Lions may be known as the King, but Tigers are arguably the best big cat breed in the world. Known for their striking beauty, with a coat pattern that is inimitable, and phenomenal size, it’s understandable that so many of us have wished to own a tiger as a pet. Enter the Toyger cat – a combination of “toy” and “tiger”, this breed has shrunk down the stunning tiger to create a more owner-friendly variety of the domestic housecat. Check out this article below for all the Toyger information that you need to know, and help with the ins and outs of the Toyger cat breed.
History of the Toyger
The Toyger is one of the newest breeds of cat, and hails from the same family as Jean Mill. Judy Sugden, whose mother was the original breeder of the Bengal cat, is the creator of the Toyger cat breed, who was working with Mackeral tabbies at the time. Often referred to as Tiger-cats, due to their similar markings created by the stripes, Judy Sugden noticed that one of her kittens has deviated from the classic tabby markings from having an “M” on their forehead, to the two dots. These dots were strongly associated with Tigers in the wild, and began a new breeding program.
Tabbies and Bengals
She took two of her favorite pet tabbies – a domestic shorthair tabby named Scrapmetal, and Millwood Rumpled Spotskin, a big-boned Bengal cat – and began putting them to work. Later, the breeder would search for and import a street cat from India, named Jammie Blu, who was known for his spot pattern over the stripe markings, and combine the breeds to create Toyger Kittens.
Later, in 1993, two popular breeders called Anthony Hutcherson and Alice McKee joined in the search for the ideal toy tiger. What resulted was one of the newest cat breeds, loved by people all over the world.
Within the year, The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Toyger as registration-only. Later, TICA would accept the Toyger breed as a championship breed and, despite only a handful of cat breeders accepting the role within the cat societies, the Toyger kitten is quickly becoming one of the most-wanted cat breeds.
The Toyger Cat Now
Toyger cats are now known for their intelligence, high level of affection and a slightly wild personality that pet owners love. Relatively active, playful and friendly with families, many pet owners seek out a Toyger from breeders due to their characteristics, as well as their striking pattern and markings.
Quick Facts About the Toyger Cat
The Original Creator of This Pet Breed is Judy Sugden:
- Strongly responsible breed programs means the health of the Toyger is some of the best of all cat breeds.
- People may find it difficult to find the right kitten, due to the low number of breeders.
The Toyger is Known for its Lovable Personality – Unlike Wild Tigers:
- Their body has the ground color of pumpkin, with its trademark stripes of black or dark brown.
- The Toyger kitten gets its tabby lines from its parent, a shorthair tabby.
TICA Has Accepted the Toyger as a Championship Breed:
- The markings across the body of the Toyger hold a completely unique pattern to each cat.
- TICA accepted the breed for registration-only in 1993, later adding the cats to a specific breed type.
- Leash walks for the Toyger are more common than other types due, in part, to their rarity.
- The Toyger gets its unusual coat from its parents – the spots are from the Bengal cat and their stripes are from the tabby cat.
A Unique Name for a Unique Cat:
- The Unique name of the Toyger stems from “toy” (a common name for small breeds) and “tiger” due to its tiger-like appearance
Things You Should Know
The Toyger breed is a remarkably healthy cat, with a low level of genetic conditions found due to the responsible breeding of the Toygers parents from different breed types. There has been some anecdotal evidence to suggest that some Toygers have an adverse reaction to the feline leukemia vaccine, but so far there has been no scientific evidence to back this up.
There is some evidence to suggest that the Toyger may suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is where the heart muscle becomes unusually thick, making it more difficult for the heart to effectively pump blood. Luckily, because there are so few breeders, it is easy to search for any cases of this, and find a breeder that has checked the lineage for any of these problems.
Responsibly Bred Cats
Regardless of the health of the breed generally, however, it is always important to ensure that you purchase your Toyger from a responsible breeder. One of the biggest aspects of pet care is finding out the background of your pets, by ensuring that your cat’s parents have been screen for progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKDef).
Due to being a young breed, it is easy to search the TICA database by name for the right breeder. Do be aware, however, that the Toyger has the same susceptibility as any other cat to health concerns, and they can still catch or develop common problems found in cats, such as FIV and Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).
As with all cats, a meat-based diet is essential for your Toyger to become a healthy adult cat. Finding the best quality food for your Toyger is a key factor in pet care, and don’t be fooled by big brand name options, offering “gourmet” options or similar. Instead, search for cat food that feeds their muscular body and keeps their coat in top condition.
If your cat is an outdoor cat, or you give leash walks to your cat on a regular basis, then be sure to provide food that has ample protein. Indoor cats are less likely to use up as much energy throughout the day, while a lazier cat will simply not move as much.
Wet or Dry Food?
A good way to keep your cat in top condition is to provide wet or raw food, as you’ll find that even picky cat breeds will opt for the more alluring (to them) smell and taste of meaty cat food. Bear in mind that wet cat food is less nutrient-dense than dry food, so you may need to feed them more if you choose this option.
A good rule of thumb to follow for your cat is to feed them small meals, regularly throughout the day. If you notice that your cat is starting to put on a little too much weight, cut the size of each portion down until they’re at their peak. Their body should be sleek and slim, with their stomach indenting slightly between the ribs and hips, when looking down on them from above, when they’re in a standing position.
Pet care for Toygers is remarkably simple, for such a unique cat. Being such an adaptable breed, a Toyger will fit in well, in almost any household, though they prefer to be with their family and tend to stay close to home, if they are an outdoor cat.
Trim the nails of your Toyger cat regularly – especially if they are an indoor cat, lest your furniture be subject to attack. You should also keep their teeth in good condition with regular brushing. Doing both of these from a young age will help your cat become used to being handled, and ensure your Toyger is kept in good health.
The Toyger is easy to groom, and a good brush once a week should be more than enough to keep those stripes in top condition!
The characteristics of the Toyger all point to a cat with an excellent temperament. They get along well with any other cat your may in the house, and have a playful personality that families love. Do bear in mind that their high intelligence will often get them into trouble – and you will need to keep them entertained if you don’t want your Toyger to turn mischievous!