Tabby Cats – Colors, Lifespan, Personality, and Fun Facts

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Many people refer to their cats as tabbies without really knowing what the term means.

Rather than referring to a specific breed, the word “tabby” is a reference to a certain coat pattern commonly seen in both domestic and wild cats. Tabbies often have stripes, swirls, or spots of color on their coats determined by their breed and individual genetics.

Though it’s difficult to make generalizations about tabbies because they come from so many breeds, many tabby cat owners say their cats are friendly, affectionate, and playful.

Also Read: Most Popular Names for Tabby Cats

Why Are Tabby Cats Special?

Every cat is unique but what makes tabby cats special is the beautiful patterns that cover their coats. Tabby cats exhibit a combination of stripes, swirls, and spots which, depending on the breed, may cover the cat’s entire body or be localized to patches.

There are five types of Tabby markings:

  • Classic
  •  Mackerel
  • Spotted
  • Ticked
  • Patched

Though every tabby cat is different, there are certain types of markings most cats with this coat pattern tend to exhibit. Most tabbies have stripes across their faces, along their backs, and on their legs and tail.

What makes a tabby really stand out, however, is the distinctive M-shaped marking on the forehead.

Also Read: Why Do Tabby Cats Have An “M” On Their Foreheads?

This recognizable M-shaped marking is also seen on a number of wild cats, particularly jungle cats like cheetahs, ocelots, and tigers. Some say the M stands for the word Mau, the Egyptian word for cat. It’s also common knowledge that tabbies are among the smartest cats in the feline world.


Though tabby cats are not a specific breed, all domestic cats carry the tabby gene because their origins can be traced to wild cats that carry the tabby pattern.

In fact, the tabby pattern is a hallmark of the direct ancestors of the domestic feline, including:

  • The African wildcat (Felis lybica lybica)
  • The European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris)
  • The Asiatic wildat (Felix lybica oranata)

The tabby gene is extremely diverse, involved in a wide variety of coat patterns. Though the striped tabby pattern is the most familiar, there are five recognized types of tabby markings. The tabby gene can also be missed with other marking genes to create cats with solid coats or a mixture of patterns.

Whether a cat show its tabby pattern or not depends on whether the cat has inherited a dominant agouti gene or a recessive non-agouti gene.

Cats that inherit the dominant agouti gene (A) will express a visible tabby pattern while cats that inherent the recessive non-agouti gene (a) will not. If a solid-colored cat inherits two copies of the recessive non-agouti gene (aa), it may exhibit “ghost striping.” This refers to a subtle suggestion of the underlying tabby pattern which is most visible in strong sunlight.

Tabby Cat Appearance

Though there are several distinct tabby patterns, most tabbies exhibit some degree of striping on their coats. Depending on the cat’s genetics, these stripes may be bold and clearly visible or they might be subtle and faded. Some tabbies only show visible striping on their legs and tail.

Other physical characteristics commonly seen in tabbies include:

  • An M-shaped marking on the forehead
  • Dark “eyeliner” around the eyes
  • Pigmented lips and paws
  • Thin pencil lines on the face
  • Paler chin and belly than the rest of the body
  • Banding on the legs and tail

While every tabby cat may not exhibit all of these markings, if a cat exhibits several from this list it’s pretty safe to say it’s a tabby. That being said, there are five different types of tabby markings.

1. Classic Tabby

The classic tabby pattern consists of bold swirls that create a “target”-like pattern on the side of the cat’s body. Some classic tabbies also have blotches of color, giving these cats a secondary nickname of “blotched tabby.” The American Shorthair breed commonly exhibits the classic tabby pattern.

2. Mackerel Tabby

The most common tabby pattern by far, the mackerel tabby is also called the striped tabby or the tiger cat. These cats have solid or broken stripes that run parallel down the side of the body along with rings around the legs and tail. Many tabbies with this pattern also have dark bands of color running across their bellies which have the nickname “vest buttons.”

