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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Tiger Cat: Info, Pictures, Care & Characteristics

Tiger Cat: Info, Pictures, Care & Characteristics

Tiger cat on the grass

Tiger cats, classically known as tabby cats, are quite popular in the feline world. This is not a singular breed but rather a color pattern variation. There are a total of four recognized patterns: classic, mackerel, spotted, and ticked.

Breed Overview


12-18 inches


15-35 pounds


12-15 years


Black, gray, white

Suitable for:

Any cat-friendly indoor home


Playful, affectionate, talkative

The likelihood of finding a tiger cat is super high if you look in shelters, online ads, and social media platforms. You can find tiger cats with short, medium, and long hair. Let’s learn all the fascinating facts about this beautiful wild-like pattern.

Tiger Cat Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.

divider-cat Tiger Kittens

If you were looking to purchase a tiger kitten, chances are you can find one for free. However, if you want to get a purebred cat, several can carry the tiger pattern in their DNA.

You can find many tiger cats to choose from at local rescues, on ad sites, and social media platforms. If you are purchasing a kitten from a private seller, costs can vary. Just make sure you aren’t encouraging people who are breeding common house cats for profit. There are so many homeless kitties in the world, and most cats in those situations have not been cared for properly.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Tiger Cats

Tiger cats vary in intelligence based on their personality traits. It’s hard to measure just how intelligent one of these cats will be on a coat pattern alone.

However, many describe tabby cats as having sweet, curious demeanors. They have a very strong sense of independence and love to chase their newest toys around the house.

Tiger cats have a natural knack for hunting. So, don’t be surprised if you wake up to find a surprise mouse that was just harvested for you since you’re a silly human who can’t hunt for themselves.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Like almost any cat, a tiger cat makes a charming addition to any home. Because of their adventurous spirit, they need to be indoors to prevent running away or getting lost.

Since they tend to be outgoing, this may be a feline pal that loves cuddling up next to a complete stranger the first time they visit your home. They aren’t very shy, either. So, the new guest will likely get sniffs, bunts, and meows as a formal greeting.

There is no age group limitation. Tiger cats do very well with children if they are raised together. Also, these cats make perfect companion animals for seniors.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Tiger cats will love having a friend to hang out with, so other cats are a must-have. They will love nothing more than spending their days cuddled up or pouncing on another cat. They can get along very well with canine companions, too—permitting that they are raised alongside one another.

However, because of their high prey drive potential, they can’t be trusted around smaller pets and caged animals. You should always warrant caution and offer supervision, even when your other pet is in a cage.

Cats can wind their paws easily to fit through bars and could seriously hurt another animal without understanding the repercussions of their actions.


Things to Know When Owning a Tiger Cats

Food & Diet Requirements

As with any other feline, tiger cats need a high-quality, high-protein diet with plenty of nutrients to nourish muscles, organs, and skin. Even though dry kibble is perfectly designed to meet all nutritional profiles, some cats prefer a more savory selection.

You can add wet food as a topper to stimulate the tastebuds. Lots of owners are also catching on to homemade and raw food diets as well. This holistic approach gives you full control over what goes into your cat’s mouth to ensure only the best for your pets.

If you do choose a handmade diet, you should always clear recipes with your vet. Your vet will guide you on portioning these meals based on your cat’s age, weight, and overall health.

blue tabby maine coon cat playing with water
Image by: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐈

Tiger patterned cats are usually pretty high energy until after they are spayed or neutered. They typically have playful spirits and make terrific hunters. Luckily, your cat doesn’t need a great deal of exercise to be fit.

On average, cats require 15 minutes of continuous exercise per day. You can get them self-play toys like scratching posts, activity stations, and catnip toys. You can also get interactive games to play with your cat if you want to join in on the fun.

Training 🧶

Litter training should be a cinch for your tiger cat. Usually, kittens are potty trained before they’re even ready to come home with you at eight weeks. It’s luckily a very natural impulse for cats to want to cover up their waste, so they appreciate the litter box.

But some cats, on the other hand, need a little more time and patience. Most tiger cats will catch on fast, but some need a few extra introductions to their potty area. Sometimes, you might have to restrict free-roaming until your cat catches on.

When it comes to other concepts, your cat can absolutely pick up on trick training. It might be a bit more challenging if you’re trying to avoid certain behaviors, like scratching and marking, but there are sprays, tapes, and other deterrents to channel behavior.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your cat depends a lot on their coat type. Tiger cats can have short, medium, and long fur. Short-haired cats do most of the hard work for you by self-grooming, but long-haired cats need a little extra help.

To prevent hairballs and excess shedding, you can brush your cat a few times a week with a slicker or synthetic brush. Clipping nails are optional, and you should really only perform this action if you’re familiar with the process.

If you clip nails too short, it can cause bleeding. So, if you don’t feel confident—trust a professional.

Since dental issues are so prevalent in cats, it’s best to brush their teeth regularly to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

blue-eyed tabby point siamese cat
Image by: Hanna and the world, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Cats are overall pretty healthy animals, although some breeds are more prone to specific health issues than others. Since this is a pattern variation, it’s a little hard to say what your cat might be susceptible to.

The best way to keep ahead of any developing issues is to make sure you’re keeping up with annual health checks. Always keep your cat up to date with vaccines and schedule them as soon as possible for their spay or neuter surgery to avoid marking and unwanted pregnancy.

Here are some common health concerns that might pop up in any cat, regardless of the breed.

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
  • Ringworm
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Feline Leukemia Virus
  • Heartworm


Male vs. Female

Males and females will each have their own personalities, but certain characteristics fall to one side or the other. For instance, males are notoriously more loveable and needy than their female counterparts—and females might be a bit more selective about who wins their affections.

Tomcats are pretty noticeable, with large, broader heads, slender bodies, and a large scrotum in the back. Neutered males will still have a scrotum, but it is deflated and a little harder to detect. Females might have more prominent nipples, especially if they have had a litter of kittens.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Tiger Cat

1. Tortoiseshell cats are considered ‘patched’ tabbies.

If you ever met a tortie, you surely won’t soon forget. The colors on these cats are absolutely gorgeous and their attitudes are feisty as all get out. Torties are actually considered a “patched” tabby since they can print on parts of their bodies.

2. The pattern on tiger cats helps them blend in.

Tiger markings are terrific for lurking around undetected in nature. Of course, your housecat probably won’t utilize this natural camouflage much, but they might think they do.

3. Tiger cats are excellent hunters (especially females).

If you leave a cat to hunt, they will very much impress you with their swiftness and agility. Female cats tend to be better hunters than males, especially after a spay or neuter surgery.


Final Thoughts

Even though tiger cats are just a pattern variation, they do carry certain traits. Anyone who has ever loved a kitty with this coat type could tell you stories for days about their unique personality quirks. These playful balls of joy might look very different from cat to cat, but the pattern is still beautiful.

Luckily, you can find a tiger cat in virtually any litter, so you won’t have trouble seeking one out. Always look at local shelters for homeless kitties that could use a forever home—otherwise, best of luck in your search for a purebred tiger-coated kitty.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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