From Milo to Garfield, orange tabby cats have charmed their way to pet owners' hearts for decades. But what is it exactly in these marmalade-colored beauts that we find so beguiling?
I have a soft spot for these ginger cuties—I have one named Otis. Give me an orange tabby to cuddle, and I could not ask for more! So, naturally, I was over the moon finding facts about them that I could share with you today. Here are some fun things that you need to know about these fiery felines!
First things First
As much as we'd love to put them in a category of their own, the orange tabby cat is not a distinctive breed. Instead, their orange coat can be found in several breeds, with shades ranging from creamy pastel to a sun-soaked tangerine.
Specific cat breeds are more likely than others to produce an orange-colored kitty. Some species that sport an orange coat more than others are the American bobtail, the exotic shorthair, the devon rex, and the Scottish fold.
Interestingly, you'll never find an orange cat with a solid-colored coat. All orange cats are tabby cats. They all possess the candy-striped pattern that we can see in four different types: mackerel, spotted or rosette, patched, and the classic.
The pigment in charge of an orange cat's coat is called pheomelanin, which also causes red hair in people. Showing up in a range of shades, from fiery red to cream, this pigment is what makes your cat's coat unique!
If you're aiming to adopt an orange cat, you'll likely find a male one. Males make up a tremendous 80% of ginger cats. It's all about genetics!
Whether you have a mellow yellow feline or a fiery red feline, an orange coat works as inspiring naming material. Some name ideas are Sgt. Pepper, Cheeto, Big Red, Annie, Carrots, Clementine, Ron (or Ginny or Weasley), Marigold, and Prince Harry, to name a few. Once you get those creative juices streaming, you're sure to find the perfect name for your orange cat, a name that's as adorable as they are!
We have to admit. There's something special regarding orange cats that's tough to place our fingers on. We like them for their distinct spirit, spirited guts, and charming antics. And also, their beautiful layer shade doesn't hurt.
Fun Facts About The Orange Tabby Cat
I've curated some fun facts about the orange tabby beyond the usual questions about them. Read along if you want to know them!
The Orange Tabby Isn't A Breed
The word "tabby" is used to refer to specific coat markings instead of them being a particular breed of feline. There is a "brindle type" in dogs, but several breeds can and do have a brindle coat. Similarly, many different feline breeds can offer an orange tabby coloring, including Persians, American Bobtails, Munchkin pet cats, Abyssinian cats, and Maine Coon cats.
Not All Orange Cats Are Male
While a higher percent of orange tabbies are male, the proportion is 80% males to 20% females. It's genetics. The X chromosome is in charge of the orange coloring. Females have two Xs, and men have XY. For this reason, a female orange tabby cat requires their mom and dad to hand down the orange genes, but tomcats only need the orange gene from their mothers. Alternatively, most Calico and also Tortoiseshell felines are female, so it's evident that there are strong correlations with either sex.
What Does The "M" stand for?
One of the remarkable markings on the orange tabby cat is the "M" above their eyes. This is seen in tabbies across the board, so it's not just the orange cats that flaunt these classic accouterments!
There's an old legend that infant Jesus was comforted by a cozy and purring orange tabby when he could not rest. The story goes that this little feline impacted the young child that Mama Mary kissed the kitten on the temple, leaving the letter "M" in its fur.
This allegedly discusses why any tabby cat you'll stumble upon today has a pattern on its temple shaped like the letter M.
Interestingly, we don't know where the name "Tabby" itself originated, although it is a word for a sort of candy-striped silk made in the Middle East. Probably that is of some relationship to the Jesus tale? Naturally, we can't ever know without a doubt, but it's entertaining to think about.
Ultimately, Tabby stripes are probably primarily for camouflage properties, so perhaps the markings helped them hide in the wild.
Orange Tabbies are The Color of Hunger
The red-yellow color is associated with "warmth and happiness." It is also thought that yellow-red possesses the highest attraction power (apparently causing individuals to be happy if they saw an orangey cloak on an uninspiring day).
Recent findings also say that orange is the color of adventure, social communication, and, yes, boosting the appetite! While it may be a broad gesture to include all orange tabbies in, we can see that there's undoubtedly an anecdotal correlation between their coat colors and their personalities.
So, whether your orange tabby cat is trying to hog the pillow so you'll wake up and give them pets, or they're purring up a tornado so you'll provide them with a rub, rub them, one thing is sure: orange tabby cats are as bright, lovely and varied as their coats!
Winston Churchill Famously Had an Orange Tabby Cat
It is a little suitable that the famous man who said. "Never, never, never give up!" has an orange tabby. That's right! Winston Churchill owned an orange tabby cat named Tango. The cat was probably trying to get some sleep in Churchill's bed when he thought of the famous line!
Ginger Tabby Cats Often Tend to Be Low-Energy
While cats aren't necessarily known for their energy levels nor need for regular workout, the orange tabby feline seems to make a point of it. Numerous owners of orange tabbies—myself included—will say that their cats are carefree. This is particularly essential to note, given what we currently know about these orange felines. That is, they like to sit around and eat.
On the one hand, this easygoing "cattitude" can make them superb lap buddies and snugglers. On the other hand, it's another safety measure to keep in mind because it might make them more susceptible to obesity.
If you're fortunate to care for these exceptional felines, give them an extra hug today to remind them how unique they are.
Got a sweet orange tabby of your own in your home? What are their quirks and personalities? Leave them in the comments below!