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If you’ve ever seen a tabby cat, you’ve probably seen how unique their coat patterns can be. Domestic tabby cats come in all shapes, colors and design patterns. You’ve probably heard of the term tiger cat. The difference between tiger and tabby cat is actually not what you might expect!
So what is the difference between tabby cats and tiger cats? Tiger cat is a nickname for tabby cats. Tiger cats are tabby cats that feature a certain striped coat pattern. These narrow, dark stripes run across the cat’s entire body, legs and head. Tiger cats are sometimes called mackerel tabby cats.
It is important to remember that tabby cats are a mix between purebred cats and mixed breed cats. For this reason, coat patterns like the tiger cat can appear on domestic cats. Let’s dive a little deeper into what makes this coat pattern so unique.
What breed is a tiger cat
Although tiger cats are a popular reference for a mackerel tabby cat, it is important to remember that this is just one coat pattern. Tiger cats aren’t really a breed. This means that virtually any purebred or mixed breed cat can exhibit this coat pattern. This guide explains how tabby cats get their stripes.
Below are some of the popular cat breeds that effectively display the tiger cat pattern.
- Egyptian Mau
Of all the breeds in the list above, the one that most closely resembles a tiger is the Toyger. Toyger cats are known for their combination of orange and brown fur coats. Orange is the main body color while brown represents the pinstripes. The stripes usually run vertically against the cat’s body and ribs. Although tabby cats can come in almost any color, like most tabby cats, tabby tabby cats also feature the M hair pattern on their foreheads.
The legs have horizontal or slightly inclined stripes. These stripes go all the way to the paws and also along the cat’s tail. Toyger cats are also quite unique as they are a combination of Bengal and Domestic Shorthair cats.
Toyger cats don’t usually need a lot of help with grooming. They adapt quite easily to their environment and are also quite sociable. Toyger cats are also very intelligent. They have the ability to solve really difficult tasks. Whether it’s an obstacle to avoid accessing food or figuring out how to open a door, Toyger cats are able to figure things out faster than most.
Health-wise, Toyger cats are similar to most other domestic cats. As with any domestic cat, you want to make sure they have the right nutrition so they don’t develop any form of obesity. Additionally, regular veterinary checkups can help identify heart murmurs and parasites early on.
Like Toyger cats, Bengal cats are probably the domestic breed that best exhibits the tabby pattern of the tiger cat. It’s both in the size and shape of the stripes and in the overall color of the body. It is worth exploring them a bit more. Here are some interesting Bengal cats that you may not know about!
1. Bengal cats are a hybrid breed
The breeding of leopard cats with domestic cats is the origin of the Bengal cat. This is why they most resemble tigers with their striped coat and orange color. Attempts to breed Bengal cats to form this unique tiger pattern had been ongoing since the early 1800s. In the 1980s, the breed was successfully introduced into homes as a domestic tabby cat.
2. Bengals come in many colors
Although the closest resemblance to a tiger is the orange and dark brown Bengal cat, they come in a variety of colors. Common Bengal cat color combinations you might find are listed below.
3. Bengal cats love water
Most cat breeds don’t like water at all. Bengal cats are a bit different though, and that’s because of their hybrid DNA. These cats are easy to bathe and you can often find them drinking water from running taps and playing by the lake. He is a tabby cat that does not panic at all when exposed to water.
4. Bengal cats are muscular
Although the Bengal cat breed is relatively average in size, they may appear larger than they are. This is because their frame is very muscular. They are able to jump quite high, normally three times their own height. This means they can easily scale fences, jump on entertainment systems, and easily jump around the house.
5. Bengal cats are expensive
Because the Bengal cat breed is so unique, they tend to cost more than most domestic cats. The average cost of a Bengal cat is $1000. Younger Bengal kittens cost between $400 and $500. According to the Bengal Cat Coast, they can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Factors that affect the cost are the cat’s age, sex and general health.
Tiger Cat Personality
The personality of a tiger cat really depends on them as individuals. Because the tiger cat is simply a coat pattern and not a breed, you’ll want to take a look at the actual cat breeds instead.
The temperament of a domestic cat varies considerably. The overwhelming majority are sociable, affectionate and intelligent. Then there are some who don’t handle unfamiliar people or surroundings well. Generally, cats with red or orange coats have a little more attitude. In general, tiger cats are not aggressive pets if treated properly.
Unique Facts About Tiger Tabby Mackerel
It all comes down to the genetics that form the mackerel’s tabby coat pattern. To form the mackerel coat pattern, a tabby cat must possess a dominant and recessive gene. While all tabby cats show some sort of striped lines, spots, or patches, the only pattern that clearly resembles a tiger coat is the mackerel tabby.
Below are some interesting facts about mackerel tabby cats. These also apply to the other three types of tabby cats.
1. Tabby cats are thought to be smarter
The intelligence of cats has always been debated. Cats have hundreds of millions of neurons in their brains. They are able to effectively piece together certain blocks of information in order to recover memories. In fact, cats are known for their long-term memory.
They can remember specific people, smells, pains, places and develop routines based on that. Learn more about the intelligence of tabby cats.
2. Have Superb Survival Skills
Most domestic cats come from African wildcats. This means that they have naturally inherited good survival skills. Domestic cats are able to escape difficult situations, attack, pray, conserve energy and jump at all times. Tabby cats are also very aware of their surroundings, often reacting to loud noises and taking cover. Some with unique striped patterns like mackerel will even try to blend into their surroundings.
3. Tabby mackerel can be any color or coat
Tabby cats aren’t just brown or black. They can come in many colors such as gray, cream, and orange. For the most part, a tabby mackerel will have a dark coat with darker stripes alternating along its body.
4. They love catnip
Catnip is a naturally occurring herb in the mint family. Its smell and taste are pleasant to domestic cats and can cause them to behave in many ways. Some cats respond well with a surge of excitement, while others become warm and affectionate. Over two-thirds of tabby cats love it, so use it only in moderation!