Friday 26 February 2021

Picture of a Toyger cat is actually a photo-edited photograph

This interesting photograph could, to the uninitiated, be of a Toyger purebred cat but it is not. It is far too much like a tiger to be a Toyger. You may have heard about this rare cat breed called a Toyger. If you haven't you might like to click here to read about it. Essentially, it is a breed of cat which is meant to look like a miniature tiger in your home. The idea is to bring the tiger into your home. However, it's proved very difficult to replicate the anatomy of a tiger in a domestic cats through selective breeding as you can imagine.

Toyger purebred cat? No, photo-editing of tiger cub + domestic cat
Toyger purebred cat? No, photo-editing of tiger cub + domestic cat. Photo in public domain.

You can only go so far with selective breeding but, that said, some cat breeders go too far and breed cats to extreme. Perhaps the Toyger breeders could have done a better job. Perhaps they gave up because the breed cannot, in honesty, be described as a success.

There was a discussion on the Internet about whether this photograph is of a Toyger. It is a very nice piece of photo-editing which has merged the face of a domestic cat with the face and body of what appears to me to be a young tiger or tiger cub. Photo-editing can do wonders in the right hands.

The photograph was first used to illustrate a cat food, Newman's Own Organic. I think it is part of Paul Newman's business of making salad dressings and cookies et cetera. With the picture went the slogan "They Once Ate Organic". This must be a reference to the fact that tigers eat natural foods and this company is hinting that most pet food is unnatural and they are correct. It is a shame then that the picture is unnatural!

However, the picture may have been added to Newman's Own Organic logo by somebody else other than the company. We don't know the history.

Toyger cat breeders would give their right arm to produce a cat like this. The picture first emerged on a social media network used by artists to showcase their work called Behance. It was posted to Silev's page.

This little story is interesting in terms of cat breeding. The Toyger was started in the 1980s, a time when there were a lot more new breeds. It was a time, too, when there was a big interest in creating cats that hinted at being wild cats. I'm referring to the wildcat hybrids mainly. But there are some domestic cats without any wild cat blood in them which were selectively bred to look like wild cats too. The intention was to encourage cat owners to think about wild cat conservation. To transport those beautiful wild cats in far-flung countries into their urban houses.

This may be a week justification rather than an idealised high moral ground attempt at conservation. The mid-1950s was a time when the most cat breeds were developed in the cat fancy.

Toyger cat
Toyger cat. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick

Above is a photograph of a genuine Toyger. You can see the far more angelic and delicate appearance of this breed. There's one thing you can't replicate of the Tiger in a domestic cat and that is the way the tiger walks. It is an arrogant gait, imbued with confidence and cockiness. The domestic cat gait is far more fragile and delicate.

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