originally created by Mrs Daly of Dalai cattery in America in the 1960s. Her intention was to breed an Aby pointed Siamese, but, in one of the experimental litters there appeared a beautiful spotted kitten. As her daughter thought the kitten looked like an Ocelot she chose the name Ocicat for the new breed.

Another mating produced his brother, and the breeding programme began. Using Abyssinians, Siamese and adding the American Shorthair, the breeders worked towards creating a medium to large cat, with the appearance of a wild cat, without the addition of any wild genes. The out-crossing between the three breeds has led to the Ocicat having a very wide genetic background, giving them hybrid vigour, meaning that they are particularly healthy and easy to care for. The Ocicat was finally accepted as a recognised breed in America in 1986, and was first imported into the UK in 1988. American Shorthair and Siamese are no longer allowed as out-crosses, although Abyssinians are.

Although I have the pleasure of owning a few cats, including a Bengal, some Egyptian Maus, some Serengeti cats, and my Ocicats, the Ocicat is my personal favourite, and I find it hard to imagine life without one! Be warned though - one is rarely enough, and owning an Ocicat is definitely addictive.

By Sue Threapleton of Aalspotz cattery

Comments for
The Ocicat

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Nov 18, 2011 Lucky Adoption
by: Kat Carroll

We had a cat wondring the neighborhood for about 3 months. He was friendly and often invited himself in for meals with the neighbors. I decided to see if he was chipped as he was huge, smart, sweet and georgious. Through the chip company I was able to make contact with the former owners who had adopted him but could not keep him at home. They offered to let us keep him. Since I can no longer work I was delighted to take him in. It took 2 days to teach him to sit, sit pretty and to "high five" (
for food of course). Your site is so informative that we've decided he must be part Ocicat. I would like to send some pictures to see if you agree. He weighs 15 lbs (at 2 years old as of 8/4) and measures 39" from nose to tip of tail. He's a ticked, chocolate mackeral with the M on his forehead, some stripes and spots on his back and tummy.
With all his peculiar vocalizations and behaviors we're pretty sure we got lucky but I would appreciate an expert's opinion.

Apr 19, 2011 Awesome Ocicats
by: Lindsey

I recently rescued a 4 month old Ocicat from a local shelter, he is an absolute delight and a wonderful addition to our family! Your information regarding Ocicats is spot-on! Highly intelligent, energetic, lovable, without being obnoxious, and a complete joy to be around! I found that my Ocicat loves water, he even jumped in the shower with my husband not too long ago, unphased that he was getting completely soaked! I am lucky in that I can take him to work with me everyday, he loves greeting our clients, and they look forward to seeing him! I highly recommend an Ocicat to anyone that truly loves cats, they won't disappoint!

Oct 27, 2010 wouldn't be without !
by: Louise

My first oci was an adopted ex stud boy - a black silver spotted, who I have had for 4 years or so. He got on so well with our now 15 year old Asian, and is just delightful.

Since then we have just taken on two new oci kittens - a cinammon and a tawny spotted, who are now 4 and a bit months old. They are into everything, but are just so lovely, just as our first is. They get on so well with our 10 year old male oci, and they can often be found curle up together asleep, washing each other, or playing madly around the house.

They absolutely adore people, and I couldn't be without an Oci now. I adore my Asian girl, and her gentle, affectionate ways, but I also love the fact that our ocis are just like any other member of our family - they want to be in on everything, and involved, and have fun. It's great to be owned by ocis... I couldn't recommend another breed more highly. However never get one oci on its own if you don't have other pets, as it will be terribly lonely.They need company, and if you give it to them, the rewards are huge!

Jun 28, 2010 Question
by: Anonymous

What is the difference in that cat and an Egyptian Mau? I have a kitten and I keep trying to figure out what it is and I just don't know because the Ocicat and Egyptian Mau look similar in some pictures.