The stripes on the cat’s body branch out from one large stripe that runs along the cat’s spine. Because this effect resembles a fish skeleton, this striped pattern was given the nickname “mackerel tabby.”

3. Spotted Tabby

Rather than exhibiting stripes or swirls, the spotted table is covered in spots of various size. Because these spots vary in shape and size, they often resemble broken mackerel tabby stripes. It’s unclear whether the spotted tabby was developed from the broken mackerel tabby or if it has unique genetics.

Two cat breed which commonly exhibit the spotted tabby pattern are the Ocicat and the American Bobtail. Ocicats are a domestic cat breed that resembles a wild cat – they are named for their resemblance to the ocelot. The American Bobtail is known for its stubby “bobbed” tail.

4. Ticked Tabby

The ticked tabby is one that doesn’t show the typical stripes or spots, except sometimes on the legs and tail. These cats have agouti hairs – hairs that are composed of several bands of pigmentation. Typically, an agouti hair has a dark base color that alternates with lighter tones.

The ticked tabby coloration is created by a blend of agouti hairs that gives the coat a salt-and-pepper appearance instead of clear stripes. Some ticked tabbies do, however, show residual ghost striping or barring on the face, belly, and lower legs. If the cat has an all-ticked pattern, it may give off the appearance of shimmering in the sunlight due to color variations in the hairs.

5. Patched Tabby

why do tabby cats have a letter M

This fifth tabby pattern doesn’t refer to a specific type of marking but to the combination of tabby markings with other colors or patterns. A patched tabby may be a calico cat or a tortoiseshell that exhibits patches of tabby markings. A tortoiseshell cat with tabby patches is often called a “torbie.”

You may also come across an orange tabby which shows any of the 5 tabby patterns above but has an overall orange and white coloration.

Personality And Temperament

Because a wide variety of breeds exhibit the tabby coat pattern, it’s difficult to make broad statements about tabby cat personality. The best way to predict your tabby’s personality is to determine its breed.

In many cases, you can determine a cat’s breed simply by looking at it. Many breeds have distinct physical characteristics, though it may not be quite so simple of you have a mixed-breed cat.

If you want to determine your cat’s genetics, the Basepaws cat DNA test can help you do it. This kit compares your cat’s genetics against the largest cat DNA database in the world to help you better understand his breed composition. You’ll receive a report detailing your cat’s breed groups and a list of wild cats he’s genetically related to.

There is a long list of distinctive cat breeds that exhibit the tabby coloration, including:

The Abyssinian tabby is generally a friendly and affectionate breed but also quite active. These tabbies require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from getting bored and exhibiting destructive behaviors.

American Bobtails are also quite interactive and form strong bonds with family. These cats have a playful side – they love to play games with their owners – and they have strong hunting instincts. This breed is generally fairly quiet, though many chirp, trill, or click when they get excited.

The Birman is a large breed that typically grows over 12 pounds. While these cats typically display a pointed coat pattern, they can have tabby points. Birmans are a somewhat reserved and often jealous breed that tends to bond closely with one member of the family. They can be a tad territorial with other cats, but they are generally not aggressive.

The Oriental generally only weighs 8 to 12 pounds, but they are very slender with long legs and a long face. These cats are highly intelligent and can be trained more easily than other breeds. They also tend to be quite affectionate and love to spend time with their owners.

Scottish Folds are known for their small, rounded ears that are folded downward against the head. These cats come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including the tabby pattern, and they can have medium-long to long hair. In terms of personality, the Scottish Fold is sweet-tempered and adaptable, but they do tend to bond with one person in the family.

Every tabby cat is unique in terms of genetics and breeding, so you’ll have to spend some time getting to know your own tabby. Stock up on cat toys and spend some quality time with your cat every day.

