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Gray Tabby Cats

Gray Tabby Cats

Anyone who loves cats knows that these pets have a wide possibility of genetic combination when it comes to fur. The gray tabby cat, also known as “Tabby”, is not a breed, contrary to what many people think, but a pattern of fur that can express itself in any domestic cat. Tabby cats are characterized by their stripes on the body and a famous spot that forms the letter “M” on their forehead.

The tabby cat has color variations, which can be brown, chocolate, cinnamon, yellow, gray, among several other combinations. Today we will talk a little more about the Gray Tabby cat and find out why this pattern of fur is so dear around the world.

Gray Tabby Cat`s Behavior 

Before mentioning the three curiosities of this beautiful kitten, it is interesting to know that this type of coat generally awakens a pattern of behavior and temperament in the cat. Statistical research was published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science investigating the relationship of the color of the cat’s fur to its behavior towards humans.

To carry out this study, 1,274 cat parents were interviewed by veterinarians talking about their pets’ behavior and the result was that gray tabby cats are one of the calmest and docile, according to the researchers.

Of course, more studies need to be carried out on the subject to see if there is indeed a relationship. It is worth remembering that there is still a socialization factor when they are kittens, which can directly interfere with the pet’s temperament. However, many feline admirers with this coat confirm that these cats are really great companions and very affectionate.

The Gray Tabby Cat a Camouflage Expert

We know that many animals in the wild use camouflage as a survival mechanism. A classic example is a chameleon that manages to be a true mutant and changes the color of its skin when coming into contact with objects.

Even without the power of the chameleon, in nature, the pattern of gray striped fur helped the ancestors of this cat to survive, as they camouflaged themselves very well among the trees and yet, having this characteristic, they were able to move without being noticed by potential predators.

Today we can see that many wild cats have this striped coat pattern and the first domesticated cats were also spotted.

Gray Tabby Cats

The “M” mark on the Grays Tabby’s 

You may have noticed that most tabby cats have a peculiar mark on their forehead that forms a sort of “M”. The Grays Tabbys also have this interesting feature that arouses the curiosity of many people.

The Egyptians were cat lovers and were among the first to create legends about this mysterious brand. They believed that the letter M was a representation of the name “Mau”, which is an Egyptian term for a cat.

The Genetics of Gray Tabby Cats

Male cats get their coloring from their mother’s genes, while females get one gene from each of their parents. Unlike orange tabby cats, gray tabby can be found in both sexes equally.

The tabby is considered a dominant trait, so it’s no surprise that the striped tabby pattern is not only found in all breeds but also many members of community cat colonies boast about this striking design.

Tiger stripes are also believed to be best for camouflage. In fact, many of our domestic cat’s closest wild relatives are true to their tabby patterns. Lynx, Sand Cat, Pallas’s Cat, and Scottish Wildcat are just a few that look a lot like our domestic cat … but they are best suited for hunting real prey, not catnip toys.

And the tabby is the coat of the “first” domestic cats – the African wildcat, the Asian wildcat, and the European wildcat. So it seems normal that the tabby pattern is linked to the same genetics that gives cheetahs their spots!

The color of the eyes of gray tabby cats has a wide variation, which can be green, orange, or even blue. An interesting fact is that these cats usually have red or gray paw pads.

What breed is the gray tabby cat?

Well, the breed of the gray tabby cat is a question that usually arises from the intention of wanting to get hold of one of these kittens or simply wanting to know more about these beautiful kittens.

The answer regarding the question of the breed to which this particular type of animal belongs is that they do not have a specific breed that classifies them.

On the other hand, they are included within many breeds of cats, all of them, contain the tabby pattern in their DNA.

European cat or Roman cat was the breed that can be most assimilated when looking for this type of domestic cat, and it is true, since the common European has been born from various crosses of cats throughout time, and they cover a wide range of beautiful types of brindle.

Gray Tabby Kittens Character

As for the personality or character of the gray tabby kittens, it must be said that it will largely depend on the breed of the cat. In general, the vast majority of these kittens are distinguished by being friendly and sociable when dealing with humans.

Among their favorite games are those that encourage their cunning and feline instinct. Some of these include trying to catch different objects such as balls, vermin or rag rodents, playing with feathers, etc. Also, these furry friends enjoy good vitality, being moderately active (more active than calm).

They are classified as pets suitable for all types of families and homes since they adapt perfectly to all the multitude of environments. As we emphasized, the common European race contains all the traits that we have just mentioned in this section.

Gray Tabby Cats

Two spellings and over 50 shades of gray

Is it a gray tabby or a grey tabby? According to Merriam-Webster, both spellings are correct for these two adjectives. Gray is the most popular spelling, while grey is more common in England.

A Perfect Roommate at Home

As the Tabby color pattern is prevalent among cat breeds, there are many non-purebred or feral cats that display this particular fur.

There are many feral cats that avoid contact with humans, but others are more friendly. Of course, it is often simply because they are drawn to the food we offer them.

And tabby cats seem to be very friendly and affectionate in this sense, perfect for being adopted into families that can give them lots of love.

If you visit a cat shelter or ask a volunteer, they will certainly know from experience how ready Tabby cats are to get close to humans.

They are often friendlier and more sociable than other cats, who sometimes view humans almost as strangers and invaders to their territory.

For this reason, adopting a gray tabby cat can mean finding a perfect four-legged companion for your entire life.

Written by Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, canine behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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