How to differentiate between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat

Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat? Despite their similar appearances, these two cat breeds possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. By understanding key features such as coat patterns, body structure, and temperament, you can easily distinguish between the majestic Ocicat and the playful Tiger Tabby Cat. Let’s explore these fascinating feline breeds and uncover the secrets of telling them apart.

How to differentiate between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat

Physical Appearance

Size

When it comes to size, both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat are generally larger than your average house cat. However, the Ocicat tends to be a bit larger and more muscular, weighing anywhere between 10 to 15 pounds. On the other hand, the Tiger Tabby Cat is slightly smaller, typically weighing around 8 to 12 pounds.

Body Structure

Both breeds have a sleek and athletic body, but there are slight differences in their body structure. The Ocicat has a more solid and muscular build, with a well-developed chest and strong shoulders. Its body appears more substantial and compact. In contrast, the Tiger Tabby Cat has a slightly leaner body, with a slender frame and more graceful proportions.

Coat Color

The coat color is one of the most noticeable differences between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats have a wide range of coat colors, including cinnamon, chocolate, silver, and more. On the other hand, Tiger Tabby Cats usually have a more traditional tabby coat coloration, with shades of brown, gray, or orange.

Coat Pattern

While both breeds have tabby markings, the patterns differ between the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats typically have a spotted coat pattern, resembling that of a wild ocelot. These spots are usually round or elongated, evenly spaced across the body. Tiger Tabby Cats, as the name suggests, have a striped pattern on their coat, giving them a resemblance to a miniature tiger.

Coat Texture

In terms of coat texture, the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat share some similarities. Both breeds have short and dense fur that lies close to their bodies. Ocicats have a plush and soft coat, while Tiger Tabby Cats often have a slightly coarser texture. However, it’s important to note that individual cat variations can affect the texture of their coats.

Head

Shape

The shape of the head is another aspect that can help differentiate between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats have a distinct wedge-shaped head, with strong cheekbones and a prominent brow. Their heads are slightly longer than they are wide, adding to their wild, exotic appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats, on the other hand, have a more rounded head shape, with softer features and a less pronounced brow.

Ears

The ears of both breeds follow the general feline structure. However, there are slight differences to take note of. Ocicats have medium-sized ears that are set wide apart on the head. The tips of their ears are slightly rounded. In contrast, Tiger Tabby Cats often have larger ears that are set slightly closer together. The tips of their ears are usually more pointed, adding to their overall alert and curious expression.

Eyes

When it comes to eye shape and color, there are distinguishable differences between Ocicats and Tiger Tabby Cats. Ocicats have almond-shaped eyes that are medium to large in size. Their eyes are usually a vibrant shade of green, giving them an intense and captivating gaze. Tiger Tabby Cats, on the other hand, often have rounder eyes that can vary in color. Their eye color ranges from yellow to green, depending on the cat’s genetics.

Nose

The nose shape of the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat is quite similar. Both breeds have a medium-sized nose bridge that is straight or slightly concave. Ocicats generally have a broader nose with more pronounced nostrils, emphasizing their wild appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats have narrower noses, which blend seamlessly with their facial structure.

Whiskers

Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, play an important role in a cat’s sensory perception. In terms of whiskers, both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat possess long and prominent ones. These whiskers protrude from the sides of their muzzle and extend beyond the width of their heads. They help these felines navigate their surroundings and detect movements and objects in their environment.

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Body

Build

The build of a cat refers to its overall body structure and proportions. When comparing the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat, their builds have distinguishing features. The Ocicat has a solid and muscular build, with a robust chest and well-developed shoulders. Their bodies are compact, giving them a sturdy and athletic appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats, while still muscular, have a slightly leaner build. They possess a more graceful and agile frame, allowing them to move with grace and precision.

Musculature

Due to their active and energetic nature, both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat have well-defined musculature. Ocicats have a particularly muscular body structure, with strong and powerful muscles visible beneath their short coat. These muscles give them a solid and substantial appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats, while also muscular, have a slightly leaner musculature, which contributes to their overall agility and nimbleness.

