There are many reasons why someone wants to purchase an Ocicat. But it is well to consider the pros and cons in advance.
If you want to own a pet animal, it should be a well considered choice and not a spur of the moment. Therefore take your time to list all positive and negative matters. Do this with all members of the family.
Your new member of the household will need your love, attention and time. And that for a long period, because the Ocicat can live to be, on average, between 10 and 12 years old. Are you and your family prepared to for that?
In her book “The fortune cats” (published – in Dutch – by Karakter Uitgevers B.V., ISBN: 90-6112-091-8) Anny Duperey gives a beautiful description of things you must consider before you start your life with a cat.
”If you take an animal in to your house, it implies automatically that you apply yourself to give it a life as well as is possible, depending on you resources, what ever will happen, until it dies. In fact it is something like a marriage or an adoption.
You are “stuck” to most house pets for up to fifteen or twenty years. In other words: it is radical and before you let a pet in to your house and heart, you must deeply reflect on this. Do not make the mistake to taking it lightly. Because it concerns a very unique personality that will enter your house, a cat-person…
In short: a being of which you have to discover the character with all the positives and negatives, with whom you will need to build a very special, sometimes surprising relation, which you must maintain and deepen next, to say nothing of the normal care for physical well-being. That asks for a lot of attention and work, for you must open yourself for the being of that animal of which you do not know the secrets. If you don’t have the patience, the perseverance, the talent to observe and the tolerance, you can forget it. It also means that you have to find a balance between your own way of living versus his or her needs. Moreover you must slightly adjust your house.”
What is the reason to start owning a cat? Is it that cat from the advertisement which seems so nice or is it because the family has such a beautiful cat? Then it seems to be an impulse and that is not to be recommended.
Or do your children want a cat? Then you have to stand by that as a parent. A (young) child can not bear the responsibility which comes with owning a cat. To put ready a bowl of water or food is doable, but who cleans the cats litter box? The arrival of a kitten also means that you have to teach him/her your house rules, but your child(ren) also must learn how to deal with such a little animal.
Certainly reflect on the following:
- Is one of your house mates allergic for cats? Or a good friend who comes often to your home?
- You will have to buy some things. One can think of a litter box, food and water bowls, travel basket (for safe transport to the veterinarian for instance) and toys. And returning items: food and litter sand.
- As your kitten comes from a good breeder he/she is completely de-wormed, has been vaccinated twice against cat and sneeze disease and might possibly be chipped.
De-worming must be done every half year and the vaccination must be repeated annually. If necessary something against fleas must be applied as well.
- A kitten/cat might break something in the house. Not all cats scratch your furniture, but presume your cat does?
- Your cat could destroy something from your guests. Therefore it is sensibly to arrange that with your (third party) insurance.
- Your cat can become sick. Just imagine that the costs of a veterinarian can incur considerably.
- A cat moults. As a result you must vacuum more often.
- A cat does not play quiet in a corner. The toys will be found everywhere in your house.
If above points bring along no objections, the question rises whether you want a female or a male. There are quite a lot of old wife’s tales going around, for this reason we listed the most obvious differences.
A female can be in heat several times a year. For us humans it is most unpleasant that they mew very much and loud then and behave “strange”. The rut normally starts if the cat is on its way to maturity but some Ocicats are known to be in their first heat at four months of age.
If you do not want a litter keep the female away from the male. Therefore pay close attention to doors and windows, because such a lady is smarter than you think and that male from further on gladly wants to be at her service!
The rut can be prevented by giving the cat a cat pill, but this administering of hormones can involve danger, such as an aggravated chance on uterus inflammation and milk gland tumours.
The safest way to prevent rut and kittens is neutering. You can discuss together with your veterinarian what is the best time to do that.
A male CAN start “marking” on his way to adulthood. He piddles on for him important places. Now, you will not notice much of it outside, but inside it could be considerably unpleasant.
Many times it helps to castrate the male in due time, but this is no guarantee that your male won’t start.
