5 Fun Facts About the Brown Tabby Cat

Brown is anything but basic when we’re talking about the brown tabby cat! Brown tabbies wow show judges, boast wildcat vibes and make wonderful pets.

A full-body brown tabby cat.
A full-body brown tabby cat. Photography © andeva | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

There’s nothing shabby about the brown tabby! Brown tabby cats embody all that’s great about cats … and tabbies. While they are not a breed — remember, tabby is a type of coat design — they are distinctive. Tabby cats come in a variety of colors. While one of the most popular tabby cats is the orange tabby, brown tabbies are gorgeously noteworthy. The brown tabby cat comes in five different tabby patterns and their bright, sparkling eyes offset their richly colored fur. Let’s explore more about what makes the brown tabby cat irresistible!

1. The Brown Tabby Cat Has Some Accolades

A brown tabby cat closeup.
It’s no surprise that majestic brown tabby cats are favored by show judges. Photography © Paul Spiers | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

The judges concur — of the top 25 cats judged by The International Cat Association in 2018 (TICA), three of them boast the brown tabby cat coat. When you factor in the other categories (Top 25 Longhair Cats, Top 25 Shorthair Cats, Top 25 Kittens, etc.), brown tabbies take home a lion’s share of the titles.

TICA’s top winning cat breeds sporting the brown tabby cat coat include Bengals, Maine Coons, Exotic Shorthairs, Persians, Munchkins, Siberians, Scottish Folds and Oriental Shorthairs. The feline breeds wearing the bold, dark brown stripes on a light brown background run the gamut. The Best Longhair Cat of the Year went to a brown tabby named Marikoons Magic Mike, who is a Maine Coon. The Best Household Kitten of the Year title went to a brown tabby cat named Rambo. Rambo’s stunning mixed-breed good looks defy purebred confirmation!

2. A Brown Tabby Cat Boasts Wildcat Vibes

A Bengal cat.
Bengal cats sport the brown tabby cat coat. Photography by Shvaygert Ekaterina / Shutterstock.

The Bengal is arguably the most remarkable and rarest of household cats to wear the brown tabby cat coat. Bengals were originally bred from the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis). There are a few wildcats who are about the same size as our domestic cats resembling the traditional brown tabby cat as well. The Amur leopard cat, the Tsushima leopard cat, ocelots and margays are dead ringers for brown tabbies. These wildcats are nearly extinct in their natural habits (primarily Asia, Central America and South America) — so our brown tabby Felis catus is the closest most people will come to seeing their regal relatives.

The Toyger (“toy tiger”) is another unusual brown tabby cat who looks wild. The breed is purported to have been created by breeding Bengals to a variety of cat breeds. Toygers are believed to have been bred by one woman in the 1980s who imported a tom from India in order to perfect a tiny tiger phenotype. Interestingly, it is also believed that the Toyger’s creator intended the breed to inspire tiger conservation in order to increase the number of the big cats in their natural habitats.

3. Brown Tabby Cats and Their Tabby Traits

A brown tabby cat with an M on forehead.
Brown tabby cats boast that distinctive “M” on their foreheads. Photography © busypix | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

All tabbies — regardless of color — have a few marks of distinction. The “M” on their foreheads is one common tabby characteristic. Because the tabby pattern is a dominant gene, it is the most popular type of cat coat pattern in the world. There are some interesting further facts on how the type of stripe is created through genes!

The brown tabby cat is usually healthier than other cats who are the result of over-breeding or extensive inbreeding by cat breeders trying to display recessive genes (especially albino). Their noses and eyes come in different colors, and the pads on their paws are brick red or gray. Their noses can even change color.

4. Famous Brown Tabby Cats

Lil Bub and Mike.
Lil BUB is one very famous brown tabby cat! Check her out, pictured here with her human, Mike. Photography courtesy Annie Butler Shirreffs.

Outside of tuxedo cats, vying for most recognizable cat status in the world has brown tabbies ahead by a nose. Currently, one of the most famous cats around the globe is Lil BUB, a brown tabby cat. Lil BUB was rescued out of a shed in Indiana. She was the runt of a feral cat litter, but soared to YouTube fame soon after becoming a cherished family member (she’s short on stature but big on personality!).

