How to Identify the Type of Tabby Cat You Have

So you’re a proud owner of a tabby cat, but you can’t seem to figure out what type of tabby cat it is? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of identifying the type of tabby cat you have. From the classic mackerel pattern to the mesmerizing swirls of the marble pattern, you’ll learn all the key characteristics to look out for. Get ready to unravel the mystery behind your furry friend’s unique coat and become a pro at identifying tabby cats!

How to Identify the Type of Tabby Cat You Have

Coat Patterns

Classic Tabby

The Classic Tabby coat pattern is characterized by bold, swirling patterns that resemble the letter “M” on the cat’s forehead. These patterns continue down the spine and onto the sides of the body, often forming a “butterfly” shape on the cat’s back. Classic Tabby cats also have distinct broad stripes running horizontally across their body and legs, with smaller stripes branching off from them. This pattern is one of the most common and recognizable among tabby cats.

Mackerel Tabby

The Mackerel Tabby coat pattern is known for its thin, narrow stripes that wrap around the cat’s body vertically. The stripes resemble fishbones, which is why this pattern is often referred to as “mackerel.” Mackerel Tabby cats have a more refined and delicate look compared to other coat patterns. Their stripes are evenly spaced and can extend from the shoulders all the way down to the tail. They may also have a spotted belly, creating a unique contrast with the vertical stripes on their back.

Spotted Tabby

Spotted Tabby cats have distinctive spots rather than stripes on their coat. These spots can vary in size and shape, making each cat truly unique. The spots may be round, oval, or irregularly shaped, creating an eye-catching and playful appearance. Spotted Tabby cats often have a lighter-colored background with darker spots, but there can also be variations with darker backgrounds and lighter spots. This coat pattern gives them a wild and exotic look, reminiscent of their distant ancestors.

Ticked Tabby

The Ticked Tabby coat pattern is characterized by tiny, individual bands of color on each hair shaft, giving the coat a finely speckled or “salt-and-pepper” appearance. This pattern is often seen in Abyssinian cats, and it creates a remarkable shimmering effect when the cat moves. Ticked Tabby cats have a more subtle and refined look compared to other patterns, with a coat that appears solid from a distance but reveals its intricate ticking upon closer inspection. The ticked pattern is especially prominent on the cat’s tail, legs, and face.

Coat Colors

Brown Tabby

Brown Tabby cats have a base coat color that ranges from deep mahogany to warm chocolate brown. Their coat features darker brown or black stripes, which can be thick or thin, depending on the specific coat pattern. The brown tabby pattern is one of the most common and versatile, as it can be seen in various tabby coat patterns such as Classic, Mackerel, Spotted, and Ticked.

Silver Tabby

The Silver Tabby coat color is characterized by a pale silver or gray background with dark gray, black, or chocolate brown stripes. The silver gene affects the distribution of pigments, giving these cats their unique appearance. Silver Tabby cats can have different patterns, such as Classic, Mackerel, Spotted, or Ticked. The silver highlights the contrast between the background color and the stripes, creating an elegant and eye-catching look.

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Red Tabby

Red Tabby cats, often referred to as “orange tabbies,” have a warm and vibrant reddish-orange base coat color. Their stripes can range in color from a darker red to a brownish-red. Red Tabby cats are more commonly male, as the gene responsible for the red color is carried on the X chromosome. This coat color is often associated with friendly and outgoing personalities, making them even more lovable.

Cream Tabby

Cream Tabby cats have a light cream or pale tan base coat color. Their stripes are usually a warm, soft brown that complements the cream background. Cream Tabby cats can have various coat patterns, including Classic, Mackerel, Spotted, or Ticked. The cream color gives these cats a delicate and elegant appearance, making them utterly charming.

Blue Tabby

Blue Tabby cats have a coat color that appears bluish-gray. This color is created by a dilution gene that affects the distribution of pigments. Blue Tabby cats can have various patterns, such as Classic, Mackerel, Spotted, or Ticked, but their coat color is what sets them apart. The blue hue gives these cats an air of mystery and sophistication.

Fawn Tabby

Fawn Tabby cats have a light, warm beige or tan base coat color. Their stripes can vary in color, ranging from a darker fawn to a soft gray-brown. Fawn Tabby cats can have different coat patterns, such as Classic, Mackerel, Spotted, or Ticked. The fawn color adds a touch of warmth to their appearance, making them incredibly cozy and inviting.

