Tabby Cat Facts

Cats are amazing animals and every cat lover will agree that every cat is special and beautiful in its own way. But, have you ever wonder what is the most common cat that exist in this world? What is the first domestic cat? Yes, we are talking about tabby cats! Tabby cats are unique in their looks, personality and history. These cats fill the house of their owners with friendship and happiness. Many people like them, and many will agree that they are the best! You want to know more about them? Below, we have listed some overall facts and some interesting tabby cat facts that every tabby fan would want to know. Because of that, keep reading!

Tabby Cat Facts: #1 Unique Tabby Cat Patterns

When we talk about Tabby Cat patterns, there are four patterns that have been shown to be genetically distinct. These patterns are Mackerel, Classic, Spotted and Ticked. Some people also list Calico cat in this category of cats because they can have any one of the above four distinct tabby patterns. All of these patterns have been found in another cat breeds and we can say that is because of the interaction between wild and domestic genes. There are some several different patterns in these different kinds of cat breeds but in this article we will focus only on tabby cats and their patterns.

Mackerel Tabby Cat

Mackerel Tabby pattern is considered as most common pattern in tabby cat. This pattern has vertical, gently curved stripes on the side of the body. Because of that some people refer to this tabby cat as tiger cat. These stripes can be spaced, but ideally they are non-broken lines. They usually branch out from one stripe that runs along the top of the cat’s back down the spine. This can resemble to a fish skeleton and because of that a term “mackerel” is used. Mackerel tabby cats can also have striped rings around their tail, chest and legs. An “M” shape in these tabby cats appear on the forehead along with dark lines across the cat’s cheeks to the corners of its eyes.

Classic Tabby Cat

A classic tabby cat is also known as blotched tabby in some regions. They can have bold dark brown, black or sometimes grey patterns along its sides. These patterns are shaped like swirls and whorls. Classic tabby cats also have a light-colored pattern on the shoulders. Furthermore, they have three thin stripes running along the spine, with center stripe usually being dark. The patterns of circular smudges on this type of tabby cats can resemble a bullseye or a target. Just like Mackerel tabby, this tabby also have rings around its legs, tail and cheeks.

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Spotted Tabby Cat

You can guess what kind of pattern does spotted tabby cat have based on the name. This type has spots all over its side. Spots can be small or large, round, oval or rosettes. Sometimes, when a Mackerel tabby has broken stripes it can resemble to a Spotted tabby cat. Because of that it is unknown whether these spots are developed from mackerel tabby or is it some other separate gene.

Ticket Tabby Cat

At first sight, not so many people would say this is a tabby cat. It is because Ticket tabby cat doesn’t have traditional stripes or spots on it body. But, we can see a tabby pattern on its face. This type has agouti hair on its body, What is agouti hair?  It is a hair where individual hairs are striped with alternating light and dark bands. In other words this hair comprises different shades of hair color. In its appearance this can look like sand. The stripes that we can usually see on tabby cats can be seen on the lower legs, face, belly and tail tip of ticket tabby cat. They can also have a long dark line on their back.

Tabby Cat Facts

Tabby Cat Facts: #2 Tabby Cat genes make the patterns

Mam and dad of a cat combine their genes that influence tabby kitten colors and patterns. That is an easy way to say it, but now I’ll explain it in more complicated, biological way. The in which tabby pattern looks is due to three distinct gene loci and one modifier. A gene that controls if the tabby pattern will be expressed is agouti gene (A/a). If a cat has both recessive, aa, gene the pattern will be hidden. It is important to mention that this agouti gene is only for black pigment. Seeing that, you can guess that a cat with gene for orange color  (O) will still show a tabby pattern.

Mackerel tabby has Mc/Mc or Mc/mc gene which is a primary tabby pattern gene. So, this is the gene that makes striped pattern. Spotted tabby also has dominant genes. Their gene is connected with mackerel gene, in other words they break the stripes and turn them to spots. These are Sp/Sp or Sp/sp. The ticked tabby pattern is on a different gene locus than other tabby’s. Their mutation gene Ta/ta makes any other tabby pattern invisible and they then become agouti tabby. To put it in another way, if the ticked tabby pattern gene is present, any other tabby pattern is masked.

Check out this Soft and cuddly toy pet with fur inspired by real tabby cat.

Tabby Cat Facts: #3 Colors of Tabby Cats

Just like the way that tabby cat patterns may vary, the same way goes with color and appearance overall. The most common color in tabby cats is orange. It’s important to mention that most of the orange tabby cats are male. Tabby’s in this color can have every pattern, from mackerel to classic, spotted and ticked. When tabby cats have dark orange marking they are often referred to as ginger cats.

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Another common color in tabby cats is grey. This color usually comes in contrast with a lighter color making a beautiful pattern. Black color is also one of the most common ones in tabby cat. In my opinion this one is one of the prettiest because it usually appears with silver coat color which makes black markings even more visible. Furthermore, there is also brown tabby cat. This color is considered as classic one and it mostly comes with classic patterns.

