Striped and Tabby Cat Breeds and Types What Makes a Cat a Tabby?

Striped and Tabby Cat Breeds and Types

The word "tabby" refers to a cat's coloring as opposed to their breed, but many breeds usually come with tabby coats. Find out more about tabby cats.

The word "tabby" refers to a cat's coloring as opposed to their breed, but many breeds usually come with tabby coats. Find out more about tabby cats.

Despite common perception, “Tabby” is not a breed. It’s a physical description, like describing a human as being blonde or brunette. Just as there are many variations of blonde and brunette, so are there many variations of tabby cats. Find out which cat breeds are often tabby in coloring.

Tabby Cat Breeds

Tabbies’ patterns may be swirled like marble, which is called classic coloring. They may be striped like a tiger, called mackerel coloring. They may be spotted, like an Ocelot. They may also have a striation that makes them appear shimmery in the sunlight, and that type of tabby is called "Agouti" or "ticked." Some cats have a Tortoiseshell or Patched type of tabby. Patched tabby can show up as red and brown tabby patches on a single animal. Patched tabby cats are sometimes predominantly dark in color, with lighter patches here and there, as if their batter wasn’t properly mixed.

Tabby cats often have a distinctive M-shaped marking on their foreheads, and the myths and legends around that M-shape are as varied and interesting as cats themselves. Tabbies may come in all shapes and sizes, and many cat breeds include a tabby variation along with solid color variations.


The Abyssinians were bred to be versatile in appearance and versatile they are. They’re not always tabby, but when they are, the pattern tends to be of the Agouti ticking variety, which gives them an exotic or wild look. In fact, Agouti, or ticked tabby, is also known by another name: Abyssinian Tabby. Agouti or ticked hair means fur that has several colors in a single strand. This gives cats with the ticked tabby pattern a stunning shimmery look.



Domestic Shorthair

The good old-fashioned Domestic Shorthair (or DSH) can be the perfect housepet. Because Shorthairs are a very intermixed breed, they have relatively few genetic health problems. Also, due to their mixed breeding, you never know what you’ll get in the way of personality. Some Domestic Shorthairs love kids and other pets, and some absolutely do not. Some are outgoing and vocal, others are shy and skittish. The DSH comes in all colors of the cat rainbow, and their tabby can come in all four tabby varieties.


American Bobtail

The bobbed tail is this American breed’s most distinctive feature. In fact, the American Bobtail may come in any color of the rainbow and can vary in size. The shorter tail is their one most consistent characteristic (and even that’s not a sure thing, as the gene that causes the short tail is not dominant and can skip a generation or two). Bobtails can be a mix of solid and tabby, and the tabby can vary but usually shows up as the classic swirled pattern.



American Curl

Available in almost every pattern and color, American Curls often display some tabby coloration on at least some part of their body.  






American Shorthair

The American Shorthair, one of the lowest-maintenance cats out there, is known for its classic tabby patterning.






Maine Coon Cat

The Maine Coon is one of the more popular pedigree breeds in North America. Most “elite” pedigreed cat breeds are of solid or ombre coloring. Maine Coons, on the other hand, are probably the most popular pedigreed tabby cat.






The Ocicat was selectively bred with the sole purpose of making them look fancy. The breeders sure did do their job! The Ocicat’s spots resemble -- that’s right! -- an exotic ocelot. Happily, they look wild but are, in fact, entirely domestic.






The most diverse tabby cat on our list is the Oriental Cat. The Oriental has the distinctive Siamese body type, with big almond eyes and large ears. What differentiates them is that they come in many, many colors, including varieties of tabby. The Oriental is known, in fact, to have over a hundred tabby combinations!

The Top Cat Breeds in the U.S.

Americans love their cats. More than thirty percent of American households own at least one cat, for a total population of more than 80 million house cats. That’s a lot of cat fancying!

But of the many breeds of cats owned in America, which are the most popular? Like their human counterparts, they’re varied and diverse.

