Tabby cats are instantly recognizable felines with many characteristics that make them beloved pets and companions by people across the world. Many famous cats have been Tabbies, including Garfield, the lovable fat cat known for overeating lasagna. Due to Garfield and other famous orange Tabbies like Heathcliff and Hobbes of comic fame, many overlook the other amazing Tabby cats, such as Silver Tabbies. These cats deserve just as much love and recognition as their orange kin, so we’ve gathered 10 facts about silver Tabbies that should help boost your excitement for these lovable kitties.
1. They Have an M Marked on Their Foreheads
One of the distinctive features shared by all Tabby cats is the pronounced M on their foreheads. This characteristic M is part of their tabby pattern and is passed down genetically so that all Tabby cats share it. It’s a very prominent feature that’s hard to miss, directly in the center of their forehead, between and above their eyes.
2. They Can Have Gray or Red Pads
Lift up the paw of a silver Tabby cat and you have a fifty-fifty chance of finding either gray or red pads. These cats can have pads that are either color on the bottom of their feet, though all the pads on one cat will be one color.
3. They Come Equally in Both Sexes
One well-known fact about orange Tabbies is that very few of them are female. Upwards of 80% of all orange Tabby cats are male, making female orange Tabbies a rarity. But that’s not the case with silver Tabbies. Silver Tabbies are just as likely to be male as female, so you have a 50% chance of getting either offspring.
4. The Tabby Pattern Was Worn by the First Domesticated Cats
There’s a good reason why the Tabby pattern is so prevalent in housecats. This was the pattern that the first breeds of domesticated cats wore. In fact, many wild cats still wear this type of pattern, including tigers. It’s a great pattern for survival. The first cats that humans started domesticating for companionship and their hunting skills, most likely by farmers in the Mediterranean who needed help keeping their crops safe from pesky rats.
5. There are Five Tabby Patterns
Tabby is kind of a catch-all term that is used to describe a variety of different patterns. In truth, there are five distinct tabby patterns that are all distinct from each other.
Classic tabby patterns are made up of swirls that come together and create the shape of a target on the cat’s side. This is also referred to as blotched tabby. Mackerel Tabby cats are covered in stripes on their bodies with rings around their legs and tails.
Ticked tabbies have no stripes or spots. Instead, each hair has bands of dark and light coloring. Patched Tabby cats are covered in patches and are often called Tortoiseshell Tabbies. And finally, Spotted Tabbies have bands of spots that look similar to stripes, though they’re made up of loosely connected dots.
6. Tabby Cats Aren’t a Breed
Many people mistakenly believe that Tabbies are their own breed of feline, but you can have a Tabby cat from a wide range of breeds. Tabby actually refers to the cat’s pattern, which is why you can have a Tabby cat from just about any breed and in a wide range of colors.
7. Their Hairs are Actually Black
Silver Tabby cats have black hairs that look lighter because of their pigment. However, if you look carefully at the hairs a silver Tabby cat sheds, you’ll notice that they’re all black around the roots.
8. Tabby Patterns Offer Camouflage
There’s a good reason why so many wildcats still sport Tabby coats and the first domesticated cat breeds were Tabbies as well; it’s an effective pattern for survival. This pattern offers excellent camouflage in a variety of different situations, which can help a cat to be a better hunter since they’re harder to spot and can more easily sneak up on their prey for an ambush.
9. The M on Their Forehead Receives Religious Explanations
The M that appears on the foreheads of Tabby cats is a genetic marker passed down from generation to generation. But it’s gotten all sorts of crazy explanations over the years, including several religious explanations, such as those from Christianity and Islam.
In the Christian version of the story, Mary marked a Tabby cat with an M in gratitude so they’d always be remembered for comforting a cold baby Jesus. According to Islamic teachings, a Tabby named Muezza saved Mohammed’s life by killing a snake that had crawled onto his sleeve, after which, all Tabbies were marked with an M in remembrance.
10. Several Breeds Produce Silver Tabby Cats
As we’ve mentioned, Tabby cats aren’t a breed of their own. Instead, it’s a pattern that many cats can sport, which means there are many breeds of silver Tabby cat out there and they all have distinctly different features and traits. Some of the more common Tabby breeds include Abyssinians, American Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, and Maine Coons, but this list is far from exhaustive.
Tabbies are the most common domestic cats in the world. Many famous felines even sport Tabby coats, as well as many prominent members of the wildcat family. This pattern offers excellent camouflage and improved survival chances, which is likely why it was worn by the first domesticated cats. Many breeds can produce a silver Tabby cat, so you’ll have to search to find the one with the specific looks and personality that you’re after.
Featured Image: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shuttersock
- 1. They Have an M Marked on Their Foreheads
- 2. They Can Have Gray or Red Pads
- 3. They Come Equally in Both Sexes
- 4. The Tabby Pattern Was Worn by the First Domesticated Cats
- 5. There are Five Tabby Patterns
- 6. Tabby Cats Aren’t a Breed
- 7. Their Hairs are Actually Black
- 8. Tabby Patterns Offer Camouflage
- 9. The M on Their Forehead Receives Religious Explanations
- 10. Several Breeds Produce Silver Tabby Cats