The 58-year-old architect is the inventor of the Toyger, a house cat bred to look like a toy model of the largest member of the cat family. If this dedicated breeder can perfect her imitation tiger, some experts expect it to become one of the most sought-after cats in history—fetching prices as high as $4,000. “They’re going to look different from [other] breeds,” says Kay DeVilbiss, the president of the International Cat Association (TICA). “There’s going to be Toyger fever.”
Look at this little boy,” she says, cradling a young tom. “See the nice dark markings over his eyes? But he doesn’t have the muzzle.”
She gives him a few strokes, then moves on. “This one has a lovely face. Look up, sweetie. But he doesn’t have the coat".
Sugden doesn’t like to publicize the location of her cattery, for fear of wire-cutting animal-rights activists. But her project is creating a high-decibel buzz in the world of cat fanciers.
National Geographic
Life Magazine: It's a house cat! It's a tiger!
In an oak-shaded backyard 30 miles outside of L.A., Judy Sugden is conducting a tour of her secret genetics lab. The well-kept facility consists of several cabins built of plywood and fencing in which dozens of domestic cats nap, wrestle, prance, and preen. The cats flock toward visitors as they pass by, poking paws through their cages. They’re striking creatures, more muscular than the average tabby, with reddish-amber fur set off by bold dark stripes. But to Sugden, they’re pieces of a puzzle—a collection of traits and tendencies from which she’s constructing a cat such as the world has never seen.
Meet the Toyger, America's next superpet.
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