What are tuxedo cats?
You may have heard people refer to their cat as a tuxedo cat. The word tuxedo is actually used to refer to the colour/pattern of the coat and not the breed. A tuxedo is a form of bicolour (a cat with two colours), in the case of a tuxedo, he is predominately black with white patches on the chest, throat, legs and face. Bi-colour can come in other colours such as blue and white, brown and white, tabby and white. The name tuxedo comes from the fact that the cat appears to be wearing a tuxedo.
Image Helen Haden, Flickr
The official CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) definition of a tuxedo cat is one who has white on the paws, belly, chest, throat and sometimes face.
The white colour is a result of the white spotting gene (S) causing patches on the black background. Genetically the cat is black, however, the white spotting gene masks the colouration on certain parts of the body. While tuxedo is one example of the effects of the white spotting gene on the coat colour, it comes in many grades from 1-10, the lower the number, the less white.
Grades 1-4 (low grade)- Less than 40% white. Cats with low-grade white spotting can range from almost entirely solid coloured to tuxedo. Names are commonly used to describe the location such as mitted (paws), locked (chest) and tuxedo cat.
Grade 5 (medium grade) – 40-60% white.
Grade 6-10 (high grade) – Over 60% white, but some cats can be almost entirely white with just a small smudge of colour. Some descriptions include van (colouration on and between the ears and tail), magpie or cow (random spotting on the body) and harlequin (random spotting on the body and a coloured tail). The tuxedo pattern can be found in both longhaired and shorthaired cats. If you have a tuxedo cat, the chances are it is a domestic or mixed breed cat, however, there are some breeds of cat who come in tuxedo (see below).
Tuxedo cats are sometimes known as Jellicle or billicart cats. The name Jellicle comes from TS Eliot’s book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”.
Famous tuxedo cats
- Socks – Owned by former president Bill Clinton and his family.
- Sylvester – Cartoon character.
- Felix the Cat – Cartoon character.
- Jess – Owned by Postman Pat.
- Kitty Softpaws from the Shrek spin-off, Puss in Boots.
- Mittens from the movie Bolt.
- Mr Mistoffelees from TS Eliot’s book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and its the musical, Cats.
- Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat.
What breeds of cat who come in tuxedo?
Image Sam S. Flickr
- American Curl
- American Shorthair
- British Shorthair
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- La Perm
- Maine Coon
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Oriental (shorthair and longhair)
- Scottish Fold
Image Jason Wolff, Flickr]