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Grey Tabby Cats – 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Grey Tabby Cat Breeds

Things You Didn’t Know About the Grey Tabby Cats

Tabby cats are some of the world’s most popular pets due to their unique and beautiful markings, and due to their friendly, happy-go-lucky personalities. Despite the common misconception about tabby cats, they’re not actually a specific cat breed. Tabby is the term that describes their distinctive coat patterns. Many people still get confused, but the truth is that you can find a tabby cat in almost any breed.

However, most tabby cats tend to have orange or brown coats, so finding a grey tabby cat is unusual, which makes these cats even more interesting. Like the other tabbies, the foreheads of gray tabby cats feature the distinguishing “M” marking, but their bodies feature tiger stripes in a grey and black (sometimes white) pattern. Grey tabby cats are some of the calmest, friendliest, and extremely affectionate companions. If you’re considering of adopting a grey tabby cat or you’re already a proud owner of one and you want to find out more about grey tabbies, keep reading. Here are 16 things you probably didn’t know about the grey tabby cat!


1. Grey Tabby Cats can be found in any breed

Since tabbies aren’t a breed of their own, but a coat colour and pattern, they can come in all types of colours including brown, red, caramel, silver, and of course, our favourite of them all – grey! Therefore, there’s a large number of different cat breeds that have the grey tabby pattern including the Scottish Fold, the American Shorthair, the Norwegian Forest Cat, and many others.

2. Grey Tabby Cats can have different coat patterns

Did you knew that tabbies come in various different patterns? All tabbies including the grey and the black tabby cat, can have different coat patterns which are caused by their particular genes. Classic grey tabbies have bold and swirling pattern along their sides, mackerel tabby cats have narrow stripes, while spotted grey tabby cats have small or big spots along their bodies. Ticked tabby cats don’t have any spots or stripes, but the tabby markings on their faces and agouti hairs (shaded hairs) over their bodies. Patched grey tabbies can have any of the above patterns, but they’re usually more apparent on their heads and legs.

3. Grey Tabbies are descended from wildcats

All domestic cats descended from wildcats, including the grey tabby cats. According to studies, tabbies are descended from the Near Eastern wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica (also known as the African wildcat). Tabby cats first started to be kept as domesticated pets in the 17th century, and they were most popular in southwest Asia, Africa, and Europe. Also, when Europeans left their country to settle in North America, many of them brought their grey tabby cats along and introduced them to this continent as well.

4. All Grey Tabbies have an “M” on their foreheads

If you look at the forehead of your grey tabby cat, you’ll surely see an “M” marking which is usually in a darker colour then their coat. All grey tabby cats have this marking, and there are a few legends actually about the origin of this marking. According to one legend, the M was made the moment the prophet Muhammad laid his hand on the head of his favourite cat. Another legend says that the Virgin Mary marked the cat’s head to express her gratitude for the cat who was purring while baby Jesus was crying. And the third and the most interesting legend says that the marking is actually a frown caused by a Tabby cat concentrating at a mouse hole.

Grey Tabby Cat Breeds

5. The name “Tabby” is associated with the word “silk”

The name Tabby first appeared in the English language around the 1600s and referred to particular silk fabric, while striped cats that had the Tabby coloration including the gray and white cat breeds, were simply called tiger cats. There are two possible origins of the term Tabby: some people claim that the term was derived from Attabi – a type of silk that was produced in Baghdad and exported to the British Isles. The British people then saw the resemblance between the pattern of that silk and the fur of the grey tiger cat, so they began to call them “tabi cats” and later on they became “tabby cats”. Others, on the other hand, believe that the word comes from the French translation of the phrase “silk taffeta with a stripe pattern”. The dictionary actually defines the word tabby as “a piece of fabric that has watered pattern, usually silk”.

6. Their markings benefit them in the wild

Their unique tabby patterns are not only gorgeous to look at, but they’re beneficial for these kitties because they allow them to easily blend in with their surroundings. Their patterned coats provide an effective camouflage when they’re in the wild, so they can hide safely from predators or hunters because they’re difficult to spot. In addition to that, their coats also help them sneak up on their unsuspecting prey.

7. They can be very lazy and they love to eat

Although most cats tend to be quite lazy, it is said that grey tabby cats can be particularly lazy. They’re friendly and get along with people and other pets very well, so they do not make much physical effort. They will spend their days sleeping, waking up only during mealtime. And when it comes to eating, tabby cats love food and usually they’re not very picky about what they eat. They will eat anything that’s in their plate and will keep eating until there’s no food left. Therefore, you will need to keep an eye on your cat’s eating habits, so that they don’t become overweight which could lead to a number of health issues.

8. Grey tabbies are excellent hunters

Since they are descended from wildcats, grey tabby cats are known to be awesome hunters. Much like their wild ancestors, tabbies are natural hunters and highly skilled predators that can’t resist a bit of excitement and enjoy chasing down and hunting rodents or birds.

9. Their coats are actually black

Another interesting thing that you probably didn’t knew about grey tabby cats is that their coats are actually black. They’re black cats with different pigments that can be found in their fur, making it to appear grey. If you take a look at the hairs that your kitty sheds, you will easily notice that the hairs are black at the roots.

10. Grey tabbies are affectionate and social

When it comes to the personality of tabby cats, these beautiful creatures are the most affectionate and friendly companions one can have. They’re loving and intelligent cats who love to cuddle up to their owners and need a lot of attention and affection. Due to their affectionate tabby cats personality, they’re great with children and other cats and dogs, and are very social and good at expressing their feelings. They will let you know if they’re happy, playful, angry, or sad. Also, they can become easily annoyed if they don’t get their way.

11. They all have different personalities

Even though they all share some common characteristics, grey tabby cats have distinguishing personalities that depend on which breed the cats belong to and how they are raised and socialized. And because there are numerous cat breeds with they grey tabby pattern, they will all have different personalities. There is no doubt, however, that all cats are beautiful and have something about them that makes them special. Keep in mind that adopting one or a few grey tabby cats is an excellent way to ensure that there will be a lot of love and cuddles in your future.

12. All grey tabbies have the agouti gene

The agouti gene is the gene that’s responsible for grey tabby cats and every other tabby shade. This is a dominant gene, so if cats have this agouti gene, they will be tabby coloured. This is one of the reasons we can find tabby cats in a large range of different cat breeds.

13. A grey tabby cat was the inspiration for one of the first cuddly toys in the U.S.

One of the first stuffed toys in the United States was inspired by a real grey tabby cat called Caesar Grimalking from Ithaca, New York. The cuddly toy was named “The Tabby Cat”, but it was also known as the “Ithaca Kitty” and was produced from 1892 until 1918. The success and the popularity of the Ithaca Kitty eventually inspired the creation of other stuffed animals such as dogs, bunnies, and kittens.

14. Pusheen is a grey tabby cat

You’ve probably already seen Pusheen, the cartoon cat on all types of merchandise from phone covers, backpacks, cushions, pencil cases, clothing, and even home decor. Pusheen is a grey tabby cat that was first brought to life in May 2010 in a comic strip named “Pusheen Things” on Claire Belton and Andrew Duff’s website, Everyday Cute. The rest is history – this cute cat went viral, took over the world, and became everyone’s favorite cat.

15. There’s a national tabby day

Did you know that there’s a national tabby day? April 30 is considered the National Tabby Day in the United States, a day designated to celebrate your cuddly grey tabby cat and treat them to plenty of delicious new treats and cuddles to let them know how much you love them.