A real house tiger, that is the Toyger. With its beautiful wild stripes and its fun and intelligent character, it is just like bringing a small tiger into your home. The Toyger is a real designer cat with a calm character that fits perfectly into any household. Would you like to read more about the house tiger? Why do you need this cat in your house? Then read on.
The origin: a toy tiger
At the end of the 80’s the cat breeder Judy Sugden was in the process of clarifying the spot pattern of some of her cats. She noticed a round pattern on the head of two of her cats. This is special because this does not usually occur in domestic cats. It gave her the idea of developing a cat with a pattern similar to that of a tiger. The Bengal was also used in the bloodline, this made the cat’s body bigger and fuller to mimic the Tiger as closely as possible.
The name Toyger already tells a lot about the appearance of the breed. It is a mixture of the words “toy” and “tiger” which together make Toyger. The name suggests that this breed is the toy variation of a tiger and that is correct, it is a small tiger you can play with.
In 1993 the Toyger was recognized as a cat breed by The International Cat Association, or TICA. From 2000 the Toyger was allowed to participate in exhibitions for new cat breeds and in February 2007 the Toyger got full recognition and was allowed to compete in competitions for the first time. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) has not yet recognized the Toyger.
The character: a quiet and intelligent cat
The Toyger is a very quiet cat that likes to be with people. The Toyger is very intelligent and can handle other cats or other pets very well. Because the cat is so intelligent, it is easy to train. For example, you can easily teach the cat new games and it is possible to take him outside on a leash. The Toyger is a real domestic cat, which fits in every household. The Toyger is of course very calm, but they also like to be active and play games.
As you have read before, the Toyger is a cat breed that has a lot of love to give. They are very friendly to their owners, to children but also to strangers. They even consider dogs as possible playmates. This also means that they will not have to get used to dogs when they are new to a house where other pets already live.
The appearance: a small tiger
The Toyger’s appearance is very special. It is a small, cuddly and most of all, a safe version of the tiger. The body of the Toyger is long, muscular and is low to the ground. This gives the cat a wild and powerful appearance, reminiscent of a tiger. The Toyger is medium-sized and they weigh between twelve and twenty two pounds. The head of the Toyger has an oval shape and is medium to large. The eyes have a deep green, brown or a light blue colour.
The most striking thing about the Toyger is of course its coat. The stripe pattern of the tiger is exactly imitated in this breed. The coat has, just like the tiger, deep dark lines which run vertically over the back and legs. Underneath a brown/orange base and on the underside and inside a beautiful white colour. The beautiful dramatic patterns are unique for every cat, just like a fingerprint is for humans. What makes the Toyger even more unique is that only one colour and pattern is actually accepted. The Toyger is only allowed to have a brown Mackerel tabby coat. Furthermore, the coat is short and full and glittery.
The upbringing: socialisation is important
The Toyger is a very social cat, but also with this cat breed it is important that the cat socialises. With the Toyger, however, this is not as difficult as with any other cat breed. The cat is not shy by nature and will quickly get used to human touch. Socialising the kitten is still important. Not only to make the care easier, but also to make the cat more self-confident. Because the cat gets used to different touches, people and animals early on, he will be less afraid later on when something unexpected happens.
It is important that a kitten is socialised between three and nine weeks after its birth. As well as learning how to deal with touching, you can also shape the cat’s behaviour during these weeks. For example, give the cat rewards when he behaves well, and let him know when his behaviour is undesirable.
The care: less work than for a tiger
Taking care of the Toyger is luckily much less work (and much safer) than taking care of a real tiger. To keep his coat shiny and healthy it is recommended to comb or brush the coat at least once a week. It is also recommended to keep the nails, teeth and ears of the Toyger up to date. Therefore, it is advised to cut the nails every week and clean the ears if they are dirty, do this carefully so you don’t damage the inside of the ear. Brush the Toyger’s teeth regularly, ask your vet which toothpaste is needed. Make sure you start grooming early on so the cat gets used to it so this will not cause any problems later on.
The Toyger is a quiet cat, but also likes to play. Give him enough attention, both when he is calm, in the form of petting and cuddling, as when he is active. Throw him a ball or give him a fake mouse to play with. The Toyger does not need a lot of attention but it is always appreciated.
The nutrition: take care for a well-balanced diet
The cat’s diet depends on many different things. That is why it is important to take a close look at what food the cat needs and does not need. In general obesity is a big problem among cats, this is because they get too much to eat and too little exercise. Make sure your cat has a balanced diet and doesn’t eat more than necessary. To make sure your cat gets exactly what he needs it is wise to consult your vet. The vet may then recommend a diet that is perfectly suited to the needs of the cat. Now food is very important for cats, but exercise is also very important. Even with a balanced diet it is good for the cat to get a lot of exercise, so play with your cat or give him toys so he can let go of some of his energy.
