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What do Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, Looney Tunes Sylvester the Cat, and Felix the cat all have in common? These pop culture kitties are all tuxedo cats! But what is a tuxedo cat?
These dapper cats are known for their classy and iconic black and white fur pattern that resembles a tuxedo. As we peer into the history of these fashionable felines we’re going to find out:
- What kind of cat is a tuxedo cat?
- Are all black-and-white cats tuxedos?
- The main tuxedo cat traits and personalities
- What cat breeds come in tuxedo colors
- If tuxedo cats are only male
- Tuxedo cat fun facts
What kind of a cat is a tuxedo cat?
Tuxedo cats are black and white cats with a pattern that looks a lot like a tuxedo.
Also called piebald or bicolor cats, tuxedo cats are traditionally known for their snowy white bellies, chests, front paws (or mittens), tail tip, and large triangular mask-like marking on their face.
The history of tuxedo cats
Tuxedo cats have been sharing our homes as far back as 750 BCE in Egypt.
Associated with the goddess Bast, or Bastet, ancient Egyptians worshipped cats and depicted them in art, writing, and even awarded the highest honor of mummification.
Many of the cats are carved and drawn onto royal tomb walls as hieroglyphs resemble tuxedo kittens and cats.
Through the centuries tuxedo cats have made history themselves!
In World War II, Simon, a tuxedo cat who was the official ship’s feline of the HMS Amethyst was awarded the Dickin Medal for his services to the British Royal Navy. Considered the highest military award in the UK for displays of bravery in battle by animals, Simon is the only cat to receive this honor.
Decades later tuxedo cats entered the political sphere. Spunky tuxedo cat named Socks moved into the White House and claimed a place in the famous Oval Office when former president Bill Clinton won the United States presidential election in 1994.
In Halifax, Canada, a distinguished 3-year-old tuxie named Tuxedo Stan made history as a mayoral candidate. The first to launch The Tuxedo Party, a large part of Tuxedo Stan’s platform was advocacy for affordable low-cost spay and neuter programs and cat adoption. This, now famous, tuxedo cat didn’t win the vote, but he spread plenty of awareness for homeless cats!
Are all black-and-white cats tuxedo cats?
Nope! Not all black and white cats are tuxedos.
The most significant difference between black and white vs tuxedo cats is that black and white cats don’t have the classic tuxedo markings.
Because their genes express themselves differently than those of tuxedo cats, black and white cats often have coats that are overwhelmingly white with large or small solid patches of black scattered around their body, and sometimes peppered around their face.
Tuxedo cats have what’s known as a white spotting gene, which is responsible for those pretty white markings on their black coats.
Non-tuxedo, black and white cats most commonly have fur that resembles that of a Holstein dairy cow.
Different color patterns of tuxedo cats
There’s quite a range of tuxedo cat color patterns.
Some tuxedo kittens and cats are more black than white on their faces and their chest. Sometimes the tuxedo pattern leaves a bow tie mark emblazoned on the throat of the lucky bicolor cat. Other times they have a fully white chest.
Other tuxie color pattern variations have white boots on their back paws, and more white markings on their black body rather than more solid, consistent coloration.
Face patterns on tuxedo cats can also range from the classic black face with the white triangular marking that stretches from their chin and cheeks to nose, to a pure black face with a white chin, or a tiny streak or curl of white going up to their face or curved around their nose or mouth.
What breed is my tuxedo cat?
Much like ginger tabbies, torbies, and tortoiseshell cats, tuxedo cats aren’t a single breed.
The distinctively dashing tuxedo cat appears in many domesticated mixed breed (or moggie) cats, as well as purebred, long-haired, short-haired, and even hairless cats! So there are no one specific breed or breed standards that apply to these bicolor cats.
The most common purebreds who have cats with tuxedo patterns are:
- American Shorthair
- Maine Coon
- British Shorthair
- Scottish Fold
Tuxedo cat traits and personality
Tuxedo cats are beloved for their outgoing, friendly, energetic, and playful personalities. Tuxedo cats are also known for their quirkiness. Simply look at the famous tuxedo boy of the Jellicle cats in T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, Mr. Mistoffelees! It’s these memorable personalities that led the word “tuxietude”, or tuxie attitude, to be created specifically to describe them!
Many cat guardians who live with one (or more) of these handsome felines report that they’re exceptionally clever, prone to mischief, and are sassy when it comes to getting what they want. These affectionate cats are known for their loving, laid-back, and gentle personalities and are especially good with children and other pets.
Whether you’re a long-time cat parent looking to add a new feline family member to your home or are a first-time cat guardian, adopting a tuxedo kitten or cat is a surefire way to bring more happiness, joy, and hilarity to your life.
Are tuxedo cats only male?
No, unlike ginger tabbies who skew toward males for genetic reasons, tuxedo cats are equally male and female. The genes that determine the bicolor and piebald patterns and colors in tuxedo cats aren’t linked to male or female genes.
Do tuxedo cats have health problems?
Tuxies are often domesticated mixed breed kitties and without knowing their lineage it’s challenging to find out if they may be predisposed to any diseases, disorders, or health conditions.
We recommend trying out a kit from Basepaws if you want a peek into your tuxedo kitten or cat companion’s mysterious genes and see what breeds and risks for health conditions are hiding in their cute and cuddly bodies.
Like other cats, it’s best to stay on top of your kitty’s health by regularly taking them to routine veterinarian checkups.
Are tuxedo cats rare?
No, tuxedo cats are not rare. As with tabbies and ginger cats, male and female tuxedo cats have one of the most common cat coat patterns.
Where can you find a tuxedo cat?
You can find tuxedo cats of all genders, personalities, fur types, sizes, and bicolor patterns at your local animal shelters, rescues, and cat welfare organizations!
Sometimes veterinarians also foster cats and kittens in their clinics, or are affiliated with cat rescues and foster families, and can point you in the right direction to where you can find your next furry friend.
Tuxedo cat fun facts
What would this celebration of all things tuxedo cats be without some fun facts! Here are some that have us purring!
Countless artists, writers, and musicians are known for their enthusiasm for tuxedo cats. Sir Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare, and Beethoven all shared their life with a tuxedo cat or two.
In a real-life “Aristocats” moment a tuxedo cat named Sparky inherited $6.3 million when his owner passed away in 1998.
Tuxedo cats have such distinctive personalities that there’s even an official name for it: Tuxietude!
Tuxedo cats don’t need to be born to tuxedo parents. The gene could easily be inherited further back in their lineage!
Lots to love about tuxedo cats
It’s no secret that we adore tuxedo cats here at Lelu and Bobo. These fashionably dressed felines leave a big impression wherever they go.
With their storied histories, their iconic cartoon counterparts, and their clever, quirky, and energetic personalities, these kitties brighten the hearts and lives of everyone who has the pleasure of meeting them.