Tabby Cat Facts: #4 Tabby cat isn’t a breed

Yes, that’s right, tabby cat isn’t a breed on its own. When we talk about tabby cats we are referring to coat pattern. With that in mind, we can say that every cat breed with a tabby cat pattern can be considered as tabby cat. For example, an Abyssinian cat is a tabby cat. There are another cat breeds with this pattern and these include Domestic Shorthair, American Bobtail, American Curl, American Shorthair, Main Coon, Ocicat and many more.

Tabby Cat Facts

Tabby cat facts: #5 Tabby cat History

There are many scientific guesses about Tabby cat history. Well, I think we all know there ancestors are from a wild life. Biologists are saying that modern tabby cat can be traced back to three strains of wild cat. These strains are the African wild cat, the Asiatic wild cat and the European wild cat. In addition, we obviously can see a similarity in their coat patterns with tabby cats. Now, we can ask ourselves, when and how did first domestic tabby cat appeared? We can say for sure that all first tamed domestic cats were tabby cats. Some scientist say that first true domesticated tabby that didn’t have original mackerel pattern are traced all the way back to Turkey in the 14th century.

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Furthermore, they say that these first domesticated tabby cats were pets of Mediterranean farmers. They were useful when it comes to hunting down rodents so they don’t ruin stored grains. From that day forward, tabby cats were spread throughout Europe. On the other hand, some believe that domestic tabby cat originates from Egypt a thousands of years ago. These cats were smuggled to Greece and Rome and when Roman Empire grew into Europe they took the Egyptian cats with them for pest control. These cats started breeding with European wild cats and because of that tabby cats were created.

Tabby cat facts: #6 Tabby is the most popular cat pattern

The most popular and the most common cat pattern is a tabby pattern. That is probably because of the facts listed before. In other words, they are first domestic cat and based on that we can guess that they had plenty of time to breed and spread their pattern genes from the wild life. And, I think we can all agree that these tabby patterns really are one of the most beautiful coat patterns. In addition, tabby pattern is very useful in wild life. It is a great camouflage when hiding or hunting. For example, look at tigers and leopards! They both have tabby patterns and they are one of the best hunters in the wild life.

Check out this Perfect Petzzz Orange Tabby Soft Toy.

Tabby cat facts: #7 A story behind the name “Tabby”

A name tabby is an English term. This term originates from a French phrase “striped silk taffeta”. Furthermore, this phrase root is tabis which means “a rich watered silk”. In addition, this term goes all the way to the Arabic term attabiya. To put it in another way, the silk comes from the Attabiy district in Baghdad and the French term for it was “atabis”. Well, I think you can see the connection now. “Atabis” is turned into “tabis” and, when translated to english, you get the word “tabby”. It is also important to mention that we can compare this term to a Spanish word “ataviar” and ataviar means “to decorate or to dress” and it often implies a luxurious clothing. And this is all because of the beautiful tabby patterns.

Tabby Cat Facts

Tabby cat facts: #8 Legends behind the “M” mark

Mau Legend

The Mau legend of tabby cat comes all the way back from ancient Egypt. In the past, Egyptians were calling cats by the name  Mau. That is probably because of the sound they are making. Furthermore, the word “Mau” has a meaning of “seeing” and “light”. We all know that cats eyes appear luminous at night and Egyptians associated that with the moon. They believed that the “M” marking is reflecting that relationship.

Christian legend

Christian legend is one of the most popular legends about tabby cat. This legend goes all the way back to the birth of Jesus. In this story a cat came to comfort and warm up a baby Jesus. He was shivering from the cold and although Mary covered him with blankets he wouldn’t stop shivering. Then she asked animals in the stable to move closer to the baby so their body heat can warm him. But, the shivering continued. Finally, here comes the cat, the savior. She cuddled next to baby Jesus and started to purr. Baby stopped crying and went to sleep. Mary was so happy and grateful that she marked her own initials on the cats forehead so everyone would know how one of the cats helped the newborn Jesus. And that’s how the “M” marking was created.

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Islamic Legend

In the Islamic world the story goes like this. Mohammed had a cat named Muezza. One day a snake slithered into Mohammed sleeve and the cat killed it. Later that day, Muezza fell asleep on Mohammed’s sleeve. He had to go to a prayer, but instead of waking her up, he cut his sleeve off. That shows how much Mohammed loved his cat. From that day forward, every tabby cat was born with “M” marking. Because of that many believe that M stand for the protector of cats Mohammed.

Story of Jim Willis

His book “Pieces of my Heart – Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature” has “Beloved of Bast” story included. In this story he writes a tale about old brown tabby cat named Mother. Bast, a beloved cat of sun goddess Ra visited the Mother. To make story short, the cat Bast decided that every tabby cat should have the letter M on their forehead. A reason for that was to commemorate Mother’s kindness.

Tabby Cat Facts

Tabby cat facts: #9 Scientific fact about the “M” mark

On the other hand, there is a scientific reason why do tabby cats have an “M” mark on their foreheads. Just like body patterns, “M” mark is also defined because of the genes. This mark starts to develop even before hair starts to grow. Just like every animal that has something special in their appearance so do wild and domestic cats with their patterns. Everything is written on the DNA and part of tabby cats DNA is that marking. Pretty simple, right?