Jan 04, 2010 Try One
by: Springsmom83

My son fell in love with Ocis at a show about 15 years ago. We adopted an adult male in 2003 and he is a love. We call him "Puppycat" since he is truly not sure if he is a cat or dog. He walks on a leash and loves puppy biscuits and car rides (as long as he does not have to stay in his carrier, that interferes with the view). When my son graduated from college we bought him a female kitten and she is a delight too. She travels all the time and loves it too. I echo the sentiments, however, that ocicats need companionship and lots of toys. If you fail to provide them then the oci will make a toy out of just about anything!

Nov 06, 2008 Excellent
by: Anonymous

A very interesting and informative article - I was considering an Ocicat, now I have decided to definitely have one!


Nov 02, 2008 A Nice Insight
by: Michael

Sue, thanks for this insightful article on the Ocicat. It's really nice to hear people who live with the a specific purebred cat talk about their experiences. It is much more interesting and useful than an encylopaedic approach.


The Ocicat — 4 Comments

  1. What is the difference (in appearance) between a Bengal and an Occicat? I know the difference between the origins, but I have Bengal that looks like an Occicat.

    • The basic difference is that the Bengal is a wild cat hybrid and the Ocicat is not. That gives a difference in a “wild appearance” although stud book standard (f4) and beyond Bengal cats look more like standard domestic cat hybrids.

      For a full narrative of difference I would check the breed standards. These are a bit technical but they do describe how the cat should look according to the cat association concerned.

      There is a difference which I don’t wish to summarize as a comment. It is best to make your own mind up by looking at Helmi’s pictures of both breeds on this site in conjunction with reading the breed standard.

      You can see the TICA breed standards for both on TICA.

      This is a link to the breeds page at TICA. Click on the breed standard link for both cats.

      Hope this helps.

  2. We are not new to cats, I had my first cat, a sweet Silver Tabby Manx, almost 60 years ago, and my wife and I adopted our first cats together in 1974. One of those was an Egyptian Mau kitten, a wonderful cat we totally loved. After Nonsense went to kitty heaven sixteen years later, we adopted Matty, an adult Mau being retired from breeding. Always had at least one cat in our home until 2007, when our youngest daughter Mellie took our last kitty, Max, with her when she moved to Las Vegas for grad school. We remained feline free until Christmas 2011, when Mellie handed me a small package. Unwrapping it I found a framed photo of an unusual spotted cat. I knew it was not a Mau, color was all wrong. Looking up at Mellie she chimed in with, “Oh, your present is not the picture, it’s the cat!” Saphira was a two year old Lavender Spotted Ocicat, and was being retired from breeding. While we had not picked her out, had not even been planning on adopting a kitty, and had never even heard of an Ocicat, it took us about two days to fall totally in love with her and the breed. Almost everything you have said about them is true of her, other than the fact that she is a bit shy with strangers. Within a few days she was sleeping in bed with us, had taught me to play fetch, and was following us all over the house. Very intelligent, about a week after she joined us my wife was getting a glass of ice water in the kitchen, when a cube bounced out of her glass onto the floor. Terri returned to our bedroom, and about thirty seconds later in trots Saphira, with the ice cube in her mouth, dropping it beside Terri. We adopted a second wonderful Oci girl Viola eleven months later, a sweet little 18 month old Chocolate Spotted Oci fireball. Both are the best behaved felines ever to own us: Perfect about using their litter box, both have been trained to stay off the kitchen counters, they rarely scratch furniture, and while they sleep with us every night they never wake us up. Saphira plays fetch and Viola plays catch. Both are just absolute joys, we could not possibly be happier with them or love them more.

    They are not clingy lovey lap cats, so they are not for everyone, but if an intelligent, playful, very trainable companion who will follow you all over the house and snuggle in bed with you at night is what you seek, consider one of these little spotted “jungle cats”.

    • Hi Warren, I enjoyed reading your excellent comment which provides first experience of living with this fairly rare purebred cat. Thanks. Your comment is more a little article, so I’ll post it today as an article.

      If you have a photo of your cats please email me it at this address:

      Many thanks again.

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