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Celebrating The Tuxedo Cat 

January 15, 2024

Is your kitty wearing a tuxedo? If so, you may want to put a pawprint on your calendar for January 29th: it’s Tuxedo Cat Day! Of course, Fluffy is cute no matter what outfit she’s wearing, but she certainly does look extra sharp in formal wear.  Read on as a local Lapel, IN veterinarian offers some information on tuxies.

What Is A Tuxedo Kitty?

Tuxedo cats—also sometimes called the Tuxie, Felix cat, Jellicle cat, or piebald—are distinguished by their fashion-forward bi-color coat pattern. Fluffy will be sporting black fur with a white belly and/or paws, and she may or may not have white on her face and neck. 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.

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

How Do You Care For A Tuxedo Cat?

Fluffy may be dressed fancier than her feline buddies, but at the end of the day, she has the same needs as any other kitty. Your cute kitty will require good food, clean water, a clean litterbox, and regular veterinary care to cover her essential needs. You’ll also want to provide lots of toys and playtime, as well as beds, kitty furniture, sunbeams, and boxes. Lap space, love, and attention will get that motor going. Ask your vet for specific care tips.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Having A Tuxie Cat?

Our feline companions make great pets. Fluffy is cute and lovable no matter what outfit she has on. Tuxies can be charming, playful, affectionate, outspoken, and lots of fun. Another bonus? You may even be able to get some cute ‘void kitty’ photos of your furry friend, depending on how prominent her markings are. 

Tuxies also go with any outfit or décor, and always look dashing.  

What Breed Or Breeds Are Tuxedo Cats?

Several different breeds allow this coloring. These include the Domestic Shorthair, Turkish Van, Turkish Angora, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Manx.

That striking tuxedo pattern really has more to do with Fluffy’s genetics than anything else. While there is certainly still a lot to learn about kitty genetics, research indicates that pigment cells move during the development of the embryo. Tuxies all have the genes for black fur, along with the gene that is responsible for white spots, tips, or patches. That purrticular gene works by blocking melanocytes, which are responsible for color, from moving to certain areas of Fluffy’s body. 

Are There More Boy Or Girl Tuxies?

It’s a toss up for this one! Roughly half the kitties donning formal attire are girls and half boys. You might think that this is the case with all coat patterns and colors, but that actually isn’t the case. For example, the vast majority of both ginger and calico cats are male.

How Common Are Tuxedo Coats In Cats?

Tuxedo cats are quite common. In fact, the tuxie coat is one of the most frequently seen color patterns in shelters. That isn’t good or bad in and of itself, but it may make it harder for some kitties to get adopted, simply because many people want pets that look unique.

What Kind Of Purrsonality Does A Tuxie Cat Have?

There really are no universal traits as far as Fluffy’s personality. All of our feline pals are unique individuals! Breed does play a role in your feline pal’s character, but her history is also a factor. A furball that was raised underfoot and socialized may be outgoing and friendly, while one that was rescued from the streets may be more timid. 

Where Do Tuxedo Cats Come From?

Nobody knows for sure where or when Man’s Second Best Friend first donned formal wear. However, we do know that bicolor kitties have been found in Egyptian tombs. 

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 helps with camouflaging. A predator looking down from above will see the dark color blending into the deeper water, while something looking up from below may see the light pattern blending into the light at and near the surface. 

What Are Some Famous Tuxedo Cats?

There have been quite a few famous tuxies, and the list is bound to keep on growing. 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. A Canadian tuxie, named Tuxedo Stan actually ran for mayor back in 2012. 

Next on the list is Sparky, who made headlines back in 1998 after inheriting 6.3 million dollars from his owner. That made the fortunate feline the richest cat in the world. (No word on how Sparky spent the money, but we’re assuming he enjoyed unlimited catnip and every kitty gadget imaginable.)

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

We can’t forget about tuxedo cartoon celebrekitties. Some of these famous felines have been around for quite a while! One of the earliest is Felix The Cat, a star from the 1920s silent films. Then there’s The Cat In The Hat, from the beloved Dr. Suess book.

The most famous tuxie of all may be Sylvester—or technically, Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr. —  from the Looney Toons universe. The iconic sputtering furball made his official debut way back in 1945, in the short film Life With Feathers. (That film also marked the beginning of the feline’s tumultuous relationships with plucky feathered roommates.) The famous animated kitty went on to star in a whopping 103 cartoons. He is still active today. 

We can’t close out without mentioning a few fun facts about Sylvester. The lovably clumsy furball now has the distinction of having died more times than any other Looney Toons character. He also went on to be 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 briefly the spokeskitty for 9 Lives cat food, though he was outshined by the famous ginger cat Morris.

What Do I Name My Tuxedo Cat?

It’s always fun seeing the different names people pick for their pets, and how those animals often perfectly embody those names. This is definitely the case for tuxies!

There are quite a few fitting monikers for kitties in formal wear:

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

In conclusion: Tuxedo cats are not a specific breed, so they all have their own unique purrsonalities. Ask your vet for specific care advice. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care. As your local animal clinic, we are here for you!