Did you know that Tabby Cat Day is coming up on April 30th? Tabbies are one of the most common kitty coat patterns. In fact, as many as 80 percent of our feline pals fall into this category, including several of our patients. In this article from Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cy-Fair, TX animal clinic, a local veterinarian goes over some fascinating facts about these cute, sweet kitties.
Tabbies come in a few different patterns. Mackerel tabbies usually have stripes. These often resemble fish skeletons … hence the name. Kitties with the classic pattern, on the other hand, usually have swirls on their sides, which sometimes look like bulls’ eyes. Spotted tabbies have similar overall markings to mackerels, except that their patterns are formed by spots, rather than stripes. Ticked tabbies have color bands around individual hairs: they don’t have larger patterns, but appear almost pixelated. One thing they all have in common? That telltale M on their foreheads.
Speaking of the M, there’s a bit of mystique around it. Some say it appeared when the prophet Muhammed affectionately patted the forehead of his kitty, Muezza, who had killed a snake. Christian lore tells that the mark appeared when Mary, who had just given birth to Jesus, stroked the forehead of a kitty that snuggled up with the infant, soothing him and keeping him warm.
Tabbies have a few connections to ancient Egypt. First and foremost, they are likely descended from the Egyptian Mau. The Mau is actually credited with being the first tabby. As to the M? Well, because cats’ eyes shine at night, the ancient Egyptians thought it signified Fluffy’s relationship with the moon.
Kitties are all unique, so tabbies won’t all act the same way. That said, they generally tend to be sweet, friendly, and affectionate, not to mention playful. And adorable. And charming. And cuddly.
We may never completely figure cats out, but scientists are always learning more about them. As it turns out, the genes responsible for the tabby patterns are ‘turned on’ while kittens are still in utero, long before they actually develop fur. In fact, all of our feline friends have the tabby gene: it’s just hidden in kitties with solid coats.
Does your kitty need veterinary care? Contact us here at Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cy-Fair, TX animal clinic, today!