Looking for a cat that will fetch? Follow your footsteps? Welcome houseguests with a full-throttle purr? Tolerate rowdy children? If youre seeking a cat with traits that are more often associated with dogs – but one that still retains feline charm – consider the Ocicat or the Maine Coon.
I wanted a cat with an exotic look but with the personality of a dog, and I found it in the Ocicat, says Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, a veterinarian and professional breeder of Ocicats from Yorba Linda, CA.
Dr. Hodgkins has bred Ocicats for five years and also competes in the show ring. One of her cats, Abracadabra (Ch. Sunstone Abracadabra), a chocolate silver-colored Ocicat, recently earned Cat Fanciers Associations (CFA) grand champion title at 14 months and is now pregnant with her first litter.
She is extremely affectionate and inquisitive, and she loved to be in the show ring seeing other cats and being handled by the judges, says Dr. Hodgkins. These are the traits you look for in an Ocicat.
A relatively new breed recognized by all North American registries including the CFA, the Ocicat is gaining quickly in popularity. The Ocicat originated from the crossbreeding of Abyssinian, Siamese and American Shorthair in the 1960s.
With its short-haired, muscular coat that sports shimmering leopard-like spots, the Ocicat may look wild, but is far from ferocious. Ocicats are easily trainable, loyal and intelligent. The breed adapts well to homes with dogs and other cats and seeks companionship with people.
I recently sent home an Ocicat kitten into a home with an aged Great Dane, says Dr. Hodgkins. This was the kittens first exposure to a dog – a very big dog – and the owners told me that within a few days, the kitten was happily riding on top of the dog in the house and the dog was loving it.
The Marvelous Maine Coon
From Ithaca, NY, Elektra and Mike Hammond favor the hardiness and large size of the Maine Coon breed. Since 1990, they have operated the Blueblaze Cattery, breeding and exhibiting Maine Coons.
Maine Coons are very dog-like and many will come when you call them and follow you around the house to help you with household tasks, says Elektra Hammond, who is also a cat breed standards judge. They also seem to understand kids and are more tolerant of typical behavior by kids. The best part – Maine Coons deeply bond with you.
Think of them as feline versions of cuddly Teddy bears. Although big in size, their meows tend to be tiny mews. Maine Coons can be easily trained to walk on a leash and harness, plus perform tricks like sitting up and fetching tossed paper wads.
This is definitely a breed that wants to be with you, adds Hammond.