Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Toygers - Domestic Tiger Cats

Do you love the beauty of tigers? Have a hankering for owning your own piece of the wild? Perhaps you want to get your own mini-tiger.... a Toyger, to be specific! One of the latest in exotic domestic cats, the Toyger is a breed that combines beauty and grace. Like another popular exotic breed, the domestic Bengal cat, Toygers are somewhat dog-like in characteristics. They love to play in water, chase balls, and follow their owners around the home. Toygers can be taught to walk on leashes, they enjoy baths, and some can even be toilet trained!

These mini-tigers are not only beautiful, but specifically designed in an effort to preserve the intrigue of wild counterparts. Like Bengal cats, Toygers are developed from a cross-breed of domestic cats with the Asian Leopard Cat. The primary developer of this special exotic breed is Judy Sugden of the EEYAAS Cattery in the United States. Her hope is that, by the time the wild cats are nearing extinction, their domestic counterparts will be perfected for ownership - around 2010.

The TICA (The International Cat Association) formally recognizes the Toyger breed and has set forth specific characteristics for judging. The following traits are found in the best examples of Toygers:
-long tail and body
-rounded ear tips
-broad nose
-strong chin
-shiny, shimmery coat with "broken" stripes
-high contrast between stripes and under color (black markings preferred, but some are brown or tan)
-white tummy
-white patterns above eyes, in lower face, and whited ears (bright "head lights," like a tiger)
-circular tiger-like cheek markings
-brown/gold color coat (no other colors allowed)
-some coats are "glittered," appearing as if they are dusted with gold - these are especially beautiful.

Depending on how many characteristics your Toyger may have, and whether or not he or she will breed, the price tag for a kitten can range from $500 to $2000 as pets, and $1500-$5000 for breeding/show quality. Like the domestic Bengal Cat, the Toyger is highly trainable, loyal, loves water and can be somewhat dog-like. It can be a "talkative" cat. An excellent pet, they get along well with other animals and children.

Toyger Breeders are attempting to create resemblances between the domestic breeds and their wild "muses" not only with respect to body and markings, but even with movement! Toygers are said to move with purpose, grace and elegance, much like their wild tiger "cousins."

If you decide to add a Toyger to your family, note that they will require very similar care to ordinary cats. Food, water, toys and a litter box are all key things to purchase. Veterinary care is largely similar to other domestic cats. Be prepared to spend both time and money on your new family member. Also, as a final note - do not adopt a Toyger or any other pet unless you are sure to have the time, money and energy to devote to a pet. Clear any health issues (including allergies) beforehand. And most of all, be ready to fall in love with your unique Toyger!

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