What is the cat that looks like a tiger?
To to more precise, the question means what domestic cat looks like a tiger and the answer to the question is the Toyger. This is a selectively bred, artificially created purebred cat with the intention of having the appearance of a tiger. The breed was developed by refining and clarifying the mackerel tabby pattern of domestic shorthair cats starting in 1980 in the USA.
Selective breeding means selecting random bred certain cats which had the desired tabby stripes, mating them and then do the same thing again again with offspring until the stripes were more clearly like those of a tiger. There was also an attempt to make the cat walk and have the general appearance of a tiger. It is not possible to replicate the tiger in a domestic cat as size dictates so many things but you will no doubt agree that there is a similarity.
The cat was recognised for registration by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1993. The breed attained full championship status under this cat association in 2007.
The cat breed is probably a follow-on from wild cat hybrids. What I mean is that is there was a phase in the middle of the 20th century when breeders felt that there was a desire to possess wild cat hybrids. That phase passed and in 1980 the Toyger was created although of course it is completely domestic. There is no wild cat genes in this cat breed.
I think that is fair to say that the breed did not catch on. It is not that popular on my reckoning. It’s meant to be a glamorous cat.
I am reminded of the less well-known and earlier creation, the California Spangled cat. This was an early attempt to create a domestic cat which looked like a wild cat. Taking into account inflation, the California Spangled is the world’s most expensive cat, even more expensive than a first filial Savannah cat.
You can read about both these breeds by clicking on the following links: Toyger and California Spangled.