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.
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.
2. Orange Tabby Cats Are Very Affectionate
While every cat has its special personality, chances are that an orange cat will be super loving. They tend to be very docile and social. You may be more apt to pick an orange tabby kitten out of a litter because they’ll be the ones 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:
4. Pheomelanin Pigment Creates Their Color
Like humans with red hair, orange cats produce a pigment called pheomelanin. This 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.
5. Orangies Tend to Be Relaxed
Ginger cats have quite the reputation for being relaxed. Some of them are even borderline lazy. If you want a cat that will plop by your side whenever you’re ready for downtime, the tabby is ideal. Their naturally 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 just 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.
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
The interesting thing about an orange tabby is the fact that they can exhibit such 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, so 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.
11. All Tabbies have a Distinct Forehead Marking
Many legends come from the infamous “M” shape on the orange tabby’s head. Some say that 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 think about 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 its 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.
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 of these cats were famous—and 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 tones can vary slightly between gold and light amber, their eyes stay relatively the same basic shades.
Orange Tabby Cat—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!
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Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
- 1 The 15 Orange Tabby Cat Facts
- 1.1 1. Most Orange Tabby Cats Are Males
- 1.2 2. Orange Tabby Cats Are Very Affectionate
- 1.3 3. Tabby Cats Have Many Patterns
- 1.4 4. Pheomelanin Pigment Creates Their Color
- 1.5 5. Orangies Tend to Be Relaxed
- 1.6 6. Orange Tabbies LOVE Food
- 1.7 7. Orangies Have Lots of Nicknames
- 1.8 8. Orange Tabbies Are Usually Large
- 1.9 9. Orange Tabbies Have Many Shades
- 1.10 10. The Orange Tabby Isn’t a Particular Breed
- 1.11 11. All Tabbies have a Distinct Forehead Marking
- 1.12 12. Tabby Patterns Serve as Camouflage
- 1.13 13. Orange Tabbies Can Develop Black Freckles
- 1.14 14. Some Orange Tabbies Are Famous
- 1.15 15. Orange Tabbies Can Have Three Eye Colors
- 2 Orange Tabby Cat—Final Thoughts