Tuxedo cats are hugely popular. These beloved black and white cats are seemingly ubiquitous, but each one can be unique. But are there any specific breeds a tuxedo cat might be? What might differentiate a regular domestic shorthair cat from a more specific breed? We've done some research and have some excellent information for you.
Although many people think of only black and white cats as tuxedo cats, cats with coats of different colors are also considered tuxedos. Generally, a tuxedo cat has a white belly, chest, and feet and another color, like orange, gray, or black, covering the rest of their bodies.
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The tuxedo cat pattern can be found in a multitude of different breeds, including, but not limited to:
- American Shorthair
- Maine Coon
- British Shorthair
- Exotic Shorthair
- Oriental Shorthair
- Scottish Fold
- Devon Rex
- Siberian Cat
- Norwegian Forest Cat
Now that you know which breeds allow a tuxedo pattern in their breed standards let's discuss tuxedo cats and their potential breeds in a little more detail. We'll answer some additional questions you might have as well. Keep scrolling to learn more.
What exactly makes a tuxedo cat?
Tuxedo cats in and of themselves are not a specific breed but refer to the cat's pattern. Generally thought of and reserved for black and white cats, the term can be used for any bicolor cat meeting the same pattern requirements.
Of course, it's difficult not to think of the tuxedo cat as strictly black and white, seeing as how that is the traditional color of the formal wear we so often see. Many tuxedo cats have a "mask" in which their eyes are covered in black, and the white goes down their throat.
Tuxedo cats consist of two solid colors, white and usually black, gray, or orange. The white is on their belly, chest, and feet for the most part, but the amount of white varies depending on the specific cat. Too much white and the tuxedo pattern is lost to a van, magpie, or harlequin-colored cat, which are variations of bicolored cats.
These cats generally have greenish-yellow eyes, and their toe pads can be bicolored, pink, or black, depending on the individual cat. Additionally, their skin could be multi-colored as well.
Can my cat be a specific breed?
Without registration and verifiable papers, a cat cannot meet breed standards. In most cases with tuxedo cats, they are commonly domestic longhair cats and domestic shorthair cats. Although it can be fun and interesting to speculate your furry friend's ancestry, know that without those papers, your cat can't be in competitive showings or part of any purebred breeding programs.
To read more about what type of breed your cat might be with a non-tuxedo pattern, view our article, "What Breed Is My Cat?"
Breeds with the tuxedo pattern
As we mentioned above, there are several breeds in which the breed standard allows a bicolored pattern, which a tuxedo cat does fall within. Let's discuss those breed standards for coloring in a little more detail.
The Persian cat is very recognizable with its flat face and full fur coat. Though not a common occurrence, Persian cats might be colored in the tuxedo pattern. To meet breed standards, the bi-colors must be in the following pairs: black and white, blue and white, red and white, cream and white, chocolate and white, or lilac and white.
An American Shorthair is a breed of cat that is sometimes difficult to distinguish. They don't have any defining characteristics but are strongly built and symmetrical. The tuxedo pattern can meet breed standards as long as the colors are pure and unbridled as follows: white with unbridled portions of black, white with portions of blue, white with portions of red, or white with portions of cream.
We all know the Maine Coon cat as the giant of the feline world. Named for their ability to withstand the cold temperatures of the northeast united states, these gorgeous cats could also come with a pattern akin to a tuxedo cat. The combinations to meet the breed standard for these cats are a bit stricter than some.
They are permitted a combination of black and white, blue and white, red and white, or cream and white in the following pattern: with or without white on the face. They must have white on the bib, belly, and all four paws.
Their round faces and chubby cheeks mark the British Shorthair. Though they are permitted to have a tuxedo pattern according to breed standards, they must be symmetrical with some specific combinations: black and white, blue and white, red and white, or cream and white.
As a preferred minimum, the cat should have some white on the feet, legs, undersides, chest, and muzzle. Less white than this should be penalized proportionately. White blaze desirable.