Legs

The legs of both breeds are well-proportioned and sturdy, providing them with excellent balance and agility. Ocicats have medium-length legs, which contribute to their overall solid and compact appearance. Their hind legs are often slightly longer than their front legs, which helps with jumping and pouncing. Tiger Tabby Cats also have medium-length legs, but they appear more slender and elegant. Their legs are well-adapted for quick movements and climbing.

Paws

The paws of both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat exhibit noticeable characteristics that differentiate them. Ocicats have rounded and well-padded paws, providing them with stability and a steady grip. Their toes are proportionate, with strong and sharp claws. In comparison, Tiger Tabby Cats have more oval-shaped paws that are slightly smaller in size. Their toes are often tufted with fur, adding to their adorable and cuddly appearance.

Tail

Both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat possess a tail that complements their body structure. Ocicats have a medium-length tail that is thick at the base and tapers gradually towards the tip. Their tails are well-muscled, allowing for excellent balance and coordination. Tiger Tabby Cats have a similarly shaped tail, but it is usually slightly longer and thinner. Their tails are often adorned with distinct tabby stripes, enhancing their feline allure.

Face

Muzzle

The muzzle, or the front part of the face, is another distinguishing feature between the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats have a moderately long and broad muzzle, which contributes to their wild appearance. Their muzzles are well-developed, providing ample space for their strong jaws and teeth. In contrast, Tiger Tabby Cats have a slightly shorter and narrower muzzle, softening their facial features and giving them a friendlier expression.

Profile

When looking at the profile of both breeds, you’ll notice differences in the shape of their foreheads and noses. The Ocicat has a gentle curve from the tip of its nose to its forehead, forming a slight convex profile. This convex profile is reminiscent of a wildcat and adds to the breed’s unique appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats often have a straight profile, with a more subtle curve from their nose to their forehead.

Expression

The expression of a cat can reveal a lot about its temperament and personality. Ocicats have a confident and self-assured expression, thanks to their well-defined facial features. With their large, almond-shaped eyes and strong cheekbones, they have an intense gaze that exudes intelligence and curiosity. Tiger Tabby Cats, with their rounder eyes and softer facial structure, have a more gentle and approachable expression that melts hearts.

Cheeks

Cheeks play a role in defining the facial structure of a cat, and there are slight variations in cheek shape between the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats often have prominent, high cheekbones that contribute to their overall wedge-shaped head. These well-defined cheeks add to their wild and exotic appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats have softer and more rounded cheeks, giving their faces a slightly fuller and friendlier look.

Chin

The shape and position of the chin can differ between the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats have a strong and well-developed chin that aligns with the tip of their nose. This chin gives them a balanced and harmonious facial appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats often have a slightly less pronounced chin, with a gentle slope from their lower lip to the chin. Their chins may be a bit more delicate, adding to their endearing and gentle expression.

How to differentiate between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat

Coat Characteristics

Foundation Color

The foundation color refers to the primary color of a cat’s coat. Ocicats exhibit a wide range of foundation colors, including cinnamon, chocolate, silver, and more. These colors can vary in intensity and saturation, creating a unique and eye-catching appearance. In contrast, Tiger Tabby Cats typically have more traditional tabby coat colors, which include shades of brown, gray, or orange.

Markings

Both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat have distinct markings on their coats that contribute to their overall appearance. Ocicats have either solid spots or solid patches that are evenly distributed across their body. These spots can vary in size and shape, but they are usually round or elongated. Tiger Tabby Cats, as their name suggests, have tabby markings consisting of stripes across their entire body. These stripes can range from thin and delicate to bold and wide, giving them a truly tiger-like appearance.

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Tabby Stripes

Tabby stripes play a crucial role in differentiating between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats, despite having spots, do not possess prominent tabby stripes running across their bodies. The spots on their coat are solid and distinct, without any striped patterns within them. In contrast, Tiger Tabby Cats have well-defined and visible tabby stripes that cover their bodies. These stripes can be thick or thin, following the contours of their musculature.

