How big is an Ocicat? Usually people that ask this question think that it is related to an Ocelot which it is not. It has no wild blood in it. It is a wonderful hybrid domestic originally produced from a Siamese and Abyssinian cross. It was originally named that because the daughter of the breeder thought it looked like a "little Ocicat". The ocicat female is usually 7-10 lbs, and the males 10-14 lbs. Several of our males are a little smaller. It is ironic that you are trying for a larger cat, and the males with the best spots seem to be the smaller ones. (Too bad we can't request everything we want in one cat).
What is the difference in a Bengal and an Ocicat? We could write a book on this one. One of the simplest answers and one I use a lot is that the Bengal has Wild Cat Blood in it, and the Ocicat is purely domestic. (Supposedly and to a certain extent). The spots are different, the head type is different, the colors are different. There are however many similarities. Both are muscular, healthy, playful loving cats. They are high maintenance and require a substantial amount of attention from their owners. They are greeters to visitors, good with children and other animals such as dogs. They will however consider a hamster or a bird to be food. They both can be trained to walk with a halter and leash. They both like water if exposed to it at an early age, and will stomp around in the shower with you, play in their water dish to drive you to distraction. Some will climb in the kids bath with them.
Why would I want to spend that kind of money on an Ocicat or a Bengal? Good question. Impress your visitors? yes. Pride of owning something so beautiful. yes. But more because of the love they return in spades. I have known more men than you can imagine who believe they are only "dog people" and they fall in love with their Bengal or Ocicat. The cat will not let you do otherwise, as it gives you so much love. Our kittens are handled and loved from the first day they are born, so they enjoy the touch and company of humans. Most people say once they have been owned by an Ocicat or a Bengal that they will never have any other kind of cat again! But I suppose each breeder hears that. My customers call me up to bend my ear about the latest escapades of their babies. (kittens)
What is the typical Ocicat personality?
The typical Ocicat is very outgoing and friendly. Many cats have their favorite person, but are retiring around other visitors and family members. Not so the Ocicat. They tend to love everyone, and see any lap as possible attention. They will meet visitors at the door and follow them around rubbing their head on their shoe to try to get attention.
Are Ocicats good with children?
I always try to get families with young children to consider the Ocicat because it is the most tolerant cat I know of. They tend to keep their claws in, and snuggle and purr when a child picks them up. Most of the time the family Ocicat is sleeping with one of the children, under the covers preferably.
What kind of person makes the best owner for an Ocicat?
First of all it is an indoor cat. The Ocicat needs someone who is willing to give the cat a lot
of attention and desires a lot of affection in return. This is not a cat to just sit around the house. It is actively involved in everything going on. If you are on the computer they are usually walking on the keys sending your messages early, or on top chasing the arrow on the screen. If you get in the shower they will be tromping around in there with you, getting wet. They are personable and strive to please you. Very intelligent, and will quickly learn the house rules.
Does the ocicat breed have any special grooming or nutritional requirements?
Good food is required as the Ocicat is a muscular, active and high energy cat. Add a variety of vitamins, minerals, prozyme, calcium, super blue green algae, and L-lysine. My cats however, are breeders and under more stress than the average cat who will usually do quite well on just a good quality dry cat food with an occasional treat.
Does the ocicat breed suffer from any genetic disease? If so, please describe
the disease, including symptoms and treatment.
I have found the Ocicat to be a very healthy cat as a breed. However, the Ocicat has its problems just like any other breed. One thing to remember is that the Ocicat is a cross between Abyssinian and Siamese with some American Shorthair added in. This means that any and all genes, good and bad can be acquired into the Ocicat breed. This having been said, I have found the breed to be very healthy, mothers deliver kittens easily, take good care of them and they grow into beautiful adults with little problem. I recommend chapter 12 in the book "The Ocicat" by Stephanie Thompson. Here, she give a good analysis of the health issues that may affect not only the
Ocicat, but all cats. It includes Cardiomyopathy, which is a deterioration of the heart Muscle. This is the only Genetic problem I have seen personally in 5 years of breeding, and only one case that I am aware of. It can be the result of a genetic defect, or a lack of Taurine, or a virus while the kittens are in Uterus.
If the ocicat breed suffers from a genetic disease, how can a pet buyer be assured he or she is buying a kitten that is free from this malady?
