Friday 12 December 2014

Domestic cats that look like tigers

There is one particular cat breed which is wholly designed, and which has been bred, to look like a tiger and that breed is the Toyger. This is an amalgamation of the word "toy" and "tiger". Below is a picture of the Toyger. As far as I'm aware, there are no known cat breeds other than the Toyger which are specifically designed to look like the tiger. I expect many people have heard of this breed. It remains relatively rare.

Photo copyright Helmi Flick.
I suppose you have to ask the philosophical question as to whether it is foolhardy to try and replicate the tiger in miniaturised form through selective breeding of the domestic cat. From my perspective it is a ridiculous idea but there are many people who would disagree with me. It seems that the policy behind the project is the same the lofty ideal behind the wild cat hybrids: to bring the wild into the living room. The big defect with the Toyger is that they'll walk like tigers because that is dictated by size. And the tiger gait is very much part of the cat.

It is still work in progress many years after beginning. The breeders are even trying to recreate the way the tiger walks. It is far better to adopt a rescue cat and in any case within all domestic cats whether they look like a tiger or not there is a tiger because the behaviour of the domestic cat is a whisker away from that of the wild cat.

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