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Home > Cats > National Tabby Cat Day 2024: When It Is & How to Celebrate

National Tabby Cat Day 2024: When It Is & How to Celebrate

tabby cat under a christmas tree

If you have a special tabby cat, you’ll probably be excited to hear that there is a national holiday dedicated to tabby cats! The holiday is called National Tabby Cat Day, and it is celebrated on April 30th. If you want to learn more about tabby cats or brainstorm some ideas for how to celebrate National Tabby Cat Day, this article will go over everything you need to know. Curl up next to your cuddly tabby cat and read below to learn more.


What Is a Tabby Cat?

It is a common misconception that the tabby cat is a specific breed, but that is not the case. Tabby cats are not a breed but a pattern that cats may have. The appearance of a tabby cat may vary since it can have stripes, whorls, spots, and more. However, the most common marker of a tabby cat is the distinct M shape on their foreheads. The tabby pattern can be seen in purebred cats and mixed-breed cats.

brown tabby ear tipped cat
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

History of Tabby Cats

Although the finer details of the tabby cat’s origins are not definitive, it is believed that the tabby cat pattern originates from the mackerel pattern. The mackerel pattern is a coat pattern that belongs to the African wildcat.

A few legends surround the unique M shape on the tabby cat’s head. Some folklore asserts that the M is meant to stand for the Virgin Mary, while others insist that it signifies Mohammed, who reportedly loved tabby cats.

divider-catThe 5 Tabby Cat Fur Pattern Variations

The tabby cat has five pattern variations: the classic tabby, the mackerel tabby, the spotted tabby, the patched tabby, and the ticked tabby.

1. Classic

Classic tabby cats have whorls on their body and are sometimes called the blotched tabby. These whorls form a target-like shape on the cat’s side.

tabby cat with green eyes in a cat tree
Image Credit: L.A. Kennedy, Shutterstock

2. Mackerel

Mackerel tabby cats have rings around their tails and legs. As for their bodies, they are often covered in solid or fragmented stripes.

Mackerel cat
Image Credit: Ai Am Zone, Shutterstock

3. Spotted

Spotted tabby cats are covered in spots. The spots can vary in size and may occasionally resemble the broken stripes of a mackerel tabby cat.

brown spotted tabby bengal cat
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

4. Patched

Patched tabby cats have patches of differently colored fur across their body. They tend to have only two colors, similar to a tortoiseshell cat. Because of this, they are also referred to as tortoiseshell tabby cats. The two fur colors may be gray, black, brown, red, or orange.

Tabby with white cat
Image Credit: Paul Hakimata Photography, Shutterstock

5. Ticked

Ticked tabby cats (also known as Abyssinian tabby cats or agouti tabby cats) will have bands of dark or light color on their hairs. They likely won’t have stripes, bands, or spots on their bodies, except occasionally on their legs.

Bicolor ticked Maine Coon cat
Image Credit: Burhan Oral GUDU, Shutterstock

divider-catWhy Is National Tabby Cat Day Celebrated?

The first National Tabby Cat Day was celebrated on April 30th, 2016. The holiday was introduced by the Mayor’s Alliance for N.Y.C.’s Animals, Bideawee, and Triumph Books to spread awareness and appreciation for the tabby cat. The purpose of the holiday was primarily to inform people that the tabby cat is a pattern of the cat rather than a breed.

During the first celebration of National Tabby Cat Day, a promotional event was hosted to encourage the adoption of tabby cats. There was also a book signing for the book “Making the Most of All Nine Lives: The Extraordinary Life of Buffy the Cat.”

While the celebrations of subsequent years may vary in appearance, the heart of them remains true; the tabby cat is special and deserves to be celebrated!

divider-catTop 3 Ideas to Celebrate National Tabby Cat Day

Whether you have a beloved tabby cat or are simply a fan of these special cats, there are plenty of ways to celebrate National Tabby Cat Day.

1. Adopt

If you have space for a new pet, consider visiting your local animal shelter and adopting a tabby cat. Not only will you help a lonely cat find a forever home, but you will also make a friend for life.

2. Volunteer

This National Tabby Cat Day, devote your time to the tabby cat by volunteering at your local animal shelter. No matter where your skills lie, you can offer them to help the tabby cat population.

Close up of female volunteer holds on hands cat in shelter
Image Credit: Evgeny Bakhchev, Shutterstock

3. Donate

If you have a little extra change in your pockets, consider giving it to your local shelter or animal foundation. Through your donation, the tabby cats associated with that organization can live better lives.


The 4 Fun Facts About Tabby Cats

Another way you can celebrate National Tabby Cat Day is by learning more about the unique cat. Below is a list of fun facts that will help you expand your knowledge.

1. Tabby Cats Got Their Name from a Baghdad Silk

The origins of the word ‘tabby’ can be traced back to Baghdad. There was an area in Baghdad that was home to a special silk cloth, which, when translated into Medieval Latin, was referred to as attabi. It was later translated into French as tabis and eventually came into English as tabby.

The connection between this cloth and tabby cats exists due to their similar appearance, as both contain striped or mottled patterns.

2. There Are Many Tabby Cat Colors

Tabby cats come in various colors, including orange, black, and gray.

orange tabby cat staring out from under gray blanket
Image Credit: Tatiana Azatskaya, Pexels

3. Tabby Cat Patterns Have a Purpose

Tabby cat patterns are more than just a pretty design; they serve an essential purpose. In the wild, these patterns help cats camouflage themselves, giving them an upper hand when stalking prey or hiding from predators.

4. Tabby Cats Are Social Creatures

Tabby cats are known to be great pets for families with children due to their extroverted, friendly personalities. Although they still appreciate their personal space, they enjoy hanging out with their families at any opportunity.

Ginger tabby cat high fiving a womans hand
Image Credit: Andrew E Gardner, Shutterstock



National Tabby Cat Day is the perfect opportunity to recognize and appreciate the special tabby cats in your life. The cats are surrounded by a fascinating history, folklore, and fun facts. As National Tabby Cat Day draws closer, mark your calendar and look for opportunities to support your local tabby cat population.

See also: International Rescue Cat Day: What & When Is It?

Featured Image Credit: beauty_of_nature, Pixabay

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