In 1964, a Michigan breeder named Virginia Daly tried to create a Siamese cat with Abyssinian colored points. To this end, she bred a seal point Siamese female to a male ruddy Abyssinian. The result was kittens that looked like Abyssinians but carried a gene for the Siamese pattern. By breeding one of the ½ Abyssinian kittens with a full Siamese, she produced an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese kitten.
This litter also produced an ivory male kitten with golden spots and copper colored eyes she named Tonga. More mating between Tonga’s parents produced more Tonga look alikes, and the Ocicat breed was born. Called the Ocicat because Daly’s daughter thought they looked like the Ocelot.
The 1st Ocicat was introduced to the CFA in 1965 and in 1966 they were accepted by the CFA for registration. But, due to a mistake in listing the parent breeds as an Abyssinian and an American Shorthaired, New Ocicat breeders added the shorthairs to their Ocicat lines changing the body style and adding colors not available in the originals.
The Ocicat did not receive championship status until 1987, the main reason being Daly took an 11 year break from breeding and promoting the breed. But slowly the word about them got around and soon other breeders were getting the same results Daly did and widening the gene pool.
Ocicats are very loving cats, but tend to bond with one person and are very loyal to that person. They are very intelligent and can learn to come to their name and learn tricks. They are an active breed and require a lot of space and many toys. Ocicats are vocal cats, but not as much as some.
By: Linda Eastabrooks
Former AKC Breeder