Tiger cats are beautiful and each one is unique in its own way. Find out more about popular cats here.

1. The tiger model

The tiger pattern is a fur pattern that belongs to the generic term “tabby”. In addition to the tiger motif, there are also spotted, brindle and ticked underneath.

The tiger motif constitutes the “wild type”. A tabby cat has one dark eel line along the back, from where narrow dark stripes run along the body. The tails and paws of tiger cats are curled. The other tabby designs evolved from this:

  • The brindle drawing it is a mutation of the tabby design. The stripes are wider and the brindle cats have a butterfly drawing on their shoulders. There is a dark spot in the center of each side.
  • In stained design tiger stripes dissolved in spots.
  • In checkered design cats appear more or less monochromatic. This is due to the fact that in this type of coat almost all the hair is banded several times light and dark. So the pattern appears dissolved. This is typical, for example, of Abyssinian cats.

Most people associate the tiger motif with gray / brown tabby cats. But the tabby pattern also occurs with other coat colors, such as red cats. There is also the tiger motif in many different cat breeds: from European and British Shorthair to Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat.

Tabby cats come in different colors.© DoraZett-stock.adobe.com

2. Monochrome or tabby?

Locus A decides whether a cat is monochromatic or mackerel Allele A stands for the tabby fur pattern, that Allele a for monochrome.

Since each gene is available in duplicate, they can be composed as follows;

  • AA (pure)
  • Aa (mixed)
  • aA (mixed)
  • aa (pure)

The A allele, which stands for the color of the tiger, is opposite to the a allele dominant. This means that only cats with the combination “aa” are monochromatic.

Depending on whether the parents are cats pure or mixed which influences the pattern of their offspring. Pure reproduction means that both alleles are the same (AA and aa). They are different in mixed breed cats (aA and Aa).

If one parent cat has the “AA” alleles and the other “aa”, these two cats can they only have tabby childrenalthough one of the two is plain colored. This is because there is always one gene from the mother and one from the father, and the dominant tabby gene is always present in this case. This is Gregor Mendel’s “Law of Uniformity”.

On the other hand, if the cats’ parents are of mixed breed, it can both monochromatic and tabby kittens come into the world, even if both parents are Tabby. In theory this is the numerical ratio of the offspring 3: 1 (three tabby to a monochromatic cat). This is the “law of division” according to Mendel.

3. Risk of confusion with wild relatives

Gray tabby domestic cats look confusingly similar to their wild relatives! Even the European wild cat it has a tiger pattern, but is usually not as pronounced as in many domestic cats, but is rather “washed out”.

So is the African black cat, the ancestor of the domestic cat slightly mackerel.

Tabby wild cat
The European wildcat has a slight tiger pattern. © Friedrich Hartl-stock.adobe.com

4. The first mass-produced soft toy was a gray tabby cat

One of the first mass-produced soft toys was the so-called “Ithaca Kitty”. It was a tabby cat in fabric inspired by the gray tabby cat “Caesar Grimalkin”. Its owner Celia Smith and her sister-in-law Charity Smith of Ithaca (USA) designed “Ithaca Kitty” and from 1892 it was produced.

The soft toy sparked a passing fashion for soft toys and was successfully sold until after the First World War.

5. The “M” on the forehead of tiger cats

The “M” on the forehead is characteristic of tabby cats. They actually do all cats in the tabby pattern in red or black, unless it can be seen through the white areas of the face.

In Christianity the “M” is said to be a sign for Mary. Since a cat is said to have laid down to protect the baby Jesus, according to legend, Mary gave an “M” as a protective symbol. In Islam, the “M” stands for Mohammed, which a cat is said to have protected from a snake, which is why she gave him the “M” as a symbol of protection.

Tabby cat M
The “M” on the forehead is characteristic of tabby cats. © Inkevalentin-stock.adobe.com

6. Personality of Tabby cats

Tabby cats are said to love to be solitary. Most of all they like to be in nature alone and look for new ones Adventures. In addition, they are considered tiger cats fearless, willing to take risks, curious and open.


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