The Exotic Shorthair has the same breed standards as the Persian cat except for the length of their coat. As the name implies, Exotics have short fur as opposed to the Persian's long and full coat. Tri-color is preferred, but bicolor is acceptable if it meets the following requirements for the breed standard: black and white, blue and white, red and white, cream and white, chocolate and white, or lilac and white.
The cat should have white feet, legs, undersides, chest, and muzzle as a preferred minimum. Less white than this minimum should be penalized proportionately. The cat should have a colored tail and one or more colored patches on the head or body as a preferred minimum. Less color than this minimum should be penalized proportionately.
Its oversized ears and high cheekbones mark an Oriental Shorthair cat. Breed standards indicate that a bicolored Oriental Shorthair conforms almost exactly to what we would consider a tuxedo cat pattern.
The standard is as follows: Bi-Colors should conform to the established standard for their co-existing pattern, with the addition of white feet, legs, underside, chest, and muzzle, including an inverted “V” blaze on the face.
The Scottish Fold is a breed marked by its forward folded ears and earnest expression. This breed is generally unmistakable as anything other than a Scottish Fold. In regards to color, the breed standard does allow bicolor so long as the white is with a handful of colors: white with unbridled patches of black, white with unbridled patches of blue, white with patches of red, or white with patches of cream.
The Devon Rex is dainty and elfin in its appearance and is breed acceptable in a multitude of patterns, including that of a tuxedo cat. This cat has soft, somewhat wavy fur that sets them apart from other felines. For bicolored Devon Rex, the standard orders: solid and white (traditional tuxedo type), tabby and white, or tortoiseshell and white.
The Siberian Cat is Russia's native forest cat. Known for their full fur coats and chubby faces, this breed has survived for centuries in a harsh climate. To meet breed standards as a bicolored, tuxedo patterned cat, they must be solid color and white. White is allowed in any amount and all areas. White or off-white allowed on chin, breast, and stomach.
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a hefty cat with a double coat of fur and easily recognizable, fluffy, and round body shape. This cat comes to full maturation very slowly, taking up to five years to be considered fully grown.
Norwegian Forest Cats are permissible in a variety of colors and patterns, tuxedos being one of those. They can be black and white, blue and white, red and white, or cream and white for bicolor.
What kind of personality do tuxedo cats have?
Overall, tuxedo cats are personable and lively. They might greet you at the door, similar to a canine companion, wondering where you've been all day. Tuxedo cats are the socialites of the cat world. The downfall of this social nature is that they will wander off to find new places and people if you don't watch them.
To read more about whether or not coat color affects personality, check out our post about that very thing!
Are tuxedo cats predominantly male?
Unlike some patterns, such as the tortoiseshell or calico, tuxedo cats are not predominantly one sex. They are generally equal in regards to sex, with an even mix of male and female.
Are tuxedo cats smarter?
Since tuxedo cats aren't a specific breed, it isn't easy to nail down where they stand on the intelligence factor. Many agree that tuxedo cats do seem to mature faster, so this could attribute to their brains developing quickly and allowing them to absorb more from the world around them.
Though no scientific studies have been done to prove a tuxedo cat's intelligence is greater than that of its counterparts, there are no shortages or people on the Internet willing to tell you how smart their tuxedo is.
Famous tuxedo cats
Tuxedo cats are famous! Most of the cats depicted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics appear to be tuxedo cats. Not only are they featured in Egypt, but Sylvester the Cat from the famous Looney Tunes is also a tuxedo cat. Other notable tuxedo cats are The Cat from Dr. Suess's "The Cat in the Hat," Mistoffeles in “Cats,” and Felix the Cat from the 1920s silent film era.
Many cat breeds are known to come in a tuxedo pattern, but to meet breed standards, they must have the appropriate paperwork. Just because your tuxedo might not belong to a specific breed doesn't mean he or she is any less special than the greatest show cat. Tuxedo cats have been worshipped and admired for thousands of years, and that doesn't seem to be something that's changing any time soon.