An Ode to Ocicats
My experience with caring for our Ocicat Maisie after one year.
There is nothing more a cat lover looks forward to than the opportunity to choose another kitten. My wife and I already have one cat. Our beautiful Biscuit: 17-year-old short-haired ginger female. Biscuit is perfect in every way: old, grumpy, scatty, fussy eater, and spends about 23 hours a day sleeping.
We had a very difficult decision to make. We wanted to get another kitten - a new play friend for Biscuit but didn’t want to take away from the serenity and calm that she had been used to for so long. We so wanted to make the right decision, and after one year of taking care of Maisie, I can confidently say that we absolutely made the right choice.
We thought long and hard about which cat breed to bring home. We love all cats and what they represent. Smart, fun to play with, energetic, and with a kind, friendly personality.
We chose Maisie, our 12 weeks old — now one year Ocicat. Ocicats are wonderful, amazing cats. Cross between a Siamese and an Abyssinian, originally from America, they were selectively bred to look like cats in the wild. Maisie has a larger-than-life personality and is always surprising us with her playfulness as well as her devotion to keeping us company.
If you are considering an Ocicat as your purrfect cat companion, here are 5 personality traits you can get excited about.
1. Ocicats are highly intelligent
We all know how intelligent cats are. Some breeds are more intelligent than others. Siamese, Bengal, and Burmese are but three. Ocicats are also highly intelligent, displaying keen problem-solving skills, and showing how much they love their carers… and how to take advantage of them. As they say, ‘Cat’s don’t have owners, they have slaves’.
Intelligent cats love toys that allow them to access treats. Maybe a cat food maze where your cat has to work out the best way to gain access to their treats. Perhaps a toy box with holes in it where only one hole is wide enough for your favorite furry friend to bat her treat to the right hole, to be retrieved and devoured.
Our Ocicat Maisie knows exactly what she wants and when she wants it. She loves to demonstrate her keen eye at catching the smallest insects, using the furniture in the house as a giant obstacle course. It’s hard to keep her in one place at a time. Maisie loves her toys and is a keen fetch and return cat, wanting you to send the toy mouse scooting down the hall again, sending Maisie galloping after it, only to return it for another throw. I swear she would love to be a dog if she could be reincarnated as one. Of course, only if she had a caring owner.
2. Ocicats are very playful
You love your cat and you only want the best toys for him or her to play with. Trust me. Any toy will do, and you don’t need to spend a small fortune on cat toys, Ocicats are unquestionably playful. If it’s not running around using the house as an obstacle course, they will be pulling books off bookshelves, hiding in wardrobes, or looking for playmates. Ocicats are high energy and need constant entertainment to keep their raucous energy levels down.
Our Maisie’s favorite toy is a short piece of string on the end of a plastic rod. The stuffed toy on the end lasted less than 24 hours after we brought it home for her to play with. She loves it and it is a tried and true method of drawing her away from the parlor palm that is standing in the corner of the lounge looking like it’s been attacked one too many times.
Her other favorite toy is our other cat Biscuit. Any opportunity to chase and pounce after her, she will take it. Much to Biscuit’s displeasure. Usually, a hiss and a swipe of her paw are enough to send Maisie on her way, chasing after the next playful thing.
3. Ocicats are always thinking with their stomach
Ocicats have an insane amount of energy and as a consequence are always hungry, all part of being a raucous, kooky, insane, cat. I think a healthy appetite is a healthy cat feature, especially in energetic kittens. Of course, if you are concerned about how much or how little your cat is eating, seek out the advice of your local vet.
If you have more than one cat and they have different eating habits, it can be hard to train an Ocicat not to eat the other pet's food as well as her own. Serving their food in different parts of the house, or ‘protecting’ the less confident cat while she eats is a good way of making sure they eat enough.
Our amazing Maisie is only one year old but I have never known a cat to eat as much as she does. I only have to rustle a food sachet packet or open up the biscuit box and she comes running. She also loves easy-to-catch flying protein bites, being our perfect flycatcher, she goes to great lengths and even greater heights to devour her prey. I am forever returning small lizards to the garden after retrieving them from Maisie's mouth; tail dangling down and still very much alive and struggling for freedom.
4. Ocicats are very affectionate
If you are a lover of cats, nothing brings more pleasure than having your cat devote affection to you. Cats will show affection through body language, vocalization, and the way they interact with you. Having your favorite companion rub up against you or spending time on your lap shows that your cat trusts and enjoys your company. Having your favorite kitty coil its tail around your leg is a sure-fire way to tell that you are one of the Kool Kats to hang out with.
Our Maisie has many ways she loves to display affection towards us. She loves having her chin rubbed and will sometimes reply with an affectionate, gentle head bump which usually tells me she loves what I’m doing and she wants to hang out and socialize. There are many times when I’m working from home, and in the middle of a video conference call and our Ocicat, Maisie likes to make her presence known. Much to the delight of my work colleagues. It feels amazing that she feels so connected to me.
When it comes to bedtime, we will find our cat Maisie curled up on our bed waiting for us to get in. It’s reassuring that she feels safe and secure in our company while she is sleeping. It’s also very comforting for us as she doubles as a ‘hot water bottle’.
5. Ocicats display huge devotion to their carers
Ocicats are 100% devoted to their carers. If there is more than one person in the family, Ocicats will ‘latch on’ to the person they feel the safest and most secure with. In a 2018 research project carried out by the Oregon State University, it was found that cats are just as loyal and devoted to their carers as dogs are. The knowledge obtained from the research can go a long way to recognizing the personality profile of cats available for adoption, and hopefully matching them up with the most appropriate cat carer.
After we arrive home, our Ocicat Maisie is no recluse. She is upfront and loves to command attention, always coming to greet you as we open the door. Closing the door, she will follow you around the house as you go about your business. The memorable times are those where she snuggles into you. Perfectly comfortable and safe in your arms, slowly falling asleep.
Our Maisie will have her first trip to the cattery at the start of next month. It’s going to be an interesting experience for all of us. Maisie has never been by herself before, let alone for a whole week. She is like a child and devours all the attention we can give her. She will take with her a collection of toys and blankets. It feels like she is leaving for a sleepover. I imagine she will come back home a different cat, one that we will love even more.