Is there a difference in the affection, loyalty?
The Ocicat is highly attached to its people. That isn’t different having a female or a male. You rather notice that a female has her own will, she therefore is more dominant to your other pets. In general a male is more moderate, friendly.
A good breeder can tell more of the character of a specific kitten (as of about 5 weeks).
Okay, so you want to proceed to the purchase of an Ocicat.
Why is an Ocicat so expensive?
For the breeder it starts by obtaining the mother cat and maybe the father cat. We won’t mention their food, vaccinations, litter sand, etc.
Generally the breeder wants to have a skilled opinion of a judge about the cat before he/she starts breeding the cat. Registration to a show costs money, varying from 20 up to 45 Euros (depending on the type of show). The cat only gains his/her title if he/she has been approved by several judges, for which, normally spoken, several shows must be visited.
Most cat clubs make obligatory the FIV/FeLV-test for both breeding parents. A breeder can choose to do further tests. For some breeds some particular tests are obliged, because in those breeds stipulated sicknesses can occur. The Ocicat fortunately do not have this, although some breeders test on HCM, PK and PRA. For the two last mentioned diseases a test is used which has been developed for the Abyssinian. There still hasn’t been a test developed specifically for the Ocicat.
Of course one can make the list of tests as long as one wants, you can always find a veterinarian who wants to co-operate.
Each responsible breeder wants to make the best combination for a litter to support and improve the breed. Sometimes the breeder has his own stud, sometimes one must go to another stud. That mating will have to be paid.
Sometimes an echo is made by the veterinarian.
The mother cat needs other food during the pregnancy and while the kittens are growing up. It is better that they then eat special developed food for pregnant females or a high-quality kitten food because in this food certain substances are added which she needs extra.
As the delivery begins a number of goods are necessary. You can think of birth box, a warmth mat, absorbent mats, disinfectant and a scale. Of course everyone hopes that the kittens are born healthy. Otherwise the veterinarian must be called. Depending on the moment (by day, at night, weekend) and what is necessary (in the most terrible case caesarean delivery) there will be increasing of costs.
Just as it costs money to raise a child, there are also costs attached to the bringing up of a kitten: food, remedy for de-worming, vaccinations, passport, pedigree. And just as you would educate a child: the time and energy which you put in it cannot be calculated.
How do I select a good breeder?
You can always make an appointment without obligations with a breeder to get acquainted with him/her and his/her Ocicats. In this way you can see the cats in their normal environment. Take your time for this purpose, do not plan several visits to various catteries on one day. Especially if a cattery has kittens, because unwanted you can bring a bacteria or virus which can be dangerous for the kittens.
You can also visit a cat show. Talk to the owners and inquire about their experiences with the breed.
Ask your questions to the breeder. He/she is willing to answer them. He/she will also happily show all papers of the parent(s).
If a breeder does not appeal to you for what kind of reason, follow your intuition and do not buy a kitten there.
The kittens have to grow up in “domestic circle”. Usually they stay in the living room and as a result they will get used to normal sounds, like the vacuum cleaner for example. Depending on the age of the kittens you must caress and cuddle them without the mother being too protective or the kittens reacting anxiously.
The kitten must look cheerful and have clean eyes, ears, nose and bottom.
The kittens will stay for at least 12 weeks with the mother. Of course the kittens eat independent already before that and are toilet-trained, but those “extra” weeks are a very important socialisation period. Mother cat (and possible other house mates) teaches the kittens in this period a lot of things which they have to do or are not allowed to do.
Ocicat kittens are not always available. For this reason most catteries use a waiting list.
At picking up your kitten you receive its travel documents: the vaccination booklet or passport, pedigree and conceivable the microchip registration.
Most breeders also give you some food and a good many tips.
At home you open the door of the travel basket. You can show the food and water bowl. Of course you can always apply to the breeder with questions. He/she is also eager to hear how the kitten is doing.