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Guide to the Legendary Tuxedo Cat

Lillee Rhose has been a cat parent and writer her entire life. Her heart's passion is to share her love for and knowledge of cats.

Tuxedo Cat Facts

Tuxedo Cat Facts

What Is a Tuxedo or Bicolored Cat?

A tuxedo cat is a bicolor or piebald cat with two distinct coat colors. They are classy, 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 widespread belief, "tuxedo" is not the name of an actual cat breed; it’s a name that describes the unique bicolor coat patterning. Tuxies have prominent white whiskers that sparkle in the sunlight and their whiskers tend to pop out against the black fur of their face which is incredibly stunning!

In this article

  • What is a Tuxedo or Bicolor Cat?
  • What Cat Breeds Have the Tuxedo Pattern?
  • How Do Tuxedo Cats Get their Patterns?
  • Tuxedo Cat Personality and Traits
  • What is Your Favorite Tuxedo Breed?
  • What is the Lifespan of a Tuxedo Cat?
  • Happy Homes Always Have Cats

How Did the Tuxedo Cat Get Its Name?

"Tuxedo cat" is a well-known term and rightfully so "tuxies" 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 several cat breeds.

One popular cat breed that has this type of coat patterning is the Turkish Van. They 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

Tuxedos or bicolored cats are normally black and white, but they also can be gray, silver, orange, and even tortoiseshell with white patches. Their coats can have different textures as well, such as shaggy, short, long, silky, and smooth. They may also have green, golden, or even blue eyes.

Sammie, my tuxedo/bicolor cat. She has captured my heart!

Sammie, my tuxedo/bicolor cat. She has captured my heart!

What Cat Breeds Have the Tuxedo Pattern?

There are a variety of breeds that have the Tuxedo pattern:

  • Maine Coons - Longhair and one of the largest and oldest Northern American Breed.
  • British Shorthair - Has an antithetically stocky body with a dense coat but has no undercoat
  • Turkish Angora - Longhair cat with a silky, soft coat and is one of the ancient, natural breeds
  • Scottish Fold - A short hair, medium size cat with ears that bend forward with a round body.
  • Manx - Shorthair, Longhair varieties. A tailless cat with elongated hind legs and a rounded head.
  • Persian - A purebred domestic cat remarkably like the Exotic Shorthair
  • American Curl - Available in longhair or shorthair, with curled back ears with no undercoat and minimal shedding.
  • Exotic Shorthair - Shorthair cat with a large oval head with small, rounded ears. And it has a short neck, and its body is close to the ground.
  • Norwegian Forest Cat - A longhair purebred which originated from northern Europe.
  • American Shorthair- A shorthair cat needs minimal maintenance (typically black and white)

How Do Tuxedo Cats Get Their Coat Patterns?

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 pattern when it comes to the development of coat color.

Norwegian Forest Tuxedo Cat

Norwegian Forest Tuxedo Cat

Adventure Kittens! Tuxedo kittens playing - Kitten Rampage

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Tuxedo Cat Personality and Traits

Tuxies are known to possess the following traits listed below.

  • Spunky and extremely energetic
  • Friendly, outgoing, and extroverted
  • Active and athletic
  • Happy
  • Playful
  • Dog-like
  • Talkative
  • Loyal
  • Relaxed and observant
  • Extremely intelligent

Superior Intelligence

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, the TV intrigues Sammie. Because of her interest, I put on wild bird videos and she watches TV for hours.

Whiskers Mean Business

Tuxedo cats are known for their poignant whiskers. Whiskers tell the cat whether a hole they are contemplating going through is too small. According to

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 alert the cat of danger or if the cat will fit in certain crevices (without having to see) trying to chase its prey.

Curly Fur Tuxedo Cat

Curly Fur Tuxedo Cat

What Is the Lifespan of a Tuxedo Cat?

Tuxedo cats live an average of 15 to 20 years depending on many factors like care and feeding. Therefore, 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 fun ways to exercise and provide them with a cat tree and/or scratcher to keep them active.
  • Make sure to keep their litter box clean.
  • Offer fresh water daily.
  • Keep their food and water dishes clean and sanitized.

