8 Fun Facts About Ginger Tabby Cats

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Ginger tabby cats are truly special–and if you ask me, downright magical–cats. Some of the most memorable cats in Showbiz today are ginger tabbies, and countless people all across the globe have a natural favoritism towards these orange-haired felines.

Jim Davis, creator of the Garfield, was quoted as once saying: 

In my head, the sky is blue, the grass is green and cats are orange.”

Has a ginger tabby ever held a special place in your heart? I know one has for me and still continues to do so today!

1. They Are Almost Always Male

These cats with a higher adoption rate are usually male due to their genetic makeup. The gene that codes for orange fur is on the X chromosome. And because females have two X’s and males are XY, this means that a female orange cat must inherit two orange genes (one from each parent) whereas a male only needs one, which he gets from his mother.

While it’s true that a higher percentage of orange tabbies are male, the ratio is actually about 80 percent male to 20 percent female.

Have you ever seen a ginger tabby without spots or stripes of some kind? Trick question! The same genetics that control coat color also control those lovely spots and stripes that we adore.

2. Ginger Tabbies Supposedly Comforted Little Baby Jesus During a Time of Need!

Okay, so this one may be more of a myth/legend/belief, whatever you prefer to call it. But legend has it that these popular orange cats got the famous “M” mark on their foreheads because of their encounter with the son of God.

Here’s how the story has been told for centuries…

When the baby Jesus was lying in the manger, he began to shiver from the cold. Mary draped blankets over the infant, but he continued to shiver. She spoke softly. “I don’t know what to do. I thought you were hungry, so I fed you. I thought you were wet, so I changed your diaper. I thought you were cold, so I wrapped another blanket around you.” She asked the animals in the stable to move closer so that their body heat would warm Jesus, but the child continued to shiver and cry.

She rocked the infant and then laid him back in a manger filled with hay. He continued to cry.

A small tabby cat who’d witnessed the scene knew what needed to be done. She leaped into the manger, cuddled next to the child and began to purr. It was the sweetest lullaby imaginable. The baby stopped crying and drifted off to sleep.

In her gratitude to the cat, Mary marked her own initial upon the tabby’s forehead so that tabby cats would forever remind the world of how one of their kind had comforted the newborn Jesus.

3. Their Coats Actually Come in Four Beautifully Distinct Patterns

While most ginger tabbies are known for their stripes, their coat can also have whorl or spot patterns. 

As any connoisseur of ginger tabbies knows, these beautiful orange kitties come in four distinct coat patterns: spotted, mackerel, striped and ticked. Some ginger tabbies just have bolder stripes and spots than the classic ones we recognize easily. Check out these purrfect examples below…

Spotted Ginger Tabby (common in orange tabby Ocicats):

Mackerel Ginger Tabby:

Another good shorthair example of the Mackerel pattern…

My cat, Tom, is your classic striped ginger tabby…check out this froggy sittin’ cutie…

Ticked Ginger Tabby: Found most often in Abyssinian cats…

If you look closely, you will see different bands of colors down the length of each individual hair.

These coats often shimmer and simply dazzle in the sunlight–oh la la! Fun fact: Bengal cats also have ticked coats that “glitter” in the sunlight.

4. These Are Cats With Many Well-Known Monikers

A ginger tabby has lots of names. Gingy, Ginger, Tabby, and even Marmalade!

The truth is, everyone thinks that they have the best name for their ginger tabby, whether it’s their actual name or a nickname–and none of them are wrong!

5. Kitties With Freckles and Pretty Pink Noses

Not only do ginger tabbies commonly present with an adorable kiss-me-please pink little nose, many ginger tabbies have freckles!

Yep, you read that right. The black dots–or freckles–appear along the lip line in dark circle-like shapes. See, Marmalade is a ginger with cute-as-can-be freckles:

And one of my ginger tabby cats, Tom, has that pretty little pink nose–and toe pads to boot!

6. A Ginger Tabby Can Put on Weight Easily

Fun little fact: Ginger tabby cats will actually eat just about anything–but that doesn’t mean that you should let them! Perhaps Garfield conditioned us mentally for many ginger tabbies having more to love to them, but it’s important as their pet parent to not let them graze as much as they want.

