6 Fun Facts About Orange Tabby Cats August 31 2020, 110 Comments

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 you have ever owned a ginger cat - also called orange or marmalade cats, you know they are special. Their mischievous ways and lionesque 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. 

 

Get a headstart on Halloween this year and dress your orange tabby as a LION! Our Lion Mane Cat Costume is the PUR-fect fit for a ginger cat. It blends so well with their fur! 


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