Tabby Cats are one of the most popular cat breeds in America. If you have ever asked someone what kind of cat they have, chances are they have answered that they have a tabby cat. Tabby cats are considered one of the most “classic” looking domestic cats, most likely because tabby cats are the most common.
Despite the popularity of tabbies, some folks still erroneously consider the tabby cat its own breed. Tabby cats are not a type of 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 has the gene for the tabby pattern, which is another reason why tabby cats are so ubiquitous.
Types Of Tabby Cat
While there are many variations of the tabby cat coat, there are four recognized tabby cat patterns:
Classic Tabby Cat
The classic tabby has a pattern that whorls, usually with a center or “target” on the side of the cat. Many American Shorthair cats have this tabby pattern in a variety of colors. This pattern is also known as a “blotched tabby.”
Mackerel Tabby Cat
Mackeral tabby cats have stripes running up and down their bodies, earning them the nickname of “tiger cats.” The stripes are in a vertical pattern and make a tabby cat look like a domesticated little tiger with different color variations.
Spotted Tabby Cat
A spotted tabby cat has, as the name suggests, spots all over her sides. These spots can be large or small, and sometimes they look like broken mackerel stripes. The spots can be different shapes, including circular, oval, or tiny rosettes.
Ticked Tabby Cat
A ticked tabby, also know as the Agouti tabby pattern, does not have the traditional stripes or spots of the other tabby patterns. At first glance, this cat may not even look like a tabby. Ticked tabby cats may have classic tabby patterns on his face and agouti hairs on his body.
Agouti hairs are individual hairs that are striped with dark and light bands alternating. Each hair is striped with its own pattern. These hairs make it seem like ticked tabby cats are glistening in the sun. This pattern is most common in Abyssians, but other breeds have displayed it as well.
What’s With The “M” On Tabby Cats’ Foreheads?
Many tabby cats will have a pattern on their forehead that looks like the letter M. There are several religious stories as to why the cats have earned this marking. In Christianity, a tabby cat came to the manger to keep baby Jesus warm, so Mary marked him with an “M” to thank him. In the Islamic religion, a tabby cat called Muezza once saved his master Mohammed’s life by killing a snake that snuck up his sleeve. To commemorate this, all tabby cats were marked with the letter “M.” The scientific reason behind the M on the forehead of tabby cats is genetics. It is a standard genetic component of the tabby pattern.
Do you have a tabby cat? What type of pattern do they have? Show us your tabby cats in the comments!