7 Fearless Tiger-Like Cat Breeds
Have you ever wanted your own living Hobbes to follow you around? These cats might not be as big on giving sensible advice (or at least mocking sing-songs) like the Bill Watterson character, but they have that gorgeous striped pattern and muscular build of a tiger. The breeds also tend to be of the friendly and gentle type, so you can have the beauty of a tiger without the Siegfried and Roy drama. These breeds are not only good, they’re grrrrreat!
While tabby cats are adorable, they are not a distinct breed but a coat pattern. A tabby can be born in a litter even if neither parent is a tabby. One distinguishing mark of a tabby cat is the stripes form a letter M on the forehead.
Some people say it stands for Mary (Never mind that she would’ve written in Hebrew.) and some think it stands for Mohammed. (Never mind that he would’ve written in Arabic.) It could stand for “meow” the one word all cats can say. If you have one of these radiant creatures for a pet, perhaps you can think of the M as standing for “Mine”.
The wonderful thing about toygers is toygers are wonderful things! This cat was specifically bred in the later part of the 20th century to look like a tiger that shrunk in the wash. Those stripes are on fleek! The fur is a tannish orange with dark stripes in a very tiger-like pattern. They’re even fairly muscular with a thick set head like a tiger.
They are a clever and affectionate breed that loves playtime, but are also laid back enough to be leash trained. The Toyger is rapidly becoming a more popular breed of late to the point where it’s becoming a recognized breed in cat shows.
It has been said that the Ancient Egyptians treated cats like gods, and the cats never forgot this. The Egyptian word for cat is “mau”, where this breed gets the name. Perhaps the Ancient Egyptians thought that when a cat meowed, he was trying to say his name!
Their swirls of grey and off-white are reminiscent of a Siberian tiger and the natural eyeliner makes their shining eyes stand out. While they have a tiger’s pattern, they have a cheetah’s speed and agility. They’ve been clocked in at a good 30 miles per hour.
Here’s a well established breed named for an increasingly rare subspecies of tiger from India, though this cat’s pattern more closely represents a leopard’s spots or a jaguar’s rosettes. Like the leopard, they’re very athletic and like to climb. Like the jaguar, they won’t mind getting their paws wet, particularly if it means getting some fish. (Keep the aquarium covered.)
Bengals are fairly large as house cats go and have a lot of energy so are perhaps best suited for larger homes with a lot of room for this feisty feline to run off all that energy.
This breed may be just a little too close to a tiger, being a cross of an African serval and domestic house cat. In fact, they’re illegal to own in the United States possibly due to the difficulty in breeding one safe for family living. It can take several generations of breeding to get something tame enough to be a pet and the first generation of males tend to be sterile.
They are graceful animals with a temperament akin to a dog’s. They can be leash trained and can play fetch. They are a clever and curious breed. This combined with their large size and incredible talent for leaping can lead to a cat that is often in and out of trouble.
This is the breed of cat most closely related to the kind immortalized by the Ancient Egyptians. You may see this type of cat depicted in Ancient Egyptian painting and sculpture. When the cat died, the remains would be mummified and the family would shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning.
The golden ticked fur makes the Abyssinian look more like a lion or a cougar than a tiger but that intense stare is mesmerizing. This is a friendly and sociable cat that will fall into depression if separated from favorite people for too long.
The eccentric surrealist painter Salvador Dali had an ocelot he would walk on a leash. When questioned, he would say that it was an ordinary house cat he painted with an op art pattern. And people believed him! Though this particular cat breed highly resembles the exotic ocelot, the breed carries absolutely no wild DNA. Rather, the ocicat breed is a cross between a seal point Siamese and a ruddy Abyssinian. (Coat color! Not a swear word!)
They’re on the large side of medium-sized and are very active so make sure there’s lots of toys to play with. Ocicats are playful and extroverted, always eager to make friends. Much like Dali!
“It’s not easy being cheesy” said a popular snack food mascot. The cheetoh not only looks a bit like a cheetah but has a bit of Chester’s personality; elegant, cool and mild mannered for the most part until he sees something interesting. In which case, you’ll have a good 20 pounds of speckled fur bouncing around in excitement!
This new breed was started in 2001 by crossing a Bengal with an Ocicat. Though large, the cheetoh’s playful temperament and friendly nature makes them good playmates for children.