All You Need To Know About Tabby Cats – Types, Patterns and More

What are tabby cats

​The term tabby cat is quite common among those who have pet cats. Most will refer to almost any domestic cat as tabby cat.

 While it is true that tabby cats are mostly the domesticated ones, not necessarily all domestic cats are tabby cats. Also, when we refer to tabby cats, we are not referring to any specific breed of cats. Tabby isn’t really the breed, but actually the fur pattern of the cat.

Are you one of those who had no idea about these common misconceptions? Read on and find more interesting facts!

What ​Are ​Tabby ​Cats? 

Tabby Cat

​In simplest terms tabby cats are the domestic cats that have a distinct M shaped mark on their forehead and stripes, swirls, lines or dots patterns are formed on their fur coat. All types of domestic cats are certainly not tabbies. There are some other types available as well. However, the most important thing to know is that tabby isn’t a breed of cats. It is basically the pattern of the cat’s fur which leads to the naming.

An ​Insight ​Into ​The ​World of ​Tabbies 

​Tabbies have a distinct coat pattern. That’s what sets them apart from the rest and they are called so. But, there are tabby cats out there that will do not have these distinct marks. It can be because of a more prevalent color of the coat that is marking the original patterns. Basically, it is the tabby gene that gives the fur the distinct patters and presence of the different variations of the gene will mean that it is a tabby nonetheless.

Why ​Most ​Domestic ​Cats ​Are ​Called ​Tabby ​Cats?

tabby cats
Why most domestic cats are called tabby cats? Is it right?

As you must have noticed, most people will refer to all the domestic cats as tabby cats. As already explained above, this is erroneous. Not all domestic cats are necessarily tabby cats.

However, historically speaking, tabby cats are among the most common ones found at homes. Even pictures of cats from the medieval paintings reveal tabby cats being present at that time.

No wonder, most of us have made the mistake of considering all domestic cats as tabby cats. Yes, tabbies are extremely common when it comes to domestic cats. And, yes, there are few other types of cats available too that can be domesticated but are not tabbies.

Types of ​Tabbies 

​We already spoke about the various types of fur patterns you will find in general. These fur pattern leads to the naming of different variations of the tabbies. Let us check them out.

The most common 3 types of tabbies

​As per what is found in general, most of us come across the following three patterns of tabby cats.

Classic swirl patterned tabby cats

Classic swirl patterned tabby cats – The swirling pattern on fur coats of the cats is the one that can be seen most commonly. The marking is basically that of a color swirl present on the sides of the body of the cat. This blotched pattern is what also prompted the name blotchy tabby to be attributed to these cats.

Spotted tabby

Spotted tabby – As the name clearly suggests, the marking is that of spots appearing on the sides of the body. Consider a cheetah and imagine the spots. This will look somewhat similar to that type of spots. The spots are in the shape of round or oval or even rosette types.

Mackerel tabby

Mackerel tabby – The mackerel type are those that have thin stripes running across the side of the body. These stripes look to have originated from the spine region and runs down. The stripes are pretty clear on the lower side of the limbs. The distinct striped pattern also makes it look similar to tiger stripes. The lines can branch out but will remain non-broken and evenly spaced.

The miscellaneous 2 types

​While the above three types are pretty common, there are two more types available.

Patched tabby cats

Patched tabby cats – This looks like a mix between the brown and red tabby cats. There are patches of both the brown and red tabby on the body present distinctly and it will show different patterns on the same body. Some call it the tortie, short of tortoise shell.

Ticked tabby

Ticked tabby – The ticked tabby cats will not look like a tabby at first to many. However, closer inspection will allow you to notice the alternate dark and light colored furs. Another name for this type is the Abyssinian tabby cat or the agouti tabby cat.

​Tabby cats are of different types. However, when it comes to proper care and diet and enough affection and play time with their owners, every cat is nearly the same. Do check out the various such interesting and important things to know about your cat. Also, if you wish to keep the fur sparkling and shining, ensure that your cat gets the best diet.

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My name is Puka and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of two lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.


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