Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Mark of the Tabby


My Ginger Rogers is a brown and white Patched Tabby cat. "Tabby" isn't a breed but fur markings! Tabby markings are the most common color pattern for cats and are thick or thin stripes in a variety of colors. They can come in brown, silver (gray), or orange or ginger (red). Even fancy pedigreed cats are tabby cats and some cats you think are all black can have the tabby stripes if you look at them in the sun ~ all cats carry the gene but some have a modifier gene that keep the pattern from showing.


Ginger has one orange cheek and one orange front leg with some tabby brown and white points. I fell in love with her coloring when I first saw her and when I picked her up and she purred, I knew she was the one. (She hates this photo.)


All black Vicktor Frankenstein looks like he has a brown pattern in the sun.

Nearly all tabbies will have the distinctive "M" pattern on their forehead. Back in Ancient Egypt, cats were called "Mau" which translates to mean "light" or "cat". The term could be from the "M" on their foreheads, from the mau sound that they make, or from the reflective eyes. Did you know the Eygptian Mau is a direct descendant of these ancient cats?! In some cases writers call the "M" The Mark of the Scarab.


Egyptian Mau Cat.

The Classic Tabby or Blotched Tabby has a swirling pattern on it's side that might come together and resemble a bulls eye. Their stripes will tend to be thicker and the other tabbies.


Classic Tabby.

A Mackerel Tabby has thin stripes down it's side, like a tiger. There is one horizontal stripe down their spine with vertical and evenly spaced stripes elsewhere. (Hence the fishy name, the pattern looks like a fish skeleton.) They will have rings around their legs and tail too.


Mackerel Tabby.

Then there's a Spotted Tabby that can have small or large ovals or spots throughout their fur pattern. Some may be broken stripes.


Spotted Tabby.

A Ticked Tabby or Abyssinian or Agouti Cat will have light and dark colors along the same individual piece of hair in their fur with the distinctive "M" on their forehead, not necessarily striped.


Abyssinian Cat.

A Patched or Tortoise or Calico Cat will have stripes of both a brown and orange tabby.


Patched Cat.

Even though all of these cats might look different, they share the "M" 
aka Mark of the Tabby!








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