The Toyger cats may look wild but are anything but that. This breed was developed from domestic shorthair tabby cats, and character has been just as important a factor in breeding as the looks of the cat. The breeders wanted to create a friendly cat fit for the modern surroundings of today.
And so in a Toyger cats we meet an intelligent, active and alert cat. The character is somewhere between the energetic Bengal and laid-back attitude of a Maine Coon. Not too alert, laid-back enough not to lose nerves on every strange noise, and with the confidence of the Big Cats. A cat full of good cattitude indeed. The breeders are striving to create a loving, outgoing temperament, and a Toyger should never be shy. Of course as this is still a rather young breed, there is some variety between the different breeding lines, but their mindset is definitely domestic.
A very good combination to modern homes, real "city-tigers" if you will. The alertness does not mean you have an ADHD of the catworld to keep you company - but you certainly don't have a couch potato either! Still, with this cat you don't get exhausted by playing till you drop. You will find time to sit watching telly and you'll have you Toyger purring the evening away in your lap. Toygers are easily attached to people - love attention, demand to be cuddled and doesn't mind at all being kissed. It will show its affection by chatting with you (they are "moderately talkative" as the official term goes - but at this stage of breed development some breeding lines are a bit more talkative than others. Therefore you may get yourself a rather chatty personality of a cat).
Toygers get along well with other animals (they have been known to get on very well with dogs) and children, and are easy to handle, so this is one ideal family cat. It has even been described to be dog-like in its behavior. People who thought themselves to be strictly dog-persons have changed their opinion about cats after meeting a Toyger. (Well, they never had a chance anyway… This is one charmer of a cat…)
Because of its social, playful nature it is easily trainable - why not try a game of fetch? They should learn it easily, if the stories I have heard are correct. This surprises the "dog-people" as it isn't common knowledge that cats may enjoy active plays with their owners.
When you play with your Toyger, don't teach them to attack human fingers. As cats they have very fast reflexes, and you'd end up with more than your fair share of scratches if they learn to connect playing with fingers. (As any cat owner knows, you can't avoid small scratches completely with your playful cat…)
Toyger cats make the inventors of parkour proud with their acrobatic moves. Ever curious it will prowl every part of your apartment - exploring the tops of cupboards, your shelves. The toyger is an ever-curious, muscular athlete determined to go everywhere. (And when a cat decides to do something, a cat does it. Sooner or later…)
Some Toyger cats love to play with water, or even swim. Rather fitting, I'd say, considering how much the wild tigers love water. But remember to be careful, if you try to introduce your Toyger to water. Not all are interested in exploring it…
And beautiful - that is what they indeed are, moving in a graceful, purposeful way with a rolling gait. Because of their breathtaking beauty you should be prepared to draw attention of people - so be ready to explain again and again about your cat's breed.
There is also the other side of the coin in Toyger's beauty: you must keep your Toyger on a leash when it goes out. There is a real chance of it being stolen because of its dashing looks and kindness. Toygers usually learn easily to walk in harness, especially if you teach them to this from early on.
I remember when we taught our Abys into harness. They had been indoor cats up to one year of age, and indeed they did disagree with the idea at first. Flopped on their sides, refused to move… I was glad our next door neighbors had cats so they knew what was happening and did not call animal rescue, when we tried to pull the cats out in their harness … And then the cats suddenly realized that one plus one = getting outside into the garden. After that, no trouble. I am sure that Toygers, being so intelligent, will make the same connection pretty fast.
How to take care of your beautiful Toyger? A weekly brushing is recommended, but I am quire sure your Toyger will quickly teach you to use that brush more often. And remember, brushing your cat is a good time for bonding. You can also use a rubber grooming glove to remove loose hair and keep the coat shiny - less cathair on your couch and in your kitty's tummy, even if this is not a breed that sheds overmuch.
And do check the teeth regularly and clip the nails if necessary. But do not de-claw. That is a cruel procedure, where the toe is amputated from the first joint. This affects the cat's balance and its mind too - de-clawed cats are known to become depressed.
Really - if you feel you home's surfaces would suffer from cat claws, do not get a cat in the first place.
Read more about the history of this breed cat here.
More detailed information about the looks of this little domestic tiger.
I wish to thank Helmi Flick for her kind permission to use her photographs as reference to these Toyger paintings.