Today is the first National Tabby Day! The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Bideawee, and Triumph Books will celebrate the first National Tabby Day on April 30 with a cat adoption event and book signing. If you’re in the neighborhood stop by!
The book signing event is by author Sandy Robins and photographer Paul Smulson in promoting their new book,Making the Most of All Nine Lives: The Extraordinary Life of Buffy the Cat (Triumph Books). Detailing the life of the famous feline, Buffy, it documents tabby cat Buffy’s life in a series of entertaining photographs and captions.
Or, as the Lady I rescued calls it, living with a tabby cat! The Lady’s lifetime can be documented by the cats she shared her life with. But more importantly, the tabbies.
Did you know that tabbies aren’t a breed of cat? It’s actually the pattern of the cat’s coat, and the most common. A tabby is any domestic cat that has a coat featuring distinctive stripes, dots, lines or swirling patterns, usually together with a mark resembling an “M” on its forehead. According to Catster.com there are four types of tabby cats: Classic, Mackerel, Patched and Spotted or Ticked.
Classic Tabby Cat
The Classic Tabby Cat has bold, swirling patterns along its sides, the circular patterns on the the body closely resembling a bullseye. The Lady never noticed this about our current tabby, Rhette, until our dog walker friend mentioned it. Rhette also has the distinctive “M” on his forehead and rings around his neck.
Now we know that another classic tabby in the Lady’s life was Ginger, her first orange tabby, also a rare female ginger tabby. The Lady’s dad came home from work one day with an orange cat that he heard was left at our vet. Ginger became the Lady’s cat through her school days and after. Not known as an affectionate cat, when the Lady came down with mono, Ginger spent several weeks on her lap helping her get better.
Mackerel Tabby Cat
The Mackerel Tabby Cat has narrow stripes that run in parallel down it’s sides, looking just like a tiger cat. The stripes resemble a fish skeleton which is how it got the name “mackerel.”
The Lady’s “heart” cat was Danny, the cat spanning nearly 17 years of her life. Now, learning about the different tabbies, it seems that Danny was a mackerel tabby. But to the Lady, he was her orange striped tiger, and the love of her life. If you think Danny looks familiar, you might know another famous orange striped cat named Waffles.
Mostly white with orange spots, the Lady never considered Peaches a true tabby. But those orange spots were striped, along with the classic “M” on her forehead and striped tail, so we consider Peaches a striped, or mackerel tabby also. Peaches entered the Lady’s life in the last few month’s of Danny’s, after taking her in from a litter of kittens her sister’s cat gave birth to. Not meant to replace Danny, the Lady’s bond with Peaches was deep, taking the end to her short life very hard. Peaches, partner to Herb and nemesis to Saffie, was too smart for her own good, but loved unconditionally by the Lady.
Patched Tabby Cat
A tortoiseshell or tortie is also considered a tabby, which is news to us!
A tortie, who also carries the tabby gene, is often called a torbie. Patched tabbies can show any one of the above four distinct tabby patterns. The markings are usually more apparent on the legs and head.
The Lady’s very special kitty Saffie, always thought of as a tortie, is actually a torbie! You could only see the black-on-black “M” on Saffie’s forehead in bright sunshine, where she loved to be. There were also subtle stripes on her legs and tail but they never showed in photos since high def didn’t exist then. The Lady lost Saffie (short for Saffron after the Dylan song), a fiercely independent kitty, in 2010 from mouth cancer.
Spotted and Ticked Tabby Cats
A Spotted Tabby has spots all over his sides. The spots can vary from round to oval and small to large.
A Ticked Tabby is also known as an Abyssinian tabby or agouti tabby. At first you might think that neither of these are tabbies but they have the “M” marking on their foreheads.
We hope you’ve learned a lot about tabbies today, and the part they played in the Lady’s life, before me of course (except for Rhette). I know that we have! What kind of tabby the Lady’s cats were didn’t matter at all at the time, she loved them totally and unconditionally. She just knew that there was something special about those stripes and that “M” on the forehead.