Cinnamon Tabby

Cinnamon Tabby cats have a rich, reddish-brown base coat color that resembles the spice cinnamon. Their stripes can be a deeper shade of cinnamon or a warm, golden brown. Cinnamon Tabby cats can have various coat patterns, including Classic, Mackerel, Spotted, or Ticked. The cinnamon coloration gives them a unique and striking look, capturing attention wherever they go.

Distinct Markings

Tabby Stripes

Tabby Stripes refer to the bold, dark lines that run along the body of a tabby cat. These stripes are often seen in Classic and Mackerel Tabby cats, creating a striking pattern that distinguishes them from other cats. The stripes can be wide or narrow, thick or thin, and they can vary in intensity, giving each cat a unique appearance.

Tabby Blotches

Tabby Blotches are large, irregularly shaped patches of color on a tabby cat’s coat. These blotches can be seen in Classic Tabby cats, where they resemble swirls and marble-like patterns. The blotches add a touch of elegance and grace to the cat’s appearance, contributing to their distinctive charm.

Tabby Spots

Tabby Spots refer to the small, rounded or oval-shaped spots found on certain tabby cats. Spotted Tabby cats typically exhibit this marking, with spots distributed randomly across their coat. These spots can vary in size and shape, creating a playful and charismatic look that sets them apart from other cats.

Tabby Rings

Tabby Rings are circular bands of color that encircle a tabby cat’s tail or limbs. These rings can be seen in certain tabby cats, especially those with a Classic or Mackerel Tabby pattern. The rings can be closely spaced or more widely spaced, adding to the cat’s overall appearance and charm.

Facial Patterns

Mackerel Pattern

The Mackerel Pattern on a tabby cat’s face consists of thin, vertical lines that resemble fishbones. These lines can be seen on their forehead, cheeks, and sometimes extending down to their neck. This pattern adds a touch of elegance and refinement to the cat’s facial appearance, giving them a distinguished look.

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Classic Pattern

The Classic Pattern on a tabby cat’s face features bold, swirling patterns, often forming an “M” shape on their forehead. These patterns continue down the sides of their face, creating a striking and distinctive appearance. The Classic Pattern adds a touch of charm and playfulness to the cat’s facial expression.

Spotted Pattern

The Spotted Pattern on a tabby cat’s face consists of small, irregularly shaped spots randomly distributed across their face. These spots can vary in size and shape, providing a unique and eye-catching appearance. The Spotted Pattern adds a touch of wildness and adventure to the cat’s facial features.

How to Identify the Type of Tabby Cat You Have

Eye Colors

Green Eyes

Green Eyes are a common and striking eye color seen in many cats, including tabbies. They can range from a vibrant emerald green to a more subtle jade green hue. Green eyes beautifully complement the warm tones and patterns found in tabby cats’ coats, adding to their overall allure.

Gold Eyes

Gold Eyes are another captivating eye color seen in tabby cats. These eyes have a rich, golden hue that can range from a light amber to a deep, warm gold. Gold eyes add a touch of warmth and intensity to the cat’s gaze, captivating anyone who looks into them.

Copper Eyes

Copper Eyes are a mesmerizing eye color seen in some tabby cats. These eyes have a reddish-brown or coppery hue that adds depth and intrigue to the cat’s appearance. Copper eyes create a stunning contrast against the cat’s coat, drawing attention to their unique beauty.

Blue Eyes

Blue Eyes, although less common in tabby cats, can still be seen in certain individuals. These eyes have a striking blue hue that can range from a pale sky blue to a deep sapphire blue. Blue eyes create a captivating contrast against the warm tones found in tabby coat patterns, making them truly mesmerizing.


Odd-Eye, or heterochromia, is a rare occurrence where a cat has two different eye colors. One eye may be blue while the other can be green, gold, or copper, creating a truly unique and captivating look. Odd-Eye tabby cats are often seen as enchanting and mysterious, as their eyes tell a fascinating story.

Body Type

Lean and Athletic

Some tabby cats have a lean and athletic body type, characterized by a slender frame, long legs, and a well-muscled physique. These cats are agile and graceful, known for their impressive jumping and climbing abilities. Their body type reflects their active and energetic nature, making them great companions for play and exploration.


