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15 Tabby Cat Facts That Are Just Purrfect!

Find out all about tabby cats with these terrific facts! Are you a big cat lover? Then there's no way you won't love our tabby cat facts! Check them out!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  April 29th 2024

Do you own a tabby? Maybe you're just cat crazy? Either way, we've got good news! Here are 15 tabby facts to help you learn more about these cool cats! Find out what makes a tabby a tabby, where their name comes from, and even why most ginger tabbies are male! And if you enjoyed this, we've got so many more animal facts right here! How about these superb seal facts? Or maybe you're after some outstanding owl facts? You might even like these terrific tree frog facts! And there are even MORE facts about animals, science and history on our main facts hub!

1. They Are Very Popular

Tabbies are the most popular type of cat! Chances are, if you have a cat, its a tabby! There are roughly 220 million household cats in the world, which makes a lot of tabbies!

2. Their Name Has an Interesting Origin

The name 'tabby' can be traced back to the 17th century. The name is from the French 'tabis', which in turn was from an Arabic word for the place in Bagdad where patterned silks were manufactured. The pattern on the silk looked like the pattern on the cat fur, and so the name stuck!

3. Tabby Isn't a Breed

Tabbies aren't actually a breed of cat! It's just the name for the pattern that appears on many cats coats. Lots and lots of breeds of cat are tabbies, including Maine Coon, British shorthair, Bengal, Manx cat and more!

4. They Are Very Good at Hunting

Like all cats, tabbies are natural hunters, and if you do own a tabby, make sure to keep it away from any small birds or rodents you might have around the place! Domestic cats kill over 27 MILLION birds in the UK every year, so watch out!

5. Tabby Cats Date Back to Ancient Egypt

Tabby cats have been around for a really long time! In fact, images from ancient Egyptian paintings show cats as being striped like the modern tabby! They probably didn't eat pouches of cat food and tear up the sofas though!

6. There Are 5 Types of Tabbies

There isn't just one type of tabby! In fact, there are 5! There's the mackerel, which resembles the stripes on a mackerel fish, classic (which is, well, classic), spotted and ticked, where the fur is individually striped, meaning it doesn't show up as stripes unless you look very closely! The fifth sort of tabby can be a mixture of any of these patterns! Which kind is your cat?

7. They Have a Pattern on Their Forehead

One of the easiest ways to tell if a tabby is a tabby is by the classic 'm' marking they have on their foreheads, just above their eyes. All tabbies have this, even if it's very faint, so its pretty straightforward to know if you have a tabby! What do you think the 'M' stands for? Magnificent? Meow?

8. They Are Related to Wildcats

Tabbies, like all domestic cats, are genetically related to wildcats, and descended from the same ancestor. Wildcats appear at first to look a bit like pet cats, but they are different! For a start, they live in the wild (that one was pretty obvious) but they also have longer legs, pointier ears and can be a bit more aggressive. Wildcats can be found all over the world, including in the Highlands of Scotland.

9. They Come in Lots of Colours

There's no one size fits all when it comes to tabbies! They come in every colour you can think of! Well, every colour it's normal for a cat to be! This includes ginger, grey, brown, black and even, though more rarely, white!

10. The Most Famous Tabby Might be Mog

If you know a famous tabby, chances are its Mog. Mog is the lovable (and sometimes silly) protagonist of the Mog series of children's books by British author Judith Kerr, and is based on her own real life cats! Mog isn't the brightest cat; she's always getting into scrapes, but she's adored by lots of readers all over the world. Interestingly, Judith Kerr is also famous for writing about a bigger stripey cat...The Tiger Who Came to Tea!

11. Tigers are the Only Striped Big Cat

Lots of big cats have markings, btu only tigers are fully stripey! It's thought that the tiger's stripes have evolved to help them camouflage with grass and other plants in the jungles where they live. Can you see the one in the picture? It's wearing sunglasses so it can't be spotted...or striped!

12. Each Tabby's Markings Are Unique

Even though tabbies have similar markings and patterns to each other, each one is unique! So, like your fingerprints, its the perfect way to tell your tabby apart from all the others!

13. Most Orange Tabbies are Male

Orange tabbies are particularly popular with humans...maybe it's because ginger cats and redheaded humans share the same genetic mutation which gives their hair that orange look! But did you know that most ginger cats are male? Yes, it's true! But why? Well, the gene that gives cats ginger fur is on the 'X' chromosome, and female cats need two X chromosomes to be ginger, but males only need one! That doesn't mean ALL ginger cats are male, but its a lot more common!

14. They Live Between 12 and 15 Years

If you look after your tabby cat well and keep them happy, they can live a long life - up to 15 years, in fact! The oldest ever recorded living cat was a tabby called Creme Puff, who lived to the amazing age of 38 YEARS and three days! Wow!

15. April 30th Is National Tabby Cat Day

If you need an excuse to celebrate tabby cats, then good news! April 30th is National Tabby Day! So treat your tabby and celebrate everything that makes this cat super cool!