Happy Homes Always Have Cats

Tuxies make great companions. 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 occasionally, but don't forget to love, cuddle, play, 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 are 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.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can a calico cat be a tuxedo also?

Answer: No, because the Calico is all sorts of colors, whereas the Tuxedo cat is usually 2 colors and they look like they are wearing a tuxedo, most tux cats are black and white and come in all sorts of breeds!

© 2020 Lillee Rhose


Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on September 16, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, cats are the best!

Bethg on August 25, 2020:

I've a year old tuxedo called Sir Pip Purring (Pip for short blame the teenagers). He's mischievous, clever (will shake hands, hi five and waves his tale a certain way when we tell him we love him). He's obsessed with Lego, has learnt to turn on a desktop fan and the kettle (thankfully we unplug it when not in use). Hubby (aka dad) is his favourite human unless it's dinner time then I've got to feed him. He's my pride and joy.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on June 29, 2020:

Thank you JC, they are such a sweet cat!

JC Scull on June 25, 2020:

I have one of those interesting little creatures. Not sure how smart he is, though. The Maine Coon seems to be a little quicker on the draw, but he is very affectionate nonetheless. Very nice article.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 05, 2020:

Thank you kindly, Paula :)

Suzie from Carson City on January 05, 2020:

Donna......Nice new photo. I hope you realize you look very much like a young Joan Collins......and of course she is considered one of Hollywoods" Beauties!

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 03, 2020:

Thank you very much for reading my article and all cats are lovely to have in one's life!

Have a great weekend,

Donna Rayne'

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 03, 2020:

I love the photos of the cats, including the one of your own pet. A cat's personality is more important to me than its appearance, but I see from your article that tuxedo cats often have a lovely personality as well as a lovely appearance. That's a great combination!

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 03, 2020:

Ms. Ruby, I wrote an article on here about Hypoallergenic cat breeds that are breeds who produce less dander or none at all. Thank you for reading and may you have a lovely day!

Blessings always,

Donna Rayne

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 03, 2020:

Your article was interesting and I'm sorry to tell you that I'm allergic to animal dander. I have tried to have a sweet cat several times, but no-can-do. This breed is so beautiful.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 03, 2020:

Oh, sweet Pamela, I am truly sorry for your loss. I do thank you for reading my article. And Tuxedo cats are the best of them all!

God Bless you, my friend,

Donna Rayne

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 03, 2020:

I just lost my black and white tuxedo cat about 6 weeks ago. He was about 13 1/2 years old but he got some type of cancer. He was the best cat I have ever had and I really miss him.

I liked reading the facts in your article. It was very interesting.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 02, 2020:

Thanks again, Rosina!

Rosina S Khan on January 02, 2020:

I agree with you, Donna that bipolar cats should be trained for the better and yes, since you like cats so much, you will probably come up with a great article on the topic of bipolar cats. Give yourself a shot on it.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 02, 2020:

Hi, Rosina, I was like yeah that would be a great topic to write about bipolar cats because there must be some for sure, like when you pet them and they all purring and then ouch a bite and a scratch and they run off! We must seek them some help :)

Rosina S Khan on January 02, 2020:

Sorry Donna there was a typo in my comment. It should be tuxedo bicolor cats not bipolar.

Rosina S Khan on January 02, 2020:

Thank you, Donna for giving us here interesting facts and guidelines about tuxedo bipolar cats. What intrigued me most is these cats are super intelligent and will watch TV and videos for hours enjoyably. Great, informative piece of writing indeed!

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 02, 2020:

Thank you, Paula, the sweet tuxedo cat in the amazon box is my sweet baby girl ms Sammie! Thank you for reading!


Donna Rayne

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on January 02, 2020:

Yes, my friend, a happy home is a home ruled by cats! Haha

Suzie from Carson City on January 02, 2020:

OH! Pretty, pretty, fluffy, graceful babies!! I want one! Thanks for the education and lovely photos! Cheers, Paula

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 02, 2020:

Three of my cats are tuxes. They’re all former strays or ferals. A happy home is graced by cats.

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