Ocicats come in 12 different colors and exhibit in 6 color classes. The dominant colors are tawny, chocolate, and cinnamon and then there are the dilute variations of blue, lavender, and fawn. In addition, these six colors can exhibit silver backgrounds. Ethical hobby breeders usually specialize in certain colors in order to maintain small numbers of breeding cats.
The Ocicat temperament is what truly sets this breed apart. Often described as "doglike", the Ocicat is a devoted friend who has a genuine desire to please. Scolding usually suffices as a satisfactory method of training. Being very social in nature they want to be near their people and will follow you everywhere. Bred for sweet and trusting temperaments they are not suited to living outdoors but can be trained to walk on a leash. Some are more talkative than others, just as people are. Most love a good game of fetch and will play with their toys until they are litterally worn out. They are heat seekers and love nothing better than to climb under the covers in bed with you on a chilly night. Like people, each has a distinct personality and voice.
The first Ocicat was created quite by accident in 1964 by Virginia Daly in Michigan who was seeking something else altogether! When breeding the Siamese and Abyssinian together she produced one striking golden spotted kitten which imitated the look of a small ocelot that she called the "Ocicat". It took some twenty years to develop this breed and gain the support for provisional registration within CFA. During this time the American Shorthair was added to the mix which brought us our dazzling silver colored Ocicats. The Ocicat was advanced to Championship status in 1987. Since then the Ocicat has been achieving significant wins in the show hall.
Many people do not realize that not all Ocicats are spotted. They can also be solid, smoke, pointed, ticked, and classic tabby patterns. The solids have a ghost pattern that is either classic tabby or spotted. Very hard to describe but very exotic looking. Each one is spectacular in their own way - it is the same temperament with a different paint job. Some peope actually get more excited about these other patterns when they see them. Because our Ocicat standard is written for a spotted cat only we are not allowed to exhibit the non-spotted cats for awards at the shows here in the USA. It is truly a treat if you get the opportunity to see one of the other non-spotted patterns.
While the Ocicat looks wild and exotic, NO WILD SPECIES were used to create this breed. This differentiates them from the highly promoted and much more common Bengal you probably have heard about. Ocicats are 100% domestic cats with no special needs, predictable temperaments, and reliable litter box habbits. They have a short close lying coat which sheds minimally.
The future of Ocicats has been put into peril by restrictive breeding legislation and limit laws fostered by Animal Rights Activists (PETA and HSUS). Many of us are no longer able to breed these wonderful cats even in very small numbers. Please let your legislator know your feelings about limiting your ability to select the pet of your choice. Extinction of this rare breed is a very real concern! We firmly believe that pedigreed cats raised in a loving environment provide a healthy and emotionally secure companion for you and yours. Please help us to sustain the Ocicat for future generations to love.