Fun Facts About Tabby Cats

  1. Orange and black tabby cats are often called “marmalade cats.”
  2. Morris, an orange tabby cat, starred as a commercial model for 9lives, a popular cat food brand, for decades.
  3. Some believe that tabby cats are the favorite cats of witches in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was thought that cats belonging to witches were people who had been transformed into cats through magic.
  4. The average tabby cat lifespan ranges from 10 to 15 years. Indoor cats tend to live longer than outdoor cats by several years.
  5. Tabby cats with a striped pattern are often nicknamed “tiger cats,” for obvious reasons.
  6. The word “tabby” has different origins. Some think it comes from the Attabiy district in Baghdad, which largely sells patterned silks. In the 14th century, the word “atabis” was also used in France to refer to these patterned cats.
  7. Some of the most common purebred cats with tabby markings include Maine Coons, Abyssinians, Bengals, British and American Shorthairs.
  8. Professor and author Jim Willis had his own version the story behind the “M” marking on tabby cats. He wrote a story about these marked felines as part of his 2002 book, Pieces of My Heart — Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature.
  9. Garfield is another famous orange tabby, and also an American shorthair breed.
  10. Orange tabbies may develop little black freckles on their nose and mouth area, usually after the first year or two of their lives.
  11. Tabby cat patterns can come in four common types: classic swirls, mackerel, ticked and spotted. Some include a fifth type – the “patched” tabby which has patches of tabby markings.
  12. How big do tabby cats get? A Maine Coon Tabby cat can grow to up 10 to 16 inches in height for a male cat and the Norwegian Forest Cat weighs up to pounds at maturity.
  13. Aside from common tabby names such as Garfield, Morris, and Tiger, clever names for tabby cats may include things like Marble, Spot, Tigger, and even Tabby.
  14. Legend has it that a tabby cat helped keep the baby Jesus warm. When the baby was cold, Mary asked the manger animals to move in close to warm him. A tabby cat nestled right in next to the baby and Mary bestowed the cat with her own initial, “M,” on its forehead.
  15. Puss in Boots from the Shrek movie is another famous tabby cat.

Wish you could learn more about the genes that make your cat special? Cat DNA testing could be the answer. Click here to read our review of the Basepaws cat DNA test kit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are tabby cats affectionate?

The term tabby doesn’t refer to a breed but to a coat pattern commonly seen in cats, so it’s difficult to make generalizations about the tabby’s personality. Many tabby owners say, however, that their cats are friendly and affectionate.

How much does a tabby cat cost?

Again, because tabby is a coat pattern rather than a breed it’s hard to make broad statements. Some of the most expensive tabby breeds are the American Wirehair, the Scottish Fold, and the Norwegian Forest Cat. Mixed-breed cat with tabby coloration are generally the most affordable.

How long does a tabby cat live?

Generally speaking, cats can live as long as 15 to 20 years when they are properly cared for. Indoor cats tend to live longer than outdoor cats by several years.

Do tabby cats shed a lot?

It depends on the breed. Longhair tabby cats actually tend to shed less than shorthaired cats, surprising as it may be. That being said, longhair tabbies may require more grooming and coat maintenance.

How long do tabby cats grow

In general tabbies may grow to 12-17 inches long, 10-12 inches tall, weighing at around 9-23 lbs. Like most cats they typically stop growing at 13 – 18 months

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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a writer with over twelve years of experience in the pet industry. She is an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach and has completed coursework in therapeutic nutrition, raw feeding, and the formulation of homemade diets for pets at an accredited university. Kate enjoys cooking, reading, and doing DIY projects around the house. She has three cats, Bagel, Munchkin, and Biscuit.

46 thoughts on “Tabby Cats – Colors, Lifespan, Personality, and Fun Facts”

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  1. Katherine M Reichert

    I have a dark black an grey Tabby cat, she is two years old now I rescued Nov 2016. Animal shelter. I love her, she likes eating meat loves Jimmy Dean sausage for breakfast. An chicken breast at night, what do they like to eat normal, cz she don’t like dry food….