American Shorthair

This breed is fitting as a popular one for the US, as they’re named after the country. The American Shorthair is a descendant of cats brought from Europe to America in colonial times. They’re widely popular for their sweet and loving nature and powerful athletic build. A real working cat, this breed was once used mainly to rid farms and houses of rat infestations.




Russian Blue

Our next cat comes from halfway around the world, but like the American Shorthair, the Russian Blue is a big hit in the U.S. The Blue is prized not only for its luxurious silver-blue coat but also for its easygoing manner. This breed is very quiet and not much of a meower. Russian Blues do, nonetheless, like a warm lap to curl up in. In Russia, this cat is thought to bring good luck to their owner.




On the other end of the global spectrum, as well as the personality spectrum, is the Siamese. Unlike the Russian Blue, the Siamese will talk your ear off, meowing and yowling with their owners the whole day through. Even so, the Siamese is hugely popular in the U.S. and, in fact, takes a top spot in a list of most popular breeds in many developed countries. No wonder, given the loyalty and affection this breed is known to have for their people -- to make no mention of their good looks.


Maine Coon

It’s said that Americans like things big, and when it comes to the Maine Coon, that is certainly true. This gentle giant has risen in popularity over the past decades given the cat’s wonderful size (up to 20 pounds), thick and soft coat, and sociable manner. The Maine Coon does well in busy families, getting along with kidsother cats, and even the family dog.





While we’re on the topic of soft cats, we might as well mention one of the softest of all - the Persian. These fluff balls are hugely popular in the United States and the world because they are ideal lap cats. Good-natured and gentle, this breed is content to spend its time curled on its owner’s lap, purring and snoozing away. It takes some consistent grooming to keep the Persian’s coat tangle-free, but folks in America seem to think this is more than worth the effort.

How to take care of your tabby cat

A tabby cat is a fun, smart, and energetic pet that can bring years of joy into your life. But like any animal, it will require proper care.

Cat food

It's important to feed your Tabby cat premium cat food that does not contain any corn, wheat, or soy, as these ingredients can cause digestive problems.

It's also important to buy cat food without artificial colors or flavors. Cats are very sensitive to such things, and they may develop a sensitivity to them if you feed your Tabby cat the wrong kind of food.

You should avoid any foods with preservatives in them because they can be toxic for cats, especially if they eat too much of them at once (as cats sometimes do). Cat owners also need to make sure that their pets do not get hold of any household products containing items like insecticides or rat poison, as these can be lethal for felines when ingested.


In addition to providing the essentials for your Tabby cat’s diet, it is also important that you provide vitamins. Cat food has many of the vitamins that cats need, but by adding a vitamin supplement, you can make sure your cat gets exactly what it needs. It is not recommended that you give your cat human vitamins as these are not suitable for them and could be harmful if consumed in large amounts. 

There are many different types of cat food supplements on the market, and it is important to get one that is compatible with your pet’s age group and health condition (if any). If you see any changes in your pet or they start acting differently, then take them straight away to see a vet so they can determine whether there is something wrong with their health or if they may have just become ill recently

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is important for your cat’s overall health and happiness. If you brush your cat’s teeth, it will help prevent plaque buildup and the formation of tartar. Brushing your cat’s teeth can also help keep them from getting cavities.

You should brush your cat's teeth once or twice a week, but don't forget to give them treats as well! Cat treats that are specifically formulated to clean cats' teeth are available in most pet stores, but you can also find similar products online. You might even want to make some homemade dental chews by combining shredded cheese with a bit of wet cat food (or pureed chicken breast) before freezing the mixture into ice-cube trays until hardened. Then just pop out the pieces and serve! Your kitty will love this tasty treat while simultaneously helping his or her oral health!

Litter box

So, you've decided to take on the responsibility of caring for a cat. Congratulations! Your new furry friend will be able to live a happy and healthy life with your help.

