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15 Fascinating Facts About the Orange Tabby Cat

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

15 Fascinating Facts About the Orange Tabby Cat

The chances are pretty high that you’ve seen an orange tabby cat, and you’ve probably met a few, too. If you’re familiar with them, you know that they’re some of the sweetest, most lackadaisical felines that love long naps and snuggles. If you are searching for an orange tabby, or are just curious about this fantastic feline, take a look at these 15 terrific facts.

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The 15 Orange Tabby Cat Facts

1. Most Orange Tabby Cats Are Males

It may surprise you that it’s much more genetically possible to find an orange male than a female. A whopping 80% of all orange tabby cats are males. Why? It all comes down to chromosomes. To produce this beautiful coat color, the females need two orange genes—one from each parent—whereas males need only one. So, it’s much easier to wind up with a boy.

It’s not as rare as, say, a male calico. Calicos are nearly always females. Only one in every 3,000 calico cats are males, which is roughly 0.1 percent—it’s a freak incident in nature.

orange tabby cat
Image Credit: Pxfuel

2. Orange Tabby Cats Are Very Affectionate

While every cat has a special personality, chances are that an orange cat will be super-loving. They tend to be very docile and social. You may be more likely to pick an orange tabby kitten out of a litter because they’ll be coming up to see you, meowing, purring, and rubbing all over your legs.


3. Tabby Cats Have Many Patterns

Tabby cats have four possible patterns:
  • Classic—the classic coat that looks like swirls of different orange shades
  • Mackerel—mackerel most resembles tiger stripes
  • Spotted—sometimes, instead of the mackerel pattern, you have spots rather than stripes
  • Ticked—the ticked pattern is where the coat might appear a solid shade, but the classic stripes appear on the face

4. Pheomelanin Pigment Creates Their Color

Like humans with red hair, orange cats produce a pigment called pheomelanin. The pigment is responsible for all ginger cats and their human counterparts. Some redheads are known for their bold, fiery personalities.

Does the same trait extend to our feline friends? With orange tabbies, it does not generally—but with some, it’s possible.

mackerel tabby cat
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

5. Orangies Tend to Be Relaxed

Ginger cats have quite the reputation for being relaxed. Some of them are even borderline lazy. The tabby is ideal if you want a cat that will sit by your side whenever you’re ready for downtime.

Their low energy makes them ideal companions for small kids or seniors. Orange cats also work well in multi-pet households.


6. Orange Tabbies LOVE Food

The orange tabby will be the cat that wakes you up in the morning if you forget to feed them in time. They love their food, and if you start off feeding them wet food, you might spoil them so much that they refuse their dry kibble.

While it’s cute to have a chubby cat, beware of obesity. These cats will eat until they’re overweight if you let them. You have to put the brakes on any excessive snacking.


7. Orangies Have Lots of Nicknames

Because of their coloring, they’ve taken on quite a few nicknames over the years. They are commonly referred to as ginger, yellow, caramel, butterscotch, and marmalade cats. It’s pretty fitting that orange cats are known by so many food names since they’re so crazy about tasty treats and meals.

tabby cat
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

8. Orange Tabbies Are Usually Large

On top of being prone to weight gain, they’re also usually a bit bigger than other cats. While the difference isn’t extreme, they are slightly taller (and sometimes wider). Perhaps most of that is because they are males who are larger than females in any pattern.


9. Orange Tabbies Have Many Shades

An interesting characteristic of the orange tabby’s coat is that it can exhibit a variety of hues, from a light cream color to rich red mahogany. On top of the unique patterns that they can have, these different tones and hues accentuate their features.


10. The Orange Tabby Isn’t a Particular Breed

The orange tabby is not a breed in itself. Many breeds can have the orange tabby look, and the color isn’t dependent on a specific type of cat. The most common breeds that can have this pattern and color variation are Persians, American Bobtails, British Shorthairs, Maine Coons, Abyssinians, and Egyptian Mau cats.

orange cat
Image Credit: Pixabay

11. All Tabbies have a Distinct Forehead Marking

Many legends come from the infamous “M” shape on the orange tabby’s head. Some say Mother Mary kissed the cat to bless them for rocking baby Jesus to sleep. Another legend says that an orange tabby killed a snake for Muhammad, who then put his mark on the cat.


12. Tabby Patterns Serve as Camouflage

Much like tigers and other majestic large cats, their orange hues and patterns serve as camouflage to help them blend in while they’re hunting. This concept is the same for our domesticated friends if you consider how a Bengal tiger blends in with tall grass.


13. Orange Tabbies Can Develop Black Freckles

You might see an orange tabby with little black specks on their nose, lips, and other parts of the skin. This particular color scheme is prone to these adorable freckles. When the epidermal melanocytes multiply, your cat may develop spots called lentigo.

a tabby cat
Image by: AJoeSang, Pixabay

14. Some Orange Tabbies Are Famous

If you’ve watched several films over the years, you’ve probably seen several recognizable orange tabby cats.

All these cats were famous, but what else do they have in common? They’re all boys!


15. Orange Tabbies Can Have Three Eye Colors

Orange cats can have gold, green, or copper eyes. Each color provides a beautiful contrast to their fur. It’s physically impossible for an orange tabby to carry any other genetic color. While the tones can vary slightly between gold and light amber, their eyes are the same basic shades.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, orange tabbies have several appealing traits that make them so terrific. This male-dominated coat type includes several outstanding felines with gentle demeanors. Orange cats are fantastic companions, and chances are there are a few orange tabbies at your local shelter now!

Related reads:


Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

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