Sgt Stripes here. Did you know that April 30 is National Tabby Day in the US? Isn’t that pawsome? A whole day to celebrate me and my tabbies buddies. I’m trying to get Mom to buy me a pet vole or gerbil for my special day, but she doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Hopefully, I’ll at least get a lot of treats.
I’ve learned some fun facts about tabbies, and I want to share them with you.
A Little History
The humans think that we tabbies originated with an ancient Egyptian breed called a Mau, which was developed by domesticating the African wildcat. The modern descendant is the Egyptian Mau, which has a tabby pattern.
The Name Comes from a Baghdad Silk
In the 14th century, we were compared to silk from the “attabiy” district in Baghdad. The Middle French word for it was “atabis”, which people shortened to “tabis”. That eventually became the English word tabby. So people have been admiring us for hundreds of years.
Tabby is a Pattern, not a Breed
Humans are referring to our beautiful coats when they call us tabbies. We come from many breeds and can be pure-bred or a mixture.
“M” on Our Forehead
We have an “M” on our foreheads because of our genetics. It’s a part of every tabby’s coat pattern.
Some people think the “M” came from Mary, the mother of Jesus. When Mary gave birth to Jesus in the stable, a tabby cat laid next to the baby, keeping him warm and soothing him with purrs. Mary was so grateful that she gave the cat her initial.
Other people believe that the “M” was given by the prophet Mohammed who loved cats. He once cut off the sleeve of a garment so he would not disturb his cat Muezza when he went to prayer.
We Come in a Variety of Colors
A lot of tabbies are basic black with the stripes, but we also come in brown, orange, and gray. The majority (75-80%) of orange tabbies are male. We are all beautiful.
And a Variety of Patterns
There are four main types of tabby: classic tabbies with bold, swirling patterns, mackerel tabbies with narrow stripes, spotted tabbies with large or small spots, and ticked tabbies with tabby markings on the face and agouti hairs (hairs with more than one color) on the body. There are also patched tabbies with tabby pattern on the legs and head. Finally, there are calibies and torbies: calicos and tortoisehells with patches of tabby markings. I like to think of myself as a tuxedo tabby since I have my beautiful white tummy.
We are Camo Kitties
Our patterns assist in camouflage when we are outside hunting. Particularly if we’re hiding in tall grass. Tigers and leopards are both tabby-patterned.
We are Excellent Hunters
We love the thrill of chasing down prey. We are adventurous and love to stalk.
We are Affectionate and Intelligent
We love cuddles and attention. We also know how to get what we want because we’re so smart.
We are Social Creatures
We are friendly sorts and usually get along well with children. Generally speaking, we love people and like to be part of the family.
We are Very Expressive
Tabby cats are good at expressing our emotions. Our humans know when we are happy or sad. Generally speaking, we are friendly, affectionate, and playful. We are also known to be independent, outgoing, and adventurous.
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Finally, if you’re human is looking for a show cat, the Cat Fanciers’ Association says the following breeds are “allowed” the tabby pattern:
- Abyssinian (ticked)
- American bobtail
- American curl
- American shorthair (the classic pattern)
- American wirehair
- Birman (tabby points)
- Colorpoint shorthair (tabby points called “lynx points”)
- Egyptian Mau (the original spotted tabby)
- Exotic (shorthaired Persians)
- Javanese (lynx points)
- LaPerm (has its roots in a “barn cat”)
- Maine coon (probably the most popular pedigreed tabby cat)
- Norwegian forest cat
- Oriental (with 112 tabby combinations)
- Ragdoll (lynx points)
- Rex (Devon, Selkirk, and Cornish)
- Scottish fold
- Siberian (another “natural” breed of tabby cats)
- Singapura (ticked)
- Somali (longhair ticked)
- Turkish Angora (14 allowable tabby patterns/colors)
- Turkish van (six tabby patterns/colors)
Hope you enjoyed learning about the wonderful world of tabbies. And the pictures of me, my cousin Thunder, and my new friend Daxter.