If you’ve always considered what it would be like to cuddle a wildcat but know not to risk their unpredictable (and potentially dangerous) temperament, the ocicat cat breed or an ocicat mix may be just the right fit for your family.
These athletic, active cats have signature wildcat spots but are fully domestic. That said, these energetic pets may not be suitable for those who want a relaxed lap cat. Here’s what you need to know before adopting one from a shelter.
Ocicats are a combination of Siamese and Abyssinian cats and appear very similar to large wildcats like ocelots or leopards — which is how they got their name. They’re spotted (the only domestic cat breed to boast such spots), muscular and athletic.
“In terms of the size, a healthy adult can weigh up to 15 pounds, and the maximum height of the species ranges up to 11 inches,” Dr. Alex Schechter, DVM, owner of Burrwood Veterinary in Royal Oak, Michigan, says. “The breed has a short and thick fur coat, and it’s very shiny.”
Their coats are intended to make the cat’s strong musculature more visible, like wildcats. As with all pets, ocicats are not hypoallergenic, so those with allergies may want to talk to their doctor before adopting any pet.
“To keep the coat shiny, pet parents should follow a regular grooming session and brush the pet’s fur,” Dr. Schechter says.
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Families looking for a more active, playful cat might find ocicats the perfect fit. In fact, you may even be able to teach your ocicat tricks, like fetch, which will come in handy since the breed needs regular exercise and play.
“The typical personality of the breed is energetic, alert and affectionate, and the species is intelligent — they’re usually easy to train,” Dr. Schechter says. “Due to their energetic nature, pet parents should focus on offering the cat an active lifestyle.”
It’s also important to recognize that ocicats are social creatures — they usually want interaction with their owners and other pets. If they don’t get enough of it, they may seek other (possibly destructive) ways to get attention. If you’re away from your house a lot, and you don’t have anyone or anything to help keep your ocicat engaged and happy, this may not be the right breed for you.
Ocicats tend to be healthy but can be susceptible to infections.
“Calicivirus, panleukopenia and rabies are the most common ailments found in the breed,” Dr. Schechter says. “However, with vaccinations, these diseases can be prevented. They’re also susceptible to periodontal or gum disease. Teeth-brushing is recommended to prevent periodontal disease.”
Are you interested in adopting an ocicat cat, an ocicat cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.
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