    1. Stephanie May

      In the wild, cats eat small birds and small rodents, and that is what ferals and strays eat. Modern day house cats, however, are not properly equipped to hunt, although they still have the hunting instinct. A good diet for cats nowadays is a combination of wet food and dry food. My own cat has wet food in the morning and dry food plus a dish of water in the evening. When you feed your cat dry food it is important that they have water nearby.

  2. Kerry Gray

    Do not feed her any human food its very bad for them.however i own tabby torti an calico..its recommended by bets to mix wet with dry .hlf can wet typically friskies followed by dry mix it together an your cat will eat an love you.also introduce treats .pounce treats or greenies

    1. Bee

      Hello Kerry Grey. ”Human food” such as meat, is best for a cat. Not the wet food you buy in cans. I feed my cats (ragdoll and tabby) Chicken Soup for the Soul and they love the stuff. My ragdoll doesn’t like any human food but my tabby absolutely loves meat. He learned from my dogs how to beg to get meat haha.

    2. Halfway Intelligent

      Absolutely wrong Bee. Cats cannot digest sodium in the level that humans can. if you feed the cat a BARF diet or something where they are eating raw meat regularly, that could make sense. Giving them high sodium sausages and soups will almost assuredly cause them to have kidney and blood pressure (sight) complications down the line.

  3. Michael

    Hello. I have a question. I recently brought a kitten home to my daughter. She is a tabby cat with the most unusual coat. I used to help my sister rescue cats and have a lot of experience with them as we had up to 30 felines up for adoption at a time, yet I am stumped on this one.

    Her face is Tabby w/the usual white trim around the eyes and on her snout with a black nose. She has blueish grey eyes and its looking they are not going to change at this point (many kittens start with blueish greyish eyes that eventually turn to a brownish/yellowish color). Her front arms are Grey with black stripes, her tummy is white and spotted black. Now this is where I am a bit confused… The rest of her coat is predominantly black. The top of her head has two tan stripes that go down to the middle of the back of her neck then stop. Then start again on her back and go all the way down to her tail (looks like a chipmunk coat minus the white trim) then she has three beige/tan stripes on either side of her coat in the same exact spots on both sides along with a few smaller beige/tan stripes that seem to compliment the longer stripes only the smaller stripes are located higher up on the side of her coat and once again the patterns match perfectly on both sides of the cat.

    Simply put, I understand that a cats coat is not a cats breed ie. Tabby is not a breed. Although, a cats coat is an indication of a cats breed or specific breeds including hybrids have certain characteristics and/or markings on their coats, which I understand vary but only so much.

    My confusion stems from the fact that my tabby doesn’t seem to fall under any of the cat breeds or breed characteristics.

    She is a very cute cat and I would love to hear what others think. I have a lot of pics because she is so unique looking… I call her “Chipmunk cat” because she looks like a chipmunk!

    P.s. I have only seen such unique or different coats on ferel cats yet this cat came from litter number three from my friends domestic cat.

    If a picture will help I will send some.

    1. Stephanie May

      Michael, your cat sounds charming. Would love to see a picture of her. It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t fully fit a category. Mine doesn’t either. The important thing is love. You said that she has some white fur. She is probably a tabby-and-white. Also, there may be a mix of different kinds of tabby in her. Kittens in the same litter are sometimes fathered by different tom-cats. I hope that she will be spayed when she is old enough. Spayed cats live longer, healthier lives than unspayed.

  4. Kay

    My daughters tabby gave birth to a beige and faun tabby with blue eyes he has dark tabby tail and ears what would those colours say about his genetics. He is very unusual and attractive frightened he could be stolen.