Cardiomyopathy can be diagnosed by EKG and/or X ray. A heart murmur may be heard by the veterinarian. This is a problem that is seldom seen as breeders and veterinarian work together to determine if there is a genetic link to the problem, and cull the breeding animals by neuter or spay. It would not be practical or productive to use X ray and EKG on every kitten, only one that appeared to have a problem. This kitten would be small, tend not to grow, and tired all the time. He may not play actively. This type of kitten would not be offered to the public by a breeder. Also any reputable breeder has a guarantee covering any genetic problems.
What do you like most about Ocicat breed? Do you have any stories of your
own cats that help illustrate this?
I like the friendliness of the Ocicat. Sometimes clients come looking for a different bread of cat, we have several, and wind up going home with an Ocicat because they are so friendly and affectionate. Many who are basically dog people find they like the Ocicat because they have some similarities. The Ocicat comes when called by name, follows you around. They tend to take things and carry them off, may hide things behind the bed. They are smart: some like to open doors by hanging on the door knob and swinging. They will try to open latches, and if you hide a toy in a cupboard they remember where it is and will try to get it out. Sometimes this curiosity gets them into trouble. I didn't notice a kitten that jumped into a food bin, and came close to asphyxiating before I found her. Toilet lids must be kept shut as their curiosity about water lets them fall into buckets, toilets, bathtubs etc.
Are you a kitten mill?
I suppose it all depends on your interpretation of what a kitten mill is. I will answer this question with a series of questions.
Is a kitten mill USDA licensed to breed exotic cats?
Is a kitten mill also licensed for breeding exotics by the Fish and Game Dept?
Does a kitten mill have two owners who spend 8-14 hours apiece a day loving and caring for the cats and kittens?
Does a kitten mill produce affectionate, healthy well adjusted kittens and show cats who are sent out with a health guarantee covering the first year of life?
Does a kitten mill have an owner who is on the Board of Directors of an International Breeders Organization?
Does a kitten mill spend more money that it makes on the best veterinary care, premium foods and medications, and supplies?
Does a kitten mill decline to take vacations 99% of the time because they do not trust the care of their beloved cats to other people.
Does a kitten mill attend cat shows, showing their cats and competing for ribbons and status?
Does a kitten mill continually upgrade the quality of their breeders working to have all of them show quality? This process includes retiring breeders by spaying and neutering and finding good homes for the breeders while they are still in their prime and replacing them with better and better breeders.
Does a kitten mill continue to strive to provide the best environment possible for the cats including misters in outside runs, a space for individual studs about the size of a room or horse stall, heat in winter, cooling in summer, ponds, grass, plants, trees shade?
Does a kitten mill spend significant money on Revolution monthly to prevent fleas, ticks, ear mites, and worms, and regularly immunize the whole cattery for Bortadella, Rabies, Giradia, as well as the routine immunizations including feline leukemia?
Does a kitten mill register all their breeders and breedings with 4 different cat organizations?
Does a kitten mill provide a copy of both parents pedigree to purchasers?
Does a kitten mill interview prospective clients to determine that the kitten will have a good, loving home and proper medical care?
Does a kitten mill provide a rescue for any kitten produced by their cattery, taking them back and finding new homes if owners become unable to take care of them?
This rescue service also placed 12 outside rescue cats this year, not originally from our cattery.
Does a kitten mill allow everyone to tour the facility just about any time they want to, to see the breeders, kittens and exotic cats? And how they live I might add.
Does a kitten mill continually analyze their breeding program, focusing on improving the breed to produce healthier, more beautiful cats with better temperaments?
I could go on, but you get my point. Yes, we do produce a significant number of kittens from four different breeds, but that gives a variety of prices and choices to our customers. We are lucky; we are retired and can spend all our time on this cattery.
We will just continue to follow our passion and our vision, because that is what it is. No one in their right mind would choose to change the kitty litters, scrub pans and areas with disinfectant (heavy grunt work), give the medications, do the paperwork, deal with the phone calls and questions, etc. if it was not a passion.
We are participating in the development of a new breed, the Savannah cat, and consider this a privilege as well as a challenge. So come visit us, you may be surprised, but please donít ask me if we are a kitten mill while you are here because it hurts my feelings. We try too hard!