They’re usually relegated to groomsmen and prom dates, but there’s probably a tuxedo in your room or on your friend’s couch right now. Yes, we’re talking about the best-suited felines, tuxedo cats. Famous tuxies include Felix and Sylvester the Cat. There was at least one tuxedo First Cat, President Clinton’s family cat, Socks. Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat also features a tuxedo cat in its titular role. They’ve even been the subject of an old-timey poem that was turned into a famous musical — Cats! Let’s talk about 10 must-know facts about tuxedo cats here.
1. Tuxedo cats are not a breed.
They are actually bicolor cats. A bicolor cat is a cat comprised of two colors. In this case, the predominant color is black. Cat coats come in many different colors, all tied to chromosomes. Purists believe that only black cats with white on their chest and paws can be considered tuxedo cats. But a quick perusal of Petfinder refutes these restrictive parameters.
2. The faulty (gene) in their stars.
While tuxedo cats are bicolor (also called piebald, that’s when there are two colors present and one is white), it was once believed that their distinctive coats were the result of sluggish genes that don’t move fast enough to cover the coat. Science is now leaning toward proof that two-tone cats are created in the womb by a faulty version of “kit” genes. They’re faulty because they don’t multiply at a normal rate.
3. There are an equal number of males and females.
While their attire may appear masculine, there are a fair share of female tuxedo cats. Unlike orange tabbies, who have a higher percentage of males, or calico or tortoiseshell cats, who are usually female, tuxies can easily be either sex.
4. Tuxedo cats have run for office.
Not many cats have run for office. And there aren’t a lot of political parties started by cat breeds or types. But in 2012, breaking with species biases, Tuxedo Stan ran for mayor in Halifax, Canada. Although this spirited tuxie didn’t win, he did bring awareness to the plight of homeless cats across platforms. He also inspired the Halifax City Council to give a hefty grant to the area to facilitate a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. Sadly, Tuxedo Stan passed away in 2013 of cancer, but not before inspiring the Tuxedo Party.
5. Is “tuxitude” a thing?
Crimpy, a tuxedo cat rescued by Good Old Tails Senior Animal Rescue (GOTSAR), was picked up as a stray. His time on the streets taught him some moves, like “here’s my belly.” But don’t try to pet it! “[Tuxedo cats] tend to have sassy personalities, like Crimpy, which people are drawn to,” says Megan Powers of GOTSAR. “I’d say in general they get adopted more quickly than other colors.”
When Tenth Life Cat Rescue of St. Louis, Missouri, saved a paralyzed, 4-week-old tuxedo kitten, they feared for the worst. But, Roosevelt, who would never walk or eliminate properly, pulled through. His charms attracted an adopter all the way from Florida! Roosevelt now spends his days with his new mom at the vet clinic where she works. His outgoing personality elevates the patients’ moods.
If overcoming obstacles and being an outgoing role model for survivors is tuxitude – then, yes, it’s a thing!
6. Tuxedo cats are decorated war heroes.
Simon, a tuxedo cat who sailed with the British Royal Navy during the Chinese civil war in 1949, was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal. The brave Able Seaman unfortunately died from wounds sustained during an attack.
7. They’re loyal through and through.
In the book, 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization: History’s Most Influential Felines, the author features a tuxedo kitty named Trixy. When Trixy’s cat dad was sentenced to prison in 1601, the dedicated cat stuck by his side until his release. It’s unknown how she got from their home to London Tower, but it’s another testament to that spunky tuxitude!
8. Tuxedo cats usually have green eyes.
An online image search for tuxedo cats results in a display of green to greenish-gold eye colors staring back. While it is a stunning combination, it’s less decorative and more common.
9. They mostly have white whiskers.
Almost all tuxies have white whiskers. But, so do most cats!
10. Tuxedo cats make ennui cool.
Perhaps the most famous of the contemporary social media cat darlings is Henri, le Chat Noir. Roger Ebert hailed one of Henri’s videos as the “best cat video ever made,” in a tweet. Henri embodies the all-around debonair, and je ne sais quoi (plus “I do not care”), that has made the mystifying tuxedo cat an inspiration to artists for centuries.
Whether tuxedo cats are saving lives, living by example or taking social media by storm, there’s nothing ordinary about these dapper cats!
Tell us: Do you have a tuxedo cat? Does he or she have tuxitude?
This piece was originally published on March 21, 2018.
Thumbnail: Photography ©SnowyPhotoStock | iStock / Getty Images Plus.
Read more about cat colors on Catster.com: