Ocicat cat breed: the spotted kitty with the appearance of an ocelot

László Enikő

2023. September 26 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Although it may look like a wild cat at first glance, the Ocicat's genome has no signs of wild relatives. This lovely, friendly cat is only wild on the outside, otherwise it is generally problem-free and a very people-loving pet.


This gorgeous spotted cat never fails to steal the show, not to mention the hearts of those lucky enough to own them. Feline enthusiasts have always been fascinated by wild spotted cats: ocelots, leopards and others. Never before has there been such an effort to breed a fully domestic cat that offers the spotted beauty of wild cats while retaining the domestic cat’s lovable nature. The Ocicat is a cross between Abyssinian, Siamese and American Shorthair and is the only spotted domestic breed that has been selectively bred to mimic wild cats.


The Ocicat was created by crossing Siamese, Abyssinian and American Shorthair cats. Although it got its name because of its appearance reminiscent of the ocelot, which is a small South American wild cat, it is completely a domestic cat in terms of its genes. The Ocicat is one of those accidents that sometimes happens in cat breeding. To get the Abyssinian pattern in her Siamese cats, breeder Virginia Daly crossed the two breeds in 1964. The resulting kittens resembled the latter, and when she crossed one of them with a Siamese cat, she got a kitty with a special golden-spotted coat.

She named it Tonga and sold it as a pet, but when repeated breedings produced more spotted kittens, a new breed was created. American Shorthairs were also used in their design to give them more size and to add the silver color. The breed was recognized in 1987 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association and The International Cat Association. It is a very popular pet in the United States, but it is becoming more and more known in other countries of the world as well.

Breed standard

The Ocicat is a medium-sized, athletic, elegant-looking cat. Its body is elongated and its chest is deep. Its limbs are moderately long, the front ones are shorter than the back ones. The paws are oval and stubby. Its tail is relatively long, with a slightly pointed end. Its body weight is about 5-7 kg, its real weight is slightly heavier than we would say at first glance. The head is wedge-shaped, its chin is powerful. Its ears are medium-sized, their ends are slightly rounded. The almond-shaped eyes are large and slightly slanted.

It can be any color, except blue. Its fur is short, dense, soft to the touch, shiny; he hairs are close to the body. The coat is decorated with characteristic spots, it is especially important for exhibition animals that they show a great contrast with the base color. The spots are due to an interrupted tabby pattern; it is bred in 12 different color variants. Its expected lifespan is 12-14 years.


The devoted, confident and playful Ocicat loves people and likes to follow its master everywhere, but is nevertheless not intrusive. It also likes the company of others, it likes to sneak up to the guests for a little caress and petting. Like all animals, they have many different personalities, so some are more shy than others. Because of its Siamese ancestry, it sometimes likes to vocalize, but is not as loud or demanding as its relative. It is a sensitive and loving animal who is generally calm and balanced.

The Ocicat is very active and energetic, a real athlete, but it does not go overboard, as its temperament is calm. Its favorite activities include fetching toys and learning to walk on a leash. The breed is highly intelligent and easily learns tricks. Food puzzles are a good way to keep your kitty occupied and entertained.

Ideal environment

Since it is a creature with a very sharp mind, it is worth keeping all fragile and valuable things away from it, because it is not difficult for it to open a door or a drawer. Although very adaptable, it does not like to be alone. However, it feels good in the company of another cat or dog. It loves children, so it is also a great companion for families. It loves company and being around its owners so much that she doesn’t mind traveling, unlike many cats. A true social butterfly, it enjoys the attention.


The short coat of the Ocicat is easy to care for. Combing once a week is enough to get rid of dead hairs and to distribute the skin’s oils. It rarely needs a bath. The cleanliness of the ears should be checked weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them with a cotton ball or a soft, damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and warm water. You should also occasionally wash its eyes with a soft, wet cloth. To avoid possible infections, use a separate area of the cloth for each eye.

Its claws should be cut if they grow too long, and its teeth should also be cleaned regularly. Since all kittens are sensitive to the cleanliness of their litter, make sure that their tray is always spotless.

Common health problems

Ocicats are generally healthy and long-lived, but they can inherit some of the health problems that affect the Siamese or the Abyssinian. These include amyloidosis of the liver or kidney, pyruvate kinase deficiency, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It can also be prone to periodontal disease.

Amyloidosis is a possibly hereditary disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid, an insoluble protein, builds up in organs such as the kidneys or liver. It results in changes, dysfunction and eventually organ failure. Pyruvate kinase is a key regulatory enzyme in the energy metabolism of red blood cells. PK-deficient cats can develop anemia. The hereditary condition is caused by a recessive gene and is easily detected by DNA testing. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of heart disease in cats. It causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle. Echocardiography can confirm whether a cat has HCM.

(Literature: János Szinák – István Veress: Cat Guide, Jean-Luc Renck: The Cat)

breed description ocicat short-haired cat

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