What exactly is a mackerel tabby cat?

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The Saba Tabby Cat (also known as the “tiger-spotted cat”) has a distinctive coat. Although it may seem as if it were a separate breed, the Tiger Spotted Cat is not a breed. The term “Tiger Spotted Cat” refers to its striped coat. The stripes on the forehead of many tiger cats form a symbolic “M”. Tiger cat kittens can get their coat pattern from both father and mother cats, so this distinctive pattern is often seen in cat lovers’ breeding programs and in unplanned, haphazard romances with cats. Many feral cats are said to be tiger cats because the gene is dominant and likely to be dominant because it is the most suitable pattern for camouflage. Although there are many different tiger cat patterns (check them all out here!) ), but arguably the most popular is the Saba tiger spotted cat.

McGee is a mackerel tabby cat — more on him later! Photography by Denise LeBeau.


The Holy Mackerel – Is this a tiger? All about the Saba Tabby pattern

Among the variants of the tiger cat, it is the mackerel-colored tiger cat pattern that best exemplifies the traditional tiger cat markings. The mackerel-colored tiger cat has stripes that run vertically down the cat’s spine, legs, and tail. The stripes are sometimes called “tiger cat” because they resemble the stripes of the Pantera tigris, the only wild big cat with stripes. Sometimes called the tiger cat, the actual tiger coat color (orange base with black stripes) is not found on the weanling or domestic cat. However, many fine felines, from the Norwegian Forest Cat to the Maine Coon, have striking tiger-spotted coats.

As a result, mackerel-colored tiger stripes may appear on various breeds of cats, referring to the arrangement of stripes on the cat’s body, specifically the stripes that run vertically down the cat’s spine. These stripes are usually solid, but they can be interrupted, and sometimes the cat is born with them. This seems to be all you need to know about tiger cats, but read on!

Where do tiger and mackerel cats get their names?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word tiger cat comes from the wavy-surfaced silk taffeta produced in Baghdad, which was named “Atterby” after the place of production. The French called it tabby, and by the early 17th century it was also called tabby in English. It was not until the late 18th century that the word tabby was changed from describing a type of cloth to a type of cat. Once this leap was made, the resourceful tabby cat left textiles behind!

Tiger tabby cats are called “mackerels” because the stripes on their spines resemble a fish skeleton.

Fun Facts about Saba-colored Tiger Cats

The mackerel-colored tiger cat has two distinguishing characteristics. As noted above, the “M” refers to the inverted checkerboard pattern above the eyes. The mask? Eyebrows? According to folklore, it could be an Islamic prophet, the Blessed Virgin, or an ancient Egyptian sacred icon. In fact, it could be the result of evolution.

The most common nose color of tiger cats is pink with a ring of melanin, but this can change.

Up close and personal with mackerel tabby cat, McGee. Photography by Denise LeBeau.

TABITUDE – What’s up with tabby cats and their attitude?

How about the infamous “tabitude?” Every cat parent is familiar with “cattitude” everywhere. And Tabby reportedly has it. So is it true?

I met a wonderful mackerel tabby named McGee at a local animal shelter, the North Fork Animal Welfare League. McGee is outgoing, affectionate, and very playful. He will jump up on the cat tower closest to your face and seek out copious amounts of affection. When you pet him, he chomps and purrs, perhaps a bit overstimulated. When you try to move away from him, he jumps down and rubs himself against your leg.

Is McGee the ambassador of all Sabah Tabby’s? Not so! Gabrielle Stroup, NFAWL’s shelter manager, says, “We have tabby cats of all different personalities coming into our facility. We take kittens from stray cats and place them in foster homes, and in one litter we have a very friendly tabby, a very shy tabby, and everything in between. They have the same mother, probably the same father, and they are all kittens raised the same way.”

So, in the end, tabby is considered the most cat-like of cats, but this is probably not true. Cats, including Tabby, have personalities,” said Stroup, dismissing rumors about Tabby’s “feistiness.”

said Stroup, and then put to rest the rumors surrounding Tabby. Saba Tabby’s Maggie is now getting attention from her adoring forever family. As the saying goes, “A tiger cannot change its stripes,” and it is impossible to resist the underlying cuteness of all Saba Tabby cats.

Thumbnail photo ©Keren_J | Thinkstock.

Tell us: Do you own a Mackerel Tabby? Tell us about the little guy!

by Denise LeBeau

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