Tuxedo Cat Celebration

If you own a tuxedo cat, you might want to mark January 29th on your calendar, because that’s Tuxedo Cat Day! Fluffy is cute regardless of what she wears, but she looks pawticularly adorable in formal wear. This article contains some fun facts about tuxies from a local Bel Air, MD vet.

What Are Tuxedo Cats?

Tuxedo cats—also sometimes called a Tuxie, Jellicle, Felix, or piebald cat—are known for their distinct bi-color pattern. The most common tuxie is a black cat with a white chest. However, a grey kitty with the same coloring could also technically be considered a tuxedo cat. Some tuxies also have white paws.

A tuxie’s coat may be long, short, or curly, but short fur is usually the most common. Some tuxies feature more than one type of fur. For example, some have white fur that is much longer than their dark fur. Yellow, green, or amber eyes are also a hallmark of these pretty kitties.

What Is The Tuxedo Breed?

Tuxedo isn’t actually a specific breed of cat. In fact, there are several different breeds that allow for this coloring, including the Domestic Shorthair, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Turkish Angora, Turkish Van, Maine Coon, and Manx.

Are Tuxedo Cats Male or Female?

Approximately half of the kitties wearing formal attire are girls and the other half are boys. The natural assumption might be that this applies to all coat colors and patterns, but it actually doesn’t. For example, the vast majority of calico and ginger cats are male.

Tuxedo Cats: How Common Are They?

As an experienced Bel Air, MD vet, we often see cats with tuxedo patterns living in shelters, waiting to find their furever homes. In fact, they are one of the most common coat colors found there. Sadly, this may work against Fluffy, since some people prefer animals that stand out.

Hallmarks Of a Tuxedo Cat’s Personality

Because tuxies come in such a variety of breeds, there are no universal characteristics about Fluffy’s personality. Breed does play a part in your feline friend’s character, but her history also plays a role. A kitty raised underfoot and socialized, for instance, may be outgoing and friendly, while one that was rescued might naturally be more timid. 

There’s one thing we’re sure of: each of our feline pals has his or her own unique personality!

Is There A Reason Why Some Cats Wear Tuxedos?

Fluffy’s striking tuxedo pattern is really more a reflection of her genetics than anything else. Research suggests that pigment cells move during embryonic development, though there is still a lot to learn about kitty genetics. It is common for tuxies to have both black fur genes as well as those associated with white spots, tips, or patches. Fluffy’s melanocytes, which are responsible for color, are blocked from moving to certain parts of her body by that gene.

The white coloring in cats is graded on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 corresponding to all white. Tuxies usually land somewhere on the scale between one and four, based on how much white they have.

What Is the Origin of Tuxedo Cats?

No one knows for certain where the tuxie first emerged, but that comes as no surprise with all the secrets and mysteries surrounding cats. We do know, however, that bicolor cats have been discovered in Egyptian tombs. (We’ll leave the story of Fluffy convincing the ancient Egyptians that she was a god for another time.)

One interesting fact is that felines aren’t the only animals with these types of markings. For example, in addition to cats, many fish have pale undersides and darker tones on their backs. This makes them less visible to predators. In addition to the dark color on top blending into the water, a potential predator looking up may notice the light pattern blending into the water’s surface. While the coloring isn’t foolproof, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Famous Tuxedo Cats

There are a number of famous tuxies that you may already be familiar with, and that list is sure to grow.

There are also a few cartoon celebrity kitties who are of the tuxedo variety. One of the earliest is Felix The Cat, an animated star from the silent films of the 1920s. Felix can still be found today on memorabilia, more than a century later. Then of course, there’s the infamous tuxie from Dr. Suess’s beloved book, The Cat In The Hat.

The most famous tuxedo cat of all, however, is probably Sylvester—or more formally, Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr. —from the Looney Toons universe. In 1945, this sputtering furball made his official debut, in a short that was titled ‘Life With Feathers’. It was also in that clip that launched Sylvester’s love-hate relationship with his feathered roommates. The infamous animated kitty would go on to appear in over a hundred more cartoons. In fact, he’s still active to this day!

There are now more deaths attributed to Sylvester than any other character in Looney Toons history. Additionally, he appears on the emblems of both the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron and 151st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, as well as the USS Alameda County. Despite being outshined by Morris, he has also served as the spokeskitty for the 9 Lives cat food brand.

There are also many references to tuxies in literature. T.S. Eliot, for example, called them ‘Jellical cats’ in his 1939 book of poetry, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Even some real-life tuxedo cats have entered the limelight. Socks, the cat who belonged to Bill and Hillary Clinton, was often featured in news broadcasts while he served his tenure as First Cat. In 2012, Tuxedo Stan, a Canadian tuxie, actually ran for mayor in the city of Halifax.

Finally, there’s Sparky, a tuxie who made headlines in 1998 after inheriting 6.3 million dollars from his very wealthy and generous owner. (We have no idea how Sparky spent all that money, but we assume he now has an unlimited supply of catnip and kitty gadgets.)

Naming Your Tuxedo Cat

As experienced Bel Air, MD veterinarians, we’ve treated countless dogs and cats who perfectly embody the names their parents choose for them. This includes plenty of aptly named tuxies.

If you’re feeling stumped, here are a few monikers that are well “suited” for kitties in formal attire:

  • Jeeves
  • Jasper
  • Felix
  • Sylvester
  • Domino
  • Socks
  • Oreo
  • Penguin
  • Piano
  • Soccer Ball
  • Orca

Caring For A Tuxedo Cat

In order to cover her basic needs, Fluffy will require some nutritious food, fresh water, a clean litterbox, and regular checkups with your local Bel Air, MD vet. You’ll also need to provide plenty of toys, boxes, and playtime, as well as beds, kitty furniture, and access to ample amounts of sunbeams.

It is highly recommended that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept current on vaccinations, parasite prevention, and annual examinations. Tuxies are no exception to this! Also, please do your best to keep your kitty indoors at all times. Ask your Bel Air, MD veterinarian for additional care tips.

Benefits Of Owning A Tuxedo Cat

It doesn’t matter what outfit Fluffy wears, she is a wonderful pet. Tuxies are charming, playful, outspoken, affectionate, and loads of fun. You may even be able to capture some cute ‘void kitty’ pictures of your pet, depending on her specific markings. Tuxies also complement just about any outfit or décor, and always look dapper, whatever the occasion!

Have questions or concerns about your kitty’s health or care? As your trusted Bel Air, MD animal clinic, we are always here for you! Contact us today.


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