The Legendary Tuxedo Cat
What Is a Tuxedo or Bicolored Cat?
A tuxedo cat is a bicolor or piebald cat with two distinct coat colors. These cats are classy and sleek and their coats are velvety-soft and silky to the touch. They are known for their sharp look, but their colors aren't limited to just black and white—they can be gray, orange, tortoiseshell, and even silver and white.
Contrary to popular belief, "tuxedo" is not the name of an actual cat breed; it’s a name that describes the unique bicolor coat patterning. My kitten, Sammie, for example, is a tuxedo cat. She has prominent white whiskers that sparkle in the sunlight. Her whiskers tend to pop out against the black fur of her face when you gaze into her eyes. She's so stunning!
How Did the Tuxedo Cat Get Its Name?
"Tuxedo cat" is a well-known term and rightfully so—these cats look like they are donning formal attire with their classic black and white patterning. However, tuxedo markings can come in a combination of colors and appear in a number of cat breeds.
One popular cat breed that has this type of coat patterning is the Turkish Van. These cats generally have a solid coat and throat locket with low- to medium-grade white spotting which is often limited to the face, paws, throat, and chest. Turkish Vans are commonly white and black or white and orange.
Coats of Many Colors
Many tuxedo or bicolored cats are mainly black and white, but their coats can also be gray, silver, orange, and even tortoiseshell with white patches. Their coats can be different textures as well, like shaggy, short, long, silky, and smooth. These cats may also have green, golden, or even blue eyes.
Did You Know?
Black is the dominant color of the tuxedo cat.
What Cat Breeds Have the Tuxedo Pattern?
The tuxedo pattern can be found in several cat breeds such as:
- Maine Coons
- British Shorthairs
- Turkish Angoras
- American Shorthairs (in many different colors, but typically black and white)
How Do Tuxedo Cats Get Their Coat Color and Pattern?
What causes the tuxedo cat to develop such a unique, distinctive coat? Well, the answer isn't so straightforward. Some experts have theorized that this unique patterning develops because the "sluggish genes" responsible for coloration don’t move fast enough to cover the coat while in utero. This faulty version of the “kit” genes does not multiply at a normal rate, thereby causing the unique patterning. Whether this is true or not, one can only speculate at this point.
Randomization in Utero
Researchers have also found that pigment cells move and multiply randomly during development while in utero. In other words, they don't follow any particular pattern when it comes to the development of coat color.
Adventure Kittens! Tuxedo kittens playing & running #kittenrampage - Kitten Rampage
What is your favorite tuxedo breed?
Tuxedo Cat Personality and Traits
These cats are known to possess the following traits listed below. They are:
- Spunky and extremely energetic
- Friendly, outgoing, and extroverted
- Active and athletic
- Relaxed and observant
- Extremely intelligent
Tuxedo cats have a reputation for having superior intelligence compared to other cats (and I do find this to be true). Not too long after we got our cat, Sammie, I noticed her superior intelligence. One day my son was in the front room playing with his PlayStation on the big screen. Suddenly, Sammie stopped running around and started watching the game. (She may have only been about seven weeks old!) To this day, Sammie is intrigued by the TV. Because of her interest, I put on wild bird videos and she will watch TV for hours.
Did You Know?
Tuxedo kittens tend to reach their full height at 6 months of age.
Whiskers Mean Business
Tuxedo cats are known for their poignant whiskers. Interestingly enough, whiskers can actually tell a cat whether a hole they are contemplating going through is too small. According to CatVeteran.com:
The whiskers act like your cat’s radar, compass, and sonar and they’re called “vibrissa” for a single whisker and “vibrissae” for multiple. The small sacs (follicles) that hold the whiskers have audiovisual sensory receptors which are these thick little (or big) tactile nerve ninjas deep within your cat's body (not like their fur) that follow a path to the spatial processing hub of the brain . . . . These receptors will alert the cat of danger or if the cat will fit in certain crevices (without having to see) trying to chase its prey.
Did You Know?
A cat’s whiskers can tell them whether a hole they are contemplating going through is too small. If it's smaller than the width of their whiskers, they are less likely to go through the hole.
What Is the Lifespan of a Tuxedo Cat?
Tuxedo cats live on average 15 to 20 years depending on many factors like care and feeding. This is why it's important that you feed your cat nutritious food, take them in for regular check-ups at the vet, and limit outside activities (indoor cats live longer for obvious reasons).
How to Extend Your Cat's Life
Here are some general husbandry tips that will help keep your cat healthy, happy, and sassy:
- Offer them fun ways to exercise and provide them with a cat tree and/or scratcher to keep them active.
- Make sure to keep the litter box clean.
- Offer fresh water daily.
- Keep their food and water dishes clean and sanitized.
Happy Homes Always Have Cats
The tuxedo cat makes for a great companion. They love to cuddle (when they want to be cuddled) and they are such a joy to care for. They are also known to have a lot of energy (and I mean a lot of energy)!
When it comes to providing for your cat, feed them well, keep the cat box clean, and bathe them once in a while, but don't forget to love them, cuddle them, play with them, and have fun with them (no matter what).
Not Every Cat Is the Same
As cats grow older, they develop their own personalities as they mature and each one is unique. Looking for a feline companion? All a cat needs is a loving home and they will surely blossom! Consider adopting a tuxedo bicolor cat today. You will not only get to enjoy the companionship of this beautiful type of cat, but you will also save a life.
SUPER SMART CAT .. she found me in a SHELTER .. watch KISS at the END! - HOOTe Cat
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2020 Donna Rayne