Grey Tabby Cat – Everything You Need To Know


Hi, there, you cat lover! You’re probably interested in grey tabby cats. Maybe you’re just curious or thinking of getting one for yourself.

However, you’re undoubtedly in the right place as we prepared everything you need to know about this cute feline.

There is no doubt that the grey tabby is a gorgeous-looking cat, but let’s look at the fascinating roots, appearance, and temperament and whether this cat is right or maybe not the right match for you.

Before we proceed with the things you need to know, let’s clear once and for all, the grey tabby cat is not a breed of cat, but the grey tabby is a color and pattern that can be found on cats. The grey tabby pattern can appear on almost every type of cat, from the Domestic Shorthair to the Scottish Fold.

The tabby pattern consists of spots, lines, stripes, and swirls in the fur, which many feline breeds have in common.

What Color Are Grey Tabby Cats?

The grey tabby pattern is most seen in shorthaired cats but can also occur with purebred cats with long coats.

The grey tabby cat’s look and size differ from breed to breed. But when we talk about the grey tabby cat, we know the coat color will be grey.

The tabby pattern can consist of: lines, spots, stripes, and swirls.

The gray tabby cats can equally be male and female, while the orange tabby cats are almost always male.

But where did that cat get the grey patterns from? Let’s dive deep into the grey tabby cat genetics!

Genetics Of The Grey Tabby Cat

cat is laying on a old wooden table

Tabby patterns have roots in the African Wildcat lineage, the wild ancestor closest to a domestic cat. Looking at the African Wildcat, you can see that she has a similar tabby pattern, and many believe that that genetic feature was passed along to the tabby cats that we are now obsessed with.

Okay, we have seen the grey tabby cat’s ancestry, but what about the actual genes of the tabby pattern?

Studies show that the agouti gene is responsible for producing and passing along the tabby gene. The tabby gene is dominant and not uncommon, even though many consider it to be unique and wonderful.

We learned that the tabby pattern could be seen in various breeds of cats, so don’t be surprised if you see tabby cats with many different colors. That means you can encounter light grey tabby, red, white, or beige, but you can also see a brown tabby with greenish undertones, just like my cat.

Health Of The Grey Tabby Cat

The grey tabby cats overall have good health, but as with any breed, you have to take care that your tabby eats healthy, and it’s physically active; activities like climbing, chasing, and playing with her favorite human will do.

However, we should provide you with a few health conditions that a potential tabby cat owner should know of:

• urinary problems

• conjunctivitis

kidney failure

• diabetes

• worms

• obesity.

Disposition Of The Grey Tabby Cat

Gray striped cat lying on the laminate

The grey tabby cat is not a breed, as we mentioned above. So how could we determine the temperament of this cat?

The temperament of the tabby cat can depend on many things. The first thing that comes to mind is the breed. Then you observe how you socialize and treat your cat, so the environment in which the cat grows is also essential. Overall, cats are independent and intelligent but also uncertain.

When we think of a specific breed of dog, we can easily predict the disposition; however, that is not the case with cats. Some cats love to cuddle, and enjoy walking on a leash, while others may prefer climbing, hiding, and watching humans at a distance.

Nonetheless, cats are a good choice for a busy family or a single that lives actively and is not home often.

If you want your cat to be your cuddle buddy, check our guide on how to raise your kitten to be cuddly.

The grey cat has an independent nature, so the cat will be perfectly okay with being alone in the house or out while you’re gone. They will find a way to mentally and physically stimulate themselves.

The cats have unique traits, such as scratching and being high, so that they can observe the environment around them. They are the safest when they think they have control over situations.

If you want to save your furniture, make sure to get your cat plenty of scratching posts, and cat trees so they can feel free to hide, play, and scratch.

RELATED: 8 Best Tall Cat Trees

Exercise Needs Of The Grey Tabby Cat

It is a well-known fact that many domestic cats can suffer from diabetes and obesity. That’s why many experts recommend that the grey tabby cats be kept on a healthy diet and that they have many cat trees to climb on, cat shelves, and overall activities.

Even though cats don’t require physical stimulation like dogs, they need to exercise daily to stay in shape and don’t get obese.

You don’t have to worry that your cat will be obese if she chases toys, climbs on things, and scratches on the scratch posts. Those activities are great forms of exercise.

RELATED: How Big Of A Cat Tree Should I Get?

Grooming Of The Grey Tabby Cat

woman combing cat with brush

Grooming the grey tabby cat is one of the easy things when having the cat, as all cats clean and groom themselves multiple times a day.

However, you may be asking yourself why do cats shed so much, and we can tell you that shedding is completely normal for cats, and you should be familiar with that fact; for that reason, they’ll require brushing regularly, especially if your cat is long-haired.

Grey tabby cats with short coats require brushing only once a week, while the long-haired grey tabby cats require brushing at least three times a week due to their long hair that keeps matting, and you need to prevent it.

Many cats love the feeling of brushing and grooming if you’re doing it with proper tools and gently as you can. If you want your cat to be used to the grooming process, you need to start with brushing and grooming from an early age. Make sure to make it a fun and bonding experience so the cat can look forward to it.

