Brown mackerel tabby domestic longhair
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Tabby Cat

Tabby cats are often mistaken as a certain breed of cat. The term tabby actually refers to the stripes, dots and swirling patterns of the cat's coat. The tabby pattern is believed to be the original basic cat pattern, and the closest to their distant ancestors. more...

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Tabby coloration is found in many breeds of cat, as well as among the general 'moggy' (mixed-breed or mongrel) population. When cats are allowed to breed randomly, the coloration of the population tends toward brown mackerel tabbies with green eyes, leading geneticists to believe that this is the common wild phenotype of the domestic cat.

The word comes from French tabis, which was earlier atabis, and in medieval Latin attabi. The initial origin of the word seems to be from the Attabiyah section of Baghdad where a type of striped silk was made that was later used to describe cats.

Tabby colors and patterns

There are three tabby patterns that have been shown to be genetically distinct, classic, mackerel and ticked, and a fourth variation, spotted, that is still undergoing debate as to its cause. The color most recognizable as a tabby is called brown tabby in the US and black tabby in the UK. Technically it is a black cat with an agouti gene that causes the fur to break into patterns of black and brown. While the name "black tabby" is more correct, the brown tabby moniker is firmly established in the US and any change is doubtful. It is possible to have a black, blue, red, and cream in classic, mackerel, ticked and spotted patterns. Chocolate, cinnamon, lilac and fawn generally only appear in the ticked pattern, most commonly in the Abyssinian and Somali breeds.

The mackerel tabby pattern is the most common as the gene for this is dominant to the classic pattern. The mackerel pattern is what people commonly think of when they think of tabby. It has vertical, gently curving stripes on the side of the body. The stripes are thin and may be continuous or broken into bars and spots on the flanks and stomach. Often, an "M" shape appears on the forehead. The Maine Coon breed often appears in brown mackerel tabby.

Classic (or blotched) tabbies have a similar pattern on the head of the cat, but the body markings are very different. They have a whorled and swirled pattern with thicker stripes that make what are referred to as "butterfly" patterns on their shoulders. The legs and tail are more heavily barred and the pattern is variable with respect to the width of the bands. American shorthairs are often exhibited in silver classic tabby.

The ticked tabby pattern produces hairs that have distinct bands of color on them, breaking the tabby patterning up into a salt-and-pepper appearance. However, ghost striping or "barring" can often be seen on the legs, face and belly. It is difficult to produce a cat with a solid ticked coat.

In order of genetic dominance, the ticked pattern is dominant to the mackerel pattern, which is dominant to the classic pattern. However, all of these patterns have been observed in random bred populations.