Many cats are fine with a continuous feeder out in the home, but that’s not an ideal situation for a ginger tabby to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity in cats can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as a shortened life expectancy. Keep your orange kitty in your home on a routine and portion controlled eating schedule as to avoid this issue entirely. 

7. Orange Tabbies Can be Found in a Variety Of Cat Breeds

Despite the common misconception that ginger tabbies–or tabbies in general–are a breed, a tabby is strictly a coat pattern a cat can have, not a breed. You can find many breeds with ginger tabbies, such as: Maine Coon, Persian, Oriental Shorthair, Ocicat, American Bobtail–not just the most common American Shorthair.

8. They Tend to be Your Chill Cats

It looks like Garfield was a true testament to this typically chill feline. If you’re the proud owner of one of these flame-colored cuties, remember that a love to eat–as well as lay around–may equal some extra lbs due to lack of exercise and extra calories. Offer your ginger tabby lots of mental stimulation and play as a means to burn some energy. Your happy and healthy cat will thank you for offering them the best quality of life possible.

Many ginger tabby owners report that their orange babies are velcro kitties, with a strong desire to be in the presence of their humans. Most ginger cats also have an even temperament, like people, are typically affectionate, and are usually less shy and more friendly than your average house cat.

Again, this varies from cat to cat and is not always 100% true for each.


Related Story: Ginger Kitten with Saddest Eyes Finds Strength from her Rescuers

Related Video: This Cat Will Make You Laugh! 

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  1. I absolutely love gingers! We had a ginger cat named Puff when i was a kid and my oldest daughter has a wonderful ginger (i love him to death!) named Willis. He is a very proud handsome fellow who i get a huge kick out of! He sits in the very same position as the sphinx in Egypt with his paws together and straight forward. Gingers a the best!

  2. The 4 patterns of the Tabby Color are Classic, Mackrel, Spotted, and Ticked… You only showed example of Mackrel, Spotted, and Ticked. The Classic pattern has swirls of ginger on the trunk of the body, almost resembling the swirls of a cinnamon roll. Oh and Happy 4 Years Cancer Free Marmalade!!! Love me some CAM!! I hope Mr. Cole is on the mend these days! <3

    • That cinnamon roll pattern is called a “bullseye” pattern, I had a kitty named Simba who was a bullseye pattern orange tabby!

  3. I have an orange tabby Girl Pumpkin now 2 yrs old. I rescued her and her black and white sister Sweetie from the shelter. a year ago. Pumpkin was a sick baby girl when I brought her home. with a lot of TLC and Gods help, she is now a sassy, spunky cat.

    1 yr ago I rescued a stray cat, she ended up being pregnant. On Nov 20th she gave birth to 3 adorable fluff balls, two girls one boy. Two of the babies got forever homes. I kept momma Daisy and one of her babies Tulip. Tulip is now 1 yr old :-).

    My orange cat pumpkin gets along well with mamma Daisy and her sister Sweetie, but for some reason, Pumpkin won’t stop harassing and bullying the baby kitten now 1yr old. I think She is Jealous and that’s why she bullies, but is there anything I can do to help them get along? Right now I just keep them apart or Baby Tulip hides under a cough or anywhere she can to get away from Pumpkin,
    Just would like all my girls to get along.

    thank you

  4. I have been crazy about cats since childhood and I thought I knew a lot about them. Thank you for your article because I learned a few things today! I have two ginger cats, my oldest and my youngest cat are gingers. My oldest was a foster fail from fifteen years ago and he was the most loving cat I had ever met. My youngest cat has been with us for a year and a half after I rescued his calico sister and him from woods near my house. My oldest, Tyrone, has been through several moves with me over the years and is still loving and totally devoted to me. He doesn’t sleep with me as much as he did, due to arthritis and wanting to stay near the kitchen. Alistair, the youngest sleeps with me every night and only allows me to pet him and is devoted to me as much as Tyrone. Gingers are the most loving. I hope Santa is good to Cole and Marmalade this Christmas. Happy New Year, Glenda, the certified crazy cat lady.

