Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Toygers" Breed Conservation Awareness, Animal-Rescue Concerns

Jenifer Santee always dreamed of owning a tiger. But knowing that wild creatures should not be kept as house pets, she did the next best thing: She joined a small group of cat breeders working to create a fully domesticated look-a-like of the largest member of the feline family. "It's a designer cat that was bred specifically to preserve the beauty of an exotic animal," said Santee, of the SanteePride Cattery in Manteno, Illinois. Dubbed toygers, for toy tigers, these playful, black-striped felines have been registered as a breed with the International Cat Association (TICA) since 1993. (see photos of toygers vs. tigers) Santee is among 25 breeders worldwide working on perfecting the pedigreed cat. So far, 360 toygers—each valued at upward of $3,000 (U.S.)—have been registered with TICA. And starting this May toygers will join more familiar breeds—including Abyssinians, Persians, and Russian blues—that can be judged as championship cats at TICA-sponsored cat shows. Public demand for the tiny tiger replica is "overwhelming," Santee said, and has likely been fueled by recent national media attention on the breed's progress.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Great picture. I enjoy reading about specialized breeding of animals.