6 Fun Facts About Orange Tabby Cats

From their gorgeous coats of orange (and sometimes white) and their tendency to be the friendliest of felines, it’s safe to say that ginger cats are one of the most colorful cats to share your home with. If the phrase 'Orange Cat Behavior' means anything to you...you know the love of orange cats and their hilarious antics is widespread amongst the cat community.
If you have ever owned a ginger cat - also called orange or marmalade cats, you know they are special. Their mischievous ways and lion-esque good looks are a recipe for greatness. Here are some fun facts about these colorful cats that we all love so much!

1. The orange tabby cat is not actually its own separate breed of cat. 

Whether you call them orange, red, ginger or marmalade tabbies, orange tabby cats are not a specific breed of cat, rather it is referring to their fur color. Orange tabbies can be many different breeds, from Persian and Maine Coon to your standard Domestic Short Hair! 

2. Many orange tabbies will develop little black freckles on their nose and mouth area. 

Not only do ginger cats come with perfectly kissable pink noses, they may also develop adorable little freckles! These freckles will normally develop around the gums, lips, or nose area and can continue to appear throughout their life. These freckles are caused by a benign genetic called lentigo which increases the number of pigment-producing cells (epidermal melanocytes) around the lips, nose, and eyes and results in those little black freckles. They're like little sprinkles of joy! These freckles are normally harmless, but any change in size or pigmentation should be checked by a veterinarian. 

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3. They come in 4 beautiful coat types: Classic (swirled), Mackerel (striped), spotted and ticked (agouti). 

  • Mackerel: Mackerel tabbies are striped and may be tiger-like in appearance, with a classic ‘M’ shape on their forehead! 
  • Classic: the classic tabby pattern usually consists of a dark swirl or bullseye around your cat's midsection
  • Ticked: Most common in breeds like Abyssinian, ticked tabbies can fool you into thinking that solid ginger cats exist - but they don't! Ticked tabbies have an almost speckled pattern with tabby markings on their heads.
  • Spotted: Spotted tabbies appear, well, spotted! Their stripes or swirls are broken up and appear as ovals. This marking is most commonly seen in Bengal cat breeds!

4. Most orange tabby cats are males: 80% male, and 20% female - No wonder they are usually mischievous!

Interestingly enough, most orange tabby cats are indeed male! It's all thanks to their genetic makeup. According to Spruce Pets, the gene O codes for orange (referred to as Red in genetics) fur and is carried on the X chromosome. Because females have two X chromosomes, this means that a female orange cat must inherit two orange genes (one from each parent). But a male tabby only needs one O gene, which he gets from his mother. 

5. All orange cats are tabby cats, they do not have a solid coat!

Without getting too deep into genetics (it's complicated, folks!), thanks again to their genetic makeup, all orange cats will have tabby markings of some kind. This is because of the agouti gene. The agouti gene determines whether a cat has a tabby pattern or not. However, when the red pigment gene is expressed, the non-agouti gene does not work. So you can't have a non-agouti gene with an orange cat - meaning they will have some type of tabby marking, whether it is classic, mackerel, or ticked.


6. Orange tabby cats get a lot of screen time!

Beyond the famed lasagna-loving Garfield, orange tabby have graced the silver screen - more than you may have realized! There are live-action kitties like Goose (Captain Marvel) Orion (Men in Black) and Jones (Alien), ... wow, there are a lot of orange tabbies in space, aren't there? And don't forget Orangey in Breakfast at Tiffany's. And you can't forget about Puss in Boots, who melted everyone's hearts with iconic big kitty eyes!

Does your orange cat have particular characteristics? Tell us about them! We love to learn more. 


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  • Kathy parker

    My favorite cat after having several different feline children over the decades was my orange/ ginger boy named Sulé which means adventurous. He was often found sleeping between my husband and myself under the covers as though he owned the bed. He also would bring up dirty socks from the basement laundry shoot drop spot “announcing” his prize catch of a sock mouse with loud calls all the way. He has since crossed over the rainbow bridge so my autistic daughter bought me a large stuffed one 18 years ago to be my companion (unfortunately the nursing home threw it away after she bumped it into the bedside commode which only had water in it. ) Never been able to find another one quite like my stuffed Tiggy-boo. These are the best colored cats ever!

  • Leo

    My Leo guy is a burst of emotions and personality. Jekyll & Hyde vibes lol . Reminds me of a fox with a little bit of a lion. Always biting me when he’s bored , and gives the most love in the morning when he needs his kibble refilled lol

  • Ann

    My cat Pumpkin is a cat everyone loves. He watches tv. He is cuddly. He talks alot. He plays all the time. He bring toys back to me. He plays hide and seek and peeka boo

  • Nancy Paris

    My ginger cat has no tail. We’re not sure how/why. I’m wondering if he’s a Manx? He doesn’t look much like one, his facial characteristics are much like a lion. He does have a stub about 1/2" could he be a bobcat? Or vould he have lost it (in the war is what my husband and I tell people) If he was born with a tail and something happened would it show in his overall mobility?

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