RELATED: How To Reduce Cat Shedding (8 Proven Methods)

Bathing Of The Grey Tabby Cat

Mine grey tabby cat is not a big fan of water like many cats aren’t. But the good thing is that cat bathing is not as frequent as you would think.

However, if your grey tabby cat gets in trouble and gets dirty, she’ll need a bath, no questions asked. But, the essential thing is to be gentle and patient.

When bathing, use high-quality cat shampoo that will keep your grey tabby cat’s coat natural oils. After the bathing process, use a towel to dry your feline friend. If you have a long-haired grey-tabby cat, you can try to blow dry her, however, choose the method you can agree on.

If your cat’s nails are splitting and breaking or becoming sharp, that may mean that the nails need to be trimmed. Make sure to do it regularly to avoid mentioned problems.

The scratching posts will surely come in handy with grey tabby cat’s nails.

RELATED: Do Scratching Posts Sharpen Or Dull A Cat’s Nails?

How Much Are Grey Tabby Cats Worth?

Gray tabby friendly cat rolling

You may be interested in the cost of purchasing a grey tabby cat from a breeder or a rescue. However, we must know that the grey tabby is not a breed. So the cost will depend on the species and the place you are thinking of purchasing it.

If you purchase a cat from a cat breeder, the price is on average from $300 to $1,200, and if you find a perfect feline friend in a rescue group, you may spend from $50 to $100.

11 Interesting Facts About The Gray Tabby Cat

Let’s check the amazing facts about the cats with the tabby pattern!

1. Grey Tabby Cats Can Be Purebred Cats

The grey tabby cat is a coat pattern on a grey-colored cat. The spots, lines, stripes, and whorls adorn that pattern, and it can be seen both in domestic and wild cats.

Therefore, any breed of cat that has a tabby pattern is considered to be a tabby cat. However, if the kitten with tabby stripes is grey, that cat is called a grey tabby cat.

2. Grey Tabby Cats Excel In Mouse Hunting

Most tabby cats, and grey as well, are great at hunting mice. Their instinct is to chase smaller pets. They can serve as excellent pest control if you need one.

Their athletic body and agility make them perfect for chasing mice around the house. And their flexibility and speed are cherries on top!

RELATED: Do Cats Chase And Eat Squirrels? (Can They Catch Them?)

3. Grey Tabby Cats Can Be Hybrids

Not all grey tabby cats are purebreds; therefore, many grey tabby cats are hybrids and inherit the grey-colored coat with tabby patterns.

Tabby cats are more common in hybrid cats than in purebred grey tabby cats.

4. Grey Tabby Cats Can Have Different Eye Colors

Generally speaking, grey tabby cats can have almost any eye color. How is that possible?

The grey tabby cat may have a hybrid or purebred parents with many eye colors.

That means that every cat with a grey coat with a tabby pattern is a grey tabby. Therefore, their eye colors can be in many different shades.

5. Grey Tabby Cats Don’t Have The Same Disposition

The grey tabby cats are not the same cat breed, so their characters can vary. That results in some grey tabbies that are independent and don’t like to be cuddled, while others love to snuggle and be with you all the time.

Some are lazy, and some are naturally playful. That means that the color of the coat and the tabby pattern don’t impact the disposition much.

Logically, the breed of the cat has to do more with the character than the pigment in their coat. But, the noticed pattern that almost all grey tabby cats have is affectionate and friendly nature and that they tend to connect with other animals and children quickly.

I wish my cat had a more affectionate side, but sadly for me, that isn’t the case. However, the playful nature makes up for everything.

However, the disposition depends on the breed of your tabby. The temperament can mix parents’ characteristics if your tabby is a hybrid.

If you want to know what kind of temperament to expect from your grey tabby kitten, check out the parents. Any reputable cat breeder should provide you with your kitten’s lineage and the parents’ overall health.

6. All Grey Tabby Cats Have An “M-shape” Streak

One of the features that you can’t miss if you see a grey tabby cat is their M-shape spot on their foreheads. The M-shape marking can be seen in every tabby cat. But how did that letter end up there?

There are a few exciting theories to that M spot:

1. First theory: Ancient Egyptians believe cats are gods, so the M marking represents the world, as they call it Mau.

2. Second theory: Muslims believe that the M marking represents their prophet, Mohammed.

3. Third theory: Some Christians believe that the tabby cat visited the manger as the Virgin Mary wanted to warm baby Jesus. The cat lay next to the baby and warmed him. Then, Mary, as a sign of gratitude, bestowed the initial M onto the tabby’s forehead.

These myths sound exciting and remarkable; however, scientists argue that the Agouti gene is responsible for the M marking.

7. Five Different Coat Types Can Appear In Grey Tabby Cat

Grey tabby cats have five coat types. Let’s see the possible coat patterns that can be seen on the grey tabby!

