Yes, Ocicat is a word. It is a made-up word; a combination of ‘ocelot’ and ‘cat’. The word should be captilised as it is the breed name of the cat.
The Ocicat is an American breed of spotted tabby cat. It was created through selective breeding to satisfy the demand for a domestic cat with an exotic wild cat appearance in the middle of the 20th century in America. Although the cat is entirely domestic and was originally a mixture of 75% Siamese and 25% Abyssinian with later additions of American Shorhairs. A competitor was the genuine wildcat hybrid, the Bengal which become popular. The Ocicat is relatively rare and did not really catch on.
Two other names were mooted in the early days of the breed: ‘Ocelette’ and ‘Accicat’. The name ‘Accicat’ reflects the lucky accident in another breeding programme.
It was bred to be large reflecting the small wild cats particularly the ocelot.
The first Ocicat appeared in 1964. The breeder was Virginia Daly of Michigan, USA. Apparently the cat was an accidental by-product of a breeding programme to create a pointed Abyssinian. One of the kittens was a golden spotted male. Daly become interested in the appearance and repeated the mating to obtain further spotted kittens who were used as foundations stock.
Another American breeder, Tom Brown, started a long term breeding programme resulting in five generations of the breed by 1970.
Ocicats achieved champion status in the US in 1987. They were shortly thereafter introduced in the UK. A German breeder, Karen Dupuis, also bred Ocicats in the 1980s.
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