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15 Fascinating Facts About the Orange Tabby Cat (With Pictures)

Chances are pretty high you’ve seen an orange tabby cat—and you’ve probably met a few, too. If you’re familiar at all, you know that this coat belongs to some of the sweetest, most lackadaisical felines who love long naps and snuggles.

If you are thinking of searching for an orange tabby, or you’re just curious about this fantastic feline—take a look at these 15 terrific facts.

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1. Most Orange Tabby Cats Are Males

orange tabby cat
Credit: Pxfuel

What may surprise you is that it’s much more genetically possible to find an orange male than a female. A whopping 80% of all orange tabby cats are males. Why?

It all comes down to chromosomes. In order to produce this beautiful coat color, the females need two orange genes—one from each parent—whereas, males need only one. So, it’s much easier to wind up with a boy.

It’s not as rare as, say, a male calico. Calicos are nearly always females. Only one in every 3,000 calico cats are males, which is roughly 0.1 percent—it’s a freak incident in nature. But orange females are still harder to come by.


2. Orange Tabby Cats Are Very Affectionate

While every cat has its own special personality, chances are that an orange cat will be super loving. They tend to be very docile and social.

You may be more apt to picking an orange kitten out of a litter because they’ll be the ones coming up to see you, meowing, purring, and rubbing all over your legs.


3. Tabby Cats Have Many Patterns

Tabby cats have a total of four possible patterns:

  • Classic—the classic coat that looks like swirls of different orange shades.
  • Mackerel—mackerel most resembles tiger stripes.
  • Spotted—sometimes instead of the mackerel pattern, you have spots rather than stripes.
  • Ticked—the ticked pattern is where the cost might appear a solid shade, but the classic stripes appear on the face.

4. Pheomelanin Pigment Creates Their Color

mackerel tabby cat
Image: Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Just the same as humans with red hair, orange cats produce a pigment called pheomelanin. This pigment is responsible for all the ginger cats and their human counterparts.

Human redheads are known for their bold, fiery personalities. Does the same trait extend to our feline friends? With orange tabbies, not generally—but with some, it’s definitely possible.


5. Orangies Tend to Be Relaxed

Ginger cats have quite the reputation for being super chill. Some of them even borderline lazy. If you want a cat who will plop down by your side whenever you’re ready for some downtime this is your guy or gal.

Their naturally low energy makes them ideal companions for small kids or seniors. They also work well in multi-pet households.


6. Orange Tabbies LOVE Food

The orange tabby will be the cat that wakes you up in the morning if you forget to feed them in time. They love their food. And if you start off feeding them wet food, you just might spoil them so much they refuse their dry kibble.

While it’s cute to have a chubby lug of joy, beware of obesity. These cats will eat until they’re overweight if you let them. You have to put the brakes on any excessive snacking.


7. Orangies Have Lots of Nicknames

tabby cat
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Because of their coloring, they’ve taken on quite a few nicknames over the years. Most commonly, they are referred to as ginger, yellow, caramel, butterscotch, and marmalade cats.

It’s pretty fitting that they’re known by so many food names since they’re so crazy about tasty treats and mealtime.


8. Orange Tabbies Are Usually Large

On top of being prone to weight gain, they’re also usually a bit bigger than other cats. While the difference isn’t extreme, they do tend to get a little taller (and sometimes wider).

Perhaps a majority of that is because they are males who tend to be larger than females in any pattern.


9. Orange Tabbies Have Many Shades

The interesting thing about an orange tabby is the fact that they can exhibit such a variety of hues, from a light cream color all the way to a rich red mahogany.

On top of the unique patterns that they can have, these different tones and hues really accentuate their features.


10. The Orange Tabby Isn’t a Particular Breed

a tabby cat
Image Credit: AJoeSang, Pixabay

The orange tabby is not a breed in itself. Many different breeds can have the orange tabby look, so the color isn’t dependent on a specific type of cat.

The most common breeds that can have this pattern and color variation are Persians, American No-Tails, British Shorthairs, Maine Coons, Abyssinians, and Egyptian Mau cats.


11. All Tabbies have a Distinct Forehead Marking

Many legends come from the infamous “M” shape on top of the orange tabby’s head. Some say that mother Mary kissed the cat to bless them for rocking baby Jesus to sleep.

Another legend says that an orange tabby once killed a snake for Muhammad, who then put his marking onto the cat.


12. Tabby Patterns Serve as Camouflage

Much like tigers and other majestic large cats, they’re orange hues and patterns serve as camouflage to help them blend in while they’re hunting.

If you think about how a Bengal tiger blends in with tall grass, this concept is the same for our domesticated friends.


13. Orange Tabbies Can Develop Black Freckles

tabby cat orange
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

You might see an orange tabby with little black specks on their nose, lips, and other parts of the skin. This particular color scheme is prone to these adorable freckles.

When the epidermal melanocytes multiply, your cat may develop spots called lentigo.


14. Some Orange Tabbies Are Famous

If you look back on some films over the years, you’ll find some pretty recognizable orange tabby cats.

All of these cats were famous—and what else do they have in common? All boys!


15. Orange Tabbies Can Have Three Eye Colors

Orange cats can have gold, green, or copper eyes. Each color provides a beautiful contrast to their fur. It’s physically impossible for an orange tabby to carry any other genetic color.

While tones can vary slightly between gold and light amber, their eyes stay relatively the same basic shades.

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Orange Tabby Cat—Final Thoughts

As you can see, the orange tabby has tons of awesome traits that make them so terrific. This male-dominated coat has upstanding personalities and gentle demeanors.

They would make fantastic companions—and chances are there are a few orange tabbies at your local shelter now!


Featured Image: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay