Ocicat Breed Photo


Meant to emulate wild ocelots, the ocicat brings the visual thrill of a big cat, without a drop of wild blood.
Coat Length
Other Traits
  • 9–11 inches
  • 6–15 pounds
life span
  • 12-18 years
good with
  • children
  • seniors
  • dogs
  • cats
  • families
  • sociable
  • affectionate
  • high
shedding amount
  • seasonal
  • high
activity level
  • active
  • when necessary
coat length
  • short
  • chocolate / brown / sable
  • cinnamon
  • lavender / silver
  • fawn
  • lilac
  • bi-color
  • tabby
other traits
  • easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • friendly toward humans
  • friendly toward other pets
  • friendly toward strangers
  • good for first-time pet owners
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good lap cat
  • tolerates being picked up

The ocicat was created to do exactly what his name implies: resemble an ocelot! Similar to breeds such as the toyger or the Bombay, the ocicat was bred to mimic the appearance of a large wild cat, but without a drop of wild DNA in the cat's makeup.

With his remarkable spotted coat, the ocicat is a one-of-a-kind conversation starter. These cats have highly social personalities, keen minds, and dispositions that have been described as "dog-like."


Thanks to their eye-catching coats, ocicats are certainly not hard to … spot. (sorry.) These cats are blessed with brown or gold thumb-shaped spots all over their torsos. In rare instances, ocicat kittens will be born with solid colors, pointed coats, or even classic tabby patterns, but by and large, this breed features those unique spots.

ocicat lying on a wood table in a kitchen
A cross between the Abyssinian and Siamese, ocicats are a bit larger than typical house cats. It's not uncommon for males to reach 15 pounds.
| Credit: real444 / Getty

Ocicats come in a dozen color variations, including tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender, and fawn. Regardless of color, ocicats are well-muscled, athletic cats. The breed is normally a little larger than the typical house cat, with males getting up to 15 pounds. They have wedge-shaped heads, large oval paws, and triangle-shaped ears set at a 45-degree angle.


The ocicat is highly social and engaging with human companions. While they're accepting of virtually all family members and strangers, these cats are likely to form particularly strong bonds with one specific person in their households and follow them around the most.

"Ocicats are extremely active, intelligent, and social cats," says Marilyn Krieger, certified cat behavior consultant in San Francisco. "It is important that they have interactive toys and plenty of attention from and time with their people."

closeup of an ocicat on a beige background
As social kitties, ocicats are great in all kinds of families and thrive with lots of attention. They don't do well when left alone for prolonged periods of time.
| Credit: Nataliia / Adobe Stock

Ocicats can very easily be trained to perform a number of tasks and tricks, such as coming when their names are called as well as sit, stay, and fetch. They are smart enough to understand not only meaning, but context, so they'll pick up on your commands and desires relatively quickly.

Because the breed was created by crossing an Abyssinian and a Siamese, the ocicat is packed full of personality. They tend to be just as chatty as their Siamese ancestors, but not quite as loud.

Living Needs

Ocicats are surprisingly adaptable. They make great traveling companions for people in RVs, and are happy in just about any urban or rural setting, so long as their social needs are met. They also enjoy climbing, so giving them some elevation options would make your ocicat purr. Give him at least one cat tree to scale, and a cat hammock or shelves mounted on the wall would be a nice touch, too.

These kitties are good family cats and gentle with children, Krieger says. Ocicats also do well in households with other animals, including dogs, especially if they've been socialized with them as kittens. However, because of their highly social nature, Krieger says ocicats in single-pet households can develop some separation anxiety if left alone for more than a couple hours at a time. She recommends adopting a bonded pair of ocicats. 

ocicat with green eyes sitting on a deck looking up at the camera
Credit: Vicky / Adobe Stock


This breed sheds enough to keep ocicats off the "hypoallergenic" cat list, but a weekly brushing should be all you need to do. Ocicats don't need baths unless you're planning on showing them, in which case, opt for a shampoo that enhances their natural coat colors: bronze-tone for brown, chocolate, and cinnamon spotted ocicats; pearl-tone for blue, lilac, and fawn kitties; and a whitening shampoo for silver pets.

Like all cats, an ocicat owner needs to keep their cat's nails trimmed and their litter box clean


Ocicats are a fairly healthy breed and have relatively long lifespans of 12–18 years. Still, there are some common ailments to be aware of, most notably liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

side profile of an ocicat sitting outside on a stone
Bred to look like the wild ocelot, ocicats sport a unique spotted coat.
| Credit: imagenavi / Getty

"Any time a cat has been custom bred for specific, 'designer' traits, you are definitely opening up that potential [for health issues]," says Lin Kauffman, DVM, of Prairie View Animal Hospital in Grimes, Iowa. "And, of course, the smaller your gene pool, the more common hereditary diseases can be."

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle, is the most common form of heart disease in cats and is seen in some ocicats. An echocardiogram can confirm whether your cat has HCM.

"Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be manageable, but at some point a cat that has [it] is probably going to go into heart failure," says Michelle Beck, DVM, CCRT, CVA, of the Backlund Animal Clinic in Omaha, Neb. "Life expectancy after diagnosis is usually about a year or so."

Amyloidosis, meanwhile, is a disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid, an insoluble protein, is deposited in organs such as the kidneys or liver. It results in lesions, dysfunction, and, eventually, organ failure. 

Pyruvate kinase is a regulatory enzyme in red blood cells, and cats deficient in this enzyme can develop anemia.

ocicat from above walking on the sidewalk
Ocicats are smart and active cats. They should always have plenty of toys to play with and can be trained to walk on a harness.
| Credit: imagenavi / Getty


The ocicat was created on a dare. Scratch that; the ocicat was created by mistake in the midst of a dare.

In 1964, an American named Virginia Daly was challenged by a friend to try and create an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese, according to The International Cat Association (TICA). Daly took the challenge and succeeded in breeding an Abyssinian and a Siamese for the desired, pointed Siamese result. However, her second litter of this particular hybrid produced a single kitten with unique spots. Since the kitten resembled a wild ocelot, Daly's daughter dubbed him "Ocicat."

That first ocicat, named Tonga, was neutered and given as a pet. But when subsequent Aby-pointed Siamese litters continued to produce spotted kittens, Daly began breeding them back to Siamese parents and producing wholly spotted litters. Soon other breeders began doing the same, and the Ocicat breed officially began. The breed was recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association for championship in 1987.

Fun Facts

  • Ocicats feature prominently in a YouTube video produced by GQ Magazine for its "Most Expensive Sh*t" series. Featuring rapper 2 Chainz, the episode features over $165,000 worth of kittens, including ocicats who sell for $3,000 apiece.
  • An ocicat is also the star of a popular episode of Animal Planet's "Too Cute!" series.