  5. Betty Turley

    I have two cats one is 3 yrs old and a tabby that is 7 mos old. the 7 mo gulps his food down and , now and then will upchuck his food within 2 hrs of eating. I have put his food in a egg carton, he doe not like this at all, i put it in a bowl with a golf ball, this kind of slows him down, i feed him a very small portion at a time. He was thrown out of a car window and I adopted him, I was wondering if the original owners did not feed him like they should have and this made him want to gulp his food down. How do I teach him to eat slowly, what do I do to help his upchucking??? I feed the older cat up on the counter to separate them. The two of them get along very well. I have also put him on a two day diet of chicken only Please Help. .

    1. Julinka

      I rescued a starving kitten too, and she is now 13 years old. She eats like her food will disappear any second and then sometimes throws it up like your kitty. I found spreading the food on a dinner plate helps. The other cats have bowls and she has a plate. And smaller amounts of food more frequently rather than large meals.

    2. Melissa

      I have 5 cats, all rescues. The two oldest are brothers who prove that a litter can all have different fathers. One is a long-tailed Siamese (mix but just looks Siamese) and the other is a black & white bobtail. The two in the middle are both orange tabby females, one with white included (the other is just orange tabby with no white). The youngest is a somewhat unusual male…his color/coat is called a “diluted gray marble tabby”. He just turned a year old and we’ve had him since he was around 8 months old. His previous owners moved and decided that their indoor kitten could survive just fine outside on his own with no food/water/shelter with winter coming on. (Needless to say that didn’t happen, because we rescued him.) Anyway, the point of my rather long & drawn out story is that he was that way at first. He would literally act insane at meal time. He’d eat so fast that he would choke himself. Then he would throw up part of what he had managed to eat. His previous owners also had 2 Great Danes and he probably had to swallow his food practically whole if he wanted to eat. He was terrified that one of the other cats would steal his food. The 2 things that I found that worked the best were A) feeding him in a completely different part of the house when we feed wet food (which is more of a special treat, not a main meal) and B) for the main food, we leave out multiple bowls of their favorite dry food. Because there are multiple bowls and that food is always available, he doesn’t feel like he’s got to rush and try to get it all down at once. In the 4 months we’ve had him we still maintain a separate feeding area (different room) for the wet food, but with the dry food he’ll sit and eat slowly, allowing him to digest his food properly. Hopefully something in the story of Pippin’s journey might help with your baby. ?

    3. Stephanie May

      Betty – give your new cat time to realise that food comes regularly and he does not need to wolf his food down in a hurry. My own cat had a similar problem when I got her. She had been in a cattery and had to be quick to get to the food or go without. Give him time to get the idea that food comes and he will have enough to eat.

  6. Wendy

    Chicken-only is a bad diet for a cat, even short-term. They must have taurine in their diets, either as a supplement or within the commercially-produced food. Sorry your guy is having eating issues, and what a tough way to start life, too. Consult a vet or vet call-in line, maybe they can help guide you?

  7. Bethann Poole

    I have two cream and white tabbys they are very large cats, I obtained one of them from a neighbor who has a feral colony all cream and white tabbys one calico female. All the cream tabbys are exceptionally large cats. Is this a trait of this color of cats. I have an orange and white tabby no where near as large. So I’m wondering if beige tabbys are mostly large cats. Sounds silly I know but I have noticed a lot of personality and physical traits over the years that seem to be color specific. Am I just wrong or am I on to something.

  8. Wanda

    We recently. adopted a black and grey tabby. He was declawed and neutered and is micro chipped. He is a little over a uear old…not quite twi yet. A lot of times…he will nip at us when we pick him up or by just being playful….not sure if it is because he has been declawed. How do we get him to stop nipping? Other than that…he is very friendly and playful….our little baby has a unique personality and we love him to pieces.

    1. Jodie Mueller

      In my experience, there are two reasons a cat will nip–overstimulation and interactive response. I had a kitten who was a nipper. I remember waking up one morning to a pain on my nose, opening my eyes and seeing this kitten yelling a me. She didn’t like me sleeping in and bit the tip of my nose–at 8 weeks that was all she could manage. But she nipped at everything. My aunt had had a lot of cats and suggested “controlling her bite” by putting the tip of my finger in her mouth when she tried to bite. The first time I tried it, the little kitten pulled her head back and flattened her ears. What had happened! I had to repeat it at most another two times and then when she seemed ready to nip, all I had to do was point my finger at her, and she would take on this offended posture–head back, ears back–no nip. I would then stop pointing, her offense would last a second or two past that, and we’d go back to what we were doing before the impending nip. I’d have say it was about two to three years of sensing when she was getting too worked up to pause petting her and be prepared to point, when suddenly, instead of starting the nip point cycle, she licked my elbow instead. My initial response was surprise, but immediately I thought that I’d take this over nipping any day. I came to understand in that moment that it was very important to Mitzi to express herself through her mouth. It’s just how she communicated. She liked being groomed by other cats, she liked grooming other cats–she was always using her mouth in a tactile manner to express herself. It was a few more years before I wasn’t on guard with her for the occasional nip, but she turns 15 in two months, and unless she is pretty high on cat nip and we’ve been playing hide and seek on her cat tower or petting her in a manner that I’m aware works her up, I have no worries about her nipping. The behavior can be worked with, but it takes time and patience. Now I know you have an older cat–longer, sharper teeth means more is at stake. In the case of my little kitten, every time I controlled the bite, it resulted in no bite at all. Cats do love to take offense–and expressing appall at the violation of her control was always more important than finishing the nip. I can’t guarantee the same results–a cat is much quicker than a kitten–but I think it is important to look at the behavior from the perspective of what the cat is trying to get out of it.

      Do not jam your finger in the cat’s mouth–there’s no need to hurt the the cat. I barely made any contact at all with my cat when trying this technique.

    2. Melissa

      I wish we could teach Pippin not to bite. His is way more than a nip – he will literally grab us by the hand or arm. With his claws, then BITE. Really hard. He has left quite a few puncture wounds and bleeding claw marks on both my husband and myself. I replied to a previous question with Pippin’s story, the long version, so I’ll make it quicker here. He was raised with 2 Great Danes and then abandoned outside (he was an indoor cat) when his owners decided not to take him with them when they moved. You can tell he grew up rough housing with 2 large dogs (or defending himself, not sure which) because he can be very aggressive if he gets overstimulated. I’m working with him to on voice commands and he’s *starting* to understand that if I yell “Ouch Pippin, no, that hurts” that he’s hurting me. We’re up to him releasing me 1/2 the time now with the vocal cues. I’m still buying stock in alcohol, Neosporin and Band Aids, but I can see progress being made slowly. I keep telling him that we won’t give up on him and abandon him like his previous owners did. Luckily my husband is of the same opinion! Sorry…it turned out long anyway, but the gist was that are trying to tame a jungle cat and so far are finding that tons of patience and verbal cues are what he reacts to best. When he’s not overstimulated he is the sweetest baby and even still has a little kitten squeak when he sees us. BTW, we have had him vetted and neutered. Our vet is of the opinion that it’s just going to take patience and him getting older for his aggressive side to calm down. She said he’s perfectly healthy, he just appears to have had a rough kittenhood.

    3. Tonya

      I have a gray tabby…4 yrs…he showed up on my porch At almost 1 yr old…whenever he nibbles on my hand, I calmly say “kisses”… he will stop nibbling + lick my hand…He does this 99% of the time….lotsa times, when not nibbling,I say kisses, he will give me kisses…just gotta continue to train them…be patient…Just continue repeating with other stuff too…good luck to u…peace/hugs

    4. Stephanie May

      You could well be right in pointing to the declaring as the source of trouble. It is a traumatic thing and leaves the poor cat with pain, as well as rendering the poor creature defenceless against any attacks.
      Talk to your vet about ways to help her. God bless you

  9. Robyn Combs

    We have a 2 year old female black tabby that we got as a kitten. She is not very loving or affectionate. She likes to be alone and when we try to hold her she meows and then growls and hisses and wants down. She just doesn’t seem to want to bond with anyone but me…..Mom. And that’s only for brief moments in the mornings occasionally. We try giving her treats, getting involved with interactive kitty toys, even putting her kitty bed in our common family area in a quiet corner….still nothing. We didn’t get a kitten 2 years ago to have it hide from us all the time and hate us. What do we do?

    1. anonymous

      Oh I can so relate to this. I had the same experience with our last cat. We kept her for 7 years , hoping she would get a little more friendly. We got her young and treated her very lovingly all the time, but never got the pet we wanted. Always felt a little selfish, since with a cat, it’s not about you, it’s about the cat. So we just put up with it, and promised ourselves that when she got sick we would not spend money trying to cure her. At about 7 years old…she started getting a lot worse…biting me to bleeding, biting like she wanted to break my bones. Started crying whenever her father the whole neighborhood thought we were torturing her. She bit a couple of visitors to the point of bleeding. Then one day, we decided enough was enough. We heard a story of a similar situation of the same kind of cat attacking her mom and the mom still has scars in her face from it. We cried a lot, and blamed ourselves, and felt like we were taking life from a still very alive cat for our own pleasure and felt really horrible about it and still do. But it was approaching dangerous. So we decided to bring her on a trip to the vet, try to love her and comfort her, and give her a quick painless death. Something was troubling that cat in the head.
      One week later we rescued a 12 week kitten. It was a little skittish. They let us take him home for 2 days and return her if it didn’t work out. This little kitten with 45 minutes was sleeping on my chest and is inseparable from me.Purrs like it’s going out of style, sleeps on my chest at night. And follows me around hoping for a pat and a cuddle. So wonderful. My other cat never purrs in 7 years, never came to me for a cuddle, never accepted a cuddle, hissed at me at times, scratched me at times, didn’t let me put the full length of her body one time without throwing a punch at me. Never slept with me.
      I know many cat activists would say I should have kept the cat and found a way to deal with her behavior. I tried everything. I spent a lot of money and effort with that cat. Could not be happier with this kitten….that’s what a pet is suppose to be…to bring some joy. I know your pain. Euthanize him/her. Life is too short. There are many other kittens looking for a good home. One is waiting for you. Do NOT try to give the cat away. Others may decide to hurt him for his behavior, or dump him somewhere…best to put the cat out of its mental torture before it gets worse. You love him and don’t want him to have pain or torture or abuse….let him go. Sorry to say this and I’m sure some will think I’m terrible, but hopefully it makes sense to you.

    2. Cat Lover

      I agree with you 100% That cat was Miserable and some animals are just born that way as are some people. I had a feral cat for 13 years and even being born wild she was a good loving cat. We just adopted 2 Tabby brothers got them at 6 weeks and they are just a joy very loving and want to be with us all the time even follow us to the bathroom and scratch at the door. you just have to know it was not anything you did or did not do you will be doing the cat a favor putting her out of her misery.

    3. Stephanie May

      She is unlikely to hate you. Cats have different personalities, just as we do. It sounds as if you have an introvert there, who just needs some alone time, or if could simply mean that you are not allowing her enough sleep time. Kittens need more sleep than grown up cats. You aren’t expecting her to be constantly playful are you?

