What is a Mackerel Tabby Cat? Five Things You Didn’t Know

The mackerel tabby is a domestic type of feline that sports a fur coat pattern that begins with a dark background of gray or orange hue, with darker stripes that run vertically down the torso of the cat’s body. There are interlacing dark,  thinner lines that mimic the look of fish bones, which is where the term, mackerel derives from. The mackerel genes are the stronger genes of the tabby family; even more so than the blotchy patterned tabby, whose coat often displays swirls, as opposed to stripes. All cats that derive from the tabby genetic pool will have an “M” mark on their forehead, as well as dark band marks on the tail and legs. This is a very popular breed of cat, and one of the most popular types of cats found in cat households. Despite the commonality of this breed, there’s a lot people may not know about them. Here are five things you didn’t know about the mackerel tabby cat.

1. Not a specific breed

Contrary to belief, the tabby cat, of any color, is not a specific breed of its own. A tabby, including the mackerel tabby, is a cat that derives from any breed. It is a name that is given due to the markings and color pattern of the coat as opposed to being a part of a specific breed. You can have a tabby that is Persian, long-haired, short-haired or any other breed of cat, but many people are not familiar enough with cat breeds to know what makes a tabby, a tabby.

2. Do tabby’s have a specific personality trait?

Because tabby cats are cats of different breeds, their personalities will vary, and typically follow suit of the type of personality traits of their specific breed. That being said, many tabby owners have had come to realize that tabby cats often display specific traits among themselves. There is a general recognition that tabby cats have very loving and gentle nature personalities, no matter what breed they are. They tend to be playful and affectionate with their owner, especially the family member they are closest to. Of course, like any cat, or any animal, personalities will vary as individuals, and some may be more aloof than others, or more moody, among other disposition tendencies. A lot of how a cat behaves and responds to their human depends on the type of environment they’re raised in, and the type of attention, or even lack of attention, they get.

3. Known as the “dog” of cats

Tabby cats are often referred to as the “dogs” of the cat breeds. This is because they have a lot of qualities that dogs have, including the fact that they love to be around people, play, lay in your lap, and they are highly intelligent cats. Many tabby owners have worked to train their tabby to perform little tricks and even walk on leashes. These are hardy cats. When you hear stories of cats who show a sense of adventure, maybe enjoying the water, going on hikes with their owner, or riding a skateboard, a lot of times, you will see that the cat happens to be a tabby. They tend to have, not only big hearts, but big spirits that love life – all nine of them.

4. Are linked to witchcraft

It is said that during the 16th and 17th centuries, tabby cats were actually linked to witchcraft. When most of us think of witches and witchcraft, it is black cats that are most often thought of as a witch’s favorite pet or companion. However, it was the tabby that witches actually preferred, and tabby’s that were owned by witches because they were said to be a witch’s favorite color. Tabby’s were thought to be possessed, or held demonic powers. This is because it was believed that these cats were either reincarnates of humans, or under a witch’s spell.

5. Extra curious cats

The tabby has a big personality, which can lead to some interesting stories if you are a tabby owner. These are very curious cats, especially when they are kittens. They love to investigate and love to keep themselves entertained, which means that you might find your mackerel kitten or cat in some real peculiar predicaments. If you decide to adopt a mackerel kitten, be prepared to have a very playful and curious critter on your hands. You may need to take extra precautions when kitten proofing your home to be sure he is always safe.


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