Tabby Tidbits Just In Time For National Tabby Day


It's National Tabby Day! With over 80 percent of our domesticated feline companions being of the striped variety, it's no wonder that tabby cats get their very own day! So to celebrate these tiny house tigers and all their stripe-y, "tabbitude" glory, we've compiled a few interesting tabby cat facts, just a few tabby tidbits about these fluffy felines. 

Tabby cats come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Contrary to popular belief, "tabby" doesn't refer to a breed of cat, but rather refers to the distinctive striped coat pattern. As such, a tabby cat can be any breed or color. 

In fact, no matter what color or markings your cat may have, all cats have the tabby cat gene; other colors and patterns may mask the tabby marks, but the gene is always present. Have you ever seen a black cat in the sun and seen the subtle stripes? That's the tabby gene at work! 

Tabbies got their name from silk made in Baghdad.

The origin of the term "tabby" can be traced from French tabis, stemming from Medieval Latin attabi, from Arabic attabi, from al-Attabiya, a suburb of Baghdad, Iraq, where silk was made, named for the Prince Attab. Cats got the name tabby after similarity of their coats to the patterned silk cloth ... or maybe the cats inspired the pattern! 

Most orange tabby cats are males.

The ratio is about 80 percent male to 20 percent female orange cats.

And it's all thanks to genetics! A male orange tabby only needs the orange gene from their mother, whereas a female ginger needs the gene from the mother and father. 

Our office foster cat, Thomas, showing off his distinctive tabby marks! 


The tabby coat emerged in the Middle Ages 

In Medieval times, Egyptian cats spread throughout the Mediterranean along trade routes, catching rides on ships. Mariners used these feline predators as medieval pest control and hunt rats on board the ships.

As these striped cats spread, the tabby pattern, which is in 80 percent of present-day cats, became more frequent in southwest Asia, Africa and also Europe, and was quite common by the 18th century. 


There are five types of tabby patterns

While tabby coats come in many different variations, there are five main types of tabby that you'll find: Mackerel, Classic, Spotted, Ticked and Patched. See photos below! 

Mackerel Tabby

Classic Tabby




What type of tabby do you have? 



  • Nicole

    I have 1 classic orange, 1 mackerel orange, 1 mackerel gray and 1 mackeral brown

  • mary zayas

    i have 2 tabby cats i found in the street they are great and love them so much and they give back love too.

  • J Keys

    What breed is that mackerel tabby? I know that she’s from Finland. My cat looks just like her.

  • Ann

    I currently have two cats, Fritz and Shelby. Shelby is a solid black cat, and Fritz is orange and white. I think he has the mackerel tabby pattern, but his stripes are very faint. He’s a longhair, and there doesn’t seem to be much contrast between his stripes and the background fur.

  • Janice Averill

    I though that my cat was a mackerel tabby, but she looks more like the cat under the classic heading. Am I confused or did the labels on the first two pictures get mixed up ?

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