After researching Keetso cats last week, I came across another designer breed, the Toyger. These cats look wild but have no wild blood, just domestic as the Toyger is a mix of Bengal with a striped domestic short hair. The combination resulted in a beautiful stripy cat that has a low-slung body.
Toyger’s come from the USA and were first bred back in the eighties but were further developed in the early nineties. A second domestic shorthair from Kashmir was introduced into the programme. The handsome cat had spots between the ears who benefited the wild tiger stripe coat of the Toyger’s. The breed was awarded GCCF breed recognition many years later, in 2016.
Eye of the Tiger
Although they are bred from Bengals the cats look very different. The stripes strongly resemble those of a tiger and the only recognised colouring for the Toyger breed is brown/black mackerel tabby. The size of the cats is medium to large, they’re sleek, lean and have defined muscles. The males are larger than the females, but both have perfectly proportioned heads with small, round ears. The paws are quite large and are known for having long toes and pronounced knuckles.
A Good Routine
The Toyger is known for having wonderful personalities. They are a very laid back and relaxed breed without a wild streak in them. They make wonderful additions to the household and form strong bonds with the family.
These loveable cats can settle into the home well, doing best in homes with set routines. They like to know what to expect and when, so feeding times need to be at the same times of day. Toyger’s are not too keen on change, even moving furniture around can make them feel a stressed. However, they do have outgoing personalities and are highly sociable. The breed is happy to have other animals in the home and enjoy being a part of the family.
Toyger’s are not suitable for families that leave the home empty for several hours of the day. Ideally someone should always be home. Only leave a Toyger alone for short periods if it is not possible for someone to be there all the time. It’s also a good idea to provide companionship with other pets.
Stimulation and Exercise
Only let the Toyger outside if it is a secure environment. A cat fence or enclosure will reduce the risk of theft, loss and injuries. However, Toyger’s are often indoor only when it is not possible to create a safe environment outside using a cat containment system. Like all indoor cats, Toyger’s will need to be stimulated in the home with plenty of toys, interactive games and companionship. Like Keetso’s, the Toyger’s love to be perched on high overlooking the room.
The Toyger has the life expectancy of between 12 to 15 years old. They sadly do have a few health conditions associated with the breed that come from the Bengal bloodline. The conditions are:
- Cow hocks (this is a condition that is rarely seen these days but still a possibility)
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Progressive retinal atrophy
The stud cats need to have their DNA tested to reduce the risk of passing PRA and HCM down the family line.
Toyger’s can lead very happy lives in busy households. With the right introductions they can get on with dogs, other cats and even have been known to share happy lives with birds (close monitoring with birds is a good idea for obvious reasons!). These cats work well with large families with children of all ages. Do you have a Toyger? Come and show us on our official Facebook page, we’d love to see your photos and hear your stories.