This brown tabby cat has not only elevated the status of community cats and shined a spotlight on adoption (and adopting pets with special needs), she’s also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help homeless pets. In addition, this trail-blazing tabby is starring in her own movie, I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas! Lil BUB is so popular that her film debut was paved by individual donors through online crowdfunding. That’s one impressive resume for a kitty born to community cats.

5. The Bottom Line on the Brown Tabby Cat

Brown Tabby cat.
Adopt a brown tabby cat and see what all the fuss is about! Photography by Denise LeBeau.

The brown tabby cat is one fantastic feline — whether she is born to a grand dam for a high-end, responsible breeder or whelped in a manger (or shed!) — these beautiful beasts will surely steal your breath away. And your heart! Adding a brown tabby cat to your home will bring you years of happiness and — quite possibly — international fame.

Tell us: Do you have a brown tabby cat? What is he or she like?

Thumbnail: Photography © andeva | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Read more about cat colors on Catster.com:

23 thoughts on “5 Fun Facts About the Brown Tabby Cat”

  1. david-eugene:spence

    We have a few blacks, and tabbies, but five browns and one brown tabby. It has NO black, just ivory and brown. I can't find anything on it's rarity and that makes me think it's unique. Thoughts?

  2. I’ve always had Tabby cats. I’ve had 3 Brown Tabby's & they ALL had the very same look. They were very vocal, their coats were SUPER soft, they definitely LOVED to be loved! Right now I have one who’s a little over 3 yrs old. In 2019 I lost my 18 yr old Gingy. I’ve always wondered if their super soft coats & lovey demeanor was just how ALL short haired, Brown Tabby’s were?

  3. Most people I talk to are not aware that scalp therapy shampoos for fast hair growth (obviously with no sulfates, no parabens and no DEA) exist. Hair styling enthusiasts now may have longer hair and experience more alternatives. Definitely worth checking out.

    If you’re talking about alopecia, damaged hair, avoiding skin disorders, fast hair growth, hair health in general, very similar rules actualize.

    As a rule of thumb, you want to steer clear of hair products and treatments that include chemicals such as parabens, DEA or sulfates.

    What is good for your hair is beneficial for your skin as well.

    For obvious reasons your content here hits the nail in the head for various reasons. It avoids the common errors and pitfalls most fall into: using defective alternatives. Thank you!

  4. I have adopted a brown/black wonderful cat. She is 10 yrs old and I am so glad I have her.She has the same markings as a tabby cat in a Rembrant print that I have. Is she a certain breed?

  5. I have beautiful brown tabby named Bella. She and her sister Luna, a Tortie, were left in a shopping cart, inside a large pet carrier with toys, a full bag of premium cat food, blankets and a bowl of water. At that point I wasn’t looking to adopt any more pets, but I just couldn’t leave them there. Since then, Bella has become my little sweetheart. She is the alpha cat of the house, but extraordinarily affectionate toward people. She is so sweet, she is always at the door when I come home, she will jump on my back if I bend over for something and then just lie down! She’s adorable and I’m so glad I took her in.

  6. I adopted a brown tabby cat who is 4 months old from our local almost shelter. That was 6 years ago. He is the love of my life! He is so smart! I can tell him when it’s time to go to bed and he’ll go to bed with me. I can ask him if he’s ready for dinner and he will vocally say, yeah!

  7. We have an adopted brown tabby.
    She is the sweetest and most gentle cat I have ever had!
    She apparently is a Torbie, and the red in her coat is amazing!
    I love her so much!!!❤️❤️❤️

  8. We have a brown tabby. She (Abby) is a sweetheart. We got her from the Humane Society. Hubby and Granddaughter brought her home to me when she was 12 weeks old. She is now 8 months old. She weighs 10 lbs already. She has a fun personality. Very vocal. Loves to play. Will bring us her favorite toys to play with her. She Loves people. Even little people. My grandson is 2. He is learning to be gentle. She is very tolerant. Of course we discourage him from doing anything that isn’t nice to her. We lost our 12 yr old cat Dec of 2018. She had heart disease. Very sad time. I’m so happy we have Abby. She has brought us much happiness.

  9. I adopted a beautiful brown tabby tomcat at 6wks old and it was love at first sight for both of us. He’s a yr old now and he’s definitely a mommas boy. His name is Jewel’s and he’s very intelligent and just strikingly beautiful. I rescued him. His mother a Maine coon mixed bred was a homeless momma cat. I love him with all my heart. I don’t know the father was but he looks like a Bengal tiger kitty. He has all kinds of toys and luvs to play by himself.

