Category Archives: cat breed profile

Ocicats May Look Wild, But They’re Tame at Heart


By Julia Williams

I vividly recall the first time I saw an Ocicat many years ago. I was at a cat show, and we were making the rounds looking at all of the different breeds. I stared at this exquisite spotted cat, certain that it wasn’t a domestic breed but rather, a jungle cat like those I’d seen at a wildlife park. Indeed, the aptly named Ocicat does resemble the ocelot, a wild “big cat” that is currently on the endangered species list. The similarities end there, however, as the domestic Ocicat’s temperament is anything but ferocious.

The French writer Fernand Méry, who penned several books about cats, is quoted as saying “God made the cat in order that humankind might have the pleasure of caressing the tiger.” Indeed, what cat fancier hasn’t entertained thoughts of peacefully co-existing among jungle cats in the wild? The tame-at-heart Ocicat allows us a taste of the exotic without the danger and unpredictable nature of a wild cat. For those who love domestic cats that look wild but will happily curl up on your lap, the beautiful Ocicat is a perfect choice. Had I not been owned by several garden-variety cats, I might well have taken an Ocicat home that day.

History of the Ocicat

The Ocicat is a fairly recent breed of domestic cat. The first Ocicat, a male named Tonga, was born in Berkeley, Michigan in 1964. While trying to produce a Siamese cat with Abyssinian markings, noted CFA breeder Virginia Daly accidentally produced an ivory kitten with golden spots. Upon seeing this unusual “ocelot look-alike,” Mrs. Daly’s daughter suggested they name the spotted kitten an Ocicat, and a new breed was born.

Other breeders soon took on the challenge of refining the breed, mating Ocicats with American Shorthairs. The Ocicat is the only spotted domestic breed of cat selectively bred to emulate its spotted feline cousins in the wild. The Ocicat was recognized for CFA registration in 1966 and was advanced to championship status in 1987. Today, Ocicats are frequently seen at cat shows in the U.S., and some have been exported to other countries where their popularity is steadily rising.

Appearance of the Ocicat

The Ocicat is a medium to large size feline with long legs and an athletic appearance: well muscled and broad chested, yet lithe and graceful. It has a wedge-shaped face with almond-shaped eyes, a short nose, and widely spaced ears that are sometimes tufted. Ocicats have the tabby “M” marking on their forehead, mascara markings around the eyes and on their cheeks, and rows of round spots that run along the spine from their shoulder blade to their tail. Spots are also scattered across their shoulders and hindquarters, extending down the legs.

The Ocicat’s short coat has a glossy sheen that beautifully shows off its spots and muscles. There are twelve accepted Ocicat colors: tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender, fawn, silver, chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver, and fawn silver.

Personality of the Ocicat

The Ocicat is a confident, playful, active and affectionate breed that loves human company, so much so that they often follow people from room to room observing them as they go about their daily routine. Most are not afraid of new experiences and are quite extroverted around strangers. They also usually get along with children, dogs and other cats. Because of their sociable nature, Ocicats do better in a household where they are not left alone for extended periods.

The Ocicat is a very intelligent breed that is easily trained. Some have even learned how to open doors and perform characteristically “dog-like” behaviors like fetching and walking on a leash. The Ocicat’s mellow nature, coupled with the ability to easily adapt to changes in their environment, make them a wonderful show cat and fine travel companion. There are no genetic health problems associated with the Ocicat breed.

If you love the “jungle cat look” but want a laid-back, friendly feline, the Ocicat is the perfect breed for you. I know I am smitten by them, and if I ever do decide to get a purebred, the Ocicat is high on my list.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Singapura: the Smallest Cat has a Big Personality


By Julia Williams

We recently profiled the largest domestic cat breed, the beautiful Maine Coon, so I thought it only fair to profile the smallest cat breed too. If you prefer itty bitty kitties over super-sized ones like the Maine Coon, the petite Singapura might be the perfect cat breed for you. The Singapura is the smallest of all the recognized domestic cat breeds. Females average 5 to 6 pounds, while males typically tip the scales at around 6 to 8 pounds.

Singapura is the Malaysian word for Singapore, which means “Lion City.” The plucky feral felines that became the foundation of the Singapura breed were sometimes called “drain cats,” because they often took refuge in the storm drains of Singapore.

Appearance of the Singapura Cat

The Singapura is a shorthaired cat with an angelic round face and noticeably large eyes in hazel, green or yellow. Singapura cats are only found in one coat color, a warm beige ticked with sepia brown. (Ticking refers to bands of color on the tips of the hair). Their silky coat requires minimal grooming; some say it resembles that of a cougar. The Singapura’s muzzle, chest, stomach and inner legs are an unticked, light ivory color.

Although they do have a petite frame, Singapura cats are not delicate creatures by any means. They are muscular cats with good bone structure and a moderately stocky build, yet even so, they have an irrefutable air of elegance about them. The Singapura is slow to develop, and may not reach full size until about 15 to 24 months of age. Because the Singapura is small compared to most felines, veterinarians unfamiliar with the breed might wonder if something is wrong with the cat or kitten.

Personality of the Singapura Cat

They may be small in stature, but the Singapura cat has a larger-than-life personality. It’s as if they are saying, “I may be little, but I am a force to be reckoned with.” If you like extroverted cats who have “purrsonality plus,” then the Singapura is a good choice. They are lively, curious, mischievous and intelligent cats that genuinely seem to enjoy the company of their human companions. Agile and active, Singapura cats love high places and are known to be climbers.

Singapura cats remain extremely playful well into adulthood, and some say they never truly abandon this endearing trait. These felines insist on being in the middle of everything, a trait that has earned them the label of “pesky people cat.” Rita Kay Bee, a breeder of Singapuras, describes their attitude as: “The world is my oyster. Get out of my way – I’m going for the pearl and you can’t stop me.”

History of the Singapura Cat

Though there is some controversy over the origins of the Singapura, it’s generally believed the gene pool that created this rare breed came from Singapore, a result of mating between the Burmese and the Abyssinian. The breed was brought to the U.S. in the early 1970s, and today is found worldwide and recognized by most registration associations. Singapuras were accepted for CFA registration in 1982 and for championship competition in 1988.

There are relatively few breeders and exhibitors working with the Singapura cat, so the breed is still somewhat rare and hard to find. However, Singapuras have enjoyed considerable success in the show ring for such a young breed. In 1991, Singapore tourism officials erected statues of the Singapura along the river and featured the cat in various types of promotional material.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.