• Patched Grey Tabby Cat

This cat can sport any coat on this list. However, the patched tabbies also have parts on the body where a third color can appear. Those patched tabbies can be tortoiseshell or a calico cat.

They are easily recognizable as they have grey coat color and an M-shape marking on the forehead.

• Classic Grey Tabby Cat

A classic tabby grey cat’s coat is adorned with circular patterns like whorls with tapered ends on the side of the tabby cat. These cats often have silverish coats because of their marks on the lighter coat.

• Ticked Grey Tabby Cat

The ticked grey tabby cat is recognizable for its visible stripes on the faces, tails, and legs, but the rest of its body is free from lines because of the agouti fur. This type of tabby coat is usually seen on Abyssinian cats.

• Spotted Grey Tabby Cat

Spotted grey tabby cats are known for oval-shaped markings on their bodies, and the marking is more like a long stripe. This type of tabby coat is perfectly represented in the Ocicat.

• Mackerel Grey Tabby Cat

The mackerel coat in grey tabby cats is like a striped coat. These cats are adorned with rings of stripes around their tails and legs.

Why are they called the mackerel tabby stripes? Because the broken or solid stripes are on their side of the body, it looks like a fish skeleton.

The mackerel tabby is the most common coat type among all tabby cats.

8. Grey Tabby Cats Have Their Own Day

Tabby cats are unique and so loved that they have their day. April 30 is the National Tabby Day celebrated across the United States.

On this day, the tabby cats are treated like kings and queens (we all know that they are treated like that every other day due to their cuteness) with special treats and belly rubs.

However, that day is not considered a holiday for tabby owners, and the day is exclusively for tabbies.

Celebrate their day if you are interested in getting a grey tabby kitten.

9. The “Tabby” In Their Name Has To Do With Their Place Of Origin

The popular theory worldwide is that the word tabby came from the French word taffeta, which means the type of silk fabric. The world tabby was mentioned in the 1600s as a particular type of silk fabric.

But, many feline lovers believe that the word dates back to the 14th century with the Arabic word atabis which was the derivation of the place in Baghdad, Attabiyah, known for silk items.

A few centuries later, the word was derived from tabby and used for tabby cats. Before the tabby cats got the name tabby, they were called the tiger cats because of their striped patterns.

Tabby was a word used to refer to a silk pattern with irregular waves. However, the silk meaning of the word is disused today as the tabby is used to refer to the pattern of our adored tabby cats.

10. Famous Stuffed Toy Was Made Because Of The Grey Tabby Cat

The plush toy created in 1892 is the Ithaca Kitty, the first stuffed toy that became popular in the United States.

This toy is the first toy that the grey tabby cat inspired. However, it didn’t stop there, as the gorgeous look of our grey tabbies inspires the creators and artists nowadays.

The Pusheen is the perfect example, the cartoon character inspired by a grey tabby.

11. A Gray Tabby Cat Held Two Guinness’ World Records

Yes, you read it well. The gray tabby cat called the Mymains Stewart Gilligan held two World Records.

Firstly, Stewie once was the longest domestic cat and therefore held the Guinness World Record. The length of this kitty is an impressive 48.5 inches.

The second time the title was for the most extended tail on a domestic cat. The recorded length of the tail was 16.3 inches. However, we must mention that the Stewie is a grey tabby Maine Coon. This cat breed is massive, and their long tails are something they are known for.

Unfortunately for everyone, Stewie died in 2013, but he will be remembered as his size was worthy of engraving grey tabby cats in the Guinness Book of World Records.

What Breed Of Cat Is A Grey Tabby?

Silver tabby cat sitting on a window shelf

As we already learned, the Grey Tabby is not a breed but a pattern, and these breeds of cats can have the grey Tabby pattern:

• Oriental

• Abyssinian

• Egyptian Mau

• American Curl

• Javanese

• American Bobtail

• Maine Coon

• American Shorthair

• Lynx Point Siamese (Colorpoint Shorthairs)

• American Wirehair

• Short-haired Persians

• Birman

• LaPerm

• Ocicat

• Ragdoll

• Manx

• Persian

• Norwegian Forest Cat

• Singapura

• Scottish Fold

• Turkish Van

• Siberian

• Rex

• Turkish Angora

• Somali

• Silver Bengal cat

Final Thoughts

Grey tabby cats are special both regarding appearance and temperament. We learned that grey tabby cats could be purebred hybrids and have five different coat types.

They are unique souls that will improve your life; I can guarantee you that. You will fall in love with your grey tabby cat as soon as you lay your eyes on her.

Their friendly and playful nature will lighten up your day, and you will be fascinated with the meows they’ll use to communicate.

Their rubbing against you and their purrs will melt your heart, and you will be hooked forever, and probably you’ll think of getting more than one grey tabby cat!

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Iram Sharma

Fur-tunare enough to have had cats her entire life, Iram has spent years learning about these fluffy little hunters. Today, Iram is a professional veterinarian and a passionate cat mom who uses her skills to help felines in need. Surrounded by her own feline friends, Iram shares her knowledge and experience with all cat lovers.

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