Types of Tabby Cats

Tabby cats look fantastic in stripes or spots.

Tabby cats look fantastic in stripes or spots.

The "tabby" in tabby cats designates a pattern rather than a breed. These non-pedigree kitty cats are relegated to four genetically distinctive, multi-colored patterns collectively referred to as tabbies. All tabby cats sport a signature "M" marking on the forehead -- which many believe stands for "marvelous."

Classic Tabby Pattern

Also referred to as a blotched or marbled tabby, the classic tabby cat is sure to light up most any room, wearing her dashing marble patterned coat with random spotted or striped accents. This classic pussy sets the pace for fashionable felines with stripes and bars about the legs and tail, dark strips across the length of her back, a cute spotted tummy and a crazy “bullseye" tattoo on her side panel.

Mackerel Tabby Pattern

The mackerel tabby pattern is a cat in striped pajamas. Also referred to as a fish-bone tabby, this girl's striped fur coat displays dotted lines along the back with straps around the neck, legs and tail. Characterized by her narrow, parallel-striped markings resembling the bones of a fish, the mackerel's leg, neck and chest area is beautifully barred with colorful bracelets. Her pretty face has a network of mascara-like lines that continue over the head and down the neck and shoulders.

Ticked Tabby Pattern

The ticked tabby is a kitty cat that dresses down -- breaking away from the tabby traditional torso stripes or spots. Instead of a tabby pattern on her body, each of her individual hairs is ticked -- has dark bands of color on them. With the exception of occasional faint, thin lines on the legs, face and tail, this delicately colored tabby is patternless and proud of it.

Spotted Tabby Pattern

Taking her cue from a distant leopard relation, the spotted tabby's torso coat breaks away from the stripes favoring instead subtle, oval-shaped markings or vertically aligned spots. Instead of lines that create a defined pattern, her coat has small individually formed spots that are round or elongated with dark, distinctive striping on her legs, tail and head.



About the Author

Joe Gordon is a writer who divides his time between Tampa Bay, Florida and Western North Carolina. Gordon has been published in local and regional newspapers and magazines, including VisitFlorida.org, "Oceanfront Magazine," "Sarasota Herald Tribune," "The Bradenton Herald," "Sarasota Scene Magazine," " Biz 941 Magazine" and "U Manatee Magazine." He studied journalism at Ohio University.

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