What Makes a Cat a Tabby?
A tabby cat conjures up a lot of images from the alley cat to the ship's cat. It represents your run-of-the-mill average cat. Funnily enough, it does not have a breed of its own; it is spread across a wide range of breeds and has four, perhaps five, distinct types of markings that make it a tabby cat.
The four patterns are:
Some cat experts also include a fifth pattern called patched, which is more a tortoiseshell color with patches of tabby.
The mackerel is the most common pattern of the tabby cats. Named after the mackerel fish because of the markings, a mackerel tabby cat is the most like the markings of a tiger. They have narrow stripes down their flanks and rings around their legs and tail. They have the familiar M marking on their forehead.
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.
Tabbys come in different colors. The agouti colors (ground colors) vary vastly in color.
- Brown tabby - brown or gray ground color with black or dark brown stripes
- Blue tabby - gray or buff ground color with gray stripes, varying degrees of gray can be found
- Red tabby - cream ground color with orange stripes, the orange may vary in colors
- Cream tabby - pale cream ground color with peach, sand or cream stripes
- Silver tabby - white ground color with black stripes; there is also blue silver, cream silver, or red silver
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.
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 what is a tabby cat, your run-of-the-mill cat isn't so specific after all.
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