Do you have a tuxedo kitty? If so, you might want to mark January 29th on your calendar: it’s Tuxedo Cat Day! Fluffy is adorable no matter what she wears, but she looks even cuter in formal wear. In this article, a local Bellaire, TX vet discusses tuxedo cats.
Also called the Tuxie, Felix cat, Jellicle cat, or piebald, a tuxie is a black cat with a white chest, face, neck, and/or belly. Some tuxies have white paws.; Not all tuxies are black and white, though: a gray cat with the same coloring is also technically a tuxie.
Some tuxedo cats have white fur that is longer than their dark fur. Fluffy’s coat can be long, short, or even curly. These cuties can also have any color of eyes, such as yellow, green, or amber. Your feline pal may even have heterochromia, or different-colored eyes.
It isn’t rare for Fluffy to put on a tux. In fact, tuxedo patterns are one of the most commonly seen coat colors in shelters. This may work against them, since some people prefer pets with more unique outfits.
Our feline buddies all have his or her own unique personalities. The breed of your feline pal can play a role in her character, but her history is also important. Kitties are often more outgoing and friendly if they were raised underfoot and socialized.
Several different breeds can sport this cute coloring, including the Domestic Shorthair, Turkish Van, Turkish Angora, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Manx.
Roughly half of cats in formal attire are male, with the other half of course female. (Fun fact: One might assume that this is true for all coat colors and patterns, but it isn’t. The vast majority of ginger and calico cats are male.)
Fluffy’s striking tuxedo pattern has more to do with her genetics than anything else. Although we still have a lot to learn about kitty genetics, research suggests that pigment cells move during fetal development. All Tuxies have the genes for black fur, as well as those for white fur, which they sport on their torsos, faces, or tips. In a nutshell, it seems that genes called melanocytes, which are responsible for color, prevent the dark pigment from moving to certain areas of a kitten’s body.
Cats’ white coloring is graded from 1 to 10, with 10 being all white. Tuxies are usually between one and four, depending on how much white they have.
No one knows for sure where the tuxie first appeared, but we do know that bicolor kitties have been found in Egyptian tombs. (We’ll leave the story of how Fluffy convinced the ancient Egyptians she was a deity for another time.)
Cats aren’t the only animals to wear similar patterns. Several animals have similar markings, including cats. Many fish have paler undersides and darker backs, making them harder to spot from above and below. Unfortunately for the fish, that camouflage isn’t foolproof, but it doesn’t hurt either.
Quite a few famous tuxedos have stolen our hearts over the years, and the list is sure to keep growing.
Let’s look at the cartoon celebrekitties first. Felix The Cat, a star of silent movies from the 1920s, is one of the oldest. Even today, a century later, Felix still pops up in memorabilia. The kitty in Dr. Suess’ beloved book, The Cat In The Hat, is also dressed in a tuxedo.
Of course, Sylvester — or technically Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr. — from the Looney Toons universe may be the most famous. In 1945, Sylvester made his official debut in a short called Life With Feathers. That film also marked the beginning of the feline’s tumultuous relationships with his feathered roommates. He continues to appear in cartoons today. The beloved sputtering furball has now gone on to become the mascot of the USS Alameda County. He also appears on the emblems of the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron and the 151st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. The kitty also has the not-so-distinctive honor of having died more often than any other character in Looney Toons. He also had a short stint as spokeskitty for 9 Lives cat food, but was overshadowed by Morris, the famous ginger cat.
T.S. Eliot referred to tuxies as ‘Jellicle cats’ in his 1939 poetry book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
Several real-life tuxies have also pounced and purred their way into the spotlight. One, named Tuxedo Stan, actually ran for mayor back in 2012. Socks, the Clintons’ kitty, also made the news during his tenure as First Cat.
Then there’s Sparky, who made headlines back in 1998 when he inherited 6.3 million dollars from his owner. That made him the world’s richest cat. No word on how he spent the money, but we assume he enjoyed unlimited catnip and kitty gadgets.
It’s always cute to see the different names people choose for their pets, and how those dogs and cats often embody those names purrfectly.
Here are a few fitting names for kitties in formal attire:
Fluffy has the same basic needs as any other furball! She needs good food, clean water, a fresh litterbox, and regular veterinary care to maintain her health. To get that motor going, you’ll also need to provide lots of toys and playtime, as well as beds, kitty furniture, sunbeams, and, of course, boxes. Ask your Bellaire, TX veterinary clinic for more information.
Every cat is unique! That said, tuxies often tend to be friendly, charming, playful, affectionate, outspoken, and lots of fun. Fluffy is a great pet, no matter what outfit she wears. Another benefit of getting a formally-dressed pet? Your cat will match with any outfit or décor, and always look dashing. You might even be able to get some cute ‘void kitty’ photos of your pet, depending on her markings.
All cats should be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept up-to-date on vaccines, parasite control, and examinations. We also cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep your cat inside. Ask your Bellaire, TX veterinarians for specific care instructions.
In Conclusion: Tuxedo cats are very charming and dashing. Many breeds can sport this coat coloring, which can also appear on cats with long, short, or even curly fur. While this isn’t an unusual pattern, it’s always cute. Of course, no matter what color your pet is, it’s crucial to keep up with her veterinary care needs.
Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care. As your local Bellaire, TX pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing great service, and are always here to help!