Toygers: The World's Cutest Cat Breed
The Adorable Toyger Cat
Bred to look like a mini version of tigers or a toy version of them, Toygers (a combination of the words toy and tiger), are some of the cutest little kittens ever. I learned of them when my husband showed me a video called Toygers On The Prowl," about some little kittens venturing out on their own at just three weeks of age. All kittens are absolutely adorable at this young age, but these are just amazingly adorable.
Not only are these kittens making new discoveries in this entertaining video, but they are also becoming friends with a very BIG new friend. When the kittens practice their "growl," you can feel your heart melt, or when a kitten reacts to a larger animal by arching its back and puffing up its tail to make itself look bigger . . . priceless!
Watch This: Cutest Cat Breed Ever!
Toyger Cat Breed Facts and Background
After watching that video, I had to learn more about "Toygers." Toygers were first bred in California about 30 miles from Los Angeles in the late 1980s by a breeder named Judy Sugden. In the early 1990s, they were first registered with The International Cat Association (TICA). This way, they can now be judged at cat shows, along with other purebred cats like Siamese and Persians.
These cats have wonderful personalities, according to Judy. They are inquisitive and playful and make wonderful companion pets. They range in price depending on the quality of the distinctive markings on their fur. People who are interested in buying them from breeders to use them as show cats pay about $3,000 for one. For those interested in keeping one as a house pet, they can be found beginning at around $500. Average prices range from $800 to about $1,500.
All Toyger kittens go through a phase in the early stages where they look gray, with fuzzy, indistinct markings. This fuzziness eventually goes away by about eight months, and is replaced by a a pretty rusty orange color and black stripes. This transformation usually happens by the time the kittens reach the age of eight months.
Some of the payments people make to buy these kittens go to a special fund to help with the conservation of tigers, since these kittens are being bred to look very similar to tigers. Since tigers were the original inspiration for this amazing breed, it makes sense to help them by using some of the funds paid for these beautiful cats.
The Sumatran Tiger is an endangered species that is only found on the Island of Sumatra. In 2010, it was listed as critically endangered, due to an estimated population of only about 250 left.
The Siberian Tiger's population is more stable than those of Sumatran Tigers. They live more of a solitary existence in a harsher northern environment, which is thought to help them to stay viable. They don't have to share their space with very many people, and fewer trees are being cut down, so their homes are kept safer.
Toygers Are Charming, Sweet, and Sometimes Feisty
Toygers, with their attractive mini-tiger markings that make them resemble the big cats, get along well with other animals in the home. They usually adapt quickly to their new surroundings once they are brought into a home. Toyger cats have charming personalities. They are known for being very intelligent, and some are even reported to come when they are called.
They tend to be very social. Some have even been trained to walk on a leash; others take part in rousing games of fetch, and love playing with other animals and humans in the home. Toygers also display behavior similar to pack animals when there are a number of kittens together in a home. Play fighting is a favorite pastime as well as chasing toys and trying to catch each other.
Critics of people who are attempting to breed another breed of cats say that these cats may one day begin to end up in shelters or end up roaming on streets as unwanted cats. Some of the most responsible breeders have begun to sell only kittens that have been spayed or neutered to try to keep that from happening. Most cats in shelters today seem to be garden-variety domestic shorthair cats. Increasingly, however, purebred cats are also sometimes ending up in shelters.
Currently, there are about twenty breeders specializing in the Toyger breed in the United States and about fifteen other breeders worldwide. Demand is growing for these tiny tiger look-alikes, and it is thought that in the next several years, they will look even more like the tigers they were modeled after.
With mostly rusty-orange coloring and black stripes, a white belly, white on the edges of their paws, and a glittery look to their fur, new Toyger cats being bred today are looking more and more like their big cat inspirations. In the future, breeders hope to also create wider noses like the big cats and smaller and rounder ears. It is thought that the longer this breed exists, the closer they will ultimately come to look like their tiger inspirations.
If you are interested in buying one of these cats or kittens, it is always best to go to a responsible breeder. Any breeder who is reputable will adhere to a code which prohibits them from selling cats or kittens to wholesalers or to pet stores. This special code also outlines the responsibility a breeder has to new prospective owners of the cats in their care.
It's always smart to pick a breeder who has sought out professional veterinarian services for kittens and has had them tested for any potential genetic problems. If this is not possible, at the very least, a breeder should have seen to it that kittens were immunized according to a schedule and that they are spayed or neutered before they are sold to their new owner.
One thing to look for when choosing a breeder is to choose one who keeps kittens in a home environment. When kittens are kept with other kittens and near people, they are better socialized when they do go to live in their forever home. Kittens who are kept in cages and separated can be very shy and even skittish and be harder to socialize if they get off to a late start with their social skills.
The thing a hopeful pet owner needs to be aware of is to remember the old saying "let the buyer beware." It can be pretty difficult to tell a reputable breeder from an operation that is simply out for profit with no love or special feelings for the cats in their care. By asking questions of the breeder and by observing the other kittens in their care to see if any of them appear to be sick, you have a better chance of getting a healthy kitten, but there are no guarantees.
Sometimes, veterinarians will have lists of names of reputable breeders in your area, and they can be a valuable resource when you are searching for your perfect feline companion. Breeders of Toygers are fairly spread out all over the country, so you may have to drive a distance to find one if you really have your heart set on a Toyger kitten or cat.
It is pretty unlikely you will find a Toyger in a rescue center or in a shelter, since they are still a new and relatively rare breed. You might luck out though and find one there. Sometimes even valuable special breeds of cats are taken to shelters when tough economic times hit, or when an owner cannot care for them anymore. There are also special lists like the Fanciers Breeders Referral List where you may also be able to find a cat available for adoption.
Whether you get a Toyger kitten or an adult cat, it is always smart to take the cat to the veterinarian shortly after you get them to have them checked out for any health issues. Getting them off to a healthy start is always best, and hopefully, you will have many years to be able to enjoy that beautiful little tiger look-alike bundle of energy.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
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© 2012 KathyH