Woman Breeds Cats that Look Like Tigers, Decades after Mom Made the Bengal Cat Breed

Breeds Cats that Look Like Tigers,

A woman breeds cats that look like tigers, just some decades after her mom created the Bengal cat breed that looks like a leopard! Wow.

About half a century ago, big cats became popular as pets of the ultra-rich. The chic, exotic pets were uber expensive, but the rich had plenty of money to throw on these lavish pets. When calls for wildlife protection led to stricter laws regarding exotic pets, the rich found a cuter, less dangerous alternative: cats that are bred to look like wild cats.

Photo credit: Michelle Groskopf / The New York Times

This began with Jean Mill, the woman who created the Bengal cat breed. A cat the size of your regular domestic cat but with impressive leopard-like coat. It’s practical and cute! Everyone loved it.

Jean’s daughter, Judy Sugden, would carry on her mother’s legacy. An architect by profession, she would later decide that she wants to also create her signature cat breed, just like what her mom had done.

Photo credit: Michelle Groskopf / The New York Times

[I] envisioned a domestic cat with a glistening orange and black striped coat, reminiscent of a tiger. It would have tiny, round ears, a wide nose and a white belly like a tiger. It would weigh just 10 pounds, but it would move across the living room as though it could take down a gazelle. It would evoke that seductive ‘essence of tigerness,’” Judy said.

This would lead to the Toyger, a breed of cat that was officially recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) as a championship breed.

Photo credit: Michelle Groskopf / The New York Times

Because the cats look like wild cats but are about the same size as regular domestic breeds, Toyger cats were popular – at least for the rich folks who can afford to buy this designer cat.

I find people want the things that make them think ‘wild’ right away. High-contrast patterns, dramatic overall color, and a look and proportions of a leopard or an ocelot would have,” explained Anthony Hutcherson, a former protégé of Judy’s mom Jean and also a Bengal cat breeder.

Photo credit: Anthony Hutcherson / New York Times

Do you want this beautiful Toyger?