  10. Trisha Vela

    I SORELY MISS my deceased, GORGEOUS Tabby cat, Bella. She was SO unique and just so BEAUTIFUL. She passed away from kidney failure on November 11, 2017. I MISS my little bangle tiger. 🙁

  11. Vera

    I have a tabby cat plus it has six toes on the front of its paws I believe it’s very rare plus it has the m and she is great and black

  12. Vera

    I have a gray and black tabby cat it has a m on its forehead plus it has six toes in front it is a mixed cat the mother was Tabby and the father has six toes on each feet so my cat has 6 toes in front and it has the m on its forehead

  13. Marc

    I have a brown patch tabby that’s 17 yrs old, but lately has had some issues with her litter box she stays inside quite often without doing anything . What can help

  14. Jodie

    I feel like no one is answering anyone’s questions. Mitzi, my beautiful little 6.5 lb classic brown tabby, hated being picked up and definitely preferred other cats to me early in her life. She was an 8 week old feral kitten when I adopted her. Her mother had been trapped at a used car dealership and I dropped in to see about the “free kittens” sign about 20 minutes before ASPCA showed up to collect the mixed litter and mama cat, who was a silver spotted tabby and in a rage over being caged had managed to hang by her claws from the top of the cat as she tried to scream and spit her way out.

    Mitzi did not like getting picked up. Her sister, Sonja, thought it was the best thing that ever happened to her–sh was born to not be feral. Mitzi took years of picking up. Initially I could only pick her up like a lamb–her chest would be against my left bicep and her body against my chest and my other arm would lock her in. And we’d try holding just past toleration. Once she settled–a pause in irritation or antsy-ness past the initial hold–I would let her go. Over several years she’d repeat, and then slowly, she stopped needing to be picked up and held in a certain way, and then slowly she started to want to be held. My experience was that I had to be willing to play the long game. Now she wants to be picked up–completely different cat at almost 15 than 1, 3 or even 6. I wish you luck in figuring out your cat–I’m convinced that if you are persistent in trying and find those moments where your cat can bear interaction a moment longer, then a moment longer, etc., then you will get to the relationship you want.


    I have an unusually marked white and grey cat with a tabby tail. Almost looks siamese. His sister is a calico that also has a some tabby markings. Has anyone ever heard of this?

  16. Liz

    I have an orange big outdoor cat that stares at me through sliding doors. Fed him an$ comes back everyday for food. After he eats he wants to come in, satires at me! I may let him in ? Advice

  17. Victoria Jackson

    I have a brown with a black top coat and black and grey strips with the M on his forehead one of the sweetest cat I’ve ever had.his name is Minky.because of his color.

  18. Walter Kraslawsky

    We rescued Kayla, a 1 year old listed as DSH By the shelter. We have tried to figure out if DSH is correct, but hours of research on cat breeds still leaves us guessing. Tuxedo Tabby is the closest we can get in naming *what* she is, but that’s not a breed. Is there some site, yours or elsewhere, where we can upload a photo to get an answer?

  19. Robert C Hallden

    I have a male tabby cat that is grey with black stripes, that looks like the picture above, and he is such a sweetheart. He’s very energetic and he doesn’t meow he whines. He’s not in pain that’s how he is. He loves to jump up on my lap curl up and fall asleep. He’s my buddy. I also have a female patch tabby who is 9 months old and she is another sweetheart and when it was cold she’ll come up on the bed to sleep with me. Her name is Minnie and my boy’s name is Percy. This kind of breed of cats are great to own and they do become part of the family and not just that they are family.

  20. Gary L Bauman

    I have a rescue cat…..was probably a stray but not a feral…..has a tabby face and looks like a tortishell body…..but this is my first cat, so don’t know a lot of how you decide what a cat may be … what would this cat be classified as…..I would post a picture but not sure it is possible on here;

    1. kateKate Barrington Post author

      Hi Gary, it’s possible that your cat is both! Tortoiseshell-tabbies (sometimes referred to as reverse tortoiseshell) are also known as Torbies. Cats can also develop patches of different colors and patterns. You’re right, it is hard to tell sometimes!

  21. Novalee L Carter

    I never knew what type my cat was but I do know she is a patched tabby. her name is teo we got her in 2015 because a family member treated he bad and her first owner he locked he in the basement and one day he didn’t see her tail in the door way and the beginning of her tail is broken.