The Ocicat – A Household Cat With A Jungle Heart

Have you ever heard of the Ocicat? No, it's not a wild cat, but it sure looks like one! This breed has playful spots and an athletic body. It resembles a leopard but has the sweet personality of your favorite house cat.

In this article, we'll explore the exciting history of the Ocicat, explore its unique traits, and tell you what it's like to share your home with one of these 'lap leopards.' We'll also discuss if this breed has any special needs. Get ready to meet a house cat with a wild side!

Meet The Ocicat: The 'Lap Leopard'

Though the Ocicat might remind you of an ocelot with its striking spots, it's entirely a house cat by nature. This breed is purely domestic, lovingly crafted from pedigreed lines with not a drop of wild blood.

But don't be fooled by its lineage; the Ocicat carries the wild charm in spades. This cat is gracefully athletic. With a captivating gaze, it brings a bit of the jungle into your living room.

The Ocicat's friendly, affectionate temperament makes it an ideal companion. It's as if you're getting the best of both worlds: a loving house cat that also looks like a mini leopard.

Hence, it's often referred to as the 'Leopard Look-Alike Pedigreed Cat' or the more endearing nickname, 'The Lap Leopard.' So, if you've ever dreamed of having a wild cat curled up on your couch without the actual wild part, the Ocicat is the perfect fit!


The Ocicat - Breed History

Fifty years ago in America, a breeder mated an Abyssinian with a Siamese. The spotted kitten that resulted was not the pointed Aby she had hoped for, so was neutered.

But as the spotted kitten matured, the breeder realized that the beautiful cat she had produced was worthy of further investigation. So she repeated the mating to again produce spotted kittens. Thus began the journey to produce a new breed of pedigreed cat from mating Abyssinian, Siamese, and the American short-hair.

The Ocicat was accepted for registration by the CFA in 1966. Then, after more than 20 years of devoted breeding, gained provisional status, it was advanced to championship status in 1987.

The Ocicat is so-named because of its likeness to the wild Ocelot. Quite popular in the USA, Europe, and England more recently, the Ocicat is gaining strong support in the Southern Hemisphere as well.

The Ocicat - Breed Description

The Ocicat is physically beautiful with its short, sleek, silky, shiny coat showing off its muscled body and its well-defined spots. Their coat is short and sits close to their body.

It is a medium to large cat with an athletic appearance. It moves with grace and flexibility – just like a wild cat.

The Ocicat's temperament is affectionate, playful, loyal, and sociable. It gets on very well with children, other cats, and dogs. In many ways, it is more dog-like than cat-like.

It is not a cat to sit and watch – it is interactive – it prefers to join in and help with household and family activities. It has a strong personality and often shows a preference for the men in its household.

The Ocicat is highly intelligent – it is ever ready to learn – its greatest reward is praise for a new skill well done. It comes in 12 colors - chocolate, chocolate silver, tawny, black silver, lavender, lavender silver, blue, blue silver, fawn, fawn silver, cinnamon, and cinnamon silver.

Special Needs

The Ocicat has no particular needs. It requires little or no grooming, has no particular health problems, being a strong, sturdy cat.

Ocicat Fun Facts: Discover the Quirks of the 'Lap Leopard'

Let's dive into the world of the Ocicat with some fun facts that showcase just how unique this breed truly is:

Pattern Galore

The Ocicat's coat is a spectacle to behold. Besides its characteristic thumb-shaped spots, it can also exhibit four other distinct patterns, including ticked, classic tabby, solid, and pointed.


The Ocicat boasts a robust lifespan, often living to be 15 to 18 years old.

Generally Healthy

Like any breed, it could be prone to certain genetic conditions like amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency, hypertonic cardiomyopathy, and dental issues. Regular vet check-ups can help ensure your Ocicat remains in good health.

Curious And Playful

This breed is not only playful and curious but also highly intelligent. They can be trained, making them interactive companions.

Distinctive Features

The Ocicat stands out with its wedge-shaped head, broad muzzle, large almond-shaped eyes, and alert moderately large ears.

Talkative By Nature

Known for being vocal, the Ocicat isn't shy about expressing its needs and will demand your attention.

Companionship Seekers

This breed thrives on both mental and physical stimulation, and craves companionship, always eager to engage with its human family.

Born Thieves

Keep a close watch on your belongings. The playful Ocicat often sees anything within its reach as potential toys, leading to 'mysteriously' disappearing items!

Pop Culture Presence

The Ocicat has also left its pawprints on pop culture, featuring in TV shows like Animal Planet's "Too Cute!" and in YouTube clips for GQ Magazine with rapper 2 Chainz.

Star-Studded Pet

Ocicats not only have fun, unique names like Savannah, Simba, and Mad Max, but they also have some celebrity fans! Singer Joni Mitchell owns an Ocicat named Nietzsche, and soap opera star Catherine Hickland is the proud pet parent of an Ocicat named Spotikus.

These delightful quirks give the Ocicat its distinctive personality, bringing a blend of charm, fun, and fascination into their lucky owners' lives.

The Ocicat: A Wild Wonder At Heart

In conclusion, the Ocicat is a truly remarkable breed. Their vibrant spots and athletic body shape create an impression of wild allure, while their sweet, sociable nature makes them an ideal household companion. With an intriguing history and a fascinating blend of characteristics, the Ocicat leaves no doubt as to why it's loved by many.

This 'Lap Leopard' is more than just a pretty face; it's an embodiment of wild charm and domestic affection, seamlessly blurring the lines between the jungle and your living room. If you're seeking a companion that's truly one of a kind, the Ocicat could very well be the cat of your dreams. After all, who wouldn't want a piece of the wild right at the heart of their home?


Written by Nola Kim of Oz Catz (2011)
Updated 2023
Nola Kim of Oz Catz is a Specialist Registered Breeder of Ocicats.

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One comment on “The Ocicat – A Household Cat With A Jungle Heart

Babyroxasman March 13, 2018
It should mention that they are very active and they love to meow. Mine is a talker but luckily its mostly just when she wants food

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