Saturday 17 September 2011

Black Tabby Cat

A black tabby cat doesn't really exist. The word "black" and "tabby" are mutually exclusive. The cat can be one or the other but not both unless the cat is not quite black and the tabby pattern can be seen in ghost form. In which case the cat would not really be black.

Melanistic cats are black and they have ghost tabby patterns, usually spots and/or joined up spots. This is the case with many wild cat species. Although you don't see the word "tabby" used in conjunction with wildcats. It is very much a domestic cat concept.

However, many wild cats are tabby cats. The classic is the tabby coated Scottish wildcat. This cat species looks like a large, grey domestic tabby cat. The wildcat species (a small wild cat) looks like a domestic tabby cat.

There is no trace of a tabby coat in a jet black cat such as the Bombay cat - a purebred cat.

Another type of tabby cat that has black pigmentation in the fur and tabby markings are black smoke coated cats. These cats have coats that give the effect of smoke because there is black pigment (melanin) at the top of the hair strands but lower down the hair is white or pale. This is due to the inhibitor gene.

The black smoke cat is not really black though as you can see the pale undercoat. That is about it on black tabby cats! It all depends on how flexible you want to be on defining what a black cat should be. For me he or she should be evenly black with no markings or patterns. Tabby cats must have a pattern to be a tabby cat. The pattern is spots, stripes or blotches.

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