Cat Breeds 101: Toyger

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Cat Breeds 101: ToygerPhoto – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 3.0

As its name strongly suggests, the Toyger is a tigerlike cat – a “toy tiger”, you might say. This cat is a designer breed; its breeders’ objective was to give it as many features of the tiger as possible. In addition to its bold tiger stripes on a vivid orange background, it also has relatively short legs, a low-slung and densely muscular body, and a rolling gait that makes it look like a skulking wild cat, albeit in miniature. [1]



The Toyger breeding program began with Judy Sugden, who started the breed’s development with her own domestic shorthair and one Bengal cat. She did not work alone for long, however. Soon, two breeders, Alice McKee and Anthony Hutcherson, joined Sugden’s quest for the miniature domestic tiger. With these three’s combined contributions, the large-bodied, tabby-patterned Toyger was born. In 1993, the breed was given recognition by The International Cat Association (TICA), which is still the only cat association that recognizes the Toyger to date. [2]

Under TICA standards, the Toyger must have an oval head; small, round ears; circular eyes; a robust torso; large-boned legs; short, darkly marked fur; mascara markings around the eyes; and facial markings that align around the face, not moving away from it. [3]



Although the Toyger is a shorthaired cat, it’s not totally low maintenance. The coat can be somewhat challenging to brush because it is very dense. Nonetheless, this is a task you need to do only once a week.

As tough as this cat may look, it’s really quite a kitten inside. Toygers are easygoing and playful, and they fit in quite well in a family with small kids. Watch out for genetic health problems, though. The Toyger can be prone to heart problems and cataracts. Your local vet can advise you on how to best manage these risks.

One of the biggest considerations that the prospective Toyger owner needs to make is how much they are willing to spend to acquire this minaturely majestic-looking breed. A Toyger can set one back by as much as $5,000. Often, a portion of the sales revenue is donated to tiger conservation programs. [4]

References:
[1] Toyger. The International Cat Association. http://www.tica.org/cat-breeds/item/301
[2] The History of Toygers. Vetstreet. http://www.vetstreet.com/cats/toyger#history
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyger
[4] Toyger. Animal Planet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGfftjzoveo

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