Categories: Cat Breeding

Are tigons real?

Modern tigons I am told. Photo in public domain.

Tigons are very real. Charles Darwin (British naturalist and biologist famous for his theory of evolution) referred to them in 1861. There’s been a lot of breeding between male tigers and lionesses in captivity. Tigons are rarer than ligers (the product of a tigress and a male lion). Sarah Hartwell (an expert of cat genetics and hybrids) on her website messybeast.com refers to a recorded tigon cross-breeding in India in 1837. At this time a tigon was presented to Queen Victoria.

Perhaps the best-known of the early tigons was a cat named Ranji. He was a huge male cat bred by a maharajah (Prince Ranjitsinji, Maharajah Jam Sahib of Nawangagar) and presented to the zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park in 1924 (now London Zoo). A man who was commissioned to make a drawing of this cat said that he was shy. The picture below is of this well-known tigon.

Tigon Ranji 1924

Sarah Hartwell says that tigons are often smaller than either a lion or tiger. However, some have appeared to have benefited from hybrid vigour because they have exceeded the size of their parents. However, she suggests that they may be less robust than either parent. Tigons are less interesting in appearance than ligers. Tigons are sterile according to a report on the messybeast website. Although I don’t think this applies to 100% of tigons.

Their appearance seems to vary a lot depending on the genetics of the parent cats i.e. the subspecies of tiger. But in general the features of the lion and tiger are merged. As to their health, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say on their website that tigons are not expected to survive infancy. If they survive they have an increased risk of suffering from a range of neurological and physical conditions. PETA, as I am, are against creating hybrid big cats. They are referred to as ‘Frakencats’. It isn’t just hybridisation of this nature that can cause health problems but close inbreeding as is the case with white tigers which can result in anatomical abnormalities such as the case with a well-known white tiger whose name is Kenny. He was born with a cleft palate and crossed eyes. He died at half the normal life of a captive tiger.

As can be seen by the history referred to above of tigons, they have been exhibited as freaks in zoos in various places including London and New York. They are bred for commercial reasons at the expense of ethics and morality. I don’t like it. None of us should like it but they do exist.

SOME MORE ON HYBRIDS:

Can a cheetah breed with a leopard?

There is some interest as to whether the cheetah can breed with any one of the big cats namely either ...
Read More

Can cats mate with raccoons?

The question in the title is a reference to the myth that the famous Maine Coon cat is named after ...
Read More

Difference between Bambino and Sphynx

The difference between the Bambino and the Sphynx is that the former has short legs due to dwarfism and the ...
Read More

Emotional and behavioural problems in hybrid big cats

The strange and exotic big cat hybrids such as the tigon and liger, which fascinate many people, may be creating ...
Read More

Maine Coon – American Curl mix (hybrid) rescue cat

The message on the Instagram page of Friends for Life Rescue Network is that Rosalie has been adopted. She was ...
Read More

Manx – Rex – American Curl multi-hybrid kittens rescued

Friends for Life Rescue Network in Los Angeles have rescued a couple of kittens that were known to have the ...
Read More

Pictures of a cat-dog hybrid!

This is a cute Vietnamese puppy who's been described as a cat-dog hybrid but with tongue in cheek because it ...
Read More
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Recent Posts

Are Sphynx cats from Egypt?

I can see the connection as anybody else can. The question has been prompted by…

1 hour ago

Omani woman looks after 500 cats

NEWS AND COMMENT: Although Maryam al-Balushi finds cats and dogs more faithful than humans and…

4 hours ago

The Queen of England evicts two cats from Royal Apartment

COMMENT: The story is not what it looks like in the title. But it is…

23 hours ago

20 Sphynx cats rescued

NEAR EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA - NEWS (COMMENT): CTV NEWS (and this story is unique) reports…

1 day ago

Are Sphynx cats hypoallergenic?

No, Sphynx cats are not hypoallergenic. Sphynx cats are like any other domestic cat in…

1 day ago

Being curmudgeonly at Thanksgiving 2020

Americans deserve a bit of fun. We all do. It's a time for optimism and…

1 day ago