Is there a benefit doing out cross? Yes, I think so!
Outcrossing clearly lowers COI‟s – the F1 outcross having a simply zero COI regardless of the amount of generations. How much this impacts the health could be judged only by doing a scientific study on the matter, before such a study we can only guess. However as a ”gut feeling” outrcoss kittens do appear generally healthier and faster growing than fully ocicat-blooded kittens.
American breeders claim F1-F4‟s to be extremely healthy and born free of defects, but estimate that F5‟s (and from there on) have already so little aby blood that they have same tendencies to defects as any other full-blooded ocicat. While it would be wonderful to see absolutely no problems for four generations i fear the positive results might here be seen best with just generations F1-F3 (depending on initial ocicats used), simply because the even-smaller-gene-pool is probably ”stronger” with it‟s flaws.
I would though expect a smaller percantage of defective kittens and less severe forms of difficulties among F4‟s than compared to ”regular” ocicat litters. One doesn‟t often think that outcrossing can also offer benefits for the looks. Abyssinians have usually extremely nice coatings, coat texture and usual coloreds (our tawnies) can offer this remarkable tone to ocicats. They are also those who prefer the outcrosses‟ temperaments: Almost like ocies, only a bit nicer and less bossy. Suggestions for the wanne-do-outcrosses Plan at least two generations and make sure you have a ”plan b” if things go awry; Write your plans down to be attached on a special permit application and to yourself. Check the rules concerning special permits and note that the application process can be painfully slow. Scandinavian abys are generally healthy and have backgrounds that breeders know for many generations, and at least in Finland most breeders will not only openly tell about existing difficulties, but also will happily give their abystuds to outcross use. I would be a bit careful with abys outside Scandinavia as, especially with US cats, PK-tests aren‟t uniformally made and there is still some breeders ignorant of amyloidosis. How to choose an aby for outcrossing: I would recommend choosing generally healthy aby, from a line that is known to be healthy, and require a resultclear result in PK ( use of carriers needs extra care), without PRA or patellaluxation and of course not a variant (aka carrier of LH-gene) or a cat with white locket. An ideal aby is 4-5 years old or more, minimizing the risk for amyloidosis, but since that is often impossible, even past 2 years is good. Use of silver abys should be considered carefully. While there is no reason why we couldn‟t use them ocicats with silver aby in their (five generation) pedigree cannot be exported to CFA. Silver isn‟t recognized as a abyssinian color in CFA so they do not accept it as an outcross for ocicats either. I would recommend choosing an aby with nice temperament and good show nerves as timidness for example appears to be at least partially inherited. While it would be great to use an ocicatlike abyssinian i personally don‟t think it is that important. Abys who aren‟t very good inside their breed can have weaknesses that are flaws inside ocies as well: Coat texture might be too coarse, color grayish, much too high on legs, etc. Most outcrosses i know are already very ocicat-like in the second generation, even if the aby used has been a good example of its breed. Size doesn‟t seem to get smaller, quite the opposite actually. For example Anorien‟s Walk thru the Fire and Anorien‟s Wheels of Fire weigh 4.2 and 4.5 kilos now at the age of 7 months – and they have three abys in their pedigree, in generations 2, 3 and 4. How to choose an oci for outcrossing: Again, I would recommend choosing a generally healthy ocicat, from a line that is known to be healthy, without defects in its background or among its relatives (but if one wished to mate a cat from known risky lines i would suggest using an aby or an outcross and simply petting the kittens out, as the result is probably better for the individual cats and their future owners). It would not hurt the cat to be checked as clear from HCM (as 1 yr and 3 yr old). In an ideal setting the outcrossed ocicat (usually a female) would represent an ocicat line not so common among Scandinavian ocies and would even be homozygous for spots. The later fiancés should be chosen following the above mentioned suggestions, if possible. How to choose which ociaby to use: I would recommend concentrating on the ”whole package” (temperament, boning, over all looks etc) when choosing which F1 (or F2 and so on) to continue the lineage. Occasionally you can get an F1 who is already something in between ticked and spotted with minimini-sized freckles all over it‟s coat. I would put more weight on the over all composition of the kittens and not the pattern alone – but of course if you have a litter of otherwise similar looking kitties do choose the one with almost spots as it‟s likely that he/she would produce mostly spotted on the F2 generation! Temperament can be a bit difficult to judge, with F1‟s at least, so you might want to consult an aby breeder for that too. How to tell who’s suitable for breeding outcrosses: A breeder doing outcrosses would ideally be very patient, able to plan forward, have contact with many co-breeders and either knows about different lines and their problems or dares to ask around. A suitable breeder would also have a clear vision of what an ideal ocicat is and looks like, to be able to judge which kitten to choose to continue – or s/he is able to ask for help from other breed