Ocicat: Just Another Bengal Wannabe?

Ocicats Are Very Attractive Faux-Bengals

Let's face it. There are some advantages in breeding a cat exclusively from domestic stock. You don't have to wait generations until the males become fertile. You don't have to carefully manage the breeding program so that the wilder characteristics don't resurface and turn into viciousness or ferocity. It's overall an easier and more rational way to breed domestic cats.

The downside is that you cannot reproduce the wild cosmetic and personality characteristics that are so sought-after by the exotic domestic cat fan. You're just mixing up genes of what everyone already knows, and the outcome is unlikely to be jaw-dropping or stupendous.

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That's the tale of the Ocicat, a very handsome and attractive kitty with a lovely cat personality. However, there are very few people who would even remotely assume that there is any lineage from the Ocelot or any other wild cat. The Ocicat is a really nice tabby with dotted-line markings masquerading as spots. In all fairness, though, some of the latest Ocicats do a really good job at mimicking a Bengal's spots.

Years before Jean Mill began her Asian Leopard Cat program which culminated in today's Bengals, Michigan breeder Virginia Daly had bred an Abyssinian with a Siamese and ended up with a somewhat spotted kitty they named Tonga. Although they ended up neutering Tonga and selling him as a pet, further breedings of the same parents produced some more "spots" and they became the ancestors of today's Ocicat, along with some Silver American Shorthair Tabbies that were added for color and markings.

Ocicats come in quite a few interesting colors: tawny, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lavender, fawn, silver, chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver, and fawn silver. Some of the more golden varieties will give a Bengal vintage 1995 a good run for their money, but unfortunately (for the Ocicats anyway) they are bereft of glitter.

Although Ocicat breeders will insist that their kitties demonstrate a lot of the same behaviour patterns as Bengals, including their love for water, my own experience does not bear that out. I've yet to come across an Ocicat who will do anything but run away from getting wet.

An Ocicat makes an excellent pet and is generally less expensive to buy and to maintain than a Bengal, as it lacks the Bengal proclivity for intestinal problems. Ocicats truly are lovely kitties... and besides... don't they say that mimickry is the best flattery?

 

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Comments 28 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Great hub. I do think that Ocicats came before Bengals :)I have an ocicat named Boohttp://hubpages.com/animals/My-ocicat--Boo


Ginger 8 years ago

Had to laugh - yes, Ocicats were used to develop the Bengal. Look at your pedigrees. Sure, some Bengals are dazzling, but with an Ocicat you never have to worry about them eating your kids.


Seth 8 years ago

On the one hand, the writer reports that the ocicat breed began long before the bengal breed. Yet, on the other hand, the writer contends that the ocicat breed is mimicking the bengal breed. The writer's logical fallacy calls into question his intelligence and the usefulness of any of his comments.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Geez, dude, what part of "some of the latest Ocicats do a really good job at mimicking a Bengal's spots" do you not understand? Try the dictionary definition of "latest." It might help your intelligence. :P


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

You're into cats? Cool. That's a rare find in a guy. And exotic cats, too?

How much do Ocicats go for? They are beautiful felines.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Yup, I bred Bengals and had 16 of the little darlins at one point. Oci prices vary widely but depending on the breeder you can get a pretty decent pet for around $250, however some are much more expensive.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

Yikes. I could just go and buy a puppy with $250. Or I could just breed a litter of pups, sell all but my favorite one, and be happy. :-P But it would be wrong to -force- my dogs to breed. I'd never do that. I'll just let Larry outside when Molly's in heat... :-D


quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

Wow! Cats! So many of them. I had one too!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Cats RULE! I hate to be biased, but of all the cats in the world, Bengals are #1! A swimming cat with a leopard coat and a puppy personality/intelligence! They are AMAZING. Just be careful (as Ginger says) since they might eat your children. :)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

O.O

*runs and hides her niece from the Bengals!*


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

They don't just eat kids. My forearms are completely striped with long scars. But they are FUN! :)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

Duuuuuude, that's totally masochisticly nasty.

The worst scars I have on my forearms are from the time the oven bit me when I tried to remove my chicken fettucini alfredo from it's bowels... But you can't see them when I'm tan. :-P Which rarely ever happens, but hey; oh well!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

Lol! My forearms got scarred with stripes when as a kid I tried to throw Dicky into a tub of water! I did not mention that in my hub lest the dudes from "Cruelty to Animals" or Amnesty International get me although it's dozens of years since!

Remember I was a kid!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

The process to get permanent body art on your arms courtesy of a Bengal is easy.

1) Put Bengal on back.

2) Tickle Bengal tummy.

3) Enjoy the blood flow.

:)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

Who wasn't a kid? I still am one, though I don't go around throwing kitties in bathtubs... My mom put her cat in the dryer when she was a really little girl, thinking it would dry the cat off...


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Cat in a dryer! Yikes! I thought that was an urban myth! Keep your mommy away from my kitty! :)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

lol She was like, 5 years old, and the idea was that everything goes into the dryer wet, and everything comes out of the dryer dry. So she put the wet cat in, thinking it'd be dry when the dryer BINGed. It was dry all right. And dead. And my mom loves cats. o_O


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Yo momma kilt a kitty! BWWAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

*falls over laughing* xD


Jenna 6 years ago

My Ocicat does like water - though not enough to swim in! But she loves it when I turn on the tap in the bath - she'll sit on the side and pat the water with her paws for ages. And she's fascinated by the water that comes out of the washing machine when it's going :)


Joyce 6 years ago

Bengals eating kids? Not that I'm aware of. The breed standard includes temperament. I've had four Bengals, and one was a rescue adoption and a misfit. Not as gentle as the other three. Still, she didn't try to eat my kid, or even mice that she caught in our old house. They are a gentle breed.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

I had six children and my Bengals ate 5 of them. :)


quicksand profile image

quicksand 6 years ago

Those catlets in da pix r reel kewt! :)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Yah, but Bengals are the only cats who can ride motorcycles! :)


quicksand profile image

quicksand 6 years ago

My cat's littered. There are four catlets! When they grow up, I'm gonna teach them to swim! :)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Congratulations! Make sure that they have Coast Guard Approved life vests and that they have taken at least 6 weeks of swimming lessons first. :)


quicksand profile image

quicksand 6 years ago

Sure, thanks for the valuable tips! :)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

And remember... never coat your catlets in egg wash and panko breadcrumbs!

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