The Ocicat ias a relatively new breed with beginnings in the 1960s. It was first bred by Mrs.Virginia Daly of Dalai Cattery in Michigan. Mrs. Dayli’s daughter (also named Virginia) thought that this new spotted cat looked like an ocelot and gave the breed the name (originally spelled Ocicat) that was stuck to this day.
Mrs. Daly referred to what we now call spots as “dots”, to distinguish them from other white markings that were then called spots.
As the breed has become more widely known, these terms have evolved, and we now refer to the Ocicat as “spotted”. Today, the Ocicat is recognized as the domestic feline breed that most closely mimics the spotted cats of the wild.
The first Ocicat breeding was a surprise, or as Mrs. Daly put it, ” a gift”. Mrs.Daly intended to produce an Aby – pointed Siamese by mating an Abyssinian with a Siamese, then Breeding the result back to the Siamese. However, along with the sought-after Aby-point kittens came a unique, spotted kitten.
Tonga, the first spotted Ocicat, ws sold as a pet for 10 dollar to a medical student named Thomas Brown with the agreement that Tonga shold be neutered. As luck would have it, the local newspaper did a article on Tonga and his owner, and public about this spotted cat became widespread. A noted geneticist, Dr. Clyde Keeler of the university of Georgia, wrote to mrs. Daly that Tonga shold be bred back to his mother, Dalai She, in hopes of producing a ” reincarnation” of the legendary and extinct Spotted Fishing Cat of Egypt. ( Perhaps he had not heard of the Egyptian Mau.) Because Tonga had already been neutered and this was impossible, Dalai She was mated again to Tonga’s father, a siamese named Champion Whitehead Elegant Sun. More little Ocicat kittens resulted, and the spotted Ocicats were once again established. The first spotted ocicat (for breeding) was Dalai Dotson (tawny spotted = n 24).