Selecting a kitten requires careful thought about personality, level of physical activity and need for attention. Tiger cat kittens make playful, lifetime companions with engaging personalities. Considered a mix breed, tiger cat kittens come in a variety of colours and hair lengths. Tiger cat kittens bear no relation to tigers; their name comes from markings and colour patterns similar to a tiger's stripes. Other names for the tiger cat include tabby, American shorthair, and domestic shorthair or domestic longhair.
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The "Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds" describes the American shorthair as an "All-American" cat, brought to North America on ships during American colonisation. Note, however, that not all tiger cats are pure American shorthairs; many result from random breeding. Given the nature of the mixed breed with a deep genetic pool, the tiger cat enjoys good health and longevity. These cats feature medium builds, body types and sizes---neither small nor large. The description of domestic shorthair or longhair applies to the length of the cat's fur. The striped coat distinguishes the tiger cat from other domestic mixed breeds.
Gentle and affectionate, tiger cats or tabbies make excellent additions to homes with children and other pets. As kittens and adults, they display independent natures and a high degree of intelligence. This makes the tiger cat kitten trainable and adaptable. The tiger cat does not demand excessive attention from his owners, but enjoys a combination of freedom and interaction. Expect playfulness and moderate vocalisation from the tiger cat.
Colouring and Markings
Tiger cat kittens come in a range of colours, including black and grey, silver, red or orange, and variations of brown. Look at the kitten's tail tip and stripes to determine its true colour. The cat referred to as tiger-striped features parallel stripes down its side, and it is also known as a mackerel tabby. The stripes distinguish the tiger cat from other variations of tabbies. The most commonly recognised colouration features black stripes on a white or silver background.
Tiger cat or mackerel tabby kittens display an "M" on their forehead---legs of the "M" are above each eye and the point is positioned over the centre of the forehead. This distinguishes the tabby from other breeds; however, all types of tabbies will feature the "M," not just the mackerel tabbies.
Locating and Selecting Kittens
Look for tiger cat kittens at local animal shelters, veterinarian offices and animal rescue agencies. The tiger cat breed regularly appears on Petfinder and other online pet locating websites. For purebred American shorthairs, not the mix-breed tigers, contact a local breeder or the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
When selecting a kitten, remember markings on kittens appear indistinct until their adult coats develop. Examine the fur patterns carefully in good light when seeking out the specific tiger cat characteristics, including the striped patterns and the forehead markings. For purebred kittens, consult the CFA breed profiles and standards that describe the breed in detail.
Tiger cats enjoy longevity. They come from hearty and healthy stock and can live fifteen years or more with good care. They experience fewer chronic health problems than purebred varieties. When selecting a kitten, look for one that has bright, clear eyes, healthy fur and skin, and shows an interest in his surroundings.
Adult personality depends upon the socialisation and care that the kitten receives when young. Tiger cats prefer less carrying and handling than other breeds, but kittens that are held and stroked frequently become accustomed to and enjoy attention.
Unlike purebred cats, the mixed-breed tiger cats demand only moderate personal care. Domestic shorthairs require infrequent grooming. They present a good choice for an owner who prefers to not spend time brushing the cat or cleaning up fur.
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