And Meow, A Word About Tabby Cats

Does your kitty have that iconic ‘M’ marking on her forehead? If so, your furball is a tabby. You’ll want to put a little pawprint on your calendar for April 30th: It’s Tabby Day! A Rochester, NY vet discusses these lovable kitties below.


Fluffy can wear one of several tabby patterns: mackerel, classic, ticked, and spotted. Orange tabbies are also given their own category. We think they’re all adorable!

Name Origin

The word ‘tabby’ is derived from the word ‘tabis,’ which means ‘striped silk taffeta’ or ‘rich watered silk’ in French. But wait: we can go back further. The term ‘tabis’ goes back to the 14th century term ‘atabis.’ This is a reference to a region of Baghdad known as Attabiya, which is famous for its silk and striped cloth.


Tabbies tend to be very affectionate and lovable. Of course, that applies to the vast majority of our feline buddies!
Medieval Kitty
Tabbies have been charming us for centuries. In fact, these cute kitties may have been around longer than you thought. Tabbies are often depicted in medieval tapestries.


Tabby cats are not a unique breed: in fact, Fluffy can belong to almost any breed, with a few exceptions.

Big Cat, Little Cat

The term ‘tabby’ is usually used to refer to domestic cats. However, tigers and leopards also have tabby patterns!

Fashion Trend

Fluffy is very fond of tabby patterns. In fact, as many as 80 percent of our feline friends are technically tabbies! Solid colors just hide the patterns.

M is For Mystery

There are some conflicting accounts on how these kitties got their ‘M markings. In Islamic tradition, the prophet Mohammed put his hand on a kitty’s head as a show of gratitude for killing a snake. Christian beliefs hold that the first tabby got her M when Mary stroked her forehead, while the Egyptians believed it signified Fluffy’s relationship to the moon. So, what is the significance of the M? Nobody knows. However, we suspect that if we were to ask our feline overlords, they’d probably say it’s short for ‘Master.’

Walk Like An Egyptian

Speaking of Egypt, tabbies may very well have originated there. The Egyptian Mau, who was descended from ancient cats, is considered the original tabby.

Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Contact us, your Rochester, NY animal clinic!

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