Tabby Varieties in the European Shorthair Cat

The European presents three basic tabby patterns (blotched, tiger like and dotted) each one in a diversity of colors: black, red, silver, blue and cream.

A good tabby specimen must have well defined marks that present an accentuated contrast with the background.

Many neophytes are used to see the less defined tiger like cloaks of the alley cats that the shiny contrast of a good exhibition specimen is a total revelation for them, specially the spectacular silver tabby.

The tabby pattern is the classical chromatic variety of the domestic cat: all cats have some ancestor with tabby marks.

The importance of this pattern on the feline cloak is frequently observed when selected parents because of the lack of these marks often have whelps with them.

Sometimes this pattern survives on the adult cloak. The intentions of the breeders dedicated to develop the tabby pattern are obviously to accentuate it on the coming generations and to progressively improve the color and the contrast.

Tabby Origins
Etymologically, the word tabby is related with the district of Attabiya in Bagdad, where in the XVII Century they manufactured a fabric of moiré or taffeta called in England tabbisilk. In the ancient France this silk fabric was called tabis. So it is not difficult to understand why the cats with tabby patterns reminded the people of this fabric.

The distinctive feature of the tabby is the mark in form of an M on the forehead that, according to the legend, the cat developed from the caresses given by Mahomet to its cat Muezzin.

All the tabby cats have also other similar marks on their heads: continuous lines from the out of the corner of the eye towards the back of the head and a kind of volute on the cheekbones.

Blotched Tabby
On the blotched tabby, the vertical lines from behind the head extend themselves until they form marks on the shoulders with shapes of butterflies, and that in the best exemplar they form discontinuous lines.

They travel the spine as three parallel lines that are perfectly separated by the background color; they go up to the beginning of the tail.

At both sides you may observe a big speck surrounded by one or more rings made by continuous lines; the size and shape of these marks must be the same at both sides.

You also must observe several continuous collars on the neck and the upper part of the chest and a double row of specks from the chest to the stomach.

On the legs uniformed lines with thinner bands of a darker tone can be observed, they are called bracelets, and on the tail you may appreciate uniformed rings.

The silver blotched tabby is the most popular of all the tabby patterns.

Tigerlike Tabby
On the tiger like tabby you may observe a continuous line from the back of the head to the birth of the tail. At the sides there must be well-defined thin lines that are perpendicular to the spine. It also presents several collars on the upper part of the chest, and a double row of specks on the chest and on the belly. The legs present uniformed bands. The bracelets go up until they meet the marks on the trunk and on the tail you can also see uniformed rings.

Speckled Tabby
The marks on the cloak of the speckled tabby may vary in size and shape or to have the form of rosette, but they will always be numerous, they will have a uniformed distribution and won’t form tiger like lines.

(The preferences as for the shapes of the speckles vary from one country to another).

A row of speckled travels through the back and two, through the chest and belly, while on the legs and tails you may observe discontinuous speckles or rings.

Five colors are admitted in the tabby varieties: brown, red, blue, cream and silver.

The brownish variety presents a tone based on brown or brownish copper with dense jet-black marks. The hind legs must be black between the foot and the heel. The soles of the feet are black and the truffle, of a tile color. The eyes are of an orange or yellow intense color.

In the red variety, the background is of an intense color red and the marks, of a dark reddish tone and red at the side of the feet. The soles are of an intense red tone and the truffle, of a tile color. The eyes are of an intense orange or copper.

The blue tabby has dark blue marks over a background of a bluish beige, the soul of the feet and the truffle are blue or pink, and the eyes are between an intense yellow and copper.

The cream variety presents a light cream background with more darken cream marks and with truffle and soles of a pink color, and the eyes are of a golden or copper colors.

The silver tabby is the most spectacular, with dense black, red, blue or cream marks over a silver background. The soles of the feet are black and the truffle, red or black.

It is known that the tortoise variety is difficult to breed, due that the tortoise gene is associated with the sex and the mother only transmits it. Certainly, sometimes-male tortoise is born and there is constancy of the existence of some fertile males, but normally those few that survive are sterile.

The females must mate with solid colored males and it is possible that the resulting litters won’t include any tortoise exemplar.

The original tortoise variety presents a mix of black, intense red and light cream. The soles of the feet and truffle are black or pink.

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