Check out this Tabby Cat Shaped Bedroom Area Rug.

Tabby cat facts: #10 Tabby Cat Personality

Just like people, animals are also individuals with their own unique personalities. Having this in mind you can guess that tabby cats have their own personality, but each tabby cat can also be different from the rest of their kind. What most people agree is that tabby cat is a great pet for kids. That is because they are friendly, cuddly, loving and very social. This especially goes for orange tabby cats. Because of that, if you are looking for your first cat pet, tabby cat could be a best choice!

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On the other hand, tabby cats also tend to have very complex personality. They have a big range of emotions. To put it in other words, they can go from being happy to being sad, anger or even depressed. Another thing that is important to mention is that they are driven by their instincts. That means that they might not be so cooperative. But hey, no one said that animals are always good and easy to go with. They are like little kids too. You just have to love them and they will surely give the love back.

Tabby cat facts: #11 Orange tabby cats are special

What is interesting is the fact that all orange cats are tabby cats. There is no single orange cat that has clear coat. Furthermore, orange tabby cats are mostly males. In a percentage, there is 80 percent males and only 20 percent of female orange cats. Another interesting fact about orange tabbies is that they tend to talk a lot! National Geographic confirmed it in one of their reports, but I can confirm it as well. My orange tabby cat Simba really likes to talk and respond to every one of my questions. They als. o like to eat plenty of food, but there is a downside of it. If you let the bowl of food full all day they can become obese. Moreover, orange tabbies tend to be low-energy. There is no cat that is more lazy than this one.

Tabby Cat Facts

Tabby cat facts: #12 Wild tabby cats

If you are a cat lover, every small and fuzzy cat will caught your eye and you will probably want to cuddle it. But, it is important to mention that there are still many small wild cats in the world. Yes, they are really cute and you could easily mistake them for a domestic cat, especially for a tabby domestic cat. That’s because wild cats usually have tabby patterns. Some of these wild cats are African wild cat, lynx cat, British Isles and the wild cat of Scotland. But, there are many more of them so be careful!

Check out this Tabby Cat Shaped Pillow.

Tabby cat facts: #13 There are many well-known people who love tabby cats

Winston Churchill

One of the most famous prime ministers of Great Britain absolutely loved tabby cats! Yes, I am referring to Sir Winston Churchill. He had two tabby cats named Tango and Mickey. And these two are just his favorite. He had plenty of cats! The fact that he was bringing his cats to many formal dinners says it all. And, I think they certainly got a bite or two under the table.

Freddie Mercury

A great legend, rock singer from the Queen, Freddie Mercury also loved tabby cats.  He also had many cats and among those were two tabby cats. He rescued them from a shelter. First one was an orange tabby cat named Miko and the second one was ginger tabby cat Oscar. In addition, some of his friends and family said that his love for them was so big that he used to know calling them when he was on tour and talk to them for hours. But, lets face it, this could be just a story.

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David Bowie

A famous actor and musician David Bowie also loved cats! Some people even say that there wasnt a cat that didn’t like him. Furthermore, for a movie called “Cat People” he wrote a song with the same name. David Bowie also have an official press photograph where he is holding an Abyssinian tabby cat in his arms.

Betty White

When she was young, Betty White had an orange tabby cat named Toby. This cat was always watching over her. He would perch on her crib railing and kept her company. Talking about tabby cats being a true friends. Her love for animals that began with her cat Toby, continued later in life. She even became animal activist.

Mark Twain

Some sources also list writer Mark Twain as a big tabby cat fan. They say that he was so obsessed with cats that he didn’t ho on any holiday without them. These sources especially talk about one scene. It is a scene where Mark Twain play pool with a tabby kitten tucked into his pocket.

“When a man loves cats, I am his comrade without further introduction.” – Mark Twain

Tabby Cat Facts

Tabby cat facts: #14 Tabby cat as a mayor

That’s right, one orange tabby cat is a mayor in the town of Talkeetna, Alaska. He is 17 year-old tabby cat and his name is Stubbs. 15 years ago he got the votes as a write-in candidate and he has been presiding over the 900-resident historic district ever since. In addition, residents are very happy with it. They even say that he is probably the best mayor ever. Why? Their taxes never raise. Now, I want to live there!

Check out this Tabby Cat Tissue Holder.

Tabby cat facts: #15 Final fact for all tabby cat and coffee lovers

In last couple of years Tabby Cat Café’s have become very popular. Firstly, they are opened up in Atlanta, but now you can find tabby cat cafés all around the world. Some of the cafes operate in traditional coffee shop way and some of them have special rooms for cats. Pretty interesting, right? If you ever get a chance to go to Atlanta, you should really visit one of these coffee shops and see for yourself. Enjoy some coffee or a cup of tea and in addition you get an amazing experience of cuddling a big number of tabby cats. Sounds like heaven!

Final words

Based on this facts we can all say that tabby cats really are amazing. Basically, we can thank them for having all different kinds of domestic cat breeds today.

Do you have a tabby cat? What color and pattern does he/she have? What do you think about tabby cats overall? Did you find this facts interesting? These are all the questions you can answer by leaving a comment down below. Enjoy the read!










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