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Old 10-03-2008, 12:52 AM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

The Glorious Tabby
A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations
By Franny Syufy, About.com

The name "tabby cat" brings to mind many different things to different people. The old phrase "alley cat" may come to mind with some people: the rough-coated, scar-nosed, tattered-eared lurker of alleys and dumpsters. Others, myself included, will think of their favorite cats. Indeed, I can't remember a time when our home has not been graced by one or more tabby cats.

Tabbies are so ubiquitous that many people think of them as a breed. Not so; the tabby is a color pattern - most often stripes, but sometimes stripes and whorls, or even spots and stripes. The tabby pattern is so popular that it can be found in many pedigreed cats today, and is accepted in a number of breeds by the most popular registries.

Although there are many variations of each, the tabby pattern falls into four basic classes. A fifth includes tabby as part of another basic color pattern, e.g. the "patched" tabby, which may be a calico or tortoiseshell cat with tabby patches (the latter is called a "torbie." Some pointed breeds also allow "tabby points" within their color standards. Is it any wonder the tabby cat is so ubiquitous? In fact, the gene for tabby pattern can be found in all domestic cats. Look at a "coal black" cat in the sun some day, and see if you can find the hidden tabby markings.

Types of Tabby Patterns

* Classic: This pattern usually has whorls ending in a "target" on the side of the cat. Many American Shorthair cats demonstrate this pattern. The cat pictured in this chart has very high color contrast, which shows his whorls clearly.
* Mackerel (striped): This is by far the most common pattern, so much so that some people think it should have received the title "Classic." Mackerel tabbies have striped rings around their tail and legs, a "necklace" of stripes on the front of their chests, and bands of solid or broken stripes running down the sides of their bodies. They will have the darker color in spots running in two lines across their tummies (called "vest buttons.") The ginger kitten in the chart shows an example of broken stripes. You can click on the image to see a larger version. The same cat (our Jaspurr) is shown above as an adult.
* Spotted: The Ocicat and the American Bobtail are good examples of spotted tabby pattern, although some Moggies will also demonstrate this color pattern. The American Bobtail in the chart illustrates the spotted tabby pattern to perfection. (This cat also illustrates the American Bobtail section of my Breeds Snapshots.)
* Agouti (Ticked): Most tabby cats will have agouti hairs as part of their pattern. If you look closely, you'll see different bands of color down the length of the cat's individual hairs. Cats with an all-ticked pattern almost shimmer in the sunlight, because of the color variation. The Abyssinian in the chart is a classic example of a ticked tabby or agouti pattern.

Breeds That Accept the Tabby Pattern

As mentioned before, many breeds today accept the tabby pattern in one variation or another. Indeed, a 21-pound "English Tabby" was documented in having appeared at the very first cat show in the world, held at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871. Here is a list of breeds which are allowed the tabby pattern in CFA:

* Abyssinian (ticked)
* American Bobtail
* American Curl
* American Shorthair (the Classic pattern)
* American Wirehair
* Birman (tabby points)
* Colorpoint Shorthair (tabby points called "Lynx Points")
* Egyptian Mau (the original spotted tabby)
* Exotic (shorthaired Persians)
* Javanese (Lynx Points)
* LaPerm (has its roots in a "barn cat")
* Maine Coon (probably the most popular pedigreed tabby cat)
* Manx
* Norwegian Forest Cat
* Ocicat - selectively bred to create the spots
* Oriental (with 112 tabby combinations!)
* Persian
* Ragdoll (Lynx Points)
* Rex (Devon, Selkirk, and Cornish)
* Scottish Fold
* Siberian (another "natural" breed of tabby cats)
* Singapura (ticked)
* Somali (longhair ticked)
* Turkish Angora (14 allowable tabby patterns/colors)
* Turkish Van (6 tabby patterns/colors)

Probably the most distinctive feature seen in common on all tabby cats is the "M" on their foreheads. You will also see this M on many of the big jungle cats, such as tigers, cheetahs, and ocelots.

From the ancient Egyptian days came the first legend about this unique marking. Cats were called Mau, most likely a reflection of their conversational sound. The word Mau also translated to seeing, or light. Since cats' eyes appear so luminous at night, it was only a couple of steps further to associate these glorious animals with the moon, and their marking to reflect that relationship. The Egyptian Mau is a direct descendant of those ancient Egyptian cats; domesticated as an offspring of the African Wild Cat, it carries the M to this day.

The Tabby in the Manger

Another wonderful legend about the origin of the "M" tells about Mary and the tabby cat in the manger. It seems that the baby Jesus was cold and fussing, and Mary asked the manger animals to move in closer to warm him. The manger was simply too small to accomplish that, but a little tabby cat came in and nestled next to the baby, and cosseted Him with purring and warmth. Mary was so grateful, she bestowed her own initial, "M" on the cat's forehead.

Mohammed and the Tabby

Islam legend tells us that Mohammed loved cats. One story says that he once cut off a sleeve of a garment when he had to leave to attend prayer, rather than to disturb his cat, Muezza, who was sleeping upon the sleeve. It is said that the reason he loved cats so much is that one once saved his life when a snake crawled into his sleeve. (This may be a variation of the well-known Muezza story.) Legend also claims that Mohammed bestowed on cats the ability to always land on their feet. A writing of Mohammed tells about his vision of a woman punished in Hell for starving her cat to death. These stories have all come down to the assumption that the "M" symbolizes the enormous esteem which Mohammed felt for cats and that the sight of the "M" on a cat's forehead invokes memories of Mohammed. In any case, cats today are still generally protected and respected in the Islamic world, and are even permitted inside mosques.

