A tabby and white cat refers to a cat that displays both tabby coat patterns as well as white areas. Tabby refers to the stripe, spot or swirled patterns on a cat’s coat, so a tabby and white cat will have those tabby patterns on some parts of its body while also displaying white fur on other parts. These cats are sometimes called caliby, patched tabbies, tabico or tabbycos. Their precise appearance and pattern can vary quite a bit from cat to cat.
Common Tabby and White Patterns
Some of the most common tabby and white patterns seen in these cats include:
– Tabby Van Pattern: This refers to a cat that is mostly white but retains some of its tabby striped pattern on the head and tail. The cat looks like it is “dipping” its extremities in the tabby coloring.
– Cap and Saddle Pattern: With this pattern, the cat has a colored “cap” of tabby fur on the head and shoulders as well as a colored “saddle” of tabby fur in the middle of its back. The rest of the body is white.
– Patched Tabby: This refers to a random assortment of tabby and white patches all over the cat’s body. The tabby and white patches appear mottled throughout the fur.
– Mask and Mantle Pattern: This pattern features a colored “mask” of tabby fur on the face and a colored “mantle” of tabby fur running along the cat’s back and sides with the undersides and paws remaining white.
– Harlequin Pattern: With this unique pattern, the cat displays primarily white fur with scattered, irregular patches of tabby coloring throughout.
Possible Tabby Colors
In addition to the white fur, tabby and white cats can display any of the standard tabby colors and patterns for the non-white parts of their coats:
– Brown tabby: Rich, warm brown stripes, spots or swirls on a paler brown background. This is the most common tabby coloration.
– Grey tabby: Silvery grey stripes, spots or swirls on a paler grey background. Also known as a silver tabby.
– Red tabby: Orange, reddish or ginger stripes, spots or swirls on a creamy background.
– Cream tabby: Cream or beige stripes, spots or swirls on a lighter cream background.
– Blue tabby: Slate grey stripes, spots or swirls on a lighter grey background.
– Chocolate tabby: Milk chocolate brown stripes, spots or swirls on a lighter chocolate background.
– Cinnamon tabby: Warm cinnamon brown stripes, spots or swirls on a creamy cinnamon background.
– Fawn tabby: Pinkish beige stripes, spots or swirls on a pale oatmeal background.
– Lavender tabby: Pale frosty grey stripes, spots or swirls on a white or cream background.
– Tortoiseshell tabby: Brindled mix of red and black tabby areas and patterns throughout the coat.
Origins of Tabby and White Cats
Tabby and white coat patterns are thought to stem from the early days of cat domestication when ancestral cats first began cohabitating near humans. The contrasting colors provided camouflage in different environments. Over time, humans began intentionally breeding cats to produce striking, multi-colored patterns like the tabby and white combinations we see today.
The tabby gene is dominant in cats, meaning that only one parent needs to pass on the tabby gene for kittens to inherit the tabby pattern. The specific white spotting gene that produces random white patches has an incompletely dominant inheritance pattern. This means even if only one parent carries the piebald gene, the kittens can end up displaying white spotting to varying degrees alongside their tabby patterning.
Breeds that Display Tabby and White Patterns
While any random-bred domestic cat can be born with tabby and white fur, certain pedigreed cat breeds are particularly associated with these distinctive coat patterns:
|Breed||Description of Typical Tabby and White Patterns|
|Turkish Van||Hallmark breed trait is red tabby and white “Van” pattern with color restricted to the head and tail.|
|Turkish Angora||Mid-sized cats often displaying red tabby and white or black tabby and white coat patterns.|
|American Curl||Any tabby coloration with white masking producing bold face masks and body markings.|
|Manx||Tabby and white patched or mottled patterns are common among these naturally tailless cats.|
|Japanese Bobtail||Tricolor cats displaying mi-ke (distinct calico-like patches) are favored.|
|Siberian||Sturdy, longhaired cats often showing brown tabby and white harlequin-like patterns.|
|Maine Coon||Huge, rugged cats exhibiting all expressions of the classic tabby gene alongside white.|
In many cases, governing cat fancy associations will group all expressions of tabby and white together in competition rather than distinguishing between the different specific patterns like cap-and-saddle versus patched tabby.
Care and Health Considerations
Tabby and white cats have the same general care and health requirements as any other cats. However, their distinctive coats do warrant some specific considerations:
– Grooming: The medium to longhair coats of breeds like Maine Coons and Siberians will require regular brushing and conditioning to keep the fur looking its best. Shorter-haired tabby and whites may need less coat maintenance.
– Sun protection: The white portions of the coat are prone to sunburn, so outdoor tabby and white cats need access to shade. Sunscreen made for cats can also be applied to the ears and any other exposed white skin.
– Deafness: White cats are often affected by congenital sensorineural deafness. Approximately 65-85% of white cats with one blue eye are deaf in the ear on the same side as the blue eye. Tabby and white cats with just small patches of white fur are less likely to be deaf.
– Eye stains: Tear staining from the corners of the eyes may be more visible on the white portions of fur. Gentle cleaning with a damp cloth can help minimize staining. Checking for underlying eye issues is advised if stains are excessive.
Overall, tabby and white cats make delightful, energetic pets full of character. Their beautifully patterned coats are sure to draw admiration!
Tabby and white cats display a patchwork of classic tabby stripes, spots or swirls alongside areas of bright white fur. These striking cats come in many different patterns with evocative names like harlequin, cap-and-saddle, patched tabby and more. While random-bred cats frequently have tabby and white markings, certain pedigreed cat breeds like the Turkish Van and Maine Coon are especially associated with these bicolored coats. With a bit of extra care for their gorgeous fur and vulnerable light skin, tabby and white cats make marvelous mixed-color companions.