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A full-body brown tabby cat.

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.

Denise LeBeau  |  Sep 24th 2018


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.

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