Beloved of Bast

My personal favorite story of the magnificent "M" was told by Jim Willis in his story, Beloved of Bast, which is included in his book, "Pieces of my Heart - Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature." It tells the tale of an old brown tabby "barn cat" by the name of "Mother," and I was honored to be able to reprint it for my readers.

Another frequently quoted piece says that in Ancient Egypt, cats were worshiped as gods, and the cat has never forgotten this. Indeed, the Goddess Bastet was depicted with a cat's head and Re, the Sun God was often depicted as a cat.

Small wonder that tabby cats are particularly worthy of the esteem in which we hold them. In fact, many of them are creating their own legends today, a fact to which many of you will attest.


All photos are either copyright Franny Syufy or used with permission of their owners.
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Last edited by ashleywong; 10-03-2008 at 12:56 AM. Reason: poll didn't come out properly
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:55 AM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

Hi all

hope you enjoyed this article by Ms Syufy as much as i do.

i used to think that tabby is "Common" but i stand corrected - they're truly a class in its own.

explanation of the images above

1) first photo is example of a red mackerel tabby with vivid markings - author's cat Jaspur

2) Extreme left : picture of a classic tabby marking

3) 2nd left : picture of a mackerel tabby marking

4) 2nd right : picture of a spotted tabby marking

5) extreme right: picture of agoutti tabby marking

if you wish to read more, pls visit ms syufy's blog at www.cats.about.com
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:57 AM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

hi ezer/andy

i'm sorry but i'm having one of my "IT duh" moment. i failed to put in a poll for this post could you help me do it? thanks
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Old 10-03-2008, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

hi ashley,
i've always been a big fan of tabbies. i read in an article somewhere (can't remember where, will have to look for it) that the first domestic cats thousands of years ago all had tabby markings and that is why so many cats today manifest those familiar stripes and whorls. The tabby is the oldest known coat pattern.

here is my mackerel tabby
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Last edited by lynielime; 10-03-2008 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 10-03-2008, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

lynielime, what a beautiful mackeral tabby you have there! We should do a thread on tabby photos! :)
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:35 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

lynie

i remember you said you love tabbies, so this article is for you and with you in mind.

your tabby is very very elegant indeed. it has noble features.
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Old 10-06-2008, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

awww thanks ashley! yes i do love tabbies. i think they're awesome. people think they're pariah cats, well i think they're the ORIGINAL cats. first on our planet with their gorgeous patterns and worshipped by the egyptians as gods. how cool is that?

although i'm not sure if my tabbies are elegant.. more like TUBBIES.. oh boy do they loveeeee their kibble.. and my dad says sparks looks like an old man coz of his white eyebrows.

your ex foster kitty gabriel is a tabby kitty too and a very very very handsome one to boot
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Old 10-06-2008, 12:12 PM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

hehehe i think ur mackerel tabby looks gooorgeeeoouuuuss... definitely very well taken care of! more pics! hehehe..
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:48 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

i think sillylupie is right, we can do a thread on tabbies , maybe just post photos of our tabby furkids

yes, gabriel is tabby but with distinctive "jacket" pattern - like a tuxie but in pinstripe grey instead! :-)

he's growing up into a handsome boy, a veritable king in his castle
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations





These are my tabbies, Art Deef and Ulty Matte. They are almost identical in look.


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Old 10-09-2008, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

bareen

you're right, they look like identical twins. wow! how beautiful and i like that they have this "wild" look about them. :-)
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations


Chantek, my Lynx point tabby.


Ulty Matte, spotted tabby.


Art Deef.


Apart from the "M" marking, these butterfly or "handle" on their shoulder is very distinctive. "Handle" for their mother to move them around....

Last edited by Bareen; 10-09-2008 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bareen View Post




These are my tabbies, Art Deef and Ulty Matte. They are almost identical in look.

aww.. those two are gorgeous!! what's that american wild cat? a lynx i think.. yeah they look like that..
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:08 PM
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Default My Glorious Tabbies Galore - Part 1

My Glorious Tabbies Galore - Part 1
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynielime View Post
aww.. those two are gorgeous!! what's that american wild cat? a lynx i think.. yeah they look like that..
They are not related to any wild cat. The mother is a pure persian lynx point classic tabby while the father is a black DLH.

In the US, Lynx Point refers as Tabby Point.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:30 PM
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Default My Glorious Tabbies Galore - Part 2

My Glorious Tabbies Galore - Part 2
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:39 PM
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My Glorious Tabbies Galore - Part 3
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:43 PM
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My Glorious Tabbies Galore - Part 4
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:46 PM
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: The Glorious Tabby A Tribute to Tabby Cats in all Their Manifestations

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bareen View Post
They are not related to any wild cat. The mother is a pure persian lynx point classic tabby while the father is a black DLH.

In the US, Lynx Point refers as Tabby Point.
hahahah oh there's actually something called lynx point? i never knew that! learn something new everyday..

when i said they look like lynx' i was actually referring to the lynx wild cat.. its an american big cat, in my opinion one of the most beautiful of the big cats. check out the photo!! not a domestic cat like our pets..
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