Year of the Tiger

Chinese folklore and the famous stripes

We are currently in a year of the water tiger according to the Chinese horoscope. Much is made of this at the start of the year, Chinese New Year. Now, partway through, are some reminders of its strength and power. We very strongly associate with the Chinese year of the water tiger as its lucky number is 3. In Chinese folklore, the tiger is one of the four powerful animals, next to the dragon, tortoise and phoenix. Folk tales tell of tigers killing evil men and protecting the good and tiger charms are used to ward off evil spirits and diseases.

Tigers (Panthera Tigris) are the largest living members of the cat family. They are native in many terrains across Asia from north-eastern China to southern India. Their distinctive striped pattern is unique in the wild. Although we often use the term ‘tiger striped’ for some of the smaller breed pets, they are technically ‘mackerel’ striped because their stripes descend from a dark backbone. The stripes on each side of a tiger at times meet at their back, but there is no single stripe down their backbone. The Bengal breed is one most closely linked to tigers, however, its genetic and breeding origins lie with the Asian leopard rather than tigers.

The stripiness of domestic cats and the power of tigers in the wild both contribute to Tiger being one of the most popular names for domestic cats around the world.

Do you have a true ‘tiger’ striped cat or is it actually ‘mackerel’ striped?

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