In recent years there has been a rise in popularity of tiger looking cat breeds such as Bengal cat or Abyssinian. But they are not the only ones.
You may see Bengal cat on social media wherever you look because it looks wild with its lively colors and unique pattern. The other tiger looking cat breeds may not be as visible as the Bengal but they are definitely worth writing about. The beautiful thing about these kitties is although most of them have some wild blood in their ancestors, they do not carry that wild behaviors after a few generations and become really affectionate and loving cats.
However, I must say that their survival skills such as hunting or climbing are passed down almost all the time. So these kitties are generally very energetic and depending on the breed they require special spaces to live in such as a big house with plenty of space to climb or run. If they don’t spend their extra energy, they tend to misbehave, or in the absence of proper environment, they may damage your furniture or break stuff accidentally during an innocent play session.
Let’s take a closer look to cat breeds that look like tigers and see their special needs.
1 – Bengal Cat
When you search for cats that look like tigers, the first cat you will encounter will most probably be the famous Bengal cat. These kitties are bred using Egyptian Maus and Asian Leopard cats which are the wild half of Bengal cats. Although the first mention of an Asian Leopard cat – domestic cat hybrid was mentioned in 1889 by Harrison Weir, modern Bengal cats are attributed to Jean Mill of California due to discontinuation of the early breeding efforts.
The modern Bengal cat is smart, playful and energetic. It is known for its love of water and natural instinct to play fetch. The curiosity of Bengal accompanied by its active nature may cause trouble if not enough space with lots of space to climb is not provided. This charismatic kitty loves to climb and chase so make sure its needs are met.
It is also a very intelligent breed that may sometimes drive you crazy because it may learn almost anything from turning light switches on and off to plucking DVDs from your DVD player. But when its needs are met, it becomes a truly loving cat that is happy to take naps on your lap and sleep with you in your bed.
Be careful though! There are legal restrictions on Bengal cats in many cities and states such as New York City so before you get a Bengal cat make sure to learn the legal requirements of your city and state!
2 – Cheetoh
Cheetoh is a relatively new cat in the world of tiger looking cat breeds. It was developed in 2001 by mixing Bengal Cats with Ocicats. The result is a gentle and friendly cat with the amazing looks of a wild cat. Since the Cheetoh is at least 8 generations away from its wild ancestors, the link to the wild behaviors is long broken but the looks and a large build that weighs about 20 pounds may fool people who don’t know it closely.
Cheetoh is considered a lap cat because one of its favorite activities is watching the T.V. curling up on its human’s lap or the couch. We can easily say that Cheetoh is a dog-like breed that can be taught to walk on a leash or play fetch. Also its intelligence, sociable nature and loving attitude towards children, other pets and anyone it comes into contact with makes it more of a family dog rather than a family cat. It is also very energetic and has a huge love for playing. If it demands a play session and this demand is not met, expect a lot of meowing and crying because it is vocal!
3 – Abyssinian
Although Abyssinian today is thought to be bred in U.K., the analysis performed on mummified cats in Egyptian tombs show that the ancient Abyssinian is not that different from the modern Abyssinian. I know that Abyssinians look more like one of the cat breeds that look like lions rather than one of the tiger looking cat breeds but it would be a shame not to include the “Clown of the Cat Kingdom” just for the sake of showing the looks don’t make a kitty wild.
Abyssinian is one of the top 5 popular cat breeds around the world and for good reason. These are extremely intelligent cats with extrovert personalities. They are playful, willful, active and they love nothing more than the attention of their humans. They are so loyal to their humans that their attachment can only be compared to that of dogs. As a matter of fact when left alone for too long, they may get depressed. In addition to all these traits, they are quiet cats that make chirrup-like vocalizations at most.
4 – Toyger
The name Toyger is actually a wordplay that includes the words “Toy” and “Tiger” which is appropriate because Toyger is a small sized cat that looks like a tiger. Remember the name I mentioned as the breeder of modern Bengal cat, Jean Mill? Judy Sugden who developed Toyger is the daughter of Jean Mill! Although a relatively new breed, Toyger already has recognition from TICA.
Toygers are intelligent, friendly and playful kitties that love to be around humans and other pets. Their active and easy-going personalities accompanied by their tendency to learn new tricks easily makes them amazing family cats. They can easily learn how to walk on a leash or play fetch. Also they have laid-back personalities which helps them adopt to any family with ease. Toyger can be the ultimate little joy among tiger looking cat breeds.
5 – Ocicat
What is really interesting about Ocicat is that although it looks wild, there is no wild DNA in its gene pool. The original ancestors of Ocicat were Siamese and Abyssinian but due to an error by CFA recording American Shorthair was also listed as the parent breed and breeders used American Shorthair trusting the data on CFA records. The result was a larger Ocicat which is accepted as the Ocicat we know today.
Ocicats are so friendly and sociable that they greet guests at the door and are really tolerant to gentle kids and other pets. They are very intelligent and can respond to most commands that are given to dogs such as come, speak, sit, lie down, etc. As you may imagine, they can be taught to walk on a leash or play fetch just like any other dog-like cat breed. They are energetic and playful kitties that require more attention than a normal house cat.
Just like any other affectionate and loving cat breed, Ocicats don’t like being left alone for long periods of time and if you are away for long hours it is best to have another pet to keep your Ocicat company. They tend to be vocal but not at the level of bein annoying. When you come home after a long day at work, your little friend would love to tell you about its day and be happy to listen to yours which is the perfect stress relief after a hard day.