Tabby cats are special because of their unique coat patterns along with a dynamic and affectionate personality. They get along well with people and children but sometimes they are also a handful. A tabby cat is not a breed but a coat pattern and the size of a tabby cat varies depending on the breed.
How big do tabby cats get?
How big a tabby cat can get depends on the breed of the cat. They can grow into a maximum weight of more or less 18 pounds. Their maximum height is about 16 inches.
Average adult tabby cats may weigh around eight to 12 lbs depending on the breed. Male cats weigh more compared to female cats since they are usually two to four pounds heavier. They are considered adult upon reaching one year old and become fully grown when they reach 18 months of age although some breeds like the Maine Coon may grow up to five years old.
Large-sized or heavy cat breeds that feature the tabby coat pattern include the Ragamuffin, Bengal, Turkish Van, Maine Coon, Persian, Siamese, British Shorthair, Ragdoll, Burmese, Norwegian Forest, American Bobtail and the Egyptian Mau. The world’s heaviest tabby cat, Himmy from Australia, weighed 46 pounds and 15.26 ounces. On the other hand, smaller cat breeds that feature a tabby coat pattern include the Russian Blue, Devon Rex, Cornish Rex and Singapura.
How fast do tabby cats grow?
Tabby cats grow at the same rate as with other domestic cats of the same breed. The entire life cycle is usually from 10 to 15 years while some may even live beyond that age given the right care and nutrition. Check out our earlier article on how long do tabby cats live for more information.
What makes a cat a tabby one?
A tabby cat is not a breed but a coat pattern represented by stripes, spots and whorls or spirals. Many cat breeds can have a tabby-type coat such as the calico and tortoiseshell cats along with its tabby patches. Their patterns have their own historical and genetic origins.
Cats may possess markings if they have the agouti gene or if part of it is dominant. Those with recessive agouti genes are non-tabby cats and will not have any markings. This gene controls the color expression along the length of each hair shaft and the dilute and eumelanin genes that also influence coat color. Due to this gene, some cats have hairs with more than one color distributed on the hair shaft.
The common color markings of tabby cats include orange, grey, ginger, brown, black, red, cream, blue, silver and tan while the patterns include the classic swirl, mackerel, ticked, spotted and patched.
Tabby cats are outgoing, friendly, affectionate and loving to their owners. Interestingly, the coat color of orange tabby cats correlates with its gender since most orange cats are males. Also, biologists note that personality traits are somehow linked to a cat’s coat color as well as their specific breed.
Origin of the tabby cat
Tabby cats are said to be the first tame pet cats, most probably as pets of Mediterranean farmers. Their task was to keep rodents away from the crops of their owners. From there, tabby cats spread throughout Europe and transported through ships en route to other continents.
The early tabby cats were given the name “tabby” as they were compared to silk which came from the region of Attabiy in Baghdad and from the 14th century Middle French term “atabis” which became “tabis” and ultimately became the word “tabby”.
Tabby cats can grow to as much as 18 pounds and their height may reach up to 16 inches or more depending on the breed. Remarkably, it was a tabby cat named Himmy which holds the unofficial record as the world’s heaviest cat. Tabby cats are popular as pets because they have a friendly disposition, they get along well with people and children and most of all, they are sociable, affectionate and intelligent.
Image: istockphoto.com / Tom Reville