Categories: skin

Do tabby cats have striped skin?

Do tabby cats have striped skin? The answer is no but it is an interesting question and it is quite a difficult question to fully answer in my opinion. You won’t find the answer in books but you will find an answer on the internet but it might not be the correct one. I will try but I can’t guarantee a 100% success.

Tabby fur

There are three initial points to make. The first is that tabby cats can be striped, blotched and spotted so the question is a little wrong but I get the gist of it.

The second is that if you look at Sphynx cats, which as you know are hairless cats, they often have patterns on their skin. In fact they have bicolour-type patterns1. There are dark areas and there are skin-coloured areas. If these hairless cats had fur they would be bicolour cats such as black-and-white cats. This is evidence that skin markings are the same as fur markings i.e. the skin markings on the skin are reflected on the fur

Abnormal cat breeds. Sphynx copyright Helmi Flick.

However, if you look closely at the individual hair strands of the fur of a tabby cat you will notice that there are bands of dark brown and light yellowish tan color along the length of the fur. There might be three or four bands. The colour of the top band i.e. the bit of the hair strand which is near the surface dictates the layout of the dark blotches, spots or stripes which are the patterns of the tabby cat.

Tabby Hair Srand

The band of the hair strand which is near the skin is, I believe, a similar colour in all cases and that’s why I’m going to argue that the pattern on a tabby cat when looking at his or her fur is not replicated on the skin. You only get that replication of the pattern on the skin of cats in bicolour cats in my opinion. In bicolor cats the white strands have no pigmentation and the other hair strands are uniformly colored along their length.

I live with a tabby cat and I can’t see any marking on his skin which follows the pattern in his fur. His skin is uniformally grey/white.

The pigmentation that goes into the hair strands is produced in specific cells called melanocytes in the skin. They produce melanin.

As I said, I can’t be 100% sure of this but based upon what I’ve seen over the years that’s my best answer at the moment. The best person to ask on this topic is Susan Hartwell of the messybeast.com website.

P.S. If you have a shaved cat make sure that you are not looking at hair stubble and not the skin itself.

P.P.S. Please don’t shave your cat to check his/her skin color. The normal skin color of domestic cats skin is pasty white.

Note 1: Bicolor means 2 colors, being usually no color (white) and a dark color such as black.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress comments. Comments are welcome.
Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

Recent Posts

Do domestic cats kill squirrels?

Do domestic cats kill squirrels? Yes, they do but the percentage of house cats who are successful squirrel hunters is…

3 hours ago

12 cats illegally dumped from a car in front of a Dayton animal shelter. Staff spent the day chasing cats.

Close to a dozen cats were dumped outside a Dayton, Ohio animal shelter on Monday only hours before a snowstorm…

9 hours ago

‘Fate’ leads cat rescuers to loud, filthy alley where young mama cat was caring for 8 kittens

This is the heartwarming yet heartbreaking story of a one-year-old mama cat who gave birth to eight kittens and managed…

10 hours ago

Bizarre alleged crime in which a 37-year-old woman was caught red-handed ‘taking her cat to Jesus’

EDGEWATER, Florida, USA: The woman concerned, Amanda Goodwin, was caught red-handed trying to allegedly drown her cat in a water-filled…

17 hours ago

USA: new federal law criminalizing an intentional act of animal crushing

Behind this new federal Act which has been passed by the Senate and which President Trump is expected to sign…

17 hours ago

Japanese study of TNR feral cat colony tells us that cat food is their main food supply

This study came to the conclusion that TNR volunteers managing a feral cat colony on Tokunoshima Island might cause what…

21 hours ago