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Dogwood Animal Hospital

2050 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045

Celebrating Tuxedo Cats

January 15 2024

Tuxedo Cat Day is coming up on January 29th! If you have a tuxedo cat, you may want to get your feline pal something special for her big day. Fluffy looks adorable regardless of her outfit, but she looks particularly adorable in formal wear. This article from a local Lawrenceville, GA veterinarian provides information about tuxies.

What Is A Tuxedo Cat?

Tuxies—also called the Tuxie, Felix cat, Jellicle cat, or piebald—are distinguished by their bi-color coat pattern. The most common tuxie is a black kitty with a white chest. However, a grey kitty with the same coloring is also technically a tuxie. Some tuxies have white paws.

Fluffy’s coat can be long, short, or even curly, though short fur is the most common. Some tuxedo cats have different types of fur. For instance, some tuxies have much longer white fur than dark fur. These pretty kitties can also have any color eyes, including yellow, green, or amber. Tuxies may also have heterochromia, or different-colored eyes.

What Causes Tuxedo Coloring In Cats?

The secrets are hidden in Fluffy’s DNA. While there is certainly still a lot to learn about kitty genetics, research indicates that pigment cells move around during the development of the embryo. Tuxedo cats all have the genes for black fur as well as the gene that is responsible for white spots, tips, or patches. The gene for white fur works by blocking melanocytes, which are responsible for color, from certain areas of Fluffy’s body.

Where Are Tuxedo Cats Originally From?

Fluffy may be small, but she is packed full of secrets and mysteries … including the answer to that question. No one knows for sure where the tuxie first popped up. However, we do know that bicolor kitties have been found in Egyptian tombs. (We’ll leave the story of how Fluffy convinced the ancient Egyptians that she was a deity to another time.)

It’s worth noting that cats aren’t the only animals that have similar markings. Many fish have paler undersides and darker tones on their backs. This makes them harder for predators to spot. Something looking down will see the dark color blending into the water, while something looking up may see the light pattern blending into the water’s surface. The coloring isn’t foolproof, but it doesn’t hurt.

What Breed Is The Tuxedo Kitty?

Tuxies aren’t a specific breed: many kitties can wear this color pattern. These include the Domestic Shorthair, Turkish Van, British Shorthair, Turkish Angora, American Shorthairsua, Maine Coon, and Manx.

Are Tuxedo Cats Usually Boys Or Girls?

It’s about 50/50 on this one. Roughly half the cats donning formal attire are girls and half boys. One may assume that this is the case with all coat patterns and colors, but that isn’t quite right. For instance, the vast majority of both ginger and calico cats are boys.

Are Tuxedo Cats Uncommon?

Tuxedo patterns are not particularly unusual in our feline pals. In fact, the tuxedo coat is one of the most frequently seen coat colors or patterns in shelters. 

What Is The Personality Of A Tuxie Cat?

Because so many different breeds of cats can be tuxies, there really are no universal traits as far as personality goes. Breed may very well play a role in your feline pal’s character, but her history is also a factor. For instance, a furball that was raised underfoot and socialized may be outgoing and friendly, while one that was rescued may be more timid. It depends on the kitty! 

One thing we know for sure? Our feline buddies all have their own unique personalities!

What Are Some Famous Tuxedo Cats?

There have been quite a few famous tuxies, and the list is bound to keep growing.

Let’s take a look at a few cartoon celebrekitties. One of the earliest is Felix The Cat, a star from the 1920s silent films. Even today, a hundred years later, Felix still appears in memorabilia. The Cat In The Hat, from the beloved Dr. Suess book of the same name, is a tuxie.

The most famous tuxie of all may be Sylvester from the Looney Toons universe. The iconic sputtering furball, whose real name is Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr., made his official debut back in 1945, in a film short called Life With Feathers. Interestingly, that very same film also marked the beginning of the feline’s tumultuous relationships with feathered roommates. After that debut, the famous animated kitty went on to star in a whopping 103 cartoons. He is still active today. In fact, Sylvester now has the distinction of having died more times than any other Looney Toons character. He’s also the mascot of the USS Alameda County and appears on the emblem of the  45th Reconnaissance Squadron and the 151st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. He was also the spokeskitty for 9 Lives cat food, though he was outshined by the famous ginger cat Morris.

Tuxedo kitties have also popped up in many pieces of literature. T.S. Eliot referred to them as ‘Jellical cats’ in his 1939 book of poetry, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Cartoon cats aren’t the only well-known tuxies. Some real-life tuxies have also pounced and purred their way into the spotlight. There’s Socks, the Clintons’ kitty, who was often on the news during his tenure as First Cat. Socks wasn’t the only tuxie to go into politics: a Canadian furball, named Tuxedo Stan, actually ran for mayor back in 2012. 

We can’t forget Sparky, who made headlines back in 1998 after inheriting 6.3 million dollars from his owner. That made Sparky the richest kitty in the world. (No word on how Sparky spent the money, but we’re assuming he enjoyed unlimited catnip and every kitty gadget imaginable.)

What Is A Good Name For A Tuxedo Cat?

It’s always fun seeing the cute and fun names people pick for their pets. In fact, it’s amazing how often dogs and cats perfectly embody those names. Tuxies are no different! 

Here are a few fitting monikers for kitties in formal wear:

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

How Do You Care For A Tuxie?

Tuxies have the same needs as any other kitty. Fluffy will require good food, clean water, a fresh litterbox, and regular veterinary care. That will cover her basic needs. To get that motor going, you’ll also want to provide lots of toys and playtime, as well as beds, kitty furniture, sunbeams, and boxes. (Catnip and lap space won’t hurt, either.) 

As far as veterinary care goes, we recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept up to date on vaccines, parasite control, and examinations. Ask your Lawrenceville, GA veterinarian for more information.

Are There Benefits To Having A Tuxie?

While every kitty is unique, tuxies can be charming, playful, affectionate, outspoken, and lots of fun. You may even be able to get some cute ‘void kitty’ photos of your fashion-forward little pet, depending on her markings. Tuxies also go with any outfit or décor, and always look dashing.  

If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As your Lawrenceville, GA animal hospital, we are here to help! 

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