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The Toyger Cat

Updated on October 22, 2017
A Tiger with its Toyger counterpart
A Tiger with its Toyger counterpart
Sumatra - a registered Toyger
Sumatra - a registered Toyger

History and Recognition

In the 1980’s Judy Sugden, from EEYAAS Cattery, embarked on a project to improve the markings on the mackerel ginger.  As she did this she noticed markings on her cats similar to that of a tiger.  An idea was formed to develop a cat with striking markings that resembled a Tiger.  

The cat was to have a large, long body, with the markings of a Tiger.  Instead of the rosettes of some tabbies, or the stripes of a mackerel tabby, the toy tiger, or Toyger, was to have elongated rosettes, each a broken or branched stripe in random patterns, and the head was to have the distinctive circular markings of the Tiger. In addition a placid temperament was wanted to make it an ideal pet.

Two cats were central to the breeding program.  A Domestic Short Hair with striped markings and a Standard Bengal Tabby with the desired body structure.  In 1993 a street cat from Kashmir, India, was imported and added to the breeding program due to its colouration and markings.

Anthony Hutchens, of JungleTrax, and Alice McKee, of Windridge, joined Judy in the breeding program. In 1993 they were successful in gaining registration for the Toyger with TICA and advancement to New Breed Exhibition Class in 2000.  In 2007 TICA granted the Toyger championship status.

Big boning of the Toyger often makes for clumsy kittens but they quickly outgrow this stage
Big boning of the Toyger often makes for clumsy kittens but they quickly outgrow this stage


The Toyger has bold vertical stripes in broken or branched patterns covering its body. The stripes are dark with a vivid orange background like a Tiger with a white underside. Facial markings are circular. The Toyger has a short, plush, brilliant pelt in a range of variations from black on tan through to browns, orange, gold and mahogany-red.

The Toyger has a long, deep rectangular body, with large bones and muscular contours. They are low slung with high shoulders, giving them the powerful yet graceful rolling gait of the Tiger. Their inverted heart shaped face tops a muscular body, giving them the appearance of a toy Tiger replica.

A fully grown male Toyger weighs in at between 4.5 – 7kgs (10-15 pounds) with the female coming in slightly smaller at 3-4.5kgs (7-10 pounds).


The Toyger is an outgoing, friendly cat that loves being around people. They are laid-back while still being active and alert and fit well into any household, with or without other pets. Toygers are also highly intelligent and can be easily trained.

Overall they are a fantastic pet and with their size and colouring makes you feel as if you do, in fact, have a toy Tiger in your home.


While the Toyger is still a reasonably new breed they generally display robust health with an average lifespan of 10 – 15 years. In fact many of the early generation Toyger’s born in the late 1980’s are still active. 

With this being said, some genetic problems have occurred throughout the breeding program, including heart murmurs, rolled rib cage (although this has generally improved over time to become a healthy adult cat) and some cases of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) have been recorded.

The Future

The breeders behind the Toyger have made a commitment to continue development of the Toyger until they have reached the vision they have for the breed, a work in progress to eventually resemble the tiger to a much closer degree.

Breeders are aiming to achieve smaller rounded ears, a wider nose bride and tip, more pronounced and shaped chin and smaller eyes to more closely resemble the Tiger. Temple markings, cheek ruffs and whitening of the chest and stomach markings are also highly sought after in their evolution.

The future of the Toyger.  Computer generated imagery of how breeders wish the Toyger to evolve.
The future of the Toyger. Computer generated imagery of how breeders wish the Toyger to evolve.
Toyger with computer generated interpretation of how it would look with widening of the nose and rounded ears
Toyger with computer generated interpretation of how it would look with widening of the nose and rounded ears


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i do too ! but its much cuter right?

    • sweetKitten profile image


      8 years ago from England


      Looks so much like a tiger! :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Amazing critters... I want one now...


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