But before we get into all the fun stuff, there are some things you need to know about taking care of your tabby cat. We'll start by talking about the litter box. You might think it's not very important, but if your kitty isn't comfortable using his or her potty place, they may decide that other areas around your house are more appealing, and no one wants their couch covered in wee-wee!

The first thing to do is make sure that you have enough litter boxes available for all of your cats (or at least one per cat). If possible, keep them away from food and water bowls so that they don't accidentally get kicked over when trying to get some food or drink from those areas (and potentially end up spilling their contents across the floor).

You should also make sure that each box is large enough for him or her so he/she won't feel cramped while doing his/her business. And remember, cats like privacy!

Pet carrier

A carrier should be comfortable, secure, and safe. Your cat will most likely be spending some time in its carrier while traveling, so it is important that they feel at ease. The carrier should have high sides and a secure door that opens from the top to keep your cat inside if they get scared while on a trip. Also, make sure that the handle is sturdy enough to hold the weight of your kitty, who can easily weigh 12 pounds! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 types of tabby cats?

All tabby cats have similar physical characteristics, including almond-shaped eyes and distinctive "tabby markings." The different types of tabby cats primarily refer to the pattern of their fur markings. Classic Tabby cats have a distinctive "M'' shaped marking on their forehead and a bullseye pattern on their sides. A Mackerel Tabby has vertical stripes that run down their sides, giving them a classic "tiger" look. Spotted Tabbies have spots rather than stripes and may have a bullseye pattern on their sides. Ticked tabby cats have a light base fur color with darker hairs evenly distributed throughout, giving them a speckled appearance.

What breed of cat has stripes?

The breed of cat that is most commonly associated with stripes is the Bengal cat. Bengal cats are a breed that was developed by crossing domestic cats with Asian leopard cats, and they are known for their distinctive coats, which often have bold, dark stripes. However, many other breeds of cats, such as the Abyssinian, Egyptian Mau, and some domestic shorthair cats, can also have stripes in their fur. Additionally, tabby cats, which are not a specific breed but a pattern that can be found in many breeds, often have distinctive striped markings on their fur.

How do I know what breed my tabby cat is?

Determining the exact breed of a tabby cat can be challenging, as many cats have similar physical characteristics and coloring, and a tabby is not a breed but a pattern. However, there are a few ways you can try to identify the breed of your cat. Observing your cat's physical characteristics, such as body shape, fur texture, and eye shape, can help you identify the breed. For example, Siamese cats have distinctive body shapes and blue eyes, while Persian cats have round faces and long, plush fur. DNA testing can provide a more concrete answer about the breed of your cat. There are several companies that offer cat DNA tests, which can give you information about your cat's ancestry and possible breeds. You can also research different cat breeds and compare their physical characteristics and patterns to your cat. While it's unlikely that you'll find an exact match, you may be able to identify your cat as a mix of several breeds. If your cat is a mix of several breeds, or if you're not sure what breed your cat is, it's still just as loved and special! The most important thing is that you provide your cat with proper care, nutrition, and love.

Is my cat a tabby or a Torbie?

The terms "tabby" and "torbie" are both used to describe the pattern of a cat's fur. A tabby is a cat with a distinctive "M" shaped marking on its forehead and a light to medium brown base color with darker stripes, dots, or swirling patterns on its fur. A torbie, on the other hand, is a type of tabby that has both tabby markings and patches of orange or reddish-brown fur. To determine if your cat is a tabby or a torbie, you'll need to look at the pattern of its fur. If your cat has the classic "M" shaped marking on their forehead and distinct tabby markings, with patches of orange or reddish-brown fur, then your cat is likely a torbie. If your cat has tabby markings without patches of orange or reddish-brown fur, then your cat is likely a tabby.

More on Cat Breeds

The History of Cats

Where Cats Come From - Infographic

Wild Cat Breeds for Adventurous Cat Parents

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Domestic Abyssinian American Bobtail American Curl American Shorthair Maine Coon Cat Ocicat Oriental

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