Tabby Cats

your favorite tabby site
tabby cats

Tabby Patterns

Let's have a closer look at the tabby patterns, the stripes and the spots, we find in our domestic cats. The following detailed tabby descriptions are the Fife show standards.

General characteristics of tabby patterns

Head

Whisker pads are mottled.
The eyes are first encased in the darkest color of the pattern, surrounded by the lightest color.
The edges of the ears have the lighter color of the pattern.

Agouti/ticking

An agouti hair shows several yellowish bands (silver with silver varieties) each separated by the specific color.
These hairs can be alike over the whole coat or separated by solid colored hairs that make the different patterns.

Comments

The color white or a light color is tolerated alongside the nose, upper lip and the chin as long as it does not extend to the chest.
In red and cream tabby cats a white tail tip is a mistake. In the other cat varieties the white tail tip leads to disqualification in shows.



Classic tabby pattern

classic tabby pattern

On the ground color a dark and well defined pattern is visible with good contrast and no ticking.
There is a drawing in the form of an "M" on the forehead, a continuous line running from the outer corner of the eyes to the back, two or three winding stripes on the cheeks, "thumb prints" (dark smudge on the back of the ear in the form of a thumbprint) on the ears and two continuous chest neckbands.
Vertical lines on the back of the head and neck to the shoulder. On the shoulder the drawing in the shape of a butterfly whose upper and lower wings are clearly marked.
The dorsal pattern consists of a vertical line from the center of the butterfly on the back to the tip of the tail. On both sides of this line is a dark line. These three lines are clearly separated by the ground color.
On both sides great spots in the ground color are present, which are circled by one or more unbroken darker lines. This drawing should be the same on both sides.
The belly has a double row of dark spots (knots). The legs are striped evenly. The back of the feet has the dark color. The tail has evenly spaced rings - except for long hair cats - and ends in a smooth, dark tip.



Mackerel tabby pattern

Mackerel tabby pattern

On the ground color a dark and well defined pattern is visible with good contrast and no ticking.
There is a drawing in the form of an "M" on the forehead, a continuous line running from the outer corner of the eyes to the back, two or three winding stripes on the cheeks, "thumb prints" on the ears and two continuous chest neckbands.
An unbroken line runs from the head in the middle of the spine to the tip of the tail.
On the body are several narrow, dark lines from the back to the abdomen. These lines must be clearly separated by the ground color. The pattern must be equal on both sides.
The belly has a double row of dark spots (knots). The legs are striped evenly. The back of the feet has the dark color. The tail has evenly spaced rings - except for long hair cats - and ends in a smooth, dark tip.



Spotted tabby pattern

Spotted tabby pattern

On the ground color emerges a clear pattern from several well-defined round or oval dark spots with good contrast and no ticking.
The spots are clearly separated and do not flow into each other. The more spots the better. For each cat, these spots have a uniform shape. The form of the spots is as important as the color, but the color must be in harmony with the ground color.
There is an intricate "M" on the forehead, with stripes that run over the head and between the ears and that degrade down the neck and shoulders into small spots.
There are streaks of mascara on the eyes and cheeks. The eyes are rimmed with the darkest coat color and surrounded with the lightest color. "Thumb prints" on the ears. There are one or two broken neck straps on the chest.
The spots must be spread on the shoulders and the body just until the legs. A narrow back line is allowed.
The belly is covered with sharp spots.
The legs are evenly ringed and/or spotted. The back of the feet is colored with the dark color.
The tail has evenly spaced rings - except for long hair cats - and ends in a smooth, dark tip.



Ticked tabby pattern

Ticked tabby pattern

Body and extremities (head, ears, paws and tail) are showing pronounced ticking.
On the body is not a single drawing. No spots at all.
Tabby markings on the face and forehead. "Thumb prints" on the ears. There are one or two unbroken neck straps on the chest. The coat has a darker center back.
Fine, clear lines on the legs. The back of the feet is colored with the dark color.
The tail has evenly spaced rings - except for long hair cats - and ends in a smooth, dark tip.



Unspecified tabby

It's possible that the stripes and the spots of a tabby cat do not quite match the description of the Fife standards. Some stripes and spots are deviate or the color is not precisely what it should be. In this case one speaks of unspecified tabbies. Then there is a subdivision with different codes.
The code 21 is used only when the pattern is not clearly defined as marbled, striped, spotted or ticked in combination with the color white or with a pointed pattern (pattern on head, ears, paws and tail).
09 is the code for an unspecified white tabby : in this case the amount of white color makes it impossible to distinguish a specific tabby pattern. When a tabby has a lot of white, but the pattern is visually apparent one uses the codes 22, 23, 24 or 25.
33 is used for a tabby pointed cat.

Classic and Spotted Tabby Cat

The tabby patterns described above can only be obtained by selective breeding. Most common tabbies will have some defects. But even if your cat may not meet the standards, yet she remains the best and sweetest cat in the world, doesn't she?

Taking care of your cat

Articles




Contact us       Privacy Policy