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September 16, 2018 |5 min read

Your Guide to Tabby Cats

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Choosing the right cat for your home is a big decision! You get to share your house with a new lovely, furry friend who will bring a lot of joy to your life. There are so many cat breeds to choose from and each one has different personality traits, needs and other distinctions that are important to factor into your choice. Here is a detailed guide to the Tabby Cat, one of the most popular cat breeds in the US and some info that will be helpful in deciding if they are the right cat for you.

History of the Tabby Cat


The name “tabby cat” brings to mind many different things - but the fact is that they are not actually a breed in and of themselves. Tabby is a color pattern that usually presents in stripes but can also be stripes and whirls of color or even spots and stripes. Many different cat breeds sport a tabby-type coat, such as a calico or tortoiseshell cat with tabby patches. There are a few different types of tabby patterns:

Classic: The classic tabby pattern will typically have whirls ending in a target on the side of a cat. Often there is a very high color contrast here.

Mackerel: The most common type of tabby pattern is the Mackerel, or striped. This usually involves striped rings around their tail and legs and a necklace or stripes around the front of their chests. You can usually find bands of solid or broken stripes running down the sides of their bodies as well.

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Spotted: Some tabbies will have a spotted color pattern that is close to the look of an American Bobtail.

Agouti: Agouti hairs are present in most tabby cats, although more prominent in some than others. This means different bands of color down the length of the cat’s individual hairs. The color variation often causes them to shimmer in the sunlight.

Even cats that appear to be solid colored if you see them in the sun will often have some tabby striping on them. The Maine Coon and Abyssinian cats are very much known for showing the tabby pattern and it is thought that up to half of the domesticated cats in the world could be counted as tabby cats. In other words, they have been around for thousands of years!

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Appearance of a Tabby Cat

Tabby cats can range in size according to the breed. No matter what the particular breed, an adult cat will usually not grow to be more than 18 pounds. Their coats, as mentioned above, will be a blend of swirls, whorls and stripes. The eye and ear shape and color will vary with the breed, so they can each look very different from each other.

Most breeds of tabby have tails that are tapered lightly and have soft fur although certain breeds will have bushier tails and others strong, stiff tails.

Personality of a Tabby Cat

Comfy Tabby Cat
Cats are known to be very curious and aloof but tabby cats can present a variety of personality traits dependent on their breed, early socialization and their home environment. But tabby cat owners can usually expect a very friendly cat who enjoys daily attention from their owners and does not like to be left alone for long periods of time.

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Grooming a Tabby Cat

Most cats are very clean and enjoy being well-groomed but it is wise to regularly brush and pet the cat to remove dead fur and debris. It’s also a good idea to bathe cats during shedding season. Many cats can develop liver and kidney troubles as they get older so it’s important to visit a vet regularly in order to make sure they are in good health. Most domesticated tabby cats live for 12 to 15 years and, if they are in especially good health, can be your feline friend for much, much longer!





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Christina Scamporrino is a lifelong animal lover and began working in the petcare space in 2019. Christina’s passion for the community of feline owners and enthusiasts have led her to designing premium packaging for PrettyLitter cat litter, PrettyPlease dry food, wet food, and treats, and a litter box designed to solve common litter box issues.

Outside of her professional work in the petcare space, Christina is a longtime kitten foster and has worked with several cat rescues throughout Southern California. When given the option, she favors orange cats, but loves all cats equally.