Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > 5 Fascinating Facts About Tuxedo Cats (2024 Update)

5 Fascinating Facts About Tuxedo Cats (2024 Update)

Tuxedo cat running at high speed indoors

When it comes to distinctive looking cats, tuxedo cats are at the top of the list. Just like someone wearing a tuxedo (their namesake), tuxedo cats stand out in a crowd with their distinctive patterns, stark colors, and distinguished vibe. Read along to discover some amazing facts about tuxedo cats.


The 5 Facts About Tuxedo Cats

1. Tuxedo Cats Are Not a Breed; They Are Named After Their Color Pattern. 

The tuxedo pattern is a black and white coat pattern that resembles a tuxedo suit. This pattern can be found in many breeds of cats and is called bi-color, or piebald. Angoras, British shorthairs, and Maine Coons can all have the tuxedo color pattern, and they can have anything from short to long hair.

Most tuxedo cats feature mostly black fur with white accents and markings. They also come in a pattern called a cow cat variation. These kitties rock coats that are predominantly white with black splotches.

Tuxedo cat purring on the ground
Image Credit: Rosy_Photo, Pixabay

2. Tuxedo Cats Are Known in the Art World As “Jellicle Cats”.

Tuxedo cats were made famous by the musical, Cats, by Andrew Lloyd Webber. In the musical, cats with this stand-out color pattern are known as  “Jellicle cats”. One of the characters in the musical is always decked out in a tuxedo and spats to fully bring this character to life.

The term Jellicle cat first appeared in a poem by T.S. Eliot called “Old Possums Book of Practical Cats”; they were described as nocturnal black and white cats.

3. Tuxedo Cats Have an Intriguing Biological History.

While a cat’s personality is largely determined by genetics and early experiences, tuxedo cats can have a wide range of personalities—from friendly and outgoing to independent and aloof.

Any two cats could potentially produce tuxedo kittens. Scientists theorize that pigment cells multiply and move randomly within each individual cat embryo, resulting in a variety of patterns and a variety of tuxedo cat patterns.

Calico and tortoiseshell patterned cats are almost always female; the genetic component of these types of cats results in male kittens dying in utero.

While they are all tuxedo cats are immediately distinctive, upon closer inspection each one is unique.

Tuxedo cats may have a longer lifespan than other cats; mixed-breed cats have a longer lifespan than purebred cats.

two tuxedo cats sleeping together
Image Credit: Patrick Civello, Shutterstock

4. Tuxedo Cats Have Ventured Into the Political World.

In the United States, former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton adopted a tuxedo stray named Socks before Bill Clinton was elected president. Socks moved right into the White House along with the new First Family and quickly became a popular subject for articles and photographs about the Clintons.

Across the pond, a tuxedo cat named Palmerston held a royal post during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Palmerston served as the Chief Mouser of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from 2016–2020.

5. Tuxedo Cats Have Earned Some Unique Distinctions in the World.

The only domestic cat to ever reach the top of Mount Everest was supposedly a tuxedo cat named Sparky who was carried up by a sherpa in a backpack. In 1998, Sparky inherited 6.3 million dollars from his owner when he passed away, making him the richest cat in the world.

In Japan, tuxedo cats are believed to bring good luck and good fortune to their owners. They are also sometimes called “money cats” because of this belief.



Tuxedo cats have always drawn the appreciative eye of cat lovers. Their unique and bold pattern gives them a whimsical yet serious look that makes them a popular choice as a pet. Tuxedo cats are not only lovely to look at but also worth learning more about; we hope this list taught you even more about these striking feline beauties.

Related Read: Tuxedo Cat Price: How Much Do They Cost?

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets