The Orange Tabby Cat – 8 Fun Facts

Morris and Garfield are just a few of the iconic orange tabby cats that are part of the collective feline consciousness of our culture. It’s not hard to know why. Their big, bold, and colorful coats are one reason. But as anyone who has lived with an orange tabby cat can attest, it is really their personalities that make them stars. They are endlessly fascinating cats, so here are eight fun facts about the awesome orange tabby cat!

1. First, the truth about tabbies: it’s actually a coat pattern, not a breed.

An orange tabby cat with an “M” on its forehead. Photography © elenaleonova | iStock / Getty Images.

In particular, the presence of stripes indicates a “tabby” cat. And there are five different tabby configurations: classic tabby, mackerel tabby, spotted tabby, ticked tabby, and patched tabby.

2. All orange cats are tabbies.

Go ahead, google “orange cats” – they’re all tabbies. Even if their streaks are weak, they are there. So while all orange cats are tabbies, not all tabby cats are orange.

3. Is every orange tabby cat male?

While it’s true that a higher percentage of orange tabbies are male, the ratio is actually around 80 percent male to 20 percent female. And it’s not a kind of magic – it’s genetics. The X chromosome is responsible for the orange color. Women own two Xs and men own XY. Therefore, a female orange tabby cat needs the father and mother to pass on the orange genes. But men only need the orange gene from their mothers.

4. What does this orange tabby cat “M” stand for?

One of the most distinctive markings on the orange tabby cat is the “M” above its eyes. This can be seen with all types of tabbies, so it’s not just the orange kittens that boast these cool peeper outfits! Tabby stripes are likely to be predominant due to their camouflage properties, so it is very likely that the markings helped them hide in the wild. Depending on the selection of the parent decor of the orange tabby, this may or may not be the case with the modern tabby.

5. Orange tabbies tend to talk a lot!

National Geographic reports that personality is tied to a cat’s coat color. Guess who anecdotally won “the most sociable”? Of course, each cat’s personality is different, but Amy Wester has lived with many different cats over the years, and “MoMo” for short – you know it! – MotorMouth is evidence of the results. “He’s the loveliest and happiest cat,” says Amy. “When we rescued him 11 years ago, his constant loud purring could be heard all over the house.” His name fits and especially today: “MoMo hasn’t stopped purring since we got him!”

6. Orange tabbies are known as velcro cats.

Tiger the orange tabby cat.

Tiger is an orange tabby cat who loves to be loved. Photography courtesy of Karen Stephenson.

Every cat is an individual, but orange cats have a reputation for being cuddly attention-lovers. MoMo, the orange tabby cat, is not only a real purr machine, but also seeks affection from Amy every waking hour and much more. His frequent, non-clandestine movement is to climb onto her pillow and climb around her head to get attention. It doesn’t matter if she is awake or not!

Karen Stephenson reflects these feelings. Your house has been filled with all kinds of pets for two decades, and yet there is one cuddly monster who is most in search of love. “Tiger has been my favorite animal since the first day my husband brought tiger home,” says Karen. Even 18 years later, Tiger’s nocturnal habit of sleeping on his head is only broken while traveling. He also enjoys sitting and staring at Karen’s husband, Brett. “I don’t know why he’s doing it, but it’s part of what makes him so adorable!”

7. Winston Churchill is known to have an orange tabby cat.

Perhaps it is a little too fitting that the man who said, “Never, never, never give up,” owned an orange tabby cat. That’s right, Winston Churchill shared his life with an orange tabby cat named Tango. He was probably just trying to get some sleep in his own bed when he invented the famous line.

8. Orange tabbies are the color of appetite.

What? The psychology of colors probably began with Goethe. His writing claims that red-yellow is associated with “warmth and joy”. He also claimed that yellow-red has the highest energy (which apparently caused people to freak out in earlier days when they saw an orange cloak on a bleak day).

Contemporary findings include that orange is the color of adventure, social communication, and, yes, stimulates appetite (Howard Johnson was after something!). While painting in all of the orange tabbies may be a broad brush, we can see that there is definitely an anecdotal correlation between their coat colors and their personality. Now we know exactly why Garfield couldn’t resist this lasagna!

Whether they’re trying to devour the pillow to make you wake up and stroke it, or purr a storm to make you pick it up and stroke it, we know one thing for sure: Orange tabby cats are just as bright, beautiful and varied as their coats !

Tell us: Do you have an orange tabby cat? Did You Know These Facts About Your Orange Tabby Cat? Is your orange tabby cat a cuddler who likes to talk a lot? Do you have an orange tabby girl?

Thumbnail: Photography © Ryhor Bruyeu | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

This post was originally published in 2018.

About the author

Denise LeBeau is a writer, editor, and photographer with nearly 20 years of experience creating content for animal-related topics, endeavors, and events. She worked for the Best Friends Animal Society for 12 years, where she had two columns in Best Friends Magazine, and had multiple content creation roles including the web management editor and the outreach campaign editor. Denise has been a continuous contributor to Catster since 2014 and writes for the magazine and website. The self-proclaimed poet of the Pet-Set is currently the development manager of an animal welfare agency, where she works with a team to create content across media platforms. She lives in Hampton Bays with her two Siamese rescue mixes, Flipper and Slayer, and her LBD (little brown dog) Zephyrella.

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