Tabby Colors of Cats

Article by Beth Hicks
Photos by Helmi Flick

Spanish Translation / Traducción Español

Photos copyrighted by the individual photographers
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These cats are the same colors as the solid cats. The only difference is the addition of stripes - called tabby markings. The silver tabby is the only tabby that does not also come in solid. Silver is a variation of black that is only seen in tabbies.

Even within each of these colors, there is a wide range of differences. Some reds have a deep, mahogony color while others are very light. Blues can have a very light, powdery blue shade or be almost a navy blue.

Tabby patterns are usually more distinct on a shorthaired cat than on a longhaired cat.

Many people think that all tabbies are also with white. A very common feature of all the tabby patterns is a white chin. Tabbies also have white around their eyes that is called "eye liner".

NOTE: The color and pattern names used are the official names used by The International Cat Association (TICA).

The Mackerel Tabby

The most common tabby pattern is named after the fish! A good description of the vertical stripes that run parallel on the cat's sides. Some people also refer to mackerel tabbies as "the guys in the pinstripe suits"!


Silver Mackerel Tabby
Silver Mackerel Tabby
Red Mackerel Tabby
Red Mackerel Tabby

Black Mackerel Tabby
Brown Mackerel Tabby
Black Mac Tabby
Brown Mackerel Tabby

Black Mackerel Tabby
Brown Mackerel Tabby

The very small amount of white on this fine fellow on the left does not mean that he would be registered as a tabby "with white". The spot on his neck is called a locket. He also has a little bit of white on his toes!


Red and Cream Mac Tabby
Red and a Cream Mackerel Tabby
Blue & Black Mac Tabby
Blue and a Brown Mackerel Tabby
Blue Mackerel Tabby
Blue Mackerel Tabby


The Classic Tabby

Often referred to as a "Bulls-Eye" pattern. The stripes are much wider than a mackerel tabby's stripes with a circular pattern on the sides. These tabbies will also have broad stripes running down the middle of their back.


Silver Classic Tabby
Silver Classic Tabby
Silver Classic Tabby
Silver Classic Tabby

Brown Classic Tabby
Brown Classic Tabby
Brown Classic Tabby
Brown Classic Tabby

Cream Classic Tabby
Cream Classic Tabby
Red Classic Tabby
Red Classic Tabby

Red & Black Classic Tabby
Blue Classic Tabby
Red & Brown Classic Tabby
Blue Classic Tabby

The Spotted Tabby

Instead of lines that create a pattern, spotted tabbies have small individual spots.


Silver Spotted Tabby
Blue Spotted Tabby
Silver Spotted Tabby
Blue Spotted Tabby

Black Spotted Tabby
Brown Spotted Tabby
Cream Spotted Tabby
Cream Spotted Tabby

Bengal
Bengal

Bengals have a brown color and variation of the spotted pattern that is not seen in other cats. The spots occur in a random pattern and vary in size. The spots can be solid. Spots that have a dark outline with a lighter color in the center are called rosettes.


The Ticked Tabby

Instead of a pattern on the body, every individual hair is ticked - has bands of color on it. In purebred cats, some breeds are allowed to have stripes (called bars) on their legs and face. Other breeds are required to be totally free of any barring.


Silver Ticked Tabby
Silver Ticked Tabby
Siver Ticked Tabby
Silver Ticked Tabby

Red Ticked Tabby

Red Ticked Tabby

Black Ticked Tabby
Brown Ticked Tabby

Looking For A Different Color?
Click on the links below to see more examples of different colors of cats

  • Solids: Cats that are one color and do not have any stripes.
  • Tabbies: Cats with stripes - called tabby markings. The tabby markings have four different patterns.
  • Torties/Torbies: Usually females, these cats are a mixture of both black and red. They can be solids or tabbies.
  • Pointed: Color is only seen on the face, feet, and tail. Those points can be solid or tabby.
  • With Whites: Any of the above with white added. The term particolor means any cat with white.

Or return to the introduction to What Color Is Your Cat?

Photos courtesy of Helmi Flick Cat Photography
Copyright © 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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