Monday 3 March 2008

Bengal Cat Toyger Eyes

Tiger photo copyright "Twin Peaks" under creative commons

Bengal cat
Bengal Cat Toyger Eyes - unusually with "headlights" - white fur around the eyes. I have not seen a Bengal Cat with this feature before (but see the update at base of page). Photograph copyright Svetlana Ponomareva

Toyger Cat - Ishah
Toyger Cat - photo of Ishah - copyright Helmi Flick

The Bengal Cat appearance is well known to people generally and particularly those in the cat fancy. The Toyger cat is perhaps less well known. They have a similarity however, both being exotic domestic cats for cat lovers who like to be the companion of a small but domesticated wild animal.

Toyger breeders look to mimic the tiger's appearance as near as possible. The development program is ongoing and long. In this program, Toyger cat breeders are looking for what they call "headlights". These are patches of white fur around the eyes like the Tiger (see above) . Ishah (the Toyger cat featured above) doesn't have these but they are in development.

However, what is surprising is that a Russian Bengal Cat breeder, Svetlana Ponomareva, has developed "headlights" for her Bengal Cats (but see below). These are very pronounced. In fact they are even more striking than the white fur around the eyes of a Tiger. The cat is a Bengal Cat with Toyger Eyes.

This raises two questions to me. Is this feature an extension of or a breach of the Bengal Breed Standard? How would this gorgeous looking cat fare in competition (please tell me by leaving a comment). And it would seem a good idea if the Toyger breeders got in touch with Svetlana (maybe they have already - tell me if this is the case, please), to help develop those precious "headlights".

Update June 2009: this post is a bit of a spoof as the cat with the headlights in almost certainly an Asian Leopard Cat. It has all the attributes and there is no doubt in mind that it is the wild cat ancestor of the Bengal cat!

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