The result of breeding domestic short haired tabbies to make them resemble a "toy tiger", this breed's creator, Judy Sudgen, has stated that the breed was developed in order to inspire people to care about the conservation of tigers in the wild.
In 1980 when Judy was looking to clarify the mackerel markings in her two tabby cats, she noticed distinctive markings occurring on the head, an area normally devoid of distinct pattern, and it was this that first inspired the idea of a tiger-like tabby. After importing a tom from the streets of India with noticeable head markings, the quest to develop tiger-like, circular face markings in the cats began. The introduction of the Bengal breed into the gene pool was a move on Sudgen's part to produce a "big cat body".
It was recognized for "Registration only" by The International Cat Association in the early 1990s, and in 2007 its status was upgraded to allow the breed full Championship status. There are several breeders in the United States, three breeders in the UK, and one in Australia working to develop the breed.
With the aid of computer imaging, breeders have been able to develop a prospective model for the desired, final look of the breed. By 2010, breeders hope to have achieved rounded ears, and a wider nosebridge. Smaller eyes, whitened chest and stomach markings, and a cheek ruff are also breed possibilities for the future.
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