So you woke up one day and decided that you want to rescue a little cat and be her hero. So you rush through the lanes and go darting through the streets to find a cute little tabby cat and bring her home. And then it suddenly strikes you for the first time- What is a tabby cat actually? How are you supposed to feed her, take care of her and make her learn a pet’s way? Don’t worry pal. We all have been there sometime in our lives. Cats are deludingly cuddly while in reality, they are lazy creatures who just want to order their human servants around. Felines have natural hunting instincts and they tend to get bored easily, so how are you supposed to make them feel at “home” and make it obvious that they are at a better place now? How will you be a hero to them? Read on to know more.
Types of Tabby Cats
Before you can actually play the role of a hero, you need to do your homework and know about your cat. Whenever we wonder what is a tabby cat, many things come gushing into our minds including thoughts such as “alley cats” and what not. The presence of tabby cats is so ubiquitous that they are often mistaken for a separate breed and are often related with stinky dumpsters with tattered ear and long stripes on their backs. Many breeds accept tabby cats into their pedigree including-
- American Curl
- American Wirehair
- Egyptian Mau
- Javanese etc
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Scottish fold
- Siberian Cats
The origin of letter M pattern on their forehead has attracted many legends and the one that is most popular is attributed to that of Jesus and mother Mary. It is said that Jesus was tiny and was fussing with cold when Mary asked all the manger animals to warm him up but to no avail. Then a tabby cat came in and comforted little baby Jesus with her purring and warmth. Mary was so delighted and grateful that she bestowed upon the tabbies, her own initial “M”.
Tabby cats are named after the pattern of their coat and there are four most common variations of these patterns-
1. Mackerel(aka striped) – this is the most common variation of tabby cats and is demarcated by thin narrow striped running down their backs vertically and somewhat parallel positions. These types of tabby cats are also known as Tiger cats because of the similarities in the pattern of their coats. Mackerel derives its name from this very fact too.
2. Spotted- okay, guess with me. What could SPOTTED mean possibly? Yup. That’s right. It simply means having spots on the body – of various size and shapes. Spotted tabbies have spots running all along their backs which often seems to be mackerel pattern in a somewhat broken fashion. They have distinctive “M” marked over their head and spot’s row is fondly known as vest button. The tail and legs are usually covered with a fine line of spots.
3. Ticked- Well, do you remember that one time when you saw a cute, playful cat with shiny orange fur and wondered which breed it belonged to and your friend surprised you by telling that it were a tabby and questioned you belief of What is a tabby cat? Yup, tabbies can also have shiny plane backs and these are often categorized under the ticked type. Simalis and Abyssinians belong to this category. Ticked type tabby cats do not usually striped marking pattern but their face and agouti hair show alternate bands of light and dark color which prove that they are no less of a tabby cat breed.
4. Blotched (aka Classic Tabby) – These are the classic tabby cats and have marble cake-like swirls smudged on their bodies. They display vest buttons and an M pattern on their forehead as usual. Many-a-times, there is a wide dark band on their neck area which resembles a necklace tied around their neck.
Life Span of Tabby Cats
An average tabby cat lives for about 15 years while an outdoor cat can Barely survive for 3-4 years. So if your cat has an equivalent human age of 21 when she’s 3, 40 when she’s 8 and 70 when she’s 14 years old. The oldest cat of the world was Puss, who died in 1939, just a day after her 36th birthday.
Tabby Cat Colors
Were you one of those folks who thought tabby means orange? Well, I for one, was among that brigade which thought orange is the color for tabby cats until I did my homework and found out that tabby cats are pretty colorful. They have a plethora or colors and patterns sketched upon them, and although orange tabby cats are common, there are other variations such as yellow colour tabby, silver tabby, brown tabby, etc. the three most commonly occurring colours are of brown tabby, with darker spots and striped pattern on a light background, the silver tabby which has grey stripes and the red tabby which has dark red spots upon a cream background.
Personalities of Tabby Cat
Let us tell you that if you own a tabby cat, you probably have a cat-dog rather than a normal cat. Why do you ask? That’s because tabby cats have a different personality than most of the other cats. Of course, if you decide to adopt a kitten, you would be ready to lap up its lazy ways and would be expecting them to be like some indifferent granny sitting at one cozy corner of the house. But with tabby cats, you need to understand that they are fun loving, jaunty and friendly. In fact being friendly would make an understatement about them. They are not much temperamental and always greet strangers with lots of love. They have a laid back attitude and are not the slightest bit aggressive. What’s more, they even like the company of other animals and tend to befriend them quickly. Now, who wouldn’t love cats with such a happy go lucky outlook on life? I would definitely prefer one.
