All About Tabby Cats and Their Color Patterns

by catfood

The phrase “tabby cats” brings up many different associations for many people.

Some people would conjure up images of the notorious “alley cat,” a garbage and alley dweller with a scruffy coat, a scarred snout, and torn ears. Some people might think back to their cherished cats.


Cats with tabby coat patterns occasionally have whorls or stripes in addition to their usual stripes.

Many people consider tabbies to be a breed because of how frequently they are used. The tabby pattern is so widespread that many purebred cats have it now, and many breeds are recognized by the most well-known registries.

Despite the fact that there are several variations of each, the tabby pattern may be broken down into four primary types. A cat that has tabby as a component of another fundamental color pattern is the “patched” tabby, which can be a calico or tortoiseshell cat with tabby patches (the latter is referred to as a “torbie”). In their authorized color palette, several pointed breeds also tolerate “tabby points.” No one is surprised by the global ubiquity of the tabby cat. In the end, the tabby gene may be present in all domestic cats. Try to identify the concealed tabby markings if you ever see a “coal black” cat in the sunlight.


Types of tabby patterns

This pattern’s whorls often come to a conclusion with a “target” on the cat’s side. There are many American shorthair cats with this pattern. It is simple to see the cat’s whorls in this chart because of the cat’s extremely high color contrast.
Striped mackerel: Given that this pattern is by far the most common, some contend that it should be classified as “Classic.” Mackerel tabbies have rings of solid or broken stripes around their tail and legs, a “necklace” of stripes on the front of their chests, and bands of stripes running down the sides of their bodies. They will have darker spots (known as “vest buttons”) over their stomachs in two rows. The ginger cat acts as a representation of broken stripes in the diagram. An image of the same cat as an adult can be found above.
The ocicat and the American Bobtail are outstanding examples of spotted tabby patterns, while many moggies will display this color pattern. The American Bobtail on the chart is a great illustration of the spotted tabby pattern.
Agouti (Ticked): Tabby cats frequently have agouti hairs. If you look closely, you can see that the cat’s hairs have distinct bands of color along the length of them. Cats with an all-ticked pattern appear to almost shimmer in the sunlight due to the variety of colors. The Abyssinian pattern on the chart is a well-known example of a ticking tabby or agouti pattern.

Breeds of dogs that accept the tabby pattern

As was already mentioned, several breeds tolerate the tabby pattern in one way or another. In reality, it is well-known that a 21-pound “English tabby” made its debut at the first cat show ever, which took place in 1871 in London’s Crystal Palace. The tabby pattern is accepted in CFA for the following breeds:

  • Abyssinian (ticked)
  • the United States English Bobtail Curl
  • American short hair (the classic pattern)
  • Wirehair of Usain
  • Birman (tabby points)
  • Colorpoint Shorthair (Lynx Points on the tabby ends)
  • Mau Egyptian (the original spotted tabby)
  • Exotic (shorthaired Persians)
  • Javanese (Lynx Points)
  • LaPerm (which derives from “barn cat”)
  • Maine’s Coon (probably the most popular pedigreed tabby cat)
  • The Norwegian Manx Forest Turkish Cat 14 approved tabby patterns/colors Angora
  • Ocicat in Oriental (with 112 tabby combinations)
  • Ragdoll Islamic (Lynx Points)
  • Rex (Devon, Selkirk, and Cornish)
  • Mountain Fold
  • The Siberian cat is another “natural” tabby cat breed.
  • Singapura (ticked)
  • Somali (longhair ticked)
  • Van Turkish (six tabby colors and patterns)


The most distinguishing feature of all tabby cats is probably the “M” on their foreheads. Tigers, cheetahs, and ocelots are just a few of the enormous jungle cats that have this “M” on their bodies.

Ancient Egypt is where the first legend about this distinctive symbol originally appeared. Cats were referred to as Mau, probably in reference to their vocalizations. The word “mau” can also mean “sight” or “light.” Because cats’ eyes are so brilliant at night, it just took a few more steps to link these wonderful animals with the moon and have their markings reflect that association. A modern-day ancestor of those ancient Egyptian cats is the Egyptian Mau, which was domesticated as a result of the African Wild Cat.

Tabby is in the manger.

Another lovely origin story for the letter “M” is about Mary and the tabby cat in the manger. The animals in the manger were purportedly invited by Mary to get closer to the fussing infant Jesus so that he may get warm because he was cold. A little tabby cat entered the manger—which was simply too small for that—and sat close to the baby, caressing Him and purring. Out of appreciation, Mary scribbled her initial, “M,” on the cat’s forehead.

Mohammed and Tabby

Islamic folklore claims that Mohammed loved cats. He allegedly tore off a shirt’s sleeve when he had to leave to go to prayer rather than wake up his cat Muezza who was fast asleep on the sleeve, according to one account. Because one of them once saved his life when a snake slithered up his sleeve, he is said to have admired cats. This might be a different telling of the well-known Muezza story. Mohammed is said to have endowed cats with the ability to always land on their feet. Mohammed wrote about a woman who starved her pet to death and was sentenced to Hell. All of these stories are based on the premise that Mohammed revered cats, and that seeing a “M” on a cat’s forehead makes one think of Mohammed. In the Islamic world today, cats are still typically cherished and protected, and they are even permitted inside mosques.

Bast cherished it

Jim Willis tells another beloved story of the beautiful “M” in his narrative Beloved of Bast, which is included in his book “Pieces of my Heart-Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature.” It tells “Mother’s” life story, a senior brown tabby “barn cat.”

Cats were allegedly worshipped as gods in ancient Egypt, and the cat has never forgotten this, according to another widely cited article. In actuality, the Goddess Bastet had a cat’s skull, and the Sun God Re was frequently depicted as a feline.

The fact that tabby cats are particularly deserving of our affection should not come as a surprise. They are currently making up a lot of their own legends, as many of you will see.


  • How old on average are tabby cats?

similar to other cats, roughly 15 years.

  • How big can tabby cats get?

Depending on the breed, tabbies can weigh anywhere from nine to fifteen pounds.

  • When do tabby cats get fully grown?

Tabby cats reach sexual maturity at one year of age.




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