Is it really possible to turn an adorable little cat into a cute little tiger?
With this question, this breed of cat was born, and in this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about toygers!
1. Toygers are the small version of the largest cat
Tigers are the largest cats in the world. The average length of tigers is about 3.9 meters (12.79 feet) from head to tail and they stand about 1.27 meters (4.16 ft) tall. Their weight can vary considerably as they can weigh anywhere between 90 and 306 kilos (198.41- 674.61 lbs).
Toygers are small tigers referred to as “toy tigers” and were created to resemble the little version of their much bigger relatives. It’s fair to conclude that this experiment succeeded remarkably well.
2. The first toygers were bred in the early 1980s
The idea to create a toy tiger was developed by Judy Sugden, a cat breeder who wanted to use the opportunity to spread awareness about the fragile status of tigers in the wild.
The breed was first developed in the early 1980s with the use of shorthaired tabbies which had stripes resembling those of the mighty tiger.
3. The mother of the breeder created another famous type of cat
One of the most interesting facts about toygers is the mother of Judy Sugden was also in the cat breeding business and actually developed another type of cat which has become extremely popular.
She’s the daughter of the daughter of Jean Mill (1926-2018), the woman who developed the domestic Bengal cat. Bengals were developed as a crossbreed of the spotted Egyptian Mau with the Asian leopard cat.
4. The breed was discovered by accident by its creator
If you take a good look at Bengal cats then you can clearly see a resemblance with toygers, except for the fact that they have spots or rosettes instead of stripes. That’s because they were bred with leopard cats which resemble their bigger leopard counterparts, the fifth-largest cat in the world.
One day, Judy Sugden noticed that one of her cats had a distinctive pattern on its head which resembled the stripes of a tiger. More particularly, this specific cat had markings on the temples of its head, a spot usually without any markings at all.
After this discovery, she realized that creating a toy tiger was actually possible and put in the effort to locate cats with similar stripes to start the Toyger breeding program.
5. Multiple cat breeds were used during the process
So did Judy just scour around her neighborhood to find suitable cats?
No! She traveled all around the world looking for cats that were suitable to breed the ultimate small variation of the big tiger. These included about 40 domestic cats including several Bengals and multiple domestic short-haired cats.
Two of the most important cats used in the program were a domestic shorthair named “Scrapmetal” and a big-boned Bengal named “Millwood Rumpled Spotskin.”
When Judy finally found a cat named “Jammu Blu” on the streets of Kashmir in India which had the distinctive needed features between its ears, the Toyger was approaching near perfection in the early 1990s!
6. Some toygers have glitter and have one cat to thank for it
One of the most fascinating facts about toygers is that, together with the Bengal and the Egyptian Mau, they can have glitter which appears to be golden, copper, or even platinum flakes.
This remarkable feature is referred to as “Bengal Glitter” and all cats who have it can thank one particular cat for it.
This cat was found on the streets of Delhi in India by Judy’s mother Jean Mill and was named “Millwood Tory.”
7. Toygers are official championship cats
Toygers weren’t instantly recognized as breeds after they were developed in the 1980s. It took a couple of years before they were accepted for registration by TICA, something that happened after the Kashmir cat was introduced in 1993.
By the year 2000, they were introduced to new breed exhibition classes and finally officially recognized as championship cats in February 2007!
8. There are dozens of breeders and one recognized Toyger club
Right now, there are over 500 toygers registered in the Pawpeds database and there are dozens of breeders all around the world, including in the United States and the United Kingdom.
They’re also one official TICA-recognized Toyger club which is located in France.
This just shows that this smart, easy-going, and affectionate cat breed is becoming increasingly popular as a pet. And who can deny that these wonderful creatures look absolutely amazing, right?