Spots/Markings Shape

The shape of the spots and markings on the coat can help distinguish between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats have spots or markings that are usually round or elongated. These spots are well-defined, with clean edges that stand out against their foundation color. On the other hand, Tiger Tabby Cats have markings that are primarily stripes. These stripes can be vertical, horizontal, or swirl around the body, resembling the patterns seen on a majestic tiger.

Belly Pattern

When it comes to the belly pattern, there are notable differences between the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats often have spots or markings that extend from their back down to their belly. This cohesive pattern creates a visually striking appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats, on the other hand, usually have a lighter or paler color on their belly, with their tabby stripes continuing from their back. This contrast serves to accentuate their overall tiger-inspired coat pattern.

Coat Colors

Solid Colors

Solid colors refer to coat colors that are unified and not patterned. The Ocicat comes in a variety of solid coat colors, including cinnamon, chocolate, silver, and more. These solid colors create a beautiful canvas for the spots to stand out. On the other hand, the Tiger Tabby Cat typically does not exhibit solid colors but rather showcases the traditional tabby coat colors, such as shades of brown, gray, or orange.

Silver/Smoke Colors

Silver and smoke colors are characterized by a lighter base color with darker tipping or shading on the individual hairs. While the Ocicat can come in a silver coat color, the silver gene is not as prominent in the breed. However, Tiger Tabby Cats can occasionally exhibit silver or smoke colors, adding an ethereal and elegant touch to their coat pattern.

Color Distribution

In terms of color distribution across the coat, there are differences between the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats often have an even and uniform distribution of color throughout their coat, allowing their spots to prominently stand out against the foundation color. Tiger Tabby Cats, with their tabby stripes, have a distinct distribution of colors, with the stripes running in a visible and organized pattern across their coat.

Color Intensity

Color intensity refers to the saturation and vibrancy of the coat colors. Ocicats typically have solid coat colors that are rich and intense, giving them a bold and striking appearance. The intensity of their coat colors further enhances the prominence of their spots. Tiger Tabby Cats, with their tabby stripes, often showcase varying degrees of color intensity. The stripes can range from lighter or muted tones to deeper and more vivid colors, depending on the individual cat.

Contrasting Markings

Both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat exhibit contrasting markings on their coats, albeit in different ways. Ocicats showcase clear and distinct spots or patches that contrast against their solid foundation color. The spots can vary in size and shape, creating a visually appealing contrast. Tiger Tabby Cats, with their tabby stripes, highlight the contrast between the lighter background color and the darker stripes. This contrast gives them a stunning and attention-grabbing appearance.

Coat Patterns

Mackerel Tabby

The mackerel tabby pattern is characterized by narrow stripes that run vertically along the cat’s body. These stripes often resemble fishbones, hence the name “mackerel.” While Tiger Tabby Cats typically display the mackerel tabby pattern, Ocicats do not exhibit this particular pattern. They have spots or patches instead of stripes on their coat.

Classic Tabby

The classic tabby pattern, also known as the blotched tabby, is characterized by large swirls or patches on the cat’s coat. These patches often form a bullseye pattern on the cat’s sides, with smaller spots or stripes on the chest and belly. Tiger Tabby Cats can exhibit the classic tabby pattern, while Ocicats usually do not display this particular pattern.

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Spotted Tabby

The spotted tabby pattern, as the name suggests, is characterized by distinct spots on the cat’s coat. This pattern is prevalent in the Ocicat breed, making it one of their defining features. The spots vary in size and shape and are evenly distributed across the cat’s body, giving them a unique and exotic appearance. Tiger Tabby Cats, although they also have spots, usually have a striped coat pattern rather than distinct, solid spots.