Tabby cats with a medium-build body type have a well-proportioned physique that is neither too slim nor too stocky. They have a balanced frame with moderate muscle definition, giving them a sturdy and agile appearance. These cats are versatile and adaptable, able to navigate various environments with ease.

Large and Stocky

Some tabby cats have a larger and stockier body type, characterized by a robust frame, broad chest, and strong limbs. These cats have a solid and muscular build, which contributes to their powerful presence. Their body type reflects their strength and endurance, making them ideal companions for those seeking a more substantial and imposing feline friend.

Ear Shape

Large and Pointed

Tabby cats with large and pointed ears have a distinctive and elegant look. Their ears are tall, extending upwards with pointed tips. This ear shape adds to their overall regal appearance, making them appear dignified and refined.

Medium and Rounded

Tabby cats with medium-sized and rounded ears have a softer and more approachable look. Their ears have a gentle curve and are proportionate to the size of their head. This ear shape enhances their friendly and inviting expression, making them incredibly endearing.

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Small and Rounded

Tabby cats with small and rounded ears have a cute and adorable appearance. Their ears are compact and round, giving them a slightly more youthful and innocent expression. This ear shape adds to their charm, making them utterly irresistible.

Tufted Ears

Tabby cats with tufted ears have an extra touch of character and uniqueness. Tufts, or lynx tips, are longer hairs on the tips of the ears, creating a distinctive and striking look. This ear feature adds a touch of wildness and individuality to these tabby cats, setting them apart from their counterparts.

Tail Length

Long Tail

Tabby cats with a long tail have an elegant and graceful appearance. Their tails are beautifully proportioned and can be as long as their body or even longer. The long tail adds to their overall balance and agility, accentuating their every movement.

Short Tail

Tabby cats with a short tail have a more compact and sturdy appearance. Their tails are visibly shorter than the average cat’s tail, giving them a unique and distinctive look. The short tail adds charm and character to these tabby cats, making them stand out from the crowd.


Some tabby cats have a naturally bobbed or shortened tail, often resulting from a genetic mutation. These cats have a tail that is significantly shorter than the average tail length. The bobbed tail adds a touch of quirkiness and individuality to these tabby cats, making them utterly unique and captivating.



Small tabby cats have a petite and delicate appearance. They have a slender frame and dainty features that give them an adorable and charming look. Despite their size, these cats are often full of energy and enthusiasm, making them a joy to have as companions.


Medium-sized tabby cats have a balanced and proportionate physique. They exhibit a standard size and build that is neither small nor large. Medium-sized tabby cats are versatile and adaptable, making them great companions for households of all kinds.


Large tabby cats have a substantial and imposing presence. They have a robust frame and broad features that give them a regal and majestic appearance. Large tabby cats often have a gentle and calm demeanor, making them a comforting and reliable presence in any home.

Personality Traits

Friendly and Affectionate

Tabby cats are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are often sociable and enjoy the company of their human companions. Tabby cats love to be petted, cuddled, and showered with attention. Their friendly personality makes them an ideal choice for families and individuals looking for a loving and loyal companion.

Intelligent and Curious

Tabby cats are intelligent and inquisitive creatures. They have a natural curiosity that drives them to explore their surroundings and investigate new things. Tabby cats are quick learners and enjoy interactive toys that stimulate their minds. Their intelligence and curiosity make them wonderful companions for those who enjoy engaging and interactive interactions.

Independent and Solitary

While many tabby cats are friendly and affectionate, some may exhibit more independent and solitary traits. These cats are self-sufficient and enjoy their personal space. They may require less attention and may prefer quieter environments. These independent tabby cats can be a great fit for individuals who appreciate a more low-maintenance companion.

Playful and Energetic

Tabby cats are often playful and full of energy. They love interactive toys, chasing after balls, and engaging in stimulated playtime with their human companions. Tabby cats are active and always ready for a game or adventure. Their playful and energetic nature makes them an excellent choice for families with children or individuals looking for an active and lively companion.

In conclusion, identifying the type of tabby cat you have involves considering various factors, including their coat pattern, color, distinct markings, facial patterns, eye color, body type, ear shape, tail length, size, and personality traits. Each of these characteristics contributes to the unique and captivating appearance of tabby cats, making them cherished companions for cat lovers worldwide. By understanding and appreciating these details, you can better understand and celebrate the individuality of your tabby cat.