13 Interesting Red Tabby Cat Facts (With Pictures)

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Interesting red tabby cat facts – makes a red tabby the most loved cat of all!

In my head, the sky is blue, the grass is green and cats are orange — Jim Davis!

The meowginificence of red tabby cats has charmed cat owners for many years. If you have seen Jim Davis’ famous animated comic strip, you might have noticed gray, black, yellow, and even blue cats. However, there’s one cat that everyone knows — Garfield, the red tabby.

There’s something special about these ginger beauts, their classy red fur, their unique personality. Red tabbies are one of a kind, and they hold a special place in the heart of every cat lover.

And red tabby cats are also interesting, so here are the 13 most interesting red tabby cat facts that you may not have known.

red tabby cat facts

Red Tabby Cats: A Coat Pattern, Not a Cat Breed

When we talk about red tabby cats, the word red tabby simply indicates the coat variety and not the cat breeds itself. The coat color can be orange or red tabby, yellow, or more brownish tabby.

And there are five different types of tabbies — ticked tabby, classic tabby, patched tabby, spotted tabby, and mackerel tabby.

Further, if you are looking for a red tabby cat, you can find them in a wide variety of breeds and coats such as — Persians, American Bobtails, Abyssinian, Munchkin, and Maine Coon. Likewise, their shades can also vary from creamy pastel to bright tangerine.

And regardless of the size of the cat, tabby spots can be big or small, having round, oval, or rosette markings on their sides. The gene responsible for the tabby patterns in red cats is known as the “agouti gene.” The gene induces single hair to be patterned with alternating segments of light and dark hair color.

Distinctive “M” Marking on Their Forehead

The next time you see a red tabby cat, take a closer look at their forehead, you will find a distinctive “M” tabby marking. In fact, this common type of tabby markings is seen in all tabby cats, so it’s not just the red tabby cats who are special.

picture of a tabby cat

Many legends swirl around this unique “M” marking on tabby cats. Some people claim the marking represents Virgin Mary, while others say that the marking is from the Prophet Muhammad. On the other hand, one Christian folklore has it that the ‘M’ is connected with the name ‘mau’ which means ‘cat’ in Ancient Egypt.

Believe what you will, the true justification for the marking “M” mark tells us that it all boils down to the cat’s genetics.

Red Tabbies Are Sociable

Although red tabby cats are known to be couch potatoes, they are highly social. Red tabbies can be very loving and friendly. And especially red male cats are the ones who take pleasure in having a great social status.

Likewise, they are also known for being too chatty. Whereas, on the other hand, female red tabbies are a little soft-spoken.

The Eye Color of Red Tabbies Can Vary

Red tabby kittens start off with blue eyes in the early life stage. As they mature into adult cats, their eye colors change. The color can transform into green, gold, or copper. While some other red tabby cats may have golden or topaz eyes.

There Are More Male Than Female Red Tabbies

If you are trying to adopt or buy a red tabby cat, it is likely that you would have an easier time finding a male cat rather than a female cat.

male and female tabby

The female red tabby cats are outnumbered by the female red tabby cats. This is because the gene that is responsible for red fur is on the X chromosome. While females have two X chromosomes, males have only one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, meaning that a female red tabby must obtain two red genes. On the other hand, a male red tabby cat needs only one.

Red Tabbies Are Excellent Hunters

If you are looking for a mouse exterminator in your house, a red tabby cat would fit the bill. They just love the thrill of playing the mouse and cat chase game.

The tabby cats are excellent hunters by character. Moreover, on the wilder side of the feline scale, the same genes provide tigers with tiger stripes and leopards with leopard spots which enables them to become such successful hunters.

They May Have Black Freckles

Red tabby cats have a tendency to develop freckles. Pretty much like the redhead humans, red tabby cats may also have a few freckles.

freckles on red tabby

If you have a red tabby kitten, then you may start noticing freckles on her nose, skin, and even lips. The freckles start developing after a year or two, following their birth.

Every Red Cat Is a Tabby Cat

Here’s one of the most interesting red tabby cat facts — all red cats are tabby cats. Yes, it’s true. Search “red cats” on Google, all of them will have tabby in pattern. Even if they are faint, the stripes are still there. This is probably because the cat may have a solid color in its red coat.

And on the other hand, a lot of people — including cat lovers — don’t know that tabby cat refers to a specific coat type, and not a breed.

One thing is for certain that all red cats are tabbies, however, not all tabbies are red.

Red Tabbies Are Famous

Red tabby cats have been featured in many cartoons and films. Moreover, Winston Churchill himself was a big fan of cats. The then British prime minister had a unique love for red cats. After he died in the year 1965, his residence was given to the public, providing that an orange cat must always live there and the name of the feline should be Jock.

The Four Color Shades of Red Tabbies

And pretty much like us humans, red-tabby cats can have different coat colors. The four shades of red tabby cats include sandy yellow to ginger and dark orange to red.

different colored red tabbies

And the pigment that is responsible for the orange/red hair color in ginger cats is called Pheomelanin. The quantity of this element accounts for how intense ginger-colored the red tabby cat is.

Red tabby cats also have other names, they are also called butterscotch, marmalade, orange, butter, ginger, yellow, and caramel. But they all mean the same thing.

Red Tabbies May Have White Patches on Their Fur

Although not all red tabby cats have this, some red cats may have white patched stripes on them. Apart from that, they can also have a white underbelly, white paws, or a white tail tip.

Red Tabbies Have a Big Appetite

It’s just one of the other red tabby facts that red tabbies love to eat. In line with their cartoon mascots — Garfield and Heathcliff — red cats have one thing in common — is being on the chubby side.

red tabby have big appetite

And if you are lucky enough to have a red tabby cat as a pet, make sure you provide the cat a healthy cat diet with lots of cat-friendly fun exercise to keep up the good health.

Origin of the Word Tabby

It is not known who exactly introduced the word “tabby” in the cat’s name. However, in the past, the same word — tabby — was used to refer to a certain type of striped silk taffeta with an irregular wavy finish produced in the Middle East.


And there you have it, folks! The 13 most interesting red tabby cat facts!

As you can tell, the red tabby cats are some of the most interesting tabby cats to exist. From their charming fur color to their friendly social skills, the red tabby cats are unique in their own way.

Not only are they adorable animals, but they also make loving pets. And if you have a red tabby cat at home, we know you can agree to that.


  1. 6 Fun Facts About Orange Tabby Cats – Meowingtons
  2. The difference between orange cats and tabby cats? – Saving Orphan Souls Rescue
  3. Scientists reveal how tabby cats get their distinctive stripes – CNET

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