The Toyger Cat
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.
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 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.
- Toygers: The Charm of Tigers, None of the Teeth
ABC news article regarding the Toyger.
- "Toygers" vs. Tigers - National Geographic
It's the closest thing to owning a miniature tiger without inventing a shrink ray. Meet the Toyger, and see how the breed stacks up against its wilder feline cousins.
- Toyger Breeders
A list breeders registered with The International Cat Association (TICA)
- Designer StripesToygers
Toyger breeder in the USA registered with TICA and a Toyger Cat Society Member.
- The Eye of the Toyger
Home of Canada's first Toyger. Toyger and Bengal breeder.
- Toyger Cat Society
Dedicated solely to the Toyger and containing information including breed history, general information, shows and breeders.
Fully registered Toyger breeder in Australia.