The Cat Breed That Is Closest To A Tiger

If there were ever a domesticated animal that doesn't feel domesticated, it's cats. From their steely glare to their strange feline habits, any honest cat lover will confess that, from time to time, they've wondered whether humans have pet cats, or cats have pet humans.

Strange and wild as cats may be, there are some stark differences between different cat breeds. Hairless cats, like the Sphynx, tend to be hyper cuddly, whereas Maine Coons are pretty much a dog trapped in a cat's body. If you've ever fantasized about going bigger, though — such as, you know, having a pet tiger — you wouldn't be the first one. Tigers are beautiful, noble creatures. Unfortunately, they don't make good pets, given that they're pretty much the most dangerous cat breed out there, but if you're in the market for a somewhat tiger-like house cat, how close can you get? 

Tigers and house cats aren't actually that different

If you've watched any tiger YouTube videos, you've probably noticed that tigers and house cats can behave rather similarly ... other than, you know, the fact that a swipe from Charlie the Siamese cat leaves a few scratches on your arm, whereas Tony the Tiger will swipe your arm clean off. Still, it's fascinating to realize that when you start examining Charlie and Tony on a microscopic level, the big and little felines are astonishingly alike. As documented by the Christian Science Monitor, the fearsome tiger shares 95.6 percent of its DNA with the little cat stepping on your keyboard this very second. In general, it's believed that both species of feline diverged from a common ancestor approximately 10.8 million years ago.

Now, to be fair, these shared genetics are a lot more obvious than they seem at first glance. After all, considering how much DNA humans really share with bananas, you would hope that tigers and house cats hit the 90-something mark. Given that house cats and tigers are so closely related, then, identifying the most "tiger-like" cat means simply figuring out which one looks the most like a tiger ... and in that case, the answer is easy.

Meet the toyger

Yes, this breed of cat really is called a toyger. Mock it all you want, but c'mon, isn't it adorable? 

To be clear, the toyger's close resemblance to a tiger is no accident. As the BBC explains, toygers are "designer cats" first bred in California during the nineties. Their are orange toygers and there are white/silver toygers, just like tigers, and they're said to exhibit doglike behavior, as they enjoy games like fetch, and do well with children. Because they're so new, they're also quite rare. According to PetHelpful, there are only an estimated 400 toygers in the world, and it can cost you thousands of dollars if you want to have a pet toyger of your very own.

If you do get a toyger, though? Please, please don't name it Tigger. That's just overkill.