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Everything You Need To Know About the Tuxedo Cat

January 15 2024

If you own a tuxedo cat, you might want to mark January 29th on your calendar, because it’s Tuxedo Cat Day! Fluffy is adorable no matter what she wears, but she looks especially snazzy in formal wear. This article covers some fun facts about tuxies from a local Marquette, MI veterinarian.

What Are Tuxedo Cats?

Tuxedo cats (a.k.a. Felix, piebald, Jellicle, or our personal favorite—the Tuxie) are aptly named for their distinct bi-color pattern. The most common tuxie pattern is a black body with a white chest, although a grey kitty with the same coloring might also qualify. Tuxies also often have white paws.

Fluffy’s fur may be long, short, or even curly, though a short coat is most common. Some tuxedo kitties feature various types of fur. For instance, some have white fur that’s much longer than their dark fur. These cuties may also have yellow, green, or amber eyes.

What Breed Is a Tuxie?

Contrary to popular belief, tuxedo is not a breed, but rather just a name for the color pattern that these cute kitties have. This pattern can be seen on a variety of breeds, including the Domestic Shorthair, Maine Coon, Turkish Van, Turkish Angora, American Shorthair, Manx, and British Shorthair.

Are Tuxedo Cats Male or Female?

One might assume that tuxies tend to be mostly girls or mostly boys, but the truth is, it’s about 50/50. Some coats and patterns tend to lean more one way than the other. For instance, the vast majority of ginger and calico cats happen to be male.

Are Tuxies Common?

The tuxedo pattern is not uncommon in felines. Furthermore, it is actually one of the most common coat colors seen in shelter pets. Unfortunately, this can sometimes work against Fluffy, because people often want pets that aren’t as common looking.

Do Tuxies Have Unique Personalities?

Because tuxies can be so many different breeds, there really aren’t any universal personality traits to speak of. Furthermore, your cat’s lifestyle and upbringing may play just as much of a role in her character as her breed does. For example, cats who are raised from kittenhood and are well-socialized tend to be more outgoing and friendly, while those who were rescued may be more on the shy side. Every kitty is different!

Is There A Reason Why Some Cats Wear Tuxedos?

Fluffy’s distinct formal wear pattern probably has more to do with her genetics than anything else. Even though there is still some mystery surrounding feline genetics, research has taught us that pigment cells are mobile during embryonic development. Black fur, as well as white spots, tips, or patches, are all genes that most Tuxies possess. Melanocytes, which are responsible for color, are blocked from reaching certain areas in Fluffy’s body by that gene. Hence the distinct patterns of fur.

The coloring of a cat is graded from one to 10, with 10 being completely white. Tuxies typically fall somewhere between a one and a four, depending on how much white they have in their coats. 

What Is the Origin of Tuxedo Cats?

Despite being small, Fluffy has plenty of big secrets and mysteries about her…including the answer to this very question. Simply put, we don’t know exactly where the tuxie came from. Although, we do know that there is evidence of bicolor cats dating back to the Egyptian tombs. (We won’t get into how Fluffy managed to convince the ancient Egyptians that she was a deity.)

It’s worth pointing out that felines aren’t the only species with tuxedo-like markings. For instance, many fish feature lighter undersides and darker coloring on their backs, making it more difficult for predators to spot them. The fish’s dark upper body can be hard for birds to see from above, while the lighter pattern underneath may blend with the water’s surface for something looking up from below.

Famous Tuxedo Cats

Over the years, there have been plenty of famous tuxies, and that list is sure to continue growing.

There have even been a few cartoon celebrity tuxies, one of the earliest being Felix The Cat, an animated star in silent films from the 1920s. Even now, a century later, Felix has become something of a cult classic and still appears on various memorabilia. Another famous cartoon tuxie is a character drawn up by the infamous Dr. Suess: known affectionately as The Cat In The Hat.

Perhaps the most famous tuxie of all time, however, is Sylvester—or more formally, Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr.—a beloved character from the Looney Toons universe. In 1945, Sylvester was introduced to the world as the iconic sputtering furball in a short film entitled Life With Feathers. That film also ushered in the famous feline’s turbulent relationships with his feathered roommates. Sylvester would go on to star in more than one hundred other cartoons and is still active to this day.

Fun fact: Sylvester’s character has now “died” more than any other Looney Toons character. Additionally, he has appeared on the emblems of the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron as well as the 151st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, and the USS Alameda County. He even shared the spotlight with the iconic ginger cat, Morris. Both served as a spokeskitty for 9 Lives cat food.

Tuxies have also made appearances in several pieces of literature over the years. In his 1939 poetry book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, T.S. Eliot referred to them as ‘Jellical cats’.

Some real-life famous tuxies include the Clintons’ kitty, Socks, who was often on the news during his tenure as First Cat, and a Canadian tuxedo kitty named Tuxedo Stan, who was an actual candidate for mayor in 2012.

And lastly, there’s Sparky, a tuxie who made headlines back in 1998 when he inherited 6.3 million dollars from his wealthy owner, instantly making him the richest cat in the world. (We’re not entirely sure how Sparky spent the money, but we’re guessing it involved an unlimited supply of catnip and every kitty gadget known to man.)

What Should I Name My Tuxedo Cat?

One of our favorite things as a local Marquette, MI vet is hearing the different names people choose for their pets, and how they often embody those names perfectly.

If you’re trying to think of a clever name for your tuxedo cat, consider one of the following monikers:

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

Keeping Your Tuxedo Cat Happy And Healthy

Like all cats, you will need to provide Fluffy with good food, clean water, a fresh litterbox, and routine veterinary care. In addition, you should also make sure your tuxie has plenty of toys and playtime, comfy beds, kitty furniture, boxes, and access to sunrays that she can snooze in.

Our Marquette, MI veterinarians recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept up-to-date on vaccinations, parasite control, and annual examinations. Tuxies are no exception to this. Also, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of making sure your kitty remains indoors at all times. Ask your Marquette, MI vet for specific care tips.

The Benefits Of Owning A Tuxie

Cats make great companions regardless of what they’re wearing. While each kitty is special, tuxies can be charming, playful, affectionate, vocal, and tons of fun. Depending on your pet’s markings, you may even be able to capture some cute ‘void kitty’ photos. Plus, tuxies make the perfect complement to just about any outfit or décor. 

If you have questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care, please don’t hesitate to contact us, your trusted Marquette, MI animal clinic.

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