Learn The Difference Between Tabby Cats Vs Tiger Cats

If you have ever come across a tabby cat breed, you probably know how unique can be their coat patterns. Domestic tabby kittens come in various colors, design patterns, and shapes. Also, you may have heard of tiger cats. So, let’s find out the tabby cats vs tiger cats comparison here! However, the difference between the two is not actually what you may expect.

Now, what is the difference between a tabby cats vs tiger cats? The ‘tiger cat’ term refers to a nickname of a tabby cat. Tabby cats are tiger cats, which feature a specific striped coat design. These narrow dark stripes can run across the head, legs, and the whole body of a cat. Sometimes, a tiger cat is even referred to as the Mackerel tabby cat.

It is significant to note that a tabby cat is a blend of mixed-breed and purebred cats. Due to this, coat designs like a tiger cat could appear on a domestic cat. Now, let’s see why this coat pattern is so unique!


Which Cat Breed Is A Tiger Cat?

tabby cats vs tiger cats

Although tiger cats are popularly referred to as a Mackerel tabby cat, it is important to point out that it is just a coat pattern. A tiger cat is not a breed actually. Meaning that almost any mixed-bred or purebred cat could feature this tiger coat pattern. Here are some prominent cat breeds that display this tiger coat pattern:

  • Bengal
  • Toyger
  • Abyssinian
  • Egyptian Mau

Among all these breeds, the one resembling a tiger the most is Toyger cats. These cats are popular because of their unique combination of brown and orange fur coats. The primary body color is orange, whereas thin stripes are of brown color. Usually, the stripes go vertically across the ribs and body of this cat. While tabby cats come in almost every color, tiger tabby cats feature the pattern ‘M’ on their foreheads like many tabby cats.

Their legs have slightly angled or horizontal stripes. The stripes run down the cat’s tail as well as right up to their paws. Also, Toyger cats are quite unique due to their combination of domestic shorthair and Bengal cats.

Usually, Toyger cats do not require a lot of help when it comes to grooming. These cats adapt to their surroundings pretty easily. Also, they are a bit sociable and highly intelligent. These cats have the skill to solve very challenging tasks. So, whether it is about guessing how to open doors or eradicating obstacles for getting food, Toyger cats can figure out things quickly as compared to others.

When it comes to health, these cats are quite similar to other domesticated cats. Just like with domestic cats, you like to ensure whether they get the right nutrition for not developing any kind of obesity. Plus, vet checks regularly can help recognize parasites and heart murmurs early.

Just as Toyger cats, a Bengal cat is perhaps the domestic cat breed that resembles tiger tabbycat design the most. This breed comes in both shape and size of the overall body color and stripes. It is helpful for exploring them a little more. So, here are several interesting facts about Bengal cats that you may not know!

They are Hybrid 

Bengal cats are hybrid, which became so after the breeding of domestic cats with leopard cats. That’s why these cats resemble tigers the most with the orange color and striped coat. The attempt for breeding Bengal cats to have this rare tiger pattern was ongoing for a long time. By the 80s, this breed was introduced successfully into houses as domestic tabby cats.

They Come in Various Colors

Although the dark brown and orange Bengal cat is the closest resemblance to tigers, they come in lots of colors. Typical Bengal cat color combinations include red, charcoal, cinnamon, snow, blue, smoke, and marble.

They Like Water 

Unlike other cat breeds that do not like water, these cats are a bit different due to the hybrid DNA. Bengal cats are easier to bathe. Also, you can find these cats playing by a lake or drinking water from a running faucet. So, tabby cats do not panic at all if exposed to water.

The Personality of Tiger Cats

Usually, the personality of tiger cats depends on them individually. This is because tiger cats refer to a coat pattern and not really a cat breed. That’s why you have to consider actual breeds instead. The domestic cat’s temperament varies widely. The majority of them are intelligent, affectionate, and sociable. However, there are several who do not dwell well with unfamiliar surroundings or people. Usually, cats with orange or red coat color feature a little more attitude. Generally, tiger cats do not become aggressive if you treat them well.

Interesting Facts About Mackerel tabby cats vs tiger cats.

tabby cats vs tiger cats

Genetics are solely responsible for forming the Mackerel Tabby Coat Pattern. For the formation of the coat pattern, tabby cats must possess a recessive and dominant gene. While every tabby cat breed features some kind of striped lines, spots, or blotches, the only pattern that resembles clearly a tiger coat is the Mackerel tabby.

Here are several interesting facts about a Mackerel tabby cat. Also, these apply to other kinds of tabby cats.

They are believed to be highly intelligent

The intelligence of a cat has been up for debate. A cat’s brain comprises of hundreds of millions of neurons. Cats are able to piece together certain blocks of information effectively in order to regain memories. In fact, cats are popular for their long-term memory. Tabby cats can remember particular scents, locations, people, and enhance routines based on that.

They have excellent survival skills

Many domestic cats originated from African wildcats. Meaning that these cats have inherited excellent survival skills naturally. A domestic cat is able to escape tough situations, conserve energy, attack prey, and leap at a moment notice. Also, tabby cats are very conscious of their surroundings and they respond to loud noises and take cover. Some cats with rare striped patterns, such as the Mackerel, will try to intermingle in with their environment.

They come in various coats and colors

Cats are not just black or brown. They come in various colors like cream, orange, and gray. For the many parts, Mackerel tabby cats will have a dark coat having dark stripes that alternate across their body.

They like catnip

Catnip refers to an herb that comes naturally from the mint family. The taste and smell of catnip are pleasant to a domestic cat. This causes them to behave in several ways. Some tabby cats respond very well to catnip with excitement, while others turn out to be affectionate and warm. Over two-thirds of tiger tabby cats like it. However, use catnip in moderation.

Now, watch this video of a cute tabby tiger cat!


Now, you know the difference between a tabby cats vs tiger cats. The ‘tiger cat’ term is just a nickname for a tabby cat. There is no actual difference between the two. Tabby cats are called tiger cats due to their striped fur patterns. When it comes to their personality, it depends on individual cats as they are hybrid. So, this is everything about tabby cats vs tiger cats.

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Luna Tran

My name is Luna and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of three lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.