An Orange Tabby At The Window

I found a stunning photo to share here today. We all love red tabbies any old day but this one is extra gorgeous with his bright orange tabby coat and greenish eyes so beautifully complemented by the turquoise background.

Orange tabby

What creates an orange tabby pattern?

The term “tabby” describes that classic pattern in the animal kingdom. That pattern is a mask of either stripes, dots or rosettes in red or black, over a lighter background. That background is usually a ticked lighter version of the same color. It can sometimes be  a more neutral brownish shade.

In the case of orange tabby cats – also known as red tabbies – the stripes are in a beautiful reddish brown while the background is a lighter shade of the same color. Orange tabby cats don’t always have stripes. They can have dots, or a they can have a bulls-eye “marbled” pattern. Leopards have full rosettes for their markings, which is a pattern that breeders of Bengal cats often aspire to achieve.

Some people believe that orange tabby cats are almost always males. In fact, females can certainly be orange tabbies. Why does it seem like there are more males with this coat pattern?

Once again, it’s all about feline genetics!

The gene for red tabby coloring is carried by the X chromosome. Males have just one X chromosome (the other one in that pair is their Y chromosome), so if they get the orange color in their copy, we have a red tabby male!

Females are more complicated because they have two X chromosomes. Let’s say a female cat has a copy of the red tabby gene on one of her X chromosomes. If the other X chromosome also carries a red tabby gene, than bingo! We have a red tabby female! However, if the other X chromosome carries the gene for the black color, we get both black/gray AND orange in the fur. In other words, we have ourselves a tri-colored cat.

So, we’ll be seeing fewer orange tabby female cats but they certainly do exist!

Was that more than you bargained for? It’s fine. There really is no need to understand feline genetics to appreciate just how gorgeous orange tabby cats are – male or female!

If you loved the photo and found this post interesting, could you please share it around? I bet your cat-loving friends would enjoy reading it too. Thanks a bunch!

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