Traits and Characteristics of Tabby Cats

characteristics of tabby cats

Tabby cats refer to certain cats with line markings on their coats. It does not refer to a certain cat breed, although domestic cats are common breeds with tabby markings.

Cats that belong to the pure breed registry can also have patterns; thus, making the term tabby cat nonexclusive to the domestic cats alone.

Tabby cats are fascinating by nature, their unique patterns come in different colors, markings, and sizes.

Tabby cats have a very interesting history behind their patterns. After talking to die hard tabby cats owners we came to the conclusion that they might have certain qualities that differ from normal cats.

Why Are Tabby Cats Special?

A cat lying on top of each other

Tabby cats are special because their patterns have its’ own genetic and historical origins. The pattern of tabby cats came from its modifier genes.

Cats, by nature, have markings but those with markings that are visible make an exception. Scientifically, the gene called agouti is responsible for making the cat tabby or not.


A close up of a cat

The cats appear with markings if he or she has the agouti gene or part of it is dominant (A/A or A/a). The cat with recessive agouti gene (a/a), however, is a non-tabby cat which means that it does not have any markings.

These cats can also be referred to as solid cats. There are also other cats with different sets of patterns other than a tabby.

These include tri-color cats, calico, tortoiseshell or torties, tuxedo, bicolor, and pointed markings. Of all these forms of patterns, the tabbys are special because it is the oldest pattern known to be present in cats.

It is a most popular pattern and people can easily spot tabby cats. The most notable characteristic of the tabby cat is the “M” marking that can be found at the forehead of the cat. There are variations of stories about this letter marking.

Some say that it came from the word “Mau” which means cat for the ancient Egyptians. These early civilizations of humans are believed to have identified cats as holy creatures.

Others also stated that the marking in the tabby cats’ foreheads came from Islam’s prophet Mohammed, who was fond of tabby cats. For Catholics, the “M” marking could also come from the Virgin Mary who blessed the cat that warmth the newborn Jesus at the manger.

Size, Appearance, And Marking

The size, appearance, and marking of cats can vary according to colors. There are variations of types of marking but the most common of all are red to cream, to black, blue, silver, brown, and tan. Some of these color markings are explained here as follows:

  • Orange – Tabby cats with orange markings are most common among male cats. The appearance of the orange marking can also come in different patterns such as in mackerel, classic pattern, a ticked pattern and a striped.
  • Grey – Grey markings in tabby cats are also common. The usual appearance comes in contrast with a lighter color of the coat, which makes it more prominent.
  • Ginger – Dark orange markings are often referred to as ginger markings.
  • Brown – The most usual way to identity a tabby cats is also through its brown markings. It can also help refer the cat as the classic tabby and classic patterns come along with it.
  • Black –Dark markings such as the black in color is also the most common among tabby cats. When it appears with an opposite coat color such as silver, black marking are highly visible.

Personality And Temperament Of Tabby Cats

Certain cat owners and lovers attest to the different personality and temperament of tabby cats. Tabbys are known for their fun and easy going nature, also contend that cats with a specific marking such as the orange tabby can have its distinct personality, too.

In general, tabby cats were considered to be friendlier and extremely loving. Some say Specific personalities can also come in a tabby with a specific color marking.

Orange tabbies were considered unique because its coat can be related to its gender since most of orange tabbies are male.

Orange and ginger tabbies also earned their reputation of being lazy and docile. These perceptions of such tabbies were further propagated through media presentations of cat characters such as Garfield and Morris, which are both orange tabbies.

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