Just like humans, cats are also affected by all kinds of hereditary diseases. Although the Toyger is a reasonably healthy cat, this breed also has a number of common diseases. The diseases that occur more often in the Toyger are:
- Heart murmurs
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Heart murmurs in a cat doesn’t always have to be bad. Heart murmur is an extra sound the heart makes. Heart murmur is congenital in about two percent of all cats, the anomaly is only often discovered later. Heart murmur can be caused by different things. These are some of the causes of heart murmur:
- A leaking heart valve
- A hole in the heart
- Persistent ductus arteriosus (PDA): This means that there is an extra blood vessel through which blood runs from the aorta to the pulmonary artery. This blood vessel normally disappears after birth.
- Aortic stenosis: a narrowing at the beginning of the aorta.
- Tetralogy of Fallot: four congenital defects in the heart.
- Pulmonary stenosis: a narrowing at the beginning of the pulmonary artery.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- High blood pressure
Heart murmur can point to all sorts of things that are wrong with the heart, but this is not necessarily the case. Cardiac murmur for example sometimes occurs in kittens when they are very excited, this is because the blood of a kitten is thinner than that of an adult cat. In adult cats heart murmur can also be harmless, the sound comes from the pulmonary artery and there are no abnormalities on the ultrasound.
Although heart murmur itself does not cause any complaints to the cat, it is an indicator that something might be wrong with the cat’s heart. Heart murmur is never normal. Always have a vet look at it, this way the problem can be found and treated.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is one of the most common heart conditions among cats. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy means that the heart muscle is thickened, causing the chamber of the heart to shrink as the muscle presses on it. There is then too little space to collect and pump away all the blood that comes out of the lungs. To compensate for this, the heart will beat faster and eventually the left atrium will have to collect the excess blood. Any blood that doesn’t fit in the chamber will have to stay there, causing the left atrium to stretch. If the left atrium cannot stretch any further, the blood will have nowhere else to go and the blood and fluid will remain in the lungs.
When a cat suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy this can cause different things. Some examples are:
- Tightness: the cat will breathe faster and deeper, this is just not audible.
- Thrombosis: clots can develop that move further through the veins.
- Cardiac dysrhythmia: if the blood supply remains the same but there is not enough space, there is a lack of oxygen which can cause an irregular heartbeat.
The consequences of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be fatal for a cat. It is therefore important to be there on time. It is quite difficult to find out for yourself whether your cat is suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, as you only know for sure when an ultrasound has been made and the vet recognises this abnormality. If a cat has been suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy for a short period of time, there will be no symptoms from which you can recognise this. Only when the condition lasts longer could the vet find symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat, heart murmur, shortness of breath, paralysis or brain abnormalities. Some cats die suddenly from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy without showing any symptoms.
How old can a Toyger become?
Because the Toyger is generally a very healthy cat, the Toyger gets an average of 10 to 15 years old. Of course, the age of your cat is in your hands. A healthy cat will become a lot older than a cat which has not been properly taken care of.
What do you need to know before you take in this cat?
As you have read above, it is wise to have the Toyger’s heart properly examined in due time to ensure that nasty abnormalities such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be controlled or even remedied.
When buying a kitten from a breeder there are a number of things to pay attention to. For example, the breeder must be able to guarantee the health of the kitten through the results of various examinations and tests. A pedigree is also very important. Because the Toyger is a very exclusive breed, the pedigree is very important to determine which bloodline the cat has. Before you buy a kitten, get to know at least one parent, but preferably both parents of the kitten. In this way you will get to know the behaviour of the kitten before you take him home.
How much does a Toyger cost?
A Toger costs between $1200 and $3000. The Toyger is a true designer breed of high quality. The price is therefore on the high side. Besides the breed there are other factors that influence the price of a cat. Many of these factors have to do with what the cat is bought for. For example, is he bought to continue breeding or to participate in competitions or shows? And is the buyer a true lover of the breed? Or is the buyer just looking for a domestic cat? In addition to these points, quality is of course also very important. For example, does the cat have a pedigree? Who are the parents? Are there any hereditary diseases known to the cat? What is the health of the cat and its parents? All these points together determine the price.
Does a Toyger fit in your home?
Now that you have been able to read a lot about this designer cat breed, you may be wondering whether this cat might suit you in the house. Since the cat needs little care it will fit into any household. Whether it is in a busy house where the cat gets a lot of attention or in a house with fewer residents where he has to be more independent, the Toyger will quickly feel at home. Let us know what you think of this house tiger in the comments!