Thursday 30 October 2008

Ocicat cat

I have called this page "Ocicat Cat" because the name of this cat breed does not necessarily indicate that we are talking about a cat breed. Below is a beautiful photograph of two young Ocicat cats by Helmi Flick. And great cat wrangling by Ken Flick. Ken and Helmi work internationally: see International Cat Photography - shooting in Japan.

Ocicat cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

One interesting thing about this photograph is that both of these charming cats are licking their noses. This is displacement behavior. See cat licking displacement activity and cat licking behavior. In brief it is the cat equivalent of us scratching our heads when we are thinking and not sure what to do. Or we bite our nails for the same reason. It just takes away from the slight anxiety and/or confusion of the situation.

There is no doubt that there is a similarity in appearance between the Ocicat cat and the Bengal cat and indeed other so called Exotic cats such as the Savannah. But the similarity is somewhat superficial as the Ocicat is wholly domestic in heritage being a triple cross between the Siamese, Abyssinian and American Shorthair. Although originally the the Ocicat was the result of mating a Siamese with a hybrid Abyssinian (in 1964) the Silver Tabby American Shorthair was introduced later into the breeding program. The Bengal cat, as we know, is a wildcat hybrid, so even SBT cats have some wildcat in them, which shows. However, at a glance the difference between these exotic cats can seem a little confusing.

Ocicat cats have spotted tabby coats. This is due to the presence of the agouti gene. The CFA breed standard calls the cat a large well spotted agouti cat of moderate type. This means a body shape that is balanced and not extreme in any way (i.e. a normal shape that we are used to). The presence of the agouti gene is signaled in the classic "M" mark on the forehead. See the thumbnail picture on the right. This leads to a very large format picture if you click on it or click here.

Prevention is the best medicine for your pet's health.Ocicats are intelligent and are perhaps more predisposed to being leash trained, for example. Apparently, they make good travelers and can respond to vocal demands. Although most cats will actually respond to the right signals. There behavior will not be the same as the wildcat hybrids which tend to behave in particular ways, sometimes what might seem weird ways.

On health, I have not seen any documents that report genetic defects for this cat. This is possibly because of the wide gene pool from which this cat has been created. Some cat breeds are known to have predispositions to genetic diseases carried in breeding lines due to selective cat breeding. See Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats.

Ocicat kitten playing with a large dog
Ocicat nibbling a large dog

Above pic: friendly and charming play showing how well cat and dog can get on if socialized. Photo by thisisforever

The Ocicat cat although very glamorous looking are as domesticated as the standard Moggie. See much more on this cat breed including history on this page: Ocicat. If you'd like to read about what it is like living with an Ocicat cat try this fine submission from a cat breeder, Sue Threapleton (UK): The Ocicat.

Ocicat cat to Home page

Photo of kitten with dog published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License.

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