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Meaning of tortie, tabby, calico?

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Old December 10th 03, 06:35 AM
Cat Protector
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You also forget Diluted Tabbies as well. Most often you will find their
tiger striped patterns a little lighter.

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"ParrotRob" wrote in message
"Ablang" wrote in message
Does anyone know what these terms mean? Only thing I know is that
these are not names of cat breeds.

They are color and marking pattern terms. Tabby is a pattern, not a

Tabbies can be any of a number of colors, and are usually described as
such - for instance "red tabby", "blue tabby", "brown tabby", etc. There
are also several different types of tabby pattern (classic, mackeral,
spotted, etc), but in general, a tabby is striped and will usually have a
distinct "M" shaped marking above and between the eyes. I have a red
mackeral tabby and a beautiful blue classic tabby.

Both torties (short for toroiseshell) and calicos are terms for tricolor
cats. Tricolor cats have orange (red), black (or brown) and white
colorings. If they carry a certain (dilute) gene, they can also have the
"diluted" forms of these colors (cream, blue, chocolate, etc). The
difference is that in torties, the colors all tend to blend together.
Torties are usually primarily dark with "splotches" of red/orange/white on
them. Calicos, on the other hand, have distinct separation between the
colors and usually larger patches of white.

There's a more detailed explanation at
http://www.fanciers.com/other-faqs/colors.html and
http://www.fanciers.com/cat-faqs/tricolors.html with an interesting
discussion on why tricolors are almost always female as well.

Hope that helps.


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