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Tabby Cats Vs. Tiger Cats: What’s The Difference?

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If you’ve ever seen a tabby cat, you’ve probably seen just how unique their coat patterns can be. Domestic tabby cats come in all shapes, colors, and design patterns. You’ve probably even heard of the term tiger cat. The difference between tiger and tabby cat is actually not what you might expect!

So, what’s the difference between tabby cats vs tiger cats? Tiger cat is a nickname for tabby cats. Tiger cats are tabby cats that feature a certain striped coat pattern. These dark narrow stripes run across the entire body, legs, and head of the cat. Tiger cats are sometimes referred to as mackerel tabby cats.

It’s important to remember that tabby cats are a mix between purebred and mixed-breed cats. Because of this, coat patterns like the tiger cat can appear on domestic cats. Let’s dive a bit more into what makes this coat pattern so unique.

tabby cats vs tiger cats

Which Breed Is A Tiger Cat

While tiger cats is a popular reference for a mackerel tabby cat, it’s important to remember that it’s only a coat pattern. Tiger cats are not actually a breed. This means that pretty much any purebred or mixed-breed cat can feature this coat pattern. This guide explains how tabby cats get their stripes

Below are a few of the popular cat breeds that effectively display the tiger cat pattern.

  • Abyssinian
  • Bengal
  • Egyptian Mau
  • Toyger

Of all the breeds in the list above, the one that most resembles a tiger is the Toyger. Toyger cats are known for their combination of orange and brown fur coats. The orange is the main body color while the brown represents the thin stripes. The stripes typically go vertically against the body and ribs of the cat. While tabby cats can come in almost any color, Like most tabby cats, tiger tabby cats also feature the M hair pattern on their foreheads.

The legs have horizontal or slightly angled stripes. These stripes run right up to the paws and also down the tail of the cat. Toyger cats are also quite unique because they are a combination of Bengal and Domestic Shorthair cats.

Toyger cats typically don’t need a lot of assistance with grooming. They adapt to their environments quite easily, and they are also quite sociable. Toyger cats are also highly intelligent. They have the ability to solve really challenging tasks. Whether it’s an obstacle to avoid to get to food, or figuring out how to open a door, Toyger cats are able to figure things out quicker than most.

Healthwise, Toyger cats are similar to most other domestic cats. As with any domestic cat, you want to make sure they have the right nutrition so they don’t develop any form of obesity. Also, regular vet checks can help identify heart murmurs and parasites early.

Like Toyger cats, Bengal cats are probably the domestic breed that shows the tiger cat tabby pattern the best. This is both in size and shape of the stripes and overall body color. It’s helpful to explore them a bit more. Here are some interesting Bengal cat cats that you might not know!

1. Bengal Cats Are A Hybrid Breed

Breeding of leopard cats with domestic cats is how the Bengal cat came to be. This is why they most resemble tigers with their striped coat and orange color. Attempts to breed Bengal cats to form this unique tiger pattern was ongoing since the early 1800s. By the 1980s the breed was successively introduced into homes as a domestic tabby cat.

2. Bengals Come In Many Colors

While the closest resemblance to a tiger is the orange and dark brown Bengal cat, they do come in a variety of colors. Common Bengal cat color combinations you might find are listed below.

  • Red
  • Snow
  • Charcoal
  • Smoke
  • Cinnamon
  • Blue
  • Marble

3. Bengal Cats Like Water

Most cat breeds don’t like water at all. Bengal cats are a little different though, and that’s because of their hybrid DNA. These cats are easy to bathe, and you can frequently find them drinking water from running faucets and playing by the lake. This is a tabby cat that does not panic when exposed to water at all.

4. Bengal Cats Are Muscular

While the Bengal cat breed is a relatively average size, they can appear to be larger than what they are. This is because their frame is very muscular. They are able to jump quite high, normally three times their own height. This means they are able to easily scale fences, jump on entertainment systems, and leap around the home with ease.

5. Bengal Cats Are Expensive

Because the Bengal cat breed is so unique, they tend to cost more than most domestic cats. The average cost of a Bengal cat is $1000. Younger Bengal kittens cost between $400 – $500. Depending on the coast of the Bengal cat, they can cost upwards of $5000 – $10000. Factors that affect the cost are the age, gender, and the overall health of the cat.

Tiger Cat Personality

The personality of a tiger cat really depends on them as individuals. Because tiger cat is merely a coat pattern and not actually a breed, you’ll want to take a look at actual cat breeds instead.

The temperament of a domestic cat varies widely. The overwhelming majority are sociable, affectionate, and intelligent. Then there are some who do not take well to people or unfamiliar surroundings. Typically cats with red or orange coat color have a bit more attitude. In general, tiger cats are not aggressive pets if treated right.

Unique Facts About The Mackerel Tiger Tabby

It all comes down to the genetics that forms the mackerel tabby coat pattern. To form the mackerel coat pattern, a tabby cat must possess a dominant and recessive gene. While all tabby cats feature some sort of striped lines, blotches or spots, the only pattern that clearly resembles a tigers coat is the mackerel tabby.

Below are some interesting facts about mackerel tabby cats. These also apply to the other three types of tabby cats.

1. Tabby cats are thought to be more intelligent

The intelligence of cats has always been up for debate. Cats have hundreds of millions of neurons in their brains. They are able to effectively piece together certain blocks of information in order to retrieve memories. In fact, cats are known for their long term memory.

They can remember specific people, scents, pain, locations, and develop routines based off of that. Learn more about how intelligent tabby cats are.

2. Have superb survival skills

Most domestic cats come from African wildcats. This means they naturally have inherited good survival skills. Domestic cats are able to elude tough situations, attack pray, conserve energy, and leap at a moments notice. Tabby cats are also very aware of their surroundings, often responding to loud noises and taking cover. Some with unique striped patterns like the mackerel will even try to blend in with their surroundings.

3. Mackerel tabby can come in any color or coat

Tabby cats are not just brown or black. They can come in many colors such as gray, cream, and orange. For the most parts, a mackerel tabby will have a dark coat with darker stripes that alternate along their body.

4. They Love Catnip

Catnip is a natural herb from the mint family. The smell and taste of it are pleasant to domestic cats and can cause them to behave a number of ways. Some cats respond well to it with a rush of excitement, while others become warm and affectionate. Over two-thirds of tabby cats love it, so only use it in moderation!