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
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
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
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
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,
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!