With most species of tigers about to become extinct, cat breeders are trying to help their cause by creating a tiny tiger replica, called Toyger.
Jennifer Santee has always had a thing for tigers and dreamed of having one as a pet. But knowing that wasn’t ever going to happen, she decided to make a tiger of her own, one that she could keep in her house. Together with a small group of cat breeders, she managed to create the Toyger (for toy tiger), a breed designed “specifically to preserve the beauty of an exotic animal”.
Although Toygers don’t actually have any tiger genes, their rusty color and dark stripes closely resemble those of the Bengal tiger. But they are friendly and playful animals that will go for walks, play fetch and come when they are called. Unlike the Margay, they are perfect human companions.
Santee says 25 breeders all around the world are working on perfecting the Toyger breed, to make the cats resemble tigers even more. The new species is already in demand and, although each specimen costs over $3,000, they have all been sold. Part of the profits go towards the conservation of wild tigers, the inspiration behind the Toygers. The breeder estimates will truly be tiger replicas by 2010, when the last tigers will disappear from zoos.