Appealing to eyes, the Mackerel tabby cat is a popular pet choice due to its distinctive striped appearance. These kitties have a pink nose, a pattern of dark stripes running from top to bottom on the coat, rings on the tail, and lines on the legs.

But that is not all – there is a lot more to them, especially in terms of personality and history.

Excited to know? Read the 15 amazing Mackerel tabby cat facts below and find them all!

Did You Know?

Egyptians are not alone in putting cats in power. In 1997, Stubbs the Tabby Cat was elected an honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska. She served the town until her demise in 2017.

Mackerel Tabby Cat Is About Pattern, Not Breed

None of the tabby cat patterns constitute separate breeds. For instance, the orange tabby cat is not a separate cat breed but only a group of cats from different breeds with various tabby patterns featuring orange color.

So one can say that any feline that exhibits the appearance pattern akin to tabbies is regarded as a tabby cat. If either the sire or the dam kitty has a Mackerel tabby pattern regardless of the breed, there is a high probability that the offspring will be a Mackerel tabby cat.

Mackerel Tabby Cat Name Comes From a Fish

Mackerel tabbies are known by different names. One such name is ‘tiger cat’ due to the presence of tiger-like stripes on their bodies. However, the actual name comes from Mackerel fish, an aquatic creature having these unique markings all over the dorsal area. Because of this reason, they are also called ‘fishbone tabbies.’

There Is a Connection Between the Mackerel Tabby Cat and Sorcery

About 400 years ago, Mackerel tabbies were known to be possessed and, therefore, associated with black magic. For a long time, they had been the first choice for wizardry instead of either black cats or even the tabbies having other patterns and bases of dark hues, such as Gray tabby cat.

Mackerel Tabby Cat Is the Earliest Among All Tabbies

The Mackerel variant in tabby cats is believed to be the first one to exist. Mackerel tabby cats originated as a result of the genetic mixing between the African and the European Wildcat breeds. The pattern thus produced became even stronger by further mixing later on.

Mackerel Tabby Cat

Other Tabby Variants Originated From the Mackerel Tabby Cat

It is believed that Mackerel tabby cats are the mothers of all felines with tabby patterns, namely, the Spotted, Ticked, and Classic tabby cats. These patterns evolved mainly due to gene mutation and selective breeding.

Did You Know?

Some cats carry the tabby DNA but still do not have the tabby pattern.

Mackerel Is the Most Common Tabby Pattern

Mackerel tabby cats are the largest in number among all tabbies. Though Classic tabbies are very common in different places around the world, such as in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Middle East, they are second to the Mackerels when seen in terms of the overall population.

Because they are the most common, people also generally tend to think of mackerels when they think of tabby cats in general.

Mackerel Tabby Cat Tops in Intelligence Among Tabbies

Mackerel kitties are often known to be better than other tabbies when it comes to intelligence. Because of this trait, they are sharp-minded and easy to train. They act more like canines than felines when observed in the context of their brainpower.

Mackerel Tabbitude is Love for Adventure and Joy

Though you are right to some extent, if you think that the Mackerel tabby cat personality traits cannot be distinct as they are not a separate breed, the Mackerel tabbies are actually distinguished when it comes to their persona.

Mackerel tabbies are known for being active, playful, and daring. They love to play and socialize with their owners and tend to constantly explore their surroundings. Similarly, if you have another cat at home, that won’t be a problem as Mackerel tabby cats get used to living with other cats comfortably

Mackerel Tabby Cat

Couple their inclination to play with their intelligence, and the Mackerel tabbies have a great time with toys and puzzles. Petstages Interactive Cat Puzzle is awesome for such curious cats: it keeps them busy while offering them treats.


Puzzles that offer treats upon successful completion should be used very carefully. Your cat might end up overeating, which can cause other health problems besides obesity.

Mackerel Tabbies Are Great at Camouflage

Thanks to the dark lines all over the body, the Mackerel tabby cat is second to no other animal mastering camouflage. They use such appearance for their benefit as well. Just as cryptic coloration lets tigers hide and keep themselves undetected by their prey, it allows Mackerel tabby cats to hunt mice.

There Is Not Much Difference Among the Mackerel and Other Tabbies

Since the distinctions among tabbies are related to the pattern and not the breed, you might find the basics among all tabby patterns to be the same. For instance, the Mackerel Tabby Cat lifespan depends entirely on the breed and cannot have a definitive value based on the pattern. Likewise, you can expect to pay between USD 100 and 1,500 for any tabby you opt for when it comes to the cost.

Mackerel Tabby Cats Have ‘M’ Marking on Their Forehead

Like all tabbies, coded in their DNA, Mackerel Tabby Cats have M marking on their forehead. Other than genetics, three legends are also associated with the mystery behind this M. The first says it came from the Egyptian Mau breed, the second claims Mary has bestowed it on tabby cats. The third tells the tale of Muezza the Cat and Prophet Muhammad.

Tabby Cats Derive Their Name From a Baghdad District

The name tabby was given to these kitties when their appearance pattern was compared to a cloth – more precisely a type of silk taffeta – that had been a specialty of Al-Attabiya district in Baghdad, present-day Iraq. This silky fabric was named after its place of origin, and the name later evolved into ‘tabby’ from ‘Attabiya’ during the 17th Century.

Tabbies Are Among the First Domestic Cats

Out of five genetic strains that exist in wildcats, human beings are able to domesticate only one so far. Tabbies were the first kitties to become tame working animals within that lucky strain for us. Since they were great at hunting, the farmers in the Mediterranean region utilized them to keep their crops safe. Later on, tabbies also joined seamen to take care of the mice on the ship.

Mackerel Tabby Cat Colors Are Numerous

Unlike the common perception that Mackerel tabby cats only exist with a gray base and dark stripes, the Mackerel tabby pattern comes in a variety of colors. For instance, besides gray, mackerel tabbies may also feature orange base color. Likewise, the color of Mackerel tabby makings is also not necessarily dark.

Did You Know?

Due to their fascinating orangish looks, orange and black-based tabby cats are often called “marmalade cats.”

World Fattest Cat Was a Mackerel Tabby

Weighing about 46 pounds, an Australian Mackerel tabby cat named Himmy held the record of the fattest cat in the world. Shortly after Himmy’s demise, the Guinness Book of World Record suspended this award to discourage obesity in cats.

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