The Legendary Tuxedo Cat - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers and experts
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The Legendary Tuxedo Cat

Donna has been a cat parent and writer for the span of her lifetime. Her heart's passion is to spread her love 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. 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.

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

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

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 - Kitten Rampage

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
  • 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, Sammie is intrigued by the TV. Because of her interest, I put on wild bird videos and she will watch TV for hours.

Norwegian Forest Tuxedo Cat

Norwegian Forest Tuxedo Cat

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.

Curly Fur Tuxedo Cat

Curly Fur Tuxedo Cat

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

Sources

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 Donna Rayne

Comments

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on June 29, 2020:

Thank you JC, they are such a sweet cat!

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida 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.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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!

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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!

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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!

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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!

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In 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.