Terrific Tidbits on Tabbies – A Basic Overview on this Popular Cat

November 28, 2017

Cats are quite possibly the most lovable creatures on earth, second only to dogs.  Just like there are different breeds of dogs, there are also a large number of different cat breeds.  Pure bred cats, those whose ancestry can be traced back to a recorded breed through four generations or more, are quite popular these days and may fetch a large sum or money at the local breeder. Cross bred cats, too, are quite popular, and since they are not as expensive to purchase at a pet shop, they are quite often the pet of choice.  Additionally for those conscious of the plight of shelter animals, a non pedigreed cat is quite often the only choice, since pure bred animals very rarely if ever end up at an animal shelter. Quite possibly the most popular cat of the latter variety is the tabby cat.

Tabbies come in large varieties of colors and sizes. One of the most common types of tabbies is the mackerel tabby. This cat shows a pattern of stripes all over its body.  The tail and legs have rings, and the remainder of the body has either solid stripes or broken bits and pieces of stripes. Because the usually even stripes on the cat’s flanks resemble the skeleton of a fish, this type of tabby has been nicknamed the mackerel. The cats are gorgeous and many a loving pet owner loves these little grey or orange tabbies. Another beloved type of tabby is the blotched tabby.  This little cat’s coat also has stripes, but they are fewer and bigger than the mackerel’s.  Some of the stripes are so thick that they appear to be blotches rather than stripes. Of course, there are also other tabbies, such as the Agouti, Ocicat or the American Bobtail.

No matter what kind of tabby has wormed itself into your heart, a ringed tail and legs are common to all tabby cats. Another common feature is a marking in the shape of the letter “M” on the cat’s forehead.  While this is a simply a common marking, it does have a lovely piece of folklore attached to it. According to this beautiful legend, when Jesus Christ was born and laid inside the manger, He was quite restless since the straw was poking Him, and the stable animals were making a bit of a ruckus as well.  Add to this the constant arrival of shepherd, and it is no wonder that the baby was fussing.  A little cat is said to have come into the stable, jumped into the manger, and allowed the baby Jesus to lay His head on the cat’s fur, causing the baby to calm down almost immediately.  In gratitude, Mary touched the cat’s forehead and promised that his act of service would never be forgotten.  According to the legend, this is the reason that these lovely cats wear the letter “M” on their foreheads.

Another wonderful legend attributes the “M” on a tabby’s head to the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam.  According to legend he did not care for dogs, but loved cats so much that one time he cut off the sleeve of his robe so as not to disturb the cat that was resting in his arm when he was moving. The letter “M” was a marking his favorite cat received. Because of their wonderful dispositions, tabby cats have long since been the companions of choice for many famous people.  Take for example Sir Winston Churchill whose tabby named Jock would attend cabinet meetings, or famous author and artist Edward Lear who so loved his little Foss that upon moving commissioned an architect to recreate his home at the new location to lower the cat’s stress during the move!

No matter what kind of cat you love, the tabby is a hands down favorite.  Its intelligence is the stuff of legends, and it is said that only the monkey surpasses the tabby in intelligence. Tabbies are notoriously sociable, sweet, and inquisitive, and bond wonderfully with the people who will take care of them.  Yet just like their feline cousins, be they purebred or cross bred, they do have a lot of mischief on their minds as well!

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