Monday, November 19, 2007


Ocicat photographs illustrating this article are by Helmi Flick and copyright Helmi Flick.

The Ocicat is my kind of exotic or jungle cat. Why? Because she is a result of selective breeding and not wild/domestic cat breeding. I am not against the latter but if you breed from a wild cat as for the Chausie or Savannah for example it means that you have a wild cat to breed from in the first place.

One of the underlying motivators in breeding exotic cats is to educate the public about the problems of population reduction facing wildlife and wild cats in particular. It seems, then ,counter productive to capture and import a wild cat to breed from. You are undermining the raison-d'etre of the program to a certain and perhaps large degree.

The Ocicat being bred from three domestic cats, the Abyssinian, the Siamese and the tabby American Shorthair has no wild blood and great looks. I think this may have been the first exotic cat created to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the public for jungle cats.

The Ocicat was created by mistake in the 1960s when regulations and ideas about breeding were very different. When I say mistake I mean that the breeder who began this breed was trying to produce an Abyssinian with Siamese like points (dark estremeties). She bred one cat with the other and got Abyssinian kittens; no points in sight. When she breed the kittens with a Siamese the Ocicat was born. This was purely experimental breeding in the 1960s, which would probably be regulated in some way now.

It took many years before the cat achieved full registration status with the CFA (1987). She is a muscular, solid and sociable cat, good with people and pets. Remember a cat sees us as as a cat so if there are cats and humans in the house she just sees cats. So, we could say she is good with other cats and dogs. She is also a little dog like.

I read a lot about exotic cats that are dog like, meaning intelligent to the point where they are trainable. And they can learn from human actions such as opening doors.

This is particularly so with the wild/domestic hybrids, which are possessive of their human companions and alpha male or female assertive in that regard.

As the Ocicat is sociable she is best socialised with, so you can't be out all day and expect her to be in the best mood when you return.

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