6 Fun Facts About Orange Tabby Cats

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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. 

Cat Condo - The Jungle Gym Cat Tree

 

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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118 comments


  • Michelle

    My Dublin is a very handsome ginger boy who is silly and affectionate. He’s a shy cat, but once h warms up to a person, then he’s friendly as all get out. He’s about 15 or so. I met him November 2008, and on 6 December 2008, I brought him home with me.

    Ginger cats have always had a very special place in my heart.


  • Jane

    My female ginger kitty is named Pepper! Omg she is talkative and very demanding haha (bold and confident)! She is very very curious (almost too curious!). She does take a bit to get used to other animals especially other cats. I adopted her from.the SPCA when she was 2 years old. I’ve had her for 5 years now. She is sweet like a bell pepper but spicy like a chili pepper! She LOVES food and I cannot free feed her or she will puke….I have to feed her throughout the day. She did have outdoor time and loved climbing trees (she would get the zoomies and bolt up a tree). She is a good hunter and has caught mice and birds (much to my disdain). I dont let her out anymore as the area I’m in is too busy, plus didn’t want her to be an outdoor cat (had an agreement with a roomate at one point). She definitly has a personality and has ambitions haha I love her so much!


  • James Bowman

    I take care of a colony and 4 months ago a ginger kitty was dumped by some heartless soul near by. I named him Triscuit, and he has grown to be a big cat. He loves to play and have his belly rubbed. I am constantly trying to find him a home, but no luck so far. Our city humane society wont take him, cause they wont take any outdoor cats over 7 weeks 🤔🙄 and the county shelter told me they would euthanize him. Dang shame.


  • Tiffany Valdes

    We Rescued Our Ginger Kitty 3 years ago this week. My Daughter named him “Kashi” aka [Kakashi] From her Anime…
    He’s part Tabby & Maincoone, with a long body & short legs. Its super cute When he hears a noise he Meercats to see whats going on…
    But his cry is something else, Super Loud & This Low Merroooww.
    He will not let ANY doors close without him in eye range of us, not even the bathroom he will hit the door knob back n forth & cry the most pathetic low cry, that sounds like: “Heeeeellllppppp!!”…
    But I Feel bad for his older brother “Milo” He is lazy & a lover but Kashi just has to mess with him anytime he comes out of my room, so he hides all day till someone walks him to the food or water dish just incase Ninja Kashi tries something. ha!


  • jesse

    i have a female orange tabby cat she’s everything to me, my bf grandmother gave her to us when she was a kitten and she’s been the best thing thats ever happened to me have good day to everyone.


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