Last Updated: 4 months ago

A tabby cat’s personality is just as alluring as its coat.

These felines have mastered the art of carving their home in a human’s heart.

One of the most legendary cats in the history of cats is a Tabby. You may think that tabby cats are distinct cat breeds like Main Coons or Persian cats, but it is their unique coat pattern that sets them apart.

The coat is oftentimes in stripes, whorls, swirls, dots, broken stripes, and dashes.

If you are curious about their personalities and everything related to tabby cat breeds, this article is for you!

Tabby Cat Breeds History

a very adorable ginger tabby cat

The presence of the tabby gene in various cat breeds across the world makes Tabbies the most common cats. You can easily spot a stray Tabby taking a stroll down the block.

One of your friend’s lazy cats could easily have a tabby coat, or your colleague’s daughter may have received a tabby kitten as her birthday present. The point is that tabbies are everywhere!

If you wonder what makes these cats so omnipresent, the answer is hidden in the origin of tabby cats, which goes right back to their distant relatives, the big cats.

Today, the tabby gene is one of the prominent resemblances between these predators and our domesticated felines. However, the many legends related to them partially justify their roots.

While tabbies are found in many cat breeds despite their size, shape, origin, etc., the name tabby is the contribution of a certain type of silk from the Middle East.

All these cats have common “M” facial markings that confirm them as tabbies. The marvelous “M” mark on their forehead, above their eyes, is a symbolic representation of the presence of the tabby gene.

However, three famous legends are justifying the “M” mark on tabbies and their presence worldwide. We all know that tabby cats have existed forever, and hence these legends have distinct origins.

  1. Egypt is one of the ancient countries in the world known for worshipping animals. In the remains of ancient Egyptian civilization, we find evidence of tabby cats very often. In Egypt, the word for a cat is “Mau”. Which sounds very similar to meow. Although it claims to prove the “M” marking on a tabby’s forehead, it’s still just a well-known legend!
  2. Did you know Mohammed was a cat person? Yes! He adored cats, especially tabbies, who were his personal favorites. Hence, it is believed that the “M” mark on a tabby is a sign of Mohammed. Despite being a strong belief, it is a famous legend as well!
  3. The third most well-known legend says that tabbies were named after the Virgin Mary. This story also justifies the “M” mark on a tabby, but there is always room for more stories!

Tabby Cat Breeds Physical Characteristics

tabby cat lying on the floor

Every animal has its characteristics, and most of all, cats. Even though we find tabbies in multiple domestic cat breeds, their respective breeds greatly influence their physical characteristics and personalities.

Despite being a common gene in many breeds, tabby coats have a distinct pattern. We can distinguish the physical characteristics of a Tabby cat based on its coat style.

Classic Tabby

Classic tabbies often have stripes of varying lengths on their bodies and foreheads. These cats often have darker stripes surrounded by a lighter-colored base coat.

These swirly stripes are quite random. The classic tabby is also called a blotched tabby or marbled cat (due to its resemblance to marble cake). This kind of tabby is extremely common and is found extensively in major cat breeds.

Spotted Tabby

Spotted Tabbies have a face full of strips and the famous M mark, but the rest of their body is full of spots. At a glance, it seems like this cat has stolen the face of a classic tabby and attached it to the body of a little cheetah.

Nevertheless, these cats are extremely cute, with circular and oval spots all over their bodies. The classic examples of spotted tabby cats are Ocicats and American Bobtails.

Ticked Tabby

Ticked Tabbies are a unique type of tabby, as they lack the stereotypical features of a tabby cat.

Yes! They do have the classic mark on their forehead. Sometimes they even have darker-colored strips on their faces, but the rest of their body has a plain, solid-colored coat.

Or so we think! On inspection, we often see their agouti hair have the same light and dark banding as Tabbies. Ticked Tabbies are also known as Abyssinian or Agouti Tabbies.

Mackerel Tabby

It’s fascinating to know that a cat is named after a fish! But there is sound reasoning behind the name. If you take a clean look at the coat of these tabbies, you will find a solid dark band of fur running down its spine.

The rest of the strips are branched off from this central band. This striped pattern looks like the skeleton of a fish, hence the name.

The common name for these tabbies is Tiger-Cats!

Red or Orange Tabby

Did you know? A red or orange cat breed is always a Tabby. Yes! The reason lies in the genes of these cats.

Apparently, the gene that carries the Tabby coat pattern is the same gene that carries the orange color. Fascinating, isn’t it?

And how can we miss the most well-known example of an orange tabby, Garfield!

Brown Tabby

Whenever a tabby cat is mentioned, most people picture a brown tabby. It’s one of the most common tabby cats.

With mostly solid brown paws and ears, these cats have nearly black or tan strips on their body and face, over cream or light-colored fur.

If you have seen a stray tabby, it’s mostly a brown tabby!


Tortoiseshell cats are extremely beautiful to look at. With a mix of red and brown fur patches all over their face and body, their tabby markings are strong on their face and legs.

They do have tabby markings on the body, which are often hidden beneath the shades of the coat.

Silver Tabby

Silver Tabbies are generally found in varying shades of grey, white, or darker colored coats.

Tabby cats with white, grey, or dark-colored fur and tabby spots or stripes are usually categorized as silver tabbies. Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat are perfect examples of silver Tabbies.

Calico Tabby

Did you know the word Calico refers to a color pattern in cats rather than a separate breed? A cat having tri-colored fur along with a tabby marked forehead is a Calico Tabby.

