Tabby Cat Facts – The Cat’s Wild Ancestors

Tabby Cat Facts Tabby Cat Facts. The tabby cat is the best known type of cat. Indeed, tabby cats are the most common of domestic cats. In fact, the tabby pattern is believed to be the pattern of the cat’s wild ancestors. Tabby is not a cat breed. It is not a color either. In fact, the tabby pattern occurs in different cat breeds and it comes in different colors. Tabby is a pattern.

Tabby Cat Facts – Tabby Patterns

The tabby pattern may include swirls, stripes, whorls, and spots. There are four tabby patterns: the classic, the mackerel, the ticked, and the spotted. Classic (or blotched) tabbies are one of the most common. This type of tabby will have swirls and clearly defined stripes all over the body. Usually, a thick band or stripe will run all the way from the neck to the tail.

Mackerel tabbies are also very common. Many in fact believe that this is the original pattern dating back to the wild African cats. The mackerel pattern will display vertical stripes at the sides of the body and rings around the legs and tail. The spotted pattern is said to be a different version of the mackerel pattern. In this pattern, the stripes are broken into big spots all aligned in a single file.

Ticked tabbies are very interesting. At first glance they don’t seem to be tabby cats at all. They don’t come with the usual whorls, swirls and stripes. They would appear to be of a solid color. Upon a closer look, however, you will see that the fur of ticked tabbies has stripes and swirls. Tabbies also come in different color variations: you will find red tabbies, silver tabbies, and brown tabbies – to name a few. The tabby pattern also occurs in different cat breeds, including the Bengal, the Bombay and the Egyptian Mau.

The classic tabby cat has swirls down its sides like a marble cake and bold stripes down their legs and tail. They are sometimes referred to as a blotchy cat.

The spotted tabby has spots all down its side: sometimes big ones, sometimes small ones. The American bobtail and ocicat are good examples of spotted tabbies.

The ticked pattern or agouti tabby has a tabby face but doesn’t have stripes or spots on its body. It has different bands of color down each strand of hair.

10 Tabby Cat Facts

1. Despite the popularity of tabbies, many people still consider the tabby cat its own breed. Tabby cats are not a breed of cat. When referring to the “Tabby” in tabby cats, we are actually talking about the color pattern of the cat’s fur. The tabby color pattern is most often stripes, but can sometimes be a combination of stripes, swirls, and even spots. Every single domestic cat breed has the gene for the tabby pattern. The pattern can show up in various recognized breeds such as Maine Coons, Abyssinians and Bengals.

2. So, what’s with the “M” on your tabby cat’s forehead? Many tabby cats will have a pattern on their forehead that looks like the letter “M”. Several religions have stories as to why tabbies have earned this marking. In Christianity, a tabby came to the Manger to keep baby Jesus warm, so Mary marked himwith an “M” to thank him. In Islam, a tabby cat called Muezza once saved his master Mohammed’s life by killing a snake that crept up his sleeve. The scientific reason behind the M on the forehead of tabby cats is nothing more than genetics. The “M’ it appears is written in DNA.

3. As we mentioned above, tabby cats have four unique pattern types. These include: mackerel, blotched, striped and ticked. Each of these patterns looks different, but the blotched pattern is the most commonly occurring. Blotched tabbies are also called “classic” or “marbled” tabbies.

4. Tabby patterns are likely common because they are the best suited for the wild. These patterns assist in camouflage when cats are hiding in tall grass or brush hunting for prey. Tigers and leopards both have tabby type patterns.

5. Tabby cats were named after a striped silk made in Baghdad. The cats were compared to the silk, giving
them the name “tabby”. The silk comes from the Attabiy district in Baghdad and the 14th century Middle French term for it was “atabis,” that soon turned to “tabis” This of course translated into our English word “tabby”.

6. Orange tabby cats are almost always male. This fact tells us that gender and coat color genetics are somehow related, at least in orange tabby cats. Up to 80% of orange tabbies are male. The reason? The gene that codes for orange fur is on the X chromosome. Since females have two X’s and males are XY, this means that a female orange cat must inherit two orange genes whereas a male only needs one, which he gets from his mother. Conversely, most Calico and tortoise shell cats are female with only about 1 in 3,000 being male.

7. The town of Talkeetna, Alaska, has a unique mayor – a 17-year-old orange tabby cat named Stubbs. Stubbs first swept the vote as a write-in candidate 15 years ago and has been presiding over the 900-resident historic district ever
since. Residents say they are quite satisfied with his leadership thus far and that he is perhaps their best mayor…. ever. They also say they like that he never raises taxes.

8.The original tabby fur pattern most closely matches that of the African wildcat and the European wildcat. These petite wild cats can trace their respective origins back as far as 131,000 years. However, the first domesticated cats appeared only about 10,000 years ago. Scientific researchers say that even today there is very little genetic or appearance variation between the domestic tabby cat and its closely linked wild cat cousins.

9. One thing you’ll never see is a tabby with a solid orange coat. For some reason, orange tabbies will always have some sort of pattern in their coat—the mackerel one, in particular, makes them look quite a lot like little tigers! And for what it’s worth, domestic house cats and tigers share about 96% of their DNA.

10. True to their cartoon mascot Garfield, orange tabbies tend to enjoy eating so much so that leaving their food out all day (a freedom that many cat owners enjoy) can lead to abig cat and big problems. Just like in humans, obesity in cats has been linked with a variety of health problems, including feline diabetes, cancer, and joint damage. A proper cat diet is a must for orange tabbies.

Tabby cats personalities are as wide and varied as are peoples. Generally happy-go-lucky and easy to be around, they are affectionate and intelligent and like lots of cuddles. They can also get angry if they don’t get their way, but, because they are intelligent, they are good at getting what they want.

Read: Everything About Cats That’s Suprised You

Tabby cats feature through all breeds. They range from Persians to Abyssinians, from the American shorthair to main coons. The CFA has the tabby listed in twenty-five breeds. So, even though we can find out tabby cat facts, your run-of-the-mill cat isn’t so specific after all.

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