Five Things You Didn’t Know About the Tabby Cat

Orange tabby cats can one of the most popular kinds of cats – just ask Orangey, Audrey Hepburn’s feline co-star in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, of course, Garfield! They are usually known for their sweet temperament as well as their hearty appetite and tendency to overeat. Tabbies are generally popular house pets because of they have few health problems. Think you know everything there is to know about them? Think again!

Here are five things you didn’t know about the tabby cat:

1. First of all, the tabby cat is not actually considered a cat breed – the term really refers to a description of the pattern seen on the cat. They can be any kind of breed, really.

2. Tabby cats usually come in four different patterns: mackerel, classic, striped and ticked. The patterns are also known as swirled, striped, swirled and striped (one pattern), and spotted.

3. One distinct feature on tabbies is a letter “M” marking on their foreheads, in between their ears and just right above their eyes. There are a number of tales that surround the marking, including many religious ones. One such tale is that when the baby Jesus couldn’t sleep, an orange tabby cat curled up next to him and purred, which helped Jesus fall sleep. Mama Mary gratefully kissed the orange tabby on the forehead to bless him, which created the “M” marking.

4. Most tabby cats are male, with a four male tabby ratio to every one female tabby. Also, male tabbies with  black markings tend to be sterile.

5. Tabbies also come in a variety of colors; an orange color is usually called an orange tabby, but they’ve also been referred to as marmalade and/or ginger. They can also be brown, gray, or even multicolored! 

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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