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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10.5 Inch Gund Cookie Pusheen Plush Cat Grey Tabby Kitty Stuffed Toy10.5 Inch Gund Cookie Pusheen Plush Cat Grey Tabby Kitty Stuffed Toy $19.37 Build A Bear Mini Tabby Kitty Cat Kitten Orange Stripe 7" Plush Toy Animal DollBuild A Bear Mini Tabby Kitty Cat Kitten Orange Stripe 7" Plush Toy Animal Doll $14.99
Tabby Orange Color Remote Control Moving & Meow Noise Kitten new fake pet catTabby Orange Color Remote Control Moving & Meow Noise Kitten new fake pet cat $18.95 Was: Previous Price $19.95 Funky Quirky Black Tabby Cute Cat Gentleman Ribbon Shabby Chic Quirky BroochFunky Quirky Black Tabby Cute Cat Gentleman Ribbon Shabby Chic Quirky Brooch $4.35
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carpets tabby cat hand puppetcarpets tabby cat hand puppet $27.73 Savvy Tabby Muscratchio Cat ScratcherSavvy Tabby Muscratchio Cat Scratcher $29.91
Manx Tortoiseshell Tabby Cat PostcardManx Tortoiseshell Tabby Cat Postcard $3.25 Suki Gifts Yomiko Classics Cats Tabby Cat (Medium, Orange)Suki Gifts Yomiko Classics Cats Tabby Cat (Medium, Orange) $53.32
Hi-Line Gift Ltd Tabby Sleeping Cat Statue, OrangeHi-Line Gift Ltd Tabby Sleeping Cat Statue, Orange $33.07 Garden Indoor/Outdoor Fall Flag - Orange Tabby Cat 139551Garden Indoor/Outdoor Fall Flag - Orange Tabby Cat 139551 $21.59 Was: Previous Price $23.99
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Brown Tabby Cat Cushion Cover Pillow Case #Cu-125 - NewBrown Tabby Cat Cushion Cover Pillow Case #Cu-125 - New $20.90 T Catime Tabby Vintage 1993 Crestley Collection Cat Plate Hand-NumberedT Catime Tabby Vintage 1993 Crestley Collection Cat Plate Hand-Numbered $7.00
Little Tabby Cat Kitten Angel with Bluebird Folk Art Country Wall Art PrintLittle Tabby Cat Kitten Angel with Bluebird Folk Art Country Wall Art Print $14.20 to $23.70 Was: Previous Price $14.95 Orange Tabby Cat Cushion Cover Pillow Case #Cu-112 - NewOrange Tabby Cat Cushion Cover Pillow Case #Cu-112 - New $20.90
New Mens Ladies Leather Ginger Tabby Cat Coin Purse by Mala Zipped Handy CuteNew Mens Ladies Leather Ginger Tabby Cat Coin Purse by Mala Zipped Handy Cute $24.93 Any Woman Can Be A Mother Takes Someone Special To Be Cat Mummy Laminated SignAny Woman Can Be A Mother Takes Someone Special To Be Cat Mummy Laminated Sign $3.35
Proud Mamma Tabby Kitty Cat with Babies Nursery Watercolor Wall Art PrintProud Mamma Tabby Kitty Cat with Babies Nursery Watercolor Wall Art Print $3.75 to $31.30 Was: Previous Price $14.95 Littlest Pet Shop Orange White Tabby Kitty Cat Sandbox With AccessoriesLittlest Pet Shop Orange White Tabby Kitty Cat Sandbox With Accessories $7.99
Vintage Pair of Ardco Bone China Orange " Tabby Cat " Porcelain 2.5" FigurinesVintage Pair of Ardco Bone China Orange " Tabby Cat " Porcelain 2.5" Figurines $14.99 Sylvanian Families Tabby Cat Baby Epoch Calico CrittersSylvanian Families Tabby Cat Baby Epoch Calico Critters $8.99
3 tabby cats kittens in a row birthday photo postcard3 tabby cats kittens in a row birthday photo postcard $5.00 My Floor Is Not Dirty It's My Cat Paw Print Art Laminated Sign Novelty GiftMy Floor Is Not Dirty It's My Cat Paw Print Art Laminated Sign Novelty Gift $3.35
Picture Print Tabby Kitten Cat Scottish Sealyham Terrier Puppy Dog Art PosterPicture Print Tabby Kitten Cat Scottish Sealyham Terrier Puppy Dog Art Poster $9.59 Was: Previous Price $11.99 003-Sbp Animal Stickers Calico - Cat - Kitten - Tabby003-Sbp Animal Stickers Calico - Cat - Kitten - Tabby $2.50
Cat Print No.21, cute cats, birthday gift, tabby cat, funny catCat Print No.21, cute cats, birthday gift, tabby cat, funny cat $11.27 to $14.27 Lps#1788 Walking Pink Cat Very Rare Littlest Pet Shop Green Eyes Tabby Kitty NewLps#1788 Walking Pink Cat Very Rare Littlest Pet Shop Green Eyes Tabby Kitty New $4.88
Happy Tabby Cat Hand Painted Art Rock Stone Christmas Big over 1 LbHappy Tabby Cat Hand Painted Art Rock Stone Christmas Big over 1 Lb $12.98 Postcard Cats Tortoiseshell & Tabby Kittens Signed Helena MaguirePostcard Cats Tortoiseshell & Tabby Kittens Signed Helena Maguire $39.95
Savvy Tabby Acrobat Cat ScratcherSavvy Tabby Acrobat Cat Scratcher $59.10 Cat Family - Mama Cat And Kittens Figurine Red Tabby Sculpture CollectibleCat Family - Mama Cat And Kittens Figurine Red Tabby Sculpture Collectible $12.99
Tabby Cat Kids Kigurumi 5-9 YearsTabby Cat Kids Kigurumi 5-9 Years $54.17 50pcs 21x30mm Mixed Round 2 Holes Wood Buttons Sewing Scrapbooking Tabby cat50pcs 21x30mm Mixed Round 2 Holes Wood Buttons Sewing Scrapbooking Tabby cat $1.95
British Shorthair Tabby Spotted Pedigree Cat PostcardBritish Shorthair Tabby Spotted Pedigree Cat Postcard $3.25 Tabby Cat Kigurumi Adults XlTabby Cat Kigurumi Adults Xl $71.35
Cat Feline Figurine Tubby Tabby Hand Blown Glass GoldCat Feline Figurine Tubby Tabby Hand Blown Glass Gold $66.00 Was: Previous Price $110.00 Garden Indoor/Outdoor Fall Flag - Brown Tabby Cat 139541Garden Indoor/Outdoor Fall Flag - Brown Tabby Cat 139541 $21.59 Was: Previous Price $23.99
1984 Nikko Happy Hang Ups Tabby Cat & Giraffe Wall Hook Sets1984 Nikko Happy Hang Ups Tabby Cat & Giraffe Wall Hook Sets $15.95 Cat T Shirt - I Love My Tabby Cat - Adopt Rescue Friend Animal Dog Men Women # 4Cat T Shirt - I Love My Tabby Cat - Adopt Rescue Friend Animal Dog Men Women # 4 $11.85 to $18.85
Littlest Pet Shop Collection Lps Figure Toys Walking Cat Tabby #1788 Green EyesLittlest Pet Shop Collection Lps Figure Toys Walking Cat Tabby #1788 Green Eyes $4.89 Santa Stop Here - Best Behaved Cat The World Sign Christmas Gift 17 BreedsSanta Stop Here - Best Behaved Cat The World Sign Christmas Gift 17 Breeds $3.35
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Prices current as of last update, 12/10/17 11:40pm.

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