So despite the fact that tabby cats may not belong to a single breed; tabby cat personalities are moreover the same. Here is a bullet list of personality traits of tabby cats-
Tabby cats have higher reserves of love and affection than any other breed. They do not fret humans and like to stay in families. They do have a habit of choosing their favorite person though like we all do.
Tabby cats usually display higher levels of playfulness and remain merry most of the time. They like sharing their play space with other pets in the house.
Like all other cats and her human counterparts, tabby cats can have mood swings as well. Of course, we can’t expect them to be jumping with happiness all the time now, can we?
Like us humans, tabby cats, and their behavior are seriously affected by the environment, they are brought up in.
if you are grumpy most of the time and buy a kitten in the hope that she would alleviate your mood, then you might be disappointed later because you are setting a bad example for her.
Tabby cats are the least aggressive of all the cat breeds and they rarely attack someone.
You get to have a very little say once you share your space with a tabby cat. You want them to go sleep? Nope, they don’t want to. You want them to learn this new clever trick? Thanks, but no, thanks, says the cat (giggling while writing).
Tabby cats are the rule breaker brigade of their breed and let us be honest. Who doesn’t like the type of cute creature that is willing to push beyond limits? Tabby cats don’t always listen, but they are fun to be around.
Is Your Tabby Cat Being Cranky?
So you went ahead and bought an utterly cute tabby kitten or cat to your home, wishing that your house would be filled with purrs and it would be paw some to live with this adorable creature but alas! All your expectations run down the lanes when you find the cat hiding, shying away or being grumpy. Well, for one, you must be prepared for this behavior for there are hardly any pets who can get accustomed to your house in a split second. On top of that, you have to realize that by bringing the little tabby cat into your house, you’ve turned their world upside down. You need to understand that-
Your little baby cat has spent his/ her entire life in the outside world, so they have absolutely no idea about the know-hows of pets and things like litter box are kind of alien for them
Just before they were bought to the shelter houses or before you captivated the little feline, they were used to roaming about freely as per their will. So your tabby cat will have no qualms if she wanders about in your locality without letting you know initially. Understand that and respect her behavior.
If you picked up your cat from shelter house, then chances are high that she might still be cowering in fear from the clanky noise of the metal cages and the changes that are taking place abruptly in her life. Let her sink in. Let her breathe in the new space for a few days.
Cats have never seen things like a vacuum cleaner or any other household item for that matter. They will be scared. They will try to experiment. Either bear with it or simply cleanse the area off any such device. Period.
Accept the truth. You practically know nothing of your cat’s past. They aren’t telling you either. You can’t read her mind and they aren’t going to realize that you’re going to be a part of her life forever. Let some time seep in between you two for the trust to be built up.
No doubt, developing a relationship with a scaredy cat might be tedious, but it does happen. It can transform from a shy little creature to outright playful being. Give her some time.
Don’t behave like a parent to that obnoxious teenager who won’t listen despite of all your efforts. Don’t expect them to abide by your instructions because let’s be honest- which cat tamer doesn’t know of the saying- “ Dogs have owners, cats have staff” .
Cats do pay attention to you. Some things are done merely out of spite. Sometimes she does things out of her nature and hunting instincts.
Your tabby cat is result oriented. Yes. You might not realize but what you do and how you respond to her builds up her nature. Now you know why you should absolutely not feed her in wee hours no matter how cutely she asks.
How To Make Your Kitten Comfortable
So it’s time to be the hero for your little kitten now.
Provide them Food puzzles. Your cat is a hunter by nature and she is deprived of this instinct when you lock her up inside your house. Ever seen her bringing her kills back to home? Yeah, that’s disgusting but that is her instinctive behavior, and she’s actually thinking about you when she does that. She’s trying to feed YOU! Food puzzles are an inexpensive way to let your cat “Hunt” and scavenge for food and they will definitely enjoy their time while eating.
Keep life interesting for her. Remember when we told you that cats get bored easily? That mean you need to prepare a variety of toys and keep aside a lot of time to play with your dear cat to keep her entertained
Cats need their space. Make sure that your cat has her own special area with food, water and luxuries like scratching post and bed. And of course, a litter box.