The Wonderful World Of Toyger Kittens
Never heard of toyger kittens? Think 'tiger', and you'll get some idea of the kind of kittens we're talking about. Toygers are just about the most beautiful cats you'll ever see, that is if you think tigers are beautiful animals to look at, and most people think they are
Toyger cats aren't just little tabby cats that happen to look a little bit like tigers, as tabby cats sometimes can. These cats look a lot like tigers, right down to the rusty colored fur, and the tiger-stripe pattern. The one feature toygers share with tabby cats is a marking on the forehead that resembles the letter M. Not all toygers look exactly like tigers of course, and since toygers are a fairly recent breed there are still a number of differences in their markings. The rule of thumb in purchasing a toyger kitten is this:
The closer it resembles a tiger, the more you can expect to pay.
First Registered As A Breed In 1993
The toyger isn't simply a novelty, and the breed has even been featured on the National Geographic website, no doubt because of its close resemblance to an animal that has been pictured in that magazine many times. While still a relatively new breed of cat, the toyger has actually been around for a couple of decades, having first been registered with the International Cat Association (TICA) in 1993. The bloodlines of the toyger have now become pure enough to allow the breed to be judged as a separate breed in TICA shows. Meantime, work goes on to attempt to breed this beautiful little cat to look even more like a tiger than it does now.
A Breed Designed To Help Save The Tiger
The reason for creating a tiger-like breed of cat in the first place wasn't simply to come up with a new “designer cat” that would take the world by storm. The reason was to call attention to the plight of the tiger, an animal threatened with eventual extinction as humans encroach evermore into its natural habitat. Admittedly, when one sees a toyger cat, or a litter of toyger kittens, the first thing that is apt to come to mind is the tiger itself, which is the main reason behind the development of the breed. Whether a toyger owner likes it or not, the toyger has been designated as “designer cat”. It was primarily bred for the aforementioned reason, but it has also been bred for the purpose of making a wonderful pet. Your typical toyger is affectionate, playful, and intelligent. It is said to be an ideal pet for apartment life, and a toyger can even be taken for a daily walk on a leash, where it no doubt would be somewhat of a conversation piece.
The toyger is not a small cat, as it will often attain a weight of around 15 pounds. Owning a fully grown toyger might be a little like having a cute tiger cub running around the house, the difference being that the toyger will remain the same size, and remain cute, while a tiger usually stops being cute after a few months.
Buying toyger kittens can still represent somewhat of a challenge, as there is as yet no guarantee how closely a kitten will bear a resemblance to a tiger once it matures. Knowing a kitten's pedigree can be a help, but the kitten usually has to go through a tabby or “alley cat” stage before it gets its true coloration, which happens at around 8 months of age, and it's the coloration that really brings out the tiger in the toyger.
When Tiger Markings Become Tabby Markings
In the TICA breed standard, the Toyger is placed in the Tabby category. This doesn't cause any confusion as far as breeds are concerned, since the tabby is not a breed. Tabby refers to the pattern of the cat's fur. The toyger qualifies as a tabby, and no doubt a real tiger would qualify as well.
One of the more interesting stories about breeding toygers is how the breeders of this cat are collaborating to keep the blood lines as pure as possible, and at the same time work towards the goal of making the toyger ever closer to the tiger in its appearance. It will take time; several decades perhaps.
The Wonderful World Of Toyger Breeders
Even the names of the breeders take on toyger-like characteristics, such as Roman Toygers, Designer Stripes, Styled in the Wild, Toygerland (USA), Eye Of the Toyger (Canada). Toygerwelt (Germany), and Jungle Queen (UK).
Expect to pay at least $800 - $1,000 for a toyger kitten, or 800 Euros or more in Europe. The price often depends upon how close a kitten comes to the TICA breed standard. The closer it comes to meeting the standard, the more it is likely to cost. Most if not all major breeders will only sell toyger kittens that have been spayed or neutered, in an attempt to keep the bloodlines pure, so don't plan on trying to cross your pet toyger with your pet tabby, hoping for a litter that resembles a litter of miniature tigers, or toygers.