Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tabby Cats and the M's on their Foreheads

My cat May is what is referred to as a "torbie" - a patched tabby that is a combination of a tortoiseshell and calico. Photo (C) Rachel Shubin 2012.

I think that at some point or another, most people have either had or come across a tabby cat. The typical brown, striped or spotted cat might even be the most common type of cat people think of when they talk about cats.
Something that not all people know about, is the tabby "M". As cats.about.com says:
"Probably the most distinctive feature seen in common on all tabby cats is the "M" on their foreheads. You will also see this M on many of the big jungle cats, such as tigers, cheetahs and ocelots."

Living in my own little cat knowledge world, it didn't occur to me that my friend Yousif would not realize that tabbies' having "M"'s on their foreheads is not an unusual thing. His comment on his Facebook picture of his new kitty housemate Majin Buu, was "Look at his forehead! There is an M!!"

My friend Yousif's new housemate, Majin Buu. Photo by Yousif Al-Amin.
 So it is not surprising to see that tabby cats' foreheads have an "M" on them. It's that distinguishing factor that makes tabbies unique!

Tabby "M" Source: http://cats.about.com/cs/tabbycats/a/tabby_cats_2.htm


  1. Dawww thanks for putting Majin in here :)

  2. yes and from what I understand a Tabby is not considered to BE a Tabby WITHOUT the "M" on the forehead...it is a requirement to be classified as a tabby.

    I also heard that somehow it is tied in with the Virgin Mary (something about Mary kissing the heads of the Tabbies or something like that?) I am sure someone else has knowledge of this that i do not have.

  3. Hi there! Just came across your blog, cute!

    'Yousif' sounds like a Muslim name, did he tell you the story of Mohammed? Apparently in Islam, the M on a tabby's forehead came from when Mohammed touched the head of his cat to bless it.

    I'm not one to believe in religious stories about why cats have their unique markings though, I'd just put it down to traditional camouflage being passed down from their ancestors ;o)

    Keep up the great work, love the Jackson Gallaxy interview!

    Sarah, Bosco and Ollie