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Who’s That Cat? 13 Reasons That the Ocicat Is Spot On

This self-confident exotic cat breed has a winning personality -- and, of course, beautiful spots.

Erika Sorocco  |  Oct 26th 2016


Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our September/October 2016 issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

1. Wildly domestic

Bred to mimic the agility, power, and grace of her wild ancestors (like the similarly spotted Ocelot), the Ocicat is 100-percent domestic.

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Photo by Shutterstock

2. Speaking of spots

Eye-catching, aren’t they? Rows upon rows of thumbprint-like spots run down the spine, rear, legs, and back, while smaller dots decorate the shoulders and lower neckline, and broken rows of stripes encircle the throat and legs. A familiar marking: the M on the forehead.

3. A surprise breed

In 1964, Virginia Daly accidentally created the Ocicat when she bred an Abyssinian male to a Siamese female in an attempt to create a Siamese with Abyssinian points.

The kittens produced were overall Abyssinian, one of which Daly kept and bred to a Siamese. The resulting litter was the hoped-for Siamese with Abyssinian points, so Daly bred another litter, of which one peculiar looking feline was born: an ivory kitten with golden spots she named Tonga. Daly’s daughter saw Tonga’s resemblance to the wild Ocelot and called the new breed Ocicat.

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Photo by Shutterstock

4. Round two

Daly wasn’t looking to create a new breed at the time, so Tonga was neutered and placed with a loving family. It wasn’t until Daly mentioned Tonga to geneticist Dr. Clyde Keeler, who worked to produce a cat who mimicked the extinct Egyptian Spotted Fishing Cat, that the anomaly became relevant. Daly repeated her breeding steps, then, in the 1980s, added an American Shorthair to the mix, which produced the Ocicat we know and love today.

5. A passion for playtime

The Ocicat is very active, so she’s quite fond of games like fetch. Puzzle games are also adored, as they keep her on her toes and challenge her mind. A word of warning: She’s a possessive gal when it comes to her belongings, so don’t be surprised if she initiates a game of tug-of-war should you attempt to put her toys away.

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6. Friend of the family

Being incredibly athletic and agile, the Ocicat can make it to the highest of perches and will use her height to watch over her loved ones like a guardian angel. She’ll also curl up on your lap for cuddles.

7. A cat of many moods

A highly adaptable and social, the Ocicat is down to accompany you on road trips, but she’s also happy chilling with the fam (including kids and dogs) at home or keeping watch in the kitchen as you prepare dinner.

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Photo by Shutterstock

8. More is better

What about alone time? That’s a negative. The Ocicat is a bit of a ham. She loves to be the center of attention and is forever in the thick of things. Her ideal home is one with hustle and bustle. If she’s likely to be left alone for long periods of time, she’ll be one sad kitty. Having another cat, or a dog, in the house can remedy her unhappiness and make up for the time that you’re away.

9. Expect a shadow

The Ocicat is known for following her family’s footsteps — and will even hitch a ride on your shoulders.

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Photo by Shutterstock

10. Feline Houdini

She’s a master at undoing latches and opening doors, so if there’s something you don’t want her to have, keep it under lock and key.

11. Color me gorgeous

The Ocicat is actually seen in 12 different colors: fawn, blue, silver, cinnamon, lavender, chocolate, and brown in addition to silver variations of all of the above. But, we’re crushing on her in any coat color.

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Photo by Shutterstock

12. Party cat

Did we mention that the Ocicat is an emcee? Her sociable nature makes her more than happy to throw down the welcome mat at the mere thought of visitors, all in the hopes of meeting newbies who will rub her back and play with her.

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Photo by Shutterstock

13. Talk talk

Thanks to her Siamese lineage, the Ocicat can be a Chatty Cathy, but she’s not nearly as demanding or verbose as her Siamese brethren. The upside to her talkativeness is that she’s excellent with verbal cues, taking corrections and commands in stride. She’ll even let you train her to walk on a leash if you ask politely.

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About the author: Writer and blogger Erika Sorocco fuses her love for felines and fashion in the blog Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans. She shares with her cats Minky and Gypsy. Follow Erika on Twitter at @cateyesskinnies.