  10. I just rescued 2 brown tabbies Remington and Rugar. Brothers and they’re 3 mo ths old now. They are so loveable. In the morning before I feed them we play in the house they remix d me of a saying “Great guns in the morning”. They run through my cat proof house like rolling thunder. I’m glad I have denim couches, they are almost indestructible. I am almost do e building a Catio outside that will keep them safe from predators and give the a real place to climb up the walls. I just love these boys!????????

  11. I am so heartbroken. My friend died in Oct 2018. She had five cats. I told her I would take them when the time came. They were fine here. Her one cat, a huge tabby, was used to going out as he was a street cat but came in he house at night. He basically hung out in her yard all day. She adored him. I did too. Last week I opened up my back door to feed the birds and he ran out. He freaked out. He didn’t know where he was. I live on a main road. I watched as he got killed by a car. This was ten days ago. I can’t sleep. The guilt and the sorrow is eating me alive. I just can’t stop crying. I wake at 4am and can’t go back to sleep. I have her other cats and cats of my own. There was just something so special about him. He was a big silly tabby.

    1. Janet, as terrible as it is, and I feel very sorry for you, at least the end did not last long. I have a 10 yr old tabby and 2 yrs ago was diagnosed with cardiomyopothy…a genetic condition where the heart is enlarged and is prone to blood clots and eventually will paralyze the cats back legs or even cause a stroke. My wish is that one morning I wake up and he’s gone. Worst scenario is to have him “put to sleep” because the qulity of life deteriorates and he suffers.

      Death is a part of life and sometimes doesn’t seem fair, just how it is.

      1. I adopted a brown tabby cat who is 4 months old from our local almost shelter. That was 6 years ago. He is the love of my life! He is so smart! I can tell him when it’s time to go to bed and he’ll go to bed with me. I can ask him if he’s ready for dinner and he will vocally say, yeah!

    2. Janet,
      I am so sorry to hear that.
      It is not your fault.
      My wife and I adopted a brown tabby from the streets. Actually she adopted us, because after being fed for a couple of weeks she just moved in.
      We took her to the vet, claimed ownership, chipped her, and neutured her, about when you wrote your story.
      Being a street cat, she is a bit wild, she also spends most the day in the rear garden. We live close to a main road, and in our street cars go faster than they should. We cannot predict when she will freak out and rush out of the house when we open the door.
      We have the same fear about accidents, but that risk comes with the freedom she enjoys. Although it is always a risk, I guess it is better she lives her days free, rather than being locked down all life…
      I hope it helps. Be strong, and give all your love to the other cats.
      Best wishes and regards.

  12. My brown tabby Tiger died in November. He was sooooo smart and resilient, overcoming a stroke, infections and he was diabetic the last four years of his 18 year life. He seemed to be part wild and he loved raw meat. He saw me through job loss and was so proud of himself and so sweet. I have his sister who is taking over where he left off.

    1. Hi Anne, so sorry for your loss of Tiger! You took good care of him! Tabby’s are really special. When I was a child, one of my cats was diabetic. Our cats help us through life changes and tough times.

  13. Of the eight cats who have been permanent residents here, two – the late ‘Mantha (OTRB in June, 2011), and current resident Bean – have been brown (mackerel) tabby & white bicolors.

  14. I had the pleasure having to brother and sister over 20 years Best friends I ever had missed them Ricky and Lucy

  15. Deborah Sullivan

    I have a brown tabby. Her name is Bella. She the most lovable, sweet cat anyone could have. I was all alone and a good friend gave her to me. She thinks she is a person and even though I have three others, Bella still loves her one one attention just like we used to have when we were alone.

  16. We have a gorgeous light brown female that we rescued. Wonderful,smart and everything mentioned in the above comment. Her intelligence is amazing.We plan to adopt her brother,a darker version of her.

  17. I have a brown tabby cat – she is very playful and vey smart. She seems to know what we are saying to her and she in turn tells us what she wants much like a dog would do. She meows and wants us to follow her and then shows us what she wants. She loves to hide from us and then jump out to try to scare us when we walk by. She is like a little child to us and we treat her like one.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.

Current Issue


Follow Us

Shopping Cart