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The Different Types of Tabby Cats

  • 19 June 2017
  • Pet Wants

It’s common for people to use the term “tabby” when talking about domestic cats. However, tabby doesn’t actually refer to a breed of cat. Instead, it’s the pattern of a cat’s fur. The reason that tabby is such a prevalent term is it’s the most common style of feline coat pattern. This is because every cat has the tabby gene. Some coats fully display this trait, while others hide it because of other patterns or colors.

Understanding More About the Tabby Look

If a solid-colored cat is sitting in direct sun, you may be able to see faint tabby markings on it. But what you won’t see is a solid red or orange or cream cat without tabby markings. The reason is the gene that makes a cat red or cream also makes the tabby markings visible. Other aspects of the tabby look are thin pencil lines on the face, expressive markings around the eyes and a distinct letter “M” on the forehead.

3 Very Common Tabby Coat Patterns

Based on the different variations of the tabby gene, there are five main patterns that a cat can possess. The first is the classic tabby. This look includes bold, swirling patterns along the sides. The pattern of circular smudges on the classic tabby’s body is why some people refer to this type of cat as a blotched tabby.

Next up is the mackerel tabby. You can pick out a cat that falls into this category by the narrow stripes running in parallel down its sides. This type of tabby pattern tends to take the form of stripes that are non-broken lines and evenly spaced.

The third pattern in this category is a spotted tabby. As the name implies, this pattern is defined by spots all over a cat’s sides. These spots can be large or small, and sometimes appear to be broken mackerel stripes. They can be round, oval or rosettes.

2 Other Tabby Patterns

No discussion of tabby cats would be complete without covering two other common patterns. The first is a ticked tabby. Although this pattern may not seem like a tabby at first, a closer look will reveal that the individual hairs are striped with alternating light and dark bands. These bands are known as the agouti hairs.

The final pattern is a patched tabby. The standard form this pattern takes is separate patches of brown tabby and red tabby on the same animal.

We hope that you found this discussion of tabby cats to be interesting and helpful. And regardless of how your cat looks, if you want to support its health, you can easily do so by putting Pet Wants cat food in its bowl every day.

For more information on pets or to try one of our formulas, please contact Pet Wants Tucson at: 520-909-9770.

Due to personal circumstances we are closing the Pet Wants Tucson location February 28, 2019. Please call to check product availability before ordering. Dismiss