Helping Guide Bengal Cat Owners

The Bengal Cat Versus The Ocicat – What Are The Differences?

Are you looking to obtain a new cat or kitten and are considering a spotted purebred? Many people ask me what the difference is between a Bengal cat and an Ocicat.  

What is the difference between a Bengal cat and an Ocicat?

In general, Bengal cats are bigger and heavier, have rounder-looking heads with shorter ears, have spots or rosettes that are more horizontal-looking, and are bred with the Asian Leopard Cat and residential short-haired pet cats. In comparison, Ocicats have longer heads with taller ears, rounded or thumbprint-sized spotting, and are bred with a Siamese cat and an Abyssinian.


Bengals are bigger-boned than Ocicats and are therefore heavier, ranging from 12 to 15 pounds for males and 10 to 12 for females. They have sleek and muscular bodies with longer back legs, which affects their walk as being “prowl-like”

Ocicats, on the other hand, are typically 9 to 12 pounds for males (some could weigh up to 14 pounds) and 7 to 9 pounds for the females. This breed is as athletic as Bengals, given the Ocicat’s well-muscled body. 


One large distinction in Bengals is a “bump” on the back of the head/neck – in between the shoulders. They have a pelt which is like rabbit’s fur and a reason they are believed to be hypoallergenic by some people.  

They also have a much rounder-looking heads with complete hair pads, shorter ears that are rounded on the top, as well as no ear tufts.

Ocicats do not have the Bengals’ “bump”; the fur looks the same to a casual observer but it is far from it. They have a close lying, tight, smooth fur, have longer heads, squarer muzzle, and taller ears than the Bengals’. 

In grooming requirements, both breeds don’t need it as much.


Among the crucial distinctions is that Bengals have spots or rosettes that are more horizontal-looking instead of the Ocicat’s bulls-eye pattern.  

The spotting on an Ocicat ought to be rounded or thumbprint-sized whereas the spotting on a Bengal could be various types such as rounded areas, rosettes, arrowhead, or paw print. The Bengal cat also can have marbled patterns, yet they must not be bulls-eye like in a traditional tabby pattern.

There are a lot of similarities in the markings on the head around the eyes. Although, Bengals 

have straighter “brow” markings, while the Ocicats have an even more rounded stripe. 

The shade of the tummy is whiter in a Bengal and they have marvelous spots on their bellies. The pattern on an Ocicat’s tail is a line on the top with spots on the sides as opposed to stripes. 

The Bengal has extremely deep stripes (like a tiger) that walk around the whole tail (or nearly). The stripes on the legs of an Ocicat are long extended places or places. 

What are the origins of the Bengal cat?

Unlike the Ocicat, Bengals have wild origins. The Bengal was bred by crossing the Asian Leopard Cat, a tiny wildcat, with residential short-haired pet cats. 

The name Bengal originated from the Asian Leopard Cat’s Latin name, Felis bengalensis.

It took the initial dog breeder Jean Mill numerous generations to produce a stunning cat with all of looks and intelligence of the Asian Leopard Cat, but the delightful temperament of the typical household tabby cat. In 1985, Mill revealed her amazing felines for the very first time.

What are the origins of the Ocicat?

The Ocicat was named after the Ocelot wildcat that is located in southwestern Texas all the way south to Argentina. The Ocicat, nevertheless, does not have any type of Ocelot blood in their lineage. 

The initial Ocicat was created as a delightful accident in the very early 1960’s by a breeder, Virginia Daly, who was attempting to reproduce a Siamese cat with an Abyssinian. 

Daly found a stray tinted with gold areas as well as copper-tinted eyes, when mated with a Siamese, the first of a new breed was born. Even though she named him Tonga, Daly’s daughter called him Ocicat since he reminded her of an infant Ocelot. 

Later, the same cats were bred and a second Ocicat was born. This spotted wonder was named Dalai Dotson.  

He came to be the standard for the Ocicat type. The initial Ocicat, Tonga, was shown at a cat show in 1965. 

The Ocicat registry was developed in 1966. This breed was so striking that many people wanted to see these felines thrive, and signed up with Daley to help develop this gorgeous cat. 

The breeding program continued to emphasize Abyssinians and Siamese but some American Shorthairs were introduced to bring in some lovely silver colors to the Ocicat coat.

What is the temperament and personality of a Bengal cat?

The contemporary Bengal is an extremely attractive cat with a sweet, zany, caring character, and fantastic agility. Bengals love their people and become devoted and highly bonded with them. 

They are really curious and interested in what you are doing. They love to play and remain kitten-like pouncers well into old age. 

A lot of them love water and might pop in with you when you shower. Their ancestor, the Asian leopard cats, preferred living close to water and are excellent swimmers, and you can see why Bengals have a natural curiosity to splash around.

They do need lots of toys and a cat tree to entertain them (and it serves as their safe zone when done playing with the children or other pets). Like dogs, you should set a time each day to play with them.

This breed is extremely curious and not recommended for a busy owner as they will find ways to capture your attention. They do well in pairs or with a dog, and even better with their human parent.

Much like the Ocicat, Bengals have to be trained with tricks and entertained with toys. Bengals like to climb, so you will regularly find them in bookshelves, cabinets, door tops and anywhere we can get that is high.  

What is the temperament and personality of the Ocicat?

Ocicats are extremely dynamic as well as smart. They are very verbal, often being referred to as “talkers.” 

They are loyal, caring and have the tendency to bond tightly to their owners. They are ideal as traveling companions and are sociable to both humans and other pets.

As social felines, Ocicats would be grateful for a companion when you’re not around. 

They are quite smart, and do not want to be left alone for too long. Teach them tricks with toys to keep them entertained before they find something else in the house to amuse themselves with.

They love active games that proves their athletic capabilities: a game of cat and mouse with a fast-moving target, for example. They also enjoy pawing at the water, as evidently shown by their parent-cat, the Abyssinian.

VetStreet recommends that you should choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in the home and handles them from an early age, so you could observe their behavior and personality.

Do Bengal cats have health issues?

This breed have possible conditions such as polycystic kidney disease, feline infectious peritonitis, trichimonas foetus, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Bengal cats have 12 to 16 years of life expectancy, depending on numerous factors such as diet and environment. 

One of the most unfortunate cat killers is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and it has been discovered to be hereditary in Bengal cats. This disease affects the heart, thickening the muscular walls and resulting to chest pains and discomfort.

To detect the presence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Bengal cats are tested annually for heart murmurs and further examination.

Do Ocicats have health issues?

Like most pets, this breed are genetically more prone to inherit and develop liver or renal amyloidosis, pyruvate kinase deficiency, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, periodontal disease, and gingivitis. Ocicats have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years and are generally healthy.

A concern to be aware of in this breed is gingivitis. This oral disease happens when plague from sweet and starchy foods builds up around the teeth and the gums react with redness, swelling, sensitivity, and sometimes bleeding.

This usually affects senior cats, and can be caused by various conditions such as genetics, fractured or misaligned teeth, and other diseases. Clinical signs include drooling, crying when eating, chewing on one side of the mouth most of the time, and sitting undecidedly in front of its food bowl during mealtime. 

To prevent gingivitis from affecting your cat, you can either change their diet by cutting down food that causes plague, or brushing their teeth. An advice for you from Hill’s Pet: ask your veterinarian for foods that are VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) approved, foods that reduce tartar and plaque in cats. 

Upon deciding to buy from a breeder, request for the health history of the kitten’s parents. To ensure a long and happy life, keep your feline fit and healthy by following a recommended diet.

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