The Toybob cat is often referred to as one of the smallest of all cat breeds, but it is worth mentioning that the breed is not a miniaturised version of any established breed of cat. The breed of naturally small to medium sized bobbed tailed cats originated in Russia and existing there for over three decades. The Toybobs can be found in all colours and have either a short or semi-long coat. The Toybob Shorthair is more common at this time as not all professional cat associations have yet approved the Toybob Longhair.
The Toybob cat was first documented in the Rostov Region of Russia in 1983 when Ms. Elena Krasnichenko adopted a stray seal-point cat from outside her home.
By her accounts, this cat looked very much like Traditional (Applehead) Siamese cat, except for its kinked shortened tail. This cat was bred to another adopted Domestic Shorthair, a bobtailed seal-point female with a curled kinked tail, and in 1988, the breeding of these two cats produced an unusually small bobbed tail cat, named "Kutciy," which became one of the foundation cats for the breed and called "Skif-Thai-Don" (also known in the longer form, Skif-Thai-Toy-Don).
By the late 1990s, the Toybob became very scarce, and a breeder from the Ural Region of Russia, Alexis Abramchuk (Si-Savat cattery; inactive) had begun to broaden the breed's limited gene pool by adding Domestic cats. When Si-Savat discontinued their Toybob breeding program, local Ural breeder, Natalya Fedyaeva (Little Angel cattery; inactive), acquired from Abramchuk, a small male "Gavrila Fadeevich," elsewhere, two females, all three from the Skif-Thai-Don line and decided to pick up where Abramchuk left off. Fedyaeva had observed that cats of very similar phenotype to them were spotted living locally around barns and streets in that region. These native cats were also of small size with kinked tails or kinked bobbed tails but seen in colors and patterns other than seal point. Fedyaeva, along with other local breeders, began to work on developing the Toybob cat's initially small genetic pool by adding those found domestic cats as well as other similarly phenotyped breeds. Fedyaeva began to refer to these Ural bred Toybob cats as "Scyth-Toy-Bob" to differentiate them from the Skif-Thai-Don line.
In the past 30 years of the breed's development, the Toybob has gone over through many hoops, loops, and rope untangling to get it under one general breed name finally. The breed has been known under several names and is a major component of its history. It was in 1994; the breed name was suggested by Russian feline book author and WCF judge Dr. Olga Mironova to be given to all Toybob cats in development. The breed expanded internationally when in 2004, Ural (Scyth) Toybobs were imported to the United States, and four years later the cats entered Experimental status within The International Cat Association (TICA) under the general name, Toybob. In 2014, the majority of TICA registered Toybob breeders began to work in close cooperation, focusing on advancing the breed’s recognition. A year later the “International Toybob Cat Club” (ITCC) was formed; with the dedication to promote the breed worldwide, mentor new breeders and unify the Toybob standards across all Cat Fancy associations. Due to the Club’s efforts, the cat is now under one breed name, advanced within TICA and is quickly gaining popularity across the world. Currently, there are Toybob breeding programs all over Russia, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, Canada and all over the United States. The future looks very bright for these adorable little felines.
Toybob Longhair. Photo provided by owner, Helen Sokolova.
Early generation Toybob & Kutciy (right). Photo by E. Krasnichenko.
Published in TICA Trend, Vol. 38, No. 1
The Toybob cat's most unusual feature is it's kinked bobbed tail and just like other known kinked bobbed tail breeds, the tail does not affect its agility or health. At the time the breed was registered with TICA, little to no genetic research had been done on the Toybob to learn more about the unique genes behind the cat's anomalous small size and bobbed tail appearance. Leading to much speculation as to it having possible relations to other known bobtail breeds. In 2016, the International Toybob Cat Club (ITCC) decided to perform preliminary testing with renowned feline expert and, geneticist, Dr. Leslie A. Lyons to find any connection to other bobbed tail breeds (e.g., Japanese Bobtail and Manx) and it resulted in there being no direct relation to the Toybob. The Toybob also is not affected by any known genetic health conditions.
Feline traits notwithstanding, the Toybob has all of the qualities one looks for in a companion cat. The cats thrive when they are with their people. The Toybob is best described as “The small cat with the big loving heart." The Toybob is intelligent, good-natured, affectionate and sociable; making it easily get along with other friendly animals. In general, the Toybob is a happy cat who gets along with everyone and is a playful, cuddly companion. Toybobs are loving and devoted to their family, but they can have a natural shyness around new people. It's not unusual for them to be little shy with strangers for the first few minutes until they warm up. The Toybob’s smaller size and gentle demeanor make them also great company for children, although supervised play is recommended for homes with very young children who might accidentally injure them. The cats are also seen to have very protective personalities, applying it either to their human family members or other pets at home. They often rush into split up fights or if someone is in need of help. Overall loving, charming and playful, the Toybob can be quite addictive. People who love the cat can't imagine life without one, and many can’t imagine life without two or three. Their petite size makes a Toybob (or a few) great in an apartment setting. In fact, Toybobs long for companionship, so it is not recommended to have only one if left home alone for extended periods of time.
● The Toybob is naturally small in size but not bred for smaller size, and they are not a miniaturized version of any other breed(s). They have a naturally bobbed tail.
● The Toybob has been in existence for over 30 years, but due to the
Toybob's ITCC breed club's active worldwide promotion, they are fast growing in popularity amongst cat fanciers.
● The Toybob is a naturally healthy breed and is not known to suffer from any congenital diseases.
● Toybobs make wonderful companion cats who thrive when they are with the people they love.
● Toybobs do very well with older children, but for homes with smaller children, supervised playtime is recommended due to their small size and docile nature.
● Toybobs are very social cats; they do not do well being in a one pet household or alone for long periods.
Photo by Chanin. Photo provided by owner, Margo Hill.
Two cats spotted in a barn in a rural area of Yekaterinburg, Russia, appearing to be similar to Toybob phenotype - relatively small with bobbed tails (Autumn 2016)