In 1964, the original Ocicat was the unexpected result of an experimental breeding which attempted to produce an Aby-point Siamese. Virginia Daly, a noted Cat Fanciers' Association breeder living in Michigan, was surprised to find an ivory kitten with golden spots in one litter. Mrs. Daly's daughter named the breed the Ocicat, because of its resemblance to the ocelot. Tonga, the first Ocicat, was neutered and sold as a pet. When a Detroit newspaper publicized the lovely spotted cat, and when a noted geneticist, Dr. Clyde Keeler, expressed his desire to see a domestic cat that mimicked some of the world's vanishing wild species, the breeding was repeated to produce more Ocicats. Other breeders followed Mrs. Daly's recipe to develop additional Ocicat lines with a broad genetic base.
While the Ocicat looks wild, its temperament is anything but ferocious. It is a lot like a dog in that it is absolutely devoted to its people. The Ocicat is not a demanding, clinging-vine type, but is confident as well as dedicated to its owners. Most Ocicats are also quite extroverted around strangers, not at all bashful about checking out the possibilities for a few playmates or a lap to curl up on when visitors come to call.
Ocicats are quite bright and easily trained. Many will fetch, walk on a leash, respond to voice commands, and readily adapt to household rules. Because of their adaptability, they are a joy to work with and easily get used to traveling. Their sociable nature may make them less suited than some other breeds to being left alone for long periods of time, but it does make them a good choice for a household already blessed with other cats or dogs.