Acquired: Breeder (professional)
By Adeline Gale
Posted May 02, 2013
I have always had a cat in my life from as far back as I can remember. And after so many years of having a cat, when I finally went off to college, was living in the dorms, I found that I was quite lonely without one. Of course, you can't have a pet in many dorms, but in the later years of my college experience, I moved out of the dorms into an apartment that allowed pets. Then I just had to pick the right one.
In previous years, my family owned a Siamese and a Himalayan. They have similar coloring and I decided I wanted something unique, something with spots even. But it turned out that something with spots is sort of rare and common mostly on animals with a wild ancestry, animals that can have some behavioral issues (like being wild, or so I was told). Eventually, I came across the Ocicat.
The Ocicat is unique because its wild-like spots are not related to a wild ancestry. They are completely domesticated cats, and were created through careful breeding between Abyssinian, American Shorthair, and to my pleasant surprise, Siamese. It creates a look similar to that of an Ocelot, which I loved when I lived in Panama, so the discovery of this cat had me thrilled.
We searched for a breeder with available kittens and eventually found one. We gave a deposit for her, visited with her once when she was still very little and then eventually picked her up when she was a few months old. As her coloring is what is called cinnamon, we named her Canela, which means cinnamon in Portuguese.
The things we love about her is that she has this personality that is much friendlier than some other cats, a personality more like a dog, and in fact she comes when called a lot better than my dogs do. Before I left for college, I had a Chocolate Labrador which I had to leave behind (the no pets thing), but in my new apartment, I could take her back from my parents. Canela did well with the introduction of an adult dog into our family. In fact, I remember when they would sleep together, curled on the floor, completely shattering the stereotype that dogs and cats do not get along. Canela even did well when we introduced another dog, a puppy into our family. I was quite pleased.
Then I got pregnant, and when the baby was finally brought into the house, the first thing she did was sneak up to look in the carrier, and then she hissed. It scared me that there might be issues between the new baby and the animals. However, she just didn't seem to like "new". After a day or two, she was fine with the new baby. Now, four and a half years later, they are best friends. Canela runs down the hall and calls for him to chase her. They race around my house having a blast. When my second child came around, she was perfectly fine with it. When allowed the opportunity, she curls up beside them in bed (mostly my son as my daughter is still a baby). It is something I envy as she used to curl up under our sheets, always a nice little heater.
Her coat is remarkably soft, softer than any other cat I had ever felt and she hardly sheds (especially compared to my Labs). When she was little she had very large ears she's since grown into. Has a sleek body like a Siamese, and if you leave her alone, like an overnight or weekend trip away, she talks up a storm about how upset she was at our departure for at least a day, sometimes two. It takes much holding, cuddling and petting, to settle her again. The breeder told us to feed her a can of wet food a day, which can be a bit more expensive, but it's not too much. The breeder also told us that we shouldn't declaw her for humane reasons so we didn't. Before we were allowed to pick her up, they had her spayed, so that we could not breed her ourselves (not that we intended to, but that was the breeder's choice).
Now, there are some things that aren’t so great. Since we didn’t declaw her, she’s scratched up our door frames at our new house. We try to keep her nails trimmed, but it still happens. In the previous apartment, we didn’t have wood door frames, so she didn’t have anything to scratch and it was fine. She never attacked our couches or anything. She also had a scratching post that worked for her, but broke when we moved.
Activity-wise, she’s rather like most cats, sleeps a lot, particularly likes lounging in the sun. But then she likes to rip around our house like a crazed animal. Fine for us, and I think rather common for other cats, but she’s also a climber, so she gets up on our cabinets in some of these bursts of energy and we get a flying cat. She often enjoys playing with my children, and they can be a bit rough sometimes, but she’s never once bit or scratched them, always friendly, she just runs away to the top of our refrigerator or a discreet corner to relax. She’s very clear and vocal about when she’s done playing.
Health-wise we’ve had some issues with her. Her breed is susceptible to feline leukemia so that you can’t give her the immunization typically given when they are young. This also means that she can’t go outside (though she has snuck out our screen door a few times in her life). She’s strictly an inside cat. Our cat also coughed a lot when she was little and we never really discovered out why. We gave her medicines and changed her food, and eventually it stopped, so we and the vet think it was a food allergy, but I don’t think that is common for her breed. She also gets urinary tract infections, so she has to be on a special food, about the same price as other food we fed her. Other than those manageable things, she’s always been healthy.
She was a bit expensive to get from a breeder, costing about $550 dollars, and we had to drive down (a several hour trip) to go pick her up, but the breeder was nice enough to drive up and meet us half way.
Overall, I think she is a great cat and in the future when we decide to get another one, it will most certainly be another Ocicat. They are warm and friendly creatures, that are affectionate like man’s best friend, but independent like cats often are, and they are absolutely beautiful (and come in a variety of colors). Ours is very quiet, unless you leave her alone for long (more than a work day) periods of time, or if you try to take her anywhere (she really doesn’t like car trips and meows the entire way). I’d recommend the breed to anyone interested in a cat.