Beautiful, Wonderful Tabby Cats
This Is A VERY Uniquely Colored Tabby Cat! Fascinating!
"Tabby" is not a breed, but rather a description of a pattern on the cat's coat ~
I didn't even realize this, but tabby cats are not actually a breed of cat. The word "tabby" refers to the markings on the cats coat. Therefore, many breeds can actually be considered to be tabby cats. I had always referred to some of the "quirks" in our cat, Misty, as being due to her being a "tabby". Now I guess I have to find a different explanation for her sweet little "quirks," since tabby is simply referring to the marks on her coat!
There are basically four types of traditional tabby cat markings ~
- Classic ~ This refers to the markings that look like "whorls" and usually there will be a "target" shape on the side of the cat's coat.
- Mackerel ~ This is more of a "striped" look to the cat's coat. It is such a common pattern among cats that it's been said that this should be the "classic" tabby type. Tabbies who have this marking will usually also have "ringed" tails (which is what our kitty, Misty has)... and their coats will range in color from oranges to silver-gray, to brown and white patterns. In addition, they will have bands of stripes running on the sides of their bodies, as well as some on their legs.
- Spotted ~ Two cat breeds especially show this pattern, the Ocicat and the American Bobtail cat.
- The last pattern type is called "Agouti" or "Ticked" ~ this is where the coloring is different as you go down each individual hair of the cat, the Abyssinian cat breed has a coat that is a good example of a "ticked" tabby pattern.
Some stories about the "M" on a Tabby's forehead...
There are a couple of stories of how tabbies got the "M" that is a distinct marking that most of them share, and it is on their forehead. The most well known is probably the "Manger story."
This is a story about Mary and the baby Jesus, lying in the manger. They were surrounded by manger animals that night, and the baby Jesus was fussing and cold, so Mary asked the manger animals to help her out by moving in closer to warm him up. The first animal to respond was a sweet little tabby cat that cuddled right up next to him, loudly and contentedly purring, and keeping him warm. Mary was so thankful that she placed her initial "M" on his forehead.
There is another story about Mohammed and the tabby cat as well. It is said that Mohammed loved cats. The legend goes that he once cut a sleeve off of his garment in order to keep from waking his cat who was sleeping on the garment sleeve. There is also a legend that Mohammed bestowed the ability of cats to always land on their feet onto cats, and another story that a snake crawled up his sleeve, and his cat saved him from the snake. All of these stories combine so that people have said that Mohammed bestowed the "M" on the cats forehead to show his gratitude.
Look at that cute little striped tail, I call it her "Daniel Boone" tail...
Consider a "tabby" cat when thinking of adopting...
Something that I believe is common to tabby cats, even though "tabby" does refer to their markings, I believe that they are very friendly and social cats. Some can be vocal and "talk" a lot, and they make wonderful pets. Maybe that is due more to the fact that they tend to be "mixed breed"... "Mutts" of the cat world, if you will.
And everyone "knows" that "mutts" make fantastic companions and pets! Any tabby cat that I have ever known has been sweet, affectionate, purrs easily and usually LOUDLY... and tends to bond well with everyone in the family. So, if you are considering adopting a cat, look for one with "tabby" markings. This can be a wonderful choice.