OcicatsWinston, our first Ocicat, was chocolate in colour. His breeder named him 'Ginger'!
Just in case anyone is interested and because our cats have featured in blog posts recently, I thought I’d tell you a little more about our Ocicats. Yes, they’re ‘posh’ cats, that is, purebred. The reason for having purebreds as opposed to moggies is that we thought it would be easier for them to be house cats, that is, cats that don’t have unlimited freedom. There are nasty people around who do unpleasant things to cats. A few years ago we enclosed (cat-proofed) the garden so that they could explore the great outdoors in safety. There is plenty of interest in the garden and they can and do exercise their hunting skills.Monty, cinnamon silver, with Jenna
We fell upon Ocicats quite by accident, their spotted, striped coats unusual in our experience. People often mistake them for Bengal cats but they have no wild cat blood in them. The Ocicat is a 'man-made' breed, the result of an American breeder, Virginia Daly from Michigan, trying to create an Abyssinian-pointed Siamese by mating an Abyssinian with a Siamese. The first litter looked entirely Abyssinian but the second cross produced Abyssinian-pointed kittens and one spotted kitten. The breeder’s daughter remarked that the spotted kitten looked like an Ocelot and called him an Ocicat. He was neutered but subsequent litters, breeding Siamese to Abyssinian and then mating their offspring back to Siamese, produced more spotted kittens.
Monty with Frodo. Frodo loved the cats.
A litter of Ocicat kittens can contain kittens that look like Abyssinian cats, which are referred to as 'mountain lions', the expected spotted striped kittens and those with a classic tabby marking, which used to be called Ocicat Classics. The classic Ocicats have been carefully bred to form a sister breed, now known as Aztecs, which strikes me as a really odd name.
Ocicats are strong athletic cats and are heavier than they look. Our Ocicats have greenish-yellow eyes but I have seen cats with striking orange eyes. They are very dog-like in their interaction with humans and are extremely affectionate.
We have had five Ocicats. Our first, Winston, was chocolate and as soft as butter. We were so delighted with Winston that we got our second Ocicat a week later. Monty was chocolate silver in colour but his heart was weak. Medication to help his heart damaged his kidneys and vice versa so we had to let him go when he was three years old. There was nothing more to be done for him.
Three years later, Winston died very suddenly and unexpectedly in the animal hospital from a respiratory illness.
After that we decided we couldn’t ever have another cat until the day, about two years later, when a mouse ran over my foot upstairs. Thus we acquired three litter brothers, Herschel, who is cinnamon silver, Isambard, a tawny Ocicat, and Jellicoe, a black silver Classic (tabby) cat.Clockwise from top, Herschel, Isambard and Jellicoe
Isambard was such a sweet, gentle boy but he died when he was almost seven from a respiratory illness he may well have caught from my husband. Barry was quite ill with something very similar to Covid a couple of months before Covid had officially appeared on these shores. Isambard spent much time snuggled up with Barry and became very ill. He died in the animal hospital, unexpectedly, shocking our vets who had expected him to recover. Cats are so delicate.
Jellicoe was also ill, but recovered.
Isambard checks the unlit stove.
People often ask why we don’t have rescue cats. Simply, rescue organisations don’t like cats being confined to home and not allowed to wander freely leading a normal feline life. The trouble is that free-ranging cats often fall prey to wicked people who find it amusing to paint them with house paint, crop their ears and tails, use them as target practice or as bait for dogs. Even without such people, cars and motor-bikes are a hazard. Some cats seem to be more street wise than others but, from personal experience, it is heart-breaking to lose a cat to a car or simply for it to disappear, its fate forever unknown.
Hallowe'en Jellicoe (cobwebs from the garage!)
I think attitudes are slowly changing and I see and hear of more non-purebreds being raised and loved as house cats. Indeed, one of my grandsons has two moggy house cats. There will always be those who do not agree, my son and one daughter included. but we respect their views and know they understand ours.Herschel contemplates
As you might imagine,
there are a number of blog posts featuring our cats. Searching their names will
bring up more than you probably would ever want to read.