The first National Tabby Day to celebrate tabby cats will be held this year on April 30 with the inaugural event taking place at Bideawee Animal Shelter, 410 E 38th Street, New York, NY 10016.
The idea is to celebrate tabby cats and educate that tabbies are not a cat breed but in fact a coat pattern.
The spokescat for the event is Buffy, whose new book Making The Most of All Nine Lives is now available.
Here are some really fun facts about tabby cats — and lots of reasons to celebrate them.
A TABBY CAT IS NOT A BREED OF CAT. Tabby is a coat pattern that is reminiscent of the coat pattern of the wild ancestors of today’s domestic kitties.
There are four tabby coat patterns:
- Classic tabby: The classic tabby coat, sometimes
called blotched, has wide, dark stripes curving over the flanks and the shoulders and three large stripes running from the shoulder blades to the base of the tail.
- Mackerel: The mackerel tabby has either continuous or broken stripes running perpendicular to the spine, like a fishbone.
- Spotted: The spotted tabby has distinct round spots against a background of lighter fur.
- Ticked or agouti: The fourth tabby coat pattern is called ticked or agouti. The coat on the body has almost no stripe. However, the legs, tail, and face sport very thin stripes.
Some breeds have modified tabby patterns. For example, the marbled pattern of Bengal cats is due to the interaction of wild and domestic genes and the naturally occurring marbled tabby pattern of the Sokoke.
The origin of the word tabby seems to have an uncertain history. Some claim the name is associated with a type of striped, patterned silk called Atabi made in Attabiah in the Middle East. Others claim that it comes from the Spanish tabi, a kind of cloth with irregular tie-dye-like markings.
The World’s First Spokescat
Morris, the orange tabby who is the spokescat for 9Lives cat food, has been one of the most recognizable feline faces in the United States since 1969. The first Morris was rescued from a Chicago animal shelter by trainer Bob Marwick in 1968. He was twenty minutes away from being euthanized! He eventually became an honorary director of Star Kist Foods, with the power to veto any cat-food flavor he didn’t like. He was invited by President Richard Nixon to cosign (with a paw print) the National Animal Protection Bill. In 2006, the spokescat spearheaded a national campaign to find homes for 1 million cats.
The First Algonquin Cat was an orange Tabby that hotelier Frank Case named Rusty. The cat was a stray and had wandered into the hotel seeking refuse from the rain. Case gave him a glass of milk at the counter in the Blue Bar and invited him to stay. Job Barrymore who was playing Hamlet on Broadway at the time and who was a friend of Frank Case suggested that Hamlet was a much more dignified name. And so a tradition began. All the male Algonquin cats since have been named Hamlet and the females are Matilda. The incumbent Algonquin Cat is Matilda III. Case’s pet-friendly policy dates back to the Twenties and was instrumental in the idea of hotel cats around the world today.
FAMOUS TABBIES INCLUDE
Garfield is an orange tabby
Lil Bub has a grey tabby coat
Thomas O’ Malley the tabby in the Disney movie The Aristocats
Orangey was the ginger cat that starred with Aubrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
There are two legends surrounding why tabbies have an M marking on their foreheads:
- One legend states that Baby Jesus wouldn’t stop crying until a cat climbed into the manger and started to purr, sending him off to sleep. And in gratitude, the Virgin Mary marked the cat’s face with the first letter of her name.
- There’s also the fable that says that the Prophet Mohammad, the founder of Islam who was an acknowledged cat lover placed the “M” on a forehead of his favorite tabby.
Sir Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice. He was unabashedly besotted about cats. It was his dying wish that a marmalade-colored tabby with four white socks and a white bib and named Jock should reside in perpetuity at Chartwell, his ancestral home in Kent, England, now a hugely popular tourist attraction and visited by ailurophiles from around the world.
Jock I was an 88th birthday present given to him by Sir John “Jock” Colville, one of his private secretaries. Sir Winston was so attached to the cat that the feline often attended important meetings and even accompanied Sir Winston on road trips to London, cuddling into him on the back seat of the car. And, rumor has it, that meals in the Churchill household did not commence until Jock was present at the table. The incumbent cat at Chartwell today is Jock IV.
So many major pet brands use both grey and orange tabbies in their brand advertising. Friskies has an Orange tabby and so does Meow Mix, Arm and Hammer cat litter and Fresh Step and many more.
Everybody loves tabby cats. Across the board tabby cats are considered to be intelligent, sassy, very affectionate and wonderful companions.
The hashtag for this event is #NationalTabbyDay.
Let’s get it trending!