Health & Diet

Feeding your cats high quality food will keep them healthy, as well as keeping their coats shiny, their teeth clean, and their breath fresh. At Sunchaser, we believe that the best diet for your cat is one that is as close as possible to a wild cat diet.

Sunchaser recommends that you feed your cat a variety of raw meats, plus offal and added vitamins and minerals. Feeding your cat only raw muscle meat will not provide all the nutrients it needs, and will be harmful to your cat’s health. Offal and mineral and vitamin supplements are essential for a balanced diet.

  • If you are unable or unwilling to make up your own vitamin and mineral mix or purchase a ready-made appropriate mix, then the next best alternative is to feed your cat or kitten a combination of raw meats plus tinned cat food or rehydrated freeze-dried cat food (e.g. Feline Natural freeze dried food).

Dry food is not good for cats, and should not be given to them. Dry cat food generally contains less than 10% moisture, while your cat needs 65% – 75% moisture in his or her food. Cats on a dry food diet are often dehydrated, and are prone to urinary tract and kidney problems. Most dry foods also contain high levels of carbohydrates and plant proteins, which cats do not digest effectively. These grain-based foods can contribute to long-term chronic illness for your cat, including poor gut health, slower healing, allergies, and poor digestion, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and immune system disorders.

  • Feed your cat from a flat plate – not a bowl.
  • Your cat or kitten does not need milk (a little plain yoghurt is a good treat for them, though – about a teaspoonful is ok)
  • Either allow your cat’s food to warm to room temperature or warm it before offering it
  • Feed your cat in a quiet place, preferably not in your kitchen
  • Your cat will appreciate a clean plate for every meal
  • Vary your cat’s diet so they wait for their meal with anticipation
  • When you feed bones to your cat, make sure pieces of bone and small bones don’t get stuck between their teeth
  • Always feed human quality meats – pet meats often contain large amounts of preservatives
  • Alternate meal types and contents to provide variety

Can I walk my Ocicat or Cheetoh on a leash and harness?

Absolutely! Almost any cat can learn to walk on a leash, as long as you have lots of patience and a good quality harness. Cheetohs and Ocicats are intelligent and people-oriented cats, and will learn quickly that a harness and leash means a fun adventure outdoors.

Teach your kitten that the harness is a safe and fun experience by putting just the harness (no leash) on for a few minutes several times a week, and giving your kitten lots of praise, petting, and treats. Once your kitten is comfortable with the harness, attach the leash and let your kitten explore (indoors) at their own pace, while you follow them and hold the end of the leash. try calling your kitten to come to you, and offering treats if they do. Cats can learn any trick that a dog can learn, but you have to show them why they want to learn it – which is best done with treats such as dried liver or fish, or little morsels of cooked chicken.

Once your cat is confident walking around wearing the harness, with you holding the end of the leash, try going outside. Your cat will likely be frightened by any strange new places or noises, so be prepared to make the first outing a short one, and offer lots of encouragement and more treats for bravery. Let your cat move around that their own pace, and explore where they want as long as its safe. The first few excursions should be in your back yard, or another safe place where you know there won’t be any scary dogs, cars, or strangers (humans or cats) to frighten your cat.

The more you do this, the more confident your cat will be. Before you know it, you’ll be able to walk around the block without any trouble. Just remember, your cat has much shorter legs than you do, and isn’t wearing any shoes – their paws will get sore and their legs will get tired before yours do.

Classic Patterned Ocicats – Classicats

spotted and classic pattern - sourced from Wikimedia CommonsNot all Ocicats have spots. Sometimes, a kitten is born with the marbled classic tabby pattern, showing ‘oysters’ or ‘swirls’ on their flanks and a ‘butterfly’ pattern on their shoulders. These cats are otherwise identical to spotted Ocicats, with the same temperament and personality, and the same variety of colours.

Classic tabby Ocicats are recognised in New Zealand as a separate breed from Ocicats, rather than a new pattern, to allow the Ocicat to retain its spotted status. These cats are called Classicats, or sometimes Jungalas. As of late 2008, classic patterned Ocicats are also recognised in the UK as a separate breed, called the Ocicat Classic. The breeding policy permits the breeding of Classicats or Jungalas with the Ocicat, from which you could expect a mixture of classic and spotted kittens, the kittens are then registered to the breed appropriate for their pattern.

In Australia, classic patterned Ocicats are not recognised as a separate breed or a pattern variation. They can be used in breeding programs, but can not be shown in competitions as Ocicats due to their lack of spots. For more information on the various striped and spotted tabby patterns, see Messybeast’s webpage on striped, spotted and ticked cats.

Other Spotted Cats?

There are several breeds of spotted cats around these days – the Egyptian Mau and Arabian Mau are probably (arguably) the oldest, or perhaps the Bahraini Dilmun Cat. Spotted Orientals also exist, although they’re not commonly bred, and the Australian Mist can be spotted or marbled (just like the Ocicat and the Cheetoh).

There is of course the Bengal (and even a Longhaired Bengal variant, now), bred from a cross between domestic cats and Asian Leopard Cats, and the Serengeti Cat which was developed from the Benagl and spotted orient Shorthairs. The Savannah, which is explicitly not allowed into Australia, originated with crosses between domestic cats and African Servals.