Ticked Tabby

The ticked tabby pattern, often referred to as the agouti pattern, is characterized by individual hairs banded with different colors. This pattern creates a subtle blended appearance, making it more difficult to see well-defined stripes or spots. Neither the Ocicat nor the Tiger Tabby Cat typically exhibits the ticked tabby pattern.

Patched/Calico Tabby

The patched or calico tabby pattern combines tabby markings with areas of solid colors. These patches can be distinct and vary in size. While Tiger Tabby Cats may occasionally exhibit this pattern due to their tabby markings, Ocicats typically do not display the patches or calico pattern on their coats.

Facial Markings

Mascara Lines

Mascara lines refer to dark lines that extend downward from the outer corners of a cat’s eyes, much like the appearance of mascara. While these lines can occur in various coat patterns, they are not commonly seen in either the Ocicat or the Tiger Tabby Cat.

Eyeliner

Eyeliner refers to dark lines that outline the eyes and enhance their appearance. This feature is not prominent in either the Ocicat or the Tiger Tabby Cat. However, the distinctive almond-shaped eyes of the Ocicat and the rounder eyes of the Tiger Tabby Cat still capture attention without the need for extra eyeliner-like markings.

Whisker Pads

Whisker pads, also known as vibrissae cushions, are the areas where the whiskers are located on a cat’s face. Both the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat have prominent and well-developed whisker pads on their faces. Their whiskers protrude from these pads, providing them with enhanced sensory perception.

Eye Color

Eye color can vary between individual cats, regardless of breed. However, there are common eye colors seen in the Ocicat and the Tiger Tabby Cat. Ocicats often have vibrant green eyes that captivate and mesmerize. Tiger Tabby Cats, on the other hand, can exhibit eye colors ranging from yellow to green, depending on their genetics and coat colors.

Eyebrow Markings

Eyebrow markings, much like human eyebrows, can create expressive and distinctive facial features. While the Ocicat does not typically have specific eyebrow markings, the Tiger Tabby Cat can occasionally exhibit markings above their eyes that resemble eyebrows. These markings add to their charming and endearing expressions.

Temperament

Ocicat

The Ocicat is known for its friendly and outgoing temperament. These cats are highly sociable and enjoy the company of both humans and other pets. They are often described as extroverts who love to be the center of attention. Ocicats are intelligent, curious, and possess a playful nature. They are known to be trainable and can easily pick up tricks or commands.

Tiger Tabby Cat

Tiger Tabby Cats, like their Ocicat counterparts, are generally sociable and friendly in nature. They are often affectionate and enjoy spending time with their human companions. Tiger Tabby Cats can also be playful and energetic, often engaging in interactive play sessions. Their intelligence and curiosity make them excellent explorers, and they thrive in environments that provide mental and physical stimulation.

Breed Origins

Ocicat

The Ocicat is a breed that originated in the United States. It all started with a happy accident when a breeder crossed a Siamese cat with an Abyssinian, resulting in a spotted kitten with a striking resemblance to a wild ocelot. This kitten was then crossed with American Shorthairs to establish the Ocicat breed. The breed’s name is derived from the ocelot, inspired by its exotic appearance. Today, Ocicats are known for their distinctive coat patterns and loving personalities.

Tiger Tabby Cat

The term “Tiger Tabby” is not associated with a specific breed but rather refers to cats with tabby markings that resemble those of a tiger. These markings can be seen in various breeds and even domestic mixed-breed cats. The tiger tabby pattern is a result of genetics and can be found in cats with different ancestries. While there may not be a specific origin story for the Tiger Tabby Cat, the tabby pattern has been a part of cat history for centuries and is cherished for its natural beauty.

By understanding the distinctions in physical appearance, coat characteristics, and temperament, it becomes easier to differentiate between an Ocicat and a Tiger Tabby Cat. While both breeds possess unique and captivating qualities, their individual features make them stand out in their own special way. Whether you’re drawn to the mesmerizing spots of the Ocicat or the tiger-like stripes of the Tiger Tabby Cat, you’re sure to be enchanted by these magnificent felines.