Generally, these cats have three colors white, orange and black with their Calico spots and tabby stripes.

Tabby Cat Breeds Personality

tabby cat lying on his window bed

The personality of a Tabby cat is frequently highlighted in many movies. True to the characters, these little tigers have varying personalities.

Mostly, the personality of a tabby is shaped by its surrounding, its humans, and its upbringing.

Although the tabby pattern can be seen in both pure bread and mixed bread cats, a large part of their personality depends on the breed of tabby.

To understand their personalities in detail, let’s take a look at the tabby cat personality traits of some breeds with tabby markings.


The Abyssinian is one of the cutest big-eared cat breeds

Extremely energetic! If you have an Abyssinian tabby, you know your couch, bed, and cautions are in a jeopardy. Yes! These felines love to scratch, play, climb, run and be hyperactive.

Moreover, they have extremely curious personalities. So, it’s best to invest in some sustainable cat toys to drain these furry animals on daily basis.

Maine Coon

orange maine coon

Maine Coon are one of the largest domesticated cats. These fluffy giants adore kids and any interaction with their humans. They are attention seekers, and their friendly personality often gets them in the spotlight.

These double-coated cats are extremely gentle despite their above-average size. If you wish to adopt a tabby, get yourself a Maine Coon!


Are in love with striped cat breeds and can’t get enough of these purring creatures? Then check out these 11 of the most amazing cats with stripes that you can find!

One of the most expensive cat breeds, Ocicat is a result of careful and selective breeding. These felines look literally like tiger cubs. However, looks are deceiving in the case of this kitty.

As it’s domestic and possesses not a single violent trait of its look-a-like big cat. This cat has spotted tabby markings and would love to accompany you on a picnic or a walk around the block.

It can be easily trained and known to be extremely intelligent. This tabby is one of a kind!

Domestic Shorthair

Domestic Shorthair cat breed

Domestic Shorthair is one of the most adorable cats. True to their name they do have short hair coats and varying tabby markings. A cat with all the hidden qualities to be a perfect pet.

These are some of the most common types of Tabbies. Their personality, however, varies depending on whether they are pure bread or mixed bread.

American Curl

foldex cat

This comparatively new breed of cat is named after their curly ears. American Curl kitties have a great time socializing; however, they do not demand excessive attention and are just fine by themselves.

They enjoy playing but are not overly active. This cat is suitable for busy pet parents.

American Shorthair

american shorthair cat

American Shorthair is the most classic example of tabbies. These cats much like the American curl loves to balance affection and solitude.

They do not particularly enjoy being touched by strangers but are still friendly and curious from a distance. However, their humans get to experience their lovable side as these felines won’t mind taking a nap in your lap.


Oriental cat breed

If you are a full-time cat person and love an interactive feline pet, get an Oriental.

These cats have colorful coats and are high-maintenance. Apart from being extremely vocal these cats thrive on attention and won’t mind being your constant companion!

Tabby Cat Breeds Temperament

chubby tabby cat happily looking above

Honestly, these cats have been domesticated for centuries, and as a result, they know how to interact with humans and other animals.

If you have a pet tabby, chances are it’s great with guests, your kids, and other pets be it a cat, dog, bird, or fish.

Generally, tabbies are friendly and outgoing; they make the best pets. A Tabby loves to explore, and takes its playtime quite seriously!

So, if you are planning to adopt a tabby, keep in mind that these intelligent kitties will demand time, attention, and affection to their heart’s content.

Sometimes these kitties are a bit moody and prone to favor one person over the other. To, slide into their list of favorites, show some much-needed love and offer a bowl full of delicious cat food and you will easily get there!

Back in the day’s tabbies had a unique relationship with humans. Humans could offer constant food, warmth, shelter, and affection in exchange for the protection of granaries.

Although, today tabbies do not have anything to protect their bond with the humans remains!

Tabby Cat Breeds Health and Care

lady brushing his tabby cat's fur

Cats are known worldwide to take great care of themselves, but we as pet lovers, love to pamper and care for our pets.

Tabby cats may have an independent exterior most of the time, it’s still important to know some basic things about their health and grooming as a pet owner.

Tabby Cat Breeds Health Issues

Even though the health of a Tabby cat greatly depends on its breed, some of the most common health problems faced by tabbies are hyperthyroidism, vomiting, urinary trouble, upset stomach, and weight loss.

On average a tabby lives up to 15 years. However, for your pet to cross this average age bar regular Vet visits are necessary.

Also, follow the diet recommendations provided by the vet as tabbies are prone to overeating. Regular walks and sufficient playtime are enough for your pet tabby to lead a healthy life.

Tabby Cat Breeds Grooming

tabby cat grooming his self, one of the tabby cats personality

Tabbies are extremely clean cats, as they take care of their own grooming. Nevertheless, these self-sufficient cats need to be brushed regularly, especially during the shedding season.


We know you have fallen in love with these furry felines by now, and chances are there is at least one out there waiting for your attention.

Furthermore, these kitties have striking and unique personalities, so you can always find one that fits right in with your family.

Lastly, which is your favorite tabby cat?

Do you have tabby cats? What’s their personality that you love the most? Please share with us below!


orange tabby cat looking at the camera
Barry Stingmore
Barry Stingmore

Barry Stingmore is a British content creator living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats. Barry works with the island’s animal charities to help manage and care for feral and abandoned animals. Alongside fieldwork, he works to support the charities with fundraising and raising awareness.