  5. I’ve had two orange kitties – a female floofball named Tessie we adopted from the shelter when I was a kid and a male we named Junior not long after I married. He was marked much like Marmalade. We named him Junior because the local tom around our apartment complex was a long haired orange and white tabby. His mother had been abandoned and we started feeding her behind the dumpster at the complex. She had her babies on our porch. Luckily we were moving soon and able to take them with us.

  6. My orange tabby is a long hair guy who is so sweet but not the brightest bulb in the room. But he is so attached to me that he comes to find me when I cry. My husband passed recently so I have many blue moments. My Corey comes and snuggles and kisses my face, kneading and purring till I stop. He follows me from room to room and always wants to know what I’m up to. He is 10 years old and I pray I have another 10 with him.

  7. My ginger cat is named Donny since I already had a tuxedo named Marie so the name just fit! Donny is a real scamp, always in trouble. A favorite trick is opening dresser drawers, throwing the contents on the floor and napping, exhausted in the empty drawer! I don’t know if I’ve been robbed or if it was just Donny looking for a comfortable place to snooze!

  8. Everything you wrote down here is true for my Ginger Tabby Morris. I especially hat to laugh about the “will eat anything” and the velcro-part. Darn is that the truth

  9. I’m on my third ginger boy now, and all have been rescues. My first, Avanti, loved people so much he became a therapy cat who visited nursing homes every month. They are indeed special! My current ginger follows me everywhere. LOVE them all! Meowy Christmas everybody 🐾

  10. I have had 2gingers, one a female, Pumpkin, had very bright fur and lived to the age of 13 when she crossed the rainbow bridge peacefully. The other was Fonz, so named due to his very proud stance. I lost Fonz last May in a home fire as all my other kitties except one. Fonz was 14. They were both very loving and personable kitties

  11. schavez195309@gmail.com.I have rescued so many orange tabby. I have now 2 and I adore them. I didn’t let these two be adopted. I am now up in age , I don’t rescue as much.people pretty much just drop them at my door and my husband and I are feed ferals across the street at a shopping center.but my orange tabby named Toby sleeps with us and he lives with chickens ,dogs and all type of birds in my home. But his my king.and the other tabby ,a neighbor moved and abandoned him so he came to my house he started eating the for I have our in my front porch for all the cats in the streets.and I was able to pet him and I now bought him a collar and he sleeps under my house, they have blankets and a a little kennel where some can sleep. I know people call us the crazy cat couple.but we are happy.we love all our cats specially my Toby.in fact his mom was abandon here about 3 yes ago and she had a big tummy and had
    and 4 babies in our garage. That’s how I have my adorable Toby.

  12. When I was a litle girl, my family had a ginger mackeral tabby – complete with bullseyes on both sides – who was a spunky little thing. At first he was called Samantha because we thought he was a girl, but that was soon shortened to Sam. Because of him, I’ve always had a soft spot for marmalade cats.

    Over 10 years ago, I met Dublin, my sweet orange boy. At the time he was about a year old & in need of a home. There was a group of people , & he chose me out of everyone to grace wih his presence. I got permission from my landlord atthe time to bring him home.

    Back then, his nose & paw pads & all the rest of him wa freckle free. At about two or three years of age, though, he started developing nose freckles. Now his nose is more freckled than not, & he even has one on the fur judt above his nose, as well as on every single paw pad, the inside of his mouth, & along the rims of his eyes.

    Sometimes he just wants to be alone, but more often than not, he’s a Velcro kitty, whether on my lap or just near me.

    He’s been my protector & my confidante, my best buddy & my comfort. He’s warned me off some bad men. When he first entered my life, I was emerging from my worst period of depression ever. He was definitely helpful in me emering from that. We rescued each other. I know a lot of people say that about their rescue pets, but it’s true.

    Note – he’d been living on the street when my brother & ex-wife found Dublin. If he had gotten along with all the other animals in their house, he’d have stayed there. He didn’t, though, &, sad as t was, it turned into a true blessing for me.

    Dublin’s happy & mostly calm, aside from the zoomies, & he’s snuggling with me on my lap as I type this.

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Written by Modi Ramos

Crazy cat lady since birth and lover of all things feline. Owner of CattitudeDaily and former Editor of iHeartCats. Meow!

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