Of all the various cat coats across all breeds, the tabby coat is the most popular one out there. I recently was looking at a tabby cat and wondered if whether tabby cats have hair or fur. After doing a bit of research, here’s the answer I came up with.
So, do tabby cats have hair or fur? Tabby cats can have both hair and fur. Cat fur refers to the overall collective coat on the cat. Cat hair refers to individual strands of hair that the cat may shed. Cat hair or cat fur can be used interchangeably to describe a cat. Ultimately, it depends on the amount of body hair being referenced.
Whether you refer to a cat as having hair, fur, or even a coat, all of those terms are technically correct. Let’s take a quick look at the various hair lengths and descriptions for cats with the tabby coat pattern.
Are Tabby Cats Long Or Short Haired
Most people think that tabby cats are only of the short hair domestic breed. However, tabby cats can be both short haired and long haired. Because tabby refers to the coat pattern, you can actually find the pattern across various cat breeds.
When describing a tabby cat, most people are referencing a domestic shorthair hat. It’s the most popular of all the cat breeds that are found in homes. In general, the tabby coat pattern is much easier to see on short hair cats bodies. The pattern is a little less obvious on long-haired cats, but it’s certainly there.
There are 4 distinct patterns you might find on both long hair and short hair tabby cats includes:
The mackerel pattern is what most of us see when we refer to tabby cats. It’s a combination of zebra-like stripes that run vertically along the cat’s body. There is one stripe that runs down the center of the cats back which resembles a mackerels body structure; hence the name. Mackerel tabby cats can also be long haired.
Spotted tabby cats resemble a cheetah. There are stripe patterns that run down the legs and up to the paws. There are also short compact stripes that run the length of the tail. The underbelly and back have small spotted stripe areas. The spots are in all shapes and sizes too. Some cats may have larger spots mixed with smaller spots and vice versa.
Ticked tabby cats are really hard to identify. On the surface, they appear to have no pattern, but a deeper look reveals that their face and tail can help you see it. These cats have agouti hairs which alternate with other colors. This can be dark and light hairs that end up forming a pattern. As with all tabby cats, the M pattern is also visible on the forehead.
Lastly, there is the blotched tabby cat pattern. This is what most cat lovers refer to as the “Classic” tabby. It’s a combination of swirls that appear as smudges on the cat. The twists appear to be longer, and they also appear at various angles and lengths. There really is no consistency in the patterns which makes it easy to distinguish from other tabby patterns. The blotch is caused by a genetic mutation.
Difference Between Long Hair And Short Hair Cats
While the majority of tabby cats are short haired, they can also be long haired. It helps to understand the differences between the two coat lengths. The biggest difference between long hair and short hair cats is in how they shed and groom.
Long hair tabby cats tend to shed much less than short haired. At the same time, they have a much tougher time grooming themselves because of tangles and curls caused by matting. There are specific grooming brushes that work great for long hair cats.
Short hair cats shed considerably more, but present less of a grooming issue. Tabby cats are known for grooming quite excessively, so their coat always looks well maintained even if you don’t groom it for them. Keeping the home clean is much tougher with short hair cats. Plan on vacuuming and sweeping regularly to keep the home intact.
In general, you should expect to groom a short-haired cat once a week. Long-haired cats will need multiple grooming sessions per week, especially with the double coating. Cats with much thicker coating are going to need grooming almost daily. The more you groom your cat, the less excessive the shedding will be.
Can Short Hair Cats Get Hairballs
Hairballs are very common with longhair cats, but yes shorthair cats can get hairballs as well. Because short-haired cats shed so much, it’s easy for those loose hairs to get caught in the cat’s mouth. Most household tabby cats are short-haired, so the occasional hairball is possible.
To help cut down on hairballs, it’s recommended to help your cat groom even if they are short-haired. There are many grooming gloves, brushes, and shampoos available to help make it an easy process. Giving your cat a bath every now and then can also help cut down on hairballs.
I know from experience that my tabby cat gets hairballs from hairs that get stuck in his wet food. If your tabby cat has a feeding bowl, it’s a good idea to clean it periodically as loose hairs will work their way in there.
Can Short Haired Cats Grow Long Hair
Cat’s that are short-haired does not have the ability to grow into long-haired cats. This has to do with genetics. There are cats that have a combination of both shorthair and longhair. We consider those to be medium haired cats.
Tabby cats can be either short-haired, medium-haired, or long-haired. While short haired cats cant be long-haired, it’s possible to almost turn your cat into the short-haired variety. Simply give them frequent haircuts to keep their coat down to a reasonable level. Double and triple coated cats will benefit from this most as it helps to attack fleas more efficiently. This will also cut down on them getting hairballs from self-grooming.
Dealing With Cat Fur Problems
Whether your tabby cat is long, short, or medium haired, they are bound to run into problems with their fur. It’s important to remember that cat fur can change in texture over time. This is related to the diet the cat is on, how well the hair is being groomed, shedding, and other factors.
Sometimes the cat’s fur can turn oily or greasy. Hormone imbalances are also a factor in this happening. If your cat’s fur is starting to look unhealthy, there are a few things you can do to help deal with those problems.
- Treating fleas
- Changing your cat’s diet
- Keeping cats indoors
- Using a humidifier in dry conditions
Flea treatment is particularly difficult for cats that have really thick hair. Whether it’s a short-haired tabby cat or long-haired type, it’s a wise idea to give them a haircut ever so often. Then apply flea drops or a flea collar to help get rid of them.
Changing your cats diet can help their fur coat look thicker and healthier. There are plenty of cat food options on the market specifically addressing the coat of the cat. These foods also help combat the production of hairballs.
Ultimately keeping a cat indoors is going to be the best solution for them. Outdoor cats tend to have drier skin because of the sun. This can lead to their fur being really tough. Dry skin can also cause the cat to start itching frequently which makes them very uncomfortable.
Whether your tabby cat is indoor or outdoor, consider getting a humidifier to help with tough conditions.
Cleaning Up After Your Short-Haired Tabby Cat
Because most tabby cats are short-haired, you’re going to be dealing with tons of shedding issues. Cleaning up after your tabby cat is important. This helps cut down on potential hairballs, dirty furniture, allergies, and more in the home.
The best way to clean up after your cat is to vacuum regularly. Many pet owners will use robot vacuums for this task specifically. Many of them are pet-friendly and will routinely clean up the surrounding areas in the home.
Another good strategy for combating cat hair is to use a wet paper towel to wipe the floors. Swiffer mops and other electric mops work perfectly for cat hair that gets on tile or wood flooring.
For cats that shed badly, it may help to get an area rug specifically designed to catch any floating hairs. This will help keep thin hairs from spreading across the room. The material of your furniture can also have a big impact on how hairs collect. Leather-based furniture doe snot hold on to cat hairs as much as polyester or cotton based products.