Wednesday 7 June 2023

Toyger cat infographic

This is a compact infographic on the rather rare Toyger cat breed. This is a non-mainstream cat breed. Some of the books that I have on the breeds make no mention of it. 

Toyger cat infographic
Infographic by MikeB at PoC.

The Toyger cat breed was created by a woman in America, Judy Sugden, in the 1980s to try and put a miniature tiger into the homes of American citizens! She wanted to try and bring a bit of a the wild into their home and therefore she set about creating through selective breeding a domestic cat which looked, as near as possible, like a tiger and also walked like a tiger. This was a very tall order. Impossible actually to get a domestic cat to replicate that tiger swaggering walk.

She selected some foundation cats which she thought were useful in that purpose one of which came from Kashmir and the other was a Bengal cat with a pattern that she thought was suitable. A third domestic shorthaired cat called Scrapmetal was also used.

Judy Sugden is (or was) the daughter of Jean Mill, the woman who created the Bengal cat breed. Clearly within this family they have a fascination for domestic cats with a wild cat appearance.

The Toyger is not that dissimilar from the Bengal cat as it happens. But of course, the Toyger only has stripes while the Bengal cat has alternative tabby coat patterns.

Clearly, Judy Sugden had to focus on the mackerel pattern of tabby cats and make those as high contrast as possible and as dark as possible. And the background colour needed to be as near to the colour orange as it could be. It is very hard to create a miniature clone of the Bengal tiger which is what she set out to do, I guess with optimism.

However, this is still work in progress 43 years later. I personally doubt the objective. The breed never really caught on. It is not one of the most popular cat breeds. Although the breed was recognised by The International Cat Association at full championship status in February 2007. 

I don't think the CFA recognises it. I've just looked that up and the Cat Fanciers' Association do not recognise this breed which supports my point that it is unsuccessful as a newish cat breed created through selective breeding i.e. artificial selection.

The days of creating breeds like this are over. There was a flurry of new cat breeds during the middle of the 20th century. The cat breeds are no saturated! No more space for them I feel.

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