Striped cats hold a special place in our hearts. Even without the orange coloring of a tiger. We still think of them as the miniature version of the monstrous feline. And the more elaborate the pattern of their markings? The more magical and unique these cats appear. This is probably why so many tabbies make their way into literature, television, and movies. Think about it: how many more tabby cats do you see compared to other coat patterns? There’s something about those stripes we adore. Of course, tabbies also make up a large part of the feline population. But that’s beside the point. Those stripes and patterns may help them hide out in the background, but their names? They deserve to stand out. And lucky for you, we have 118 tabby cat names that do just that!
Contrary to popular belief, tabbies AREN’T cat breeds. It’s a coat pattern plenty of different breeds sport. And every tabby has mascara markings on their face. This is the famous “M” on the forehead that highlights around the eyes. But the special stripes of a tabby cat don’t stop there. You can also see bars around the legs, buttons on their stomach, a spine line, and rings around the tail. Put them all together, and you get the detailed patterns that make every tabby so unique.
There are four official tabby patterns:
- Classic: The cat shows dramatic swirls on the sides and butterflies over the shoulders. You’ll also see this called a “blotched tabby” (though classic sounds better).
- Mackerel: This is the most common tabby coat. The stripes on the sides are narrow and parallel. They look like the bones on a fish skeleton (where “mackerel” comes from).
- Spotted: Instead of swirls or stripes, this cat has patterns broken into spots (as you probably guessed).
- Ticked: You get bars on the legs and tail, but this tabby cat requires a closer look. Every hair has bands of color on it. It’s also called “agouti tabby.”
Tabby cats are more than their stripes and patterns (though that’s why we love them so much). You can find tabbies in EVERY color imaginable. But the way they’re named? That can get a little tricky. Most people stick to the usual ideas of “brown,” “grey,” and “orange,” but there’s an art to tabby colors. (At least, if you want to sound fancy about things)
The official brown tabby combines shades of brown with a bronze overtone. Then you add in those important black stripes or spots. You can also get a lighter palette where your cat will have a beige background with slightly darker stripes. These felines are called cream or buff tabbies.
And what about the popular grey color? That depends on the shade of the “grey.” Blue tabbies (yes, blue) have a background of cream with blue stripes (not the expected black). Meanwhile, you can have a silver tabby that has a silvery-white background with the usual black stripes.
But if you get ANY orange into the mix (in any tabby), it’s called a patched tabby. And odds are the cat will be female since those orange patches are linked to the female chromosome. My parents have a patched mackerel, brown tabby (named Tigress). (And when you start breaking tabby colors down that way, it DOES get confusing!)
Other popular tabby colors include:
- Cameo (cream with red markings)
- Chestnut (ivory with dark brown markings)
- Cinnamon (pale brown with darker markings)
- Lilac (cream with gray markings)
- Red (soft red with darker red markings)
Tabby Cat Names
Making up around 65% of the felines out in the world, tabbies won’t win the award for the rarest coat. However, every tabby cat comes with its own look and personality, and that’s pretty special. So while it’s easy enough to decide to stick with expected names that center around those stripes, why aim for the predictable? You’re sharing a home with a cat with its own naming convention for color! Not even calicos have that claim to fame. And with such a diverse color and pattern background, tabby cat names allow the imagination to run wild. Do you consider how the light plays over your feline’s patterns? Or should you think of what those different colors put you in the mind of? Should you go for something similar in nature? Or maybe something unique and out of the box?
One thing’s for certain: you have the entire world to pull from. With colors that span the spectrum, you can explore our entire naming database. Everything’s possible! And don’t stop with the cats (remember: a name’s a name and not specific to canine or feline). Your kitty deserves the best name possible. And these 118 tabby cat names can get you started on the right paw.
Famous Tabby Cat Names
Once you start down the rabbit hole of famous tabbies, it starts spiraling out of control. They’re everywhere! They pop up in our social media feeds, favorite literature, the silver screen, even history! And you can’t go wrong using these famous felines as inspiration for tabby cat names. Honestly, there’s probably a dozen or more I missed. If this is the route you want to follow, you can probably find PLENTY more.
- All Ball: For those who followed the story of Koko, the gorilla, you already know of her beloved first feline companion.
- Cheshire Cat: Perhaps not any known breed of cat, this character from Alice in Wonderland IS described as a striped cat.
- Dragon: While an unfortunate villain in the movie, Toy Story 4 cast a tabby as a guard in the antique shop.
- Floyd: So he didn’t get the starring role, but some of us cheered on this tabby in Ghost.
- Freya: Former British Chancellor George Osborne made much of his beloved tabby. She even had her own Twitter account.
- General: You’ll have to go back a few years (okay, it’s more than a few), but she’s the heroine of Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye movie.
- Lil Bub: The beloved ambassador of goodwill – and a well-known polydactyl – continues to delight social media fans despite her passing.
- Maru: If you watch YouTube or Instagram, you’re probably already a fan of this Scottish Fold with straight ears.
- Nermal: Fans of Garfield know this self-proclaimed “Cutest Kitten in the World.”
- Richard Parker: If you read the book by Yann Martel (or watched the movie), Life of Pi, you know the tiger earned this name. (And if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it)
- Tabby: Okay, so it’s not an original name. However, this beloved cat was Abraham Lincoln’s First Cat.
- Think Think: This tabby sits beside the President of Taiwan.
- Thomasina: Perhaps you read Paul Gallico’s book, Thomasina (or saw Disney’s movie, The Three Lives of Thomasina). Both feature tabbies.
Tabby Cat Names Based on Animals
Stripes aren’t unique to tabbies. They pop up in the animal world. It’s an interesting possibility that allows you to come up with inspiration for tabby cat names – without using the expected “tiger” route. Some animals are more obscure than others, and you CAN go that direction if you want. I tried to stick to those most people are familiar with. However, can you look into something more unusual for your patterned feline? Of course! You want them to stand out – even as they blend in with those stripes and spots.
- Angus Datana (A striped moth)
- Bongo (A type of antelope)
- Cinnabar (A striped caterpillar)
- Civet (A tropical member of the weasel family)
- Duiker (A type of deer)
- Kudu (Another antelope)
- Polecat (European version of the ferret)
- Sergeant Major (A tropical fish)
Tabby Cat Names Based on Food
Picking out foods with stripes (or that call to mind those tabby cat patterns) isn’t as tricky as you think. And when you start to think of foods that come in layers? You see the patterns one finds in a tabby! It’s the perfect way to combine your love for the culinary world with your unique little feline. (And, of course, Garfield would heartily approve) It’s much easier than trying to come up with foods that match all the colors you may find in your particular striped cat, especially since some color combinations are easier than others. So why not think of tabby cat names half a step out of the box? Your foodie friends will get a kick out of the result.
- Agave (A striped cactus used in the culinary world)
- Aloe (Another striped cactus, though the stripes are subtle)
- Candy Cane
- Colby Jack
- Earl Grey (This favorite English tea DOES match the colors of the average tabby)
- Pixie Stix
- Tutti Fruity
Tabby Cat Names Based on Pattern
What’s the best part of the tabby cat? (Besides their charming personalities) Their patterns! No matter which coat you get, you know you’re going to see variations in stripes, bars, spots, and rings. So why not look to different patterns for your tabby cat name inspiration? Plenty of different terms for designs, fabrics, and layouts work as a way to capture those unique markings. And if you have friends who know fashion, art, or have a natural curiosity? They’ll admire your wit and imagination.
- Bayadere (Fabric with contrasting horizontal stripes)
- Breton (Horizontal stripes)
- Paisley (Intricate Indian designs)
- Roman (A style of mosaic pattern)
- Tera (One million)
Tabby Cat Names From Popular Culture
Stripes? They’re not the most popular design for characters to wear. (Unless you include the old-timey jailbirds) However, when you look over costumes, you DO find some stripes showing up here and there. And some of those patterns make the perfect ideas for tabby cat names. It just takes a little work to find. But why deprive your favorite feline of a classy name from movies, literature, or television? That’s too unfair. (Good thing I found a few!)
- Dennis the Menace (This staple from the comics always dons a striped shirt)
- Hodori (The Siberian tiger was the mascot of the 1988 Seoul Olympics)
- Incineroar (A Pokemon fan? This one has stripes!)
- Jack Skellington (No one looks more dapper than this hero from The Nightmare Before Christmas)
- Mr. Smee (Captain Hook’s first mate from Peter Pan wears stripes)
- Phineas Flynn (One of the two namesakes of the Disney series Phineas and Ferb, he’s never without a striped shirt)
- Piglet (The faithful companion of Winnie the Pooh dons stripes)
- Spider-Man (No matter WHICH character from the Spider-Verse you choose – and there are PLENTY – all of their costumes boast striped patterns)
- Thanos (Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but the enemy of the Avengers HAS stripes – on his chin)
- Tygra (Yes, I dug into my childhood favorites, but this heroine from ThunderCats had stripes!)
- Waldo (Odds are, at some point in your life, you picked up at least ONE Where’s Waldo? book)
Unique Tabby Cat Names
Yes, tabby cats have stripes, spots, and patterns designed to help them blend into the background. But does that mean you’re stuck with tabby cat names that do the same? Of course not! You have your imagination available. So why not consider something someone else may not have? A name that makes people stop and ask how you thought of it. These names take the tabby coat and run with the idea in a new direction. It’s the perfect way to let your feline strut their stuff and hold their tail up with pride.
- Attabiy (This district in Bagdad is where silk is made – and it’s one of the places tabbies get their name!)
- Calathea (A plant with pinstriping)
- Dawon (A sacred Hindu tigress)
- Faux Bois (A painting technique that produces fake wood grain)
- Griselda (Old English for “grey”)
- Iris (Greek goddess of the rainbow)
- Moire (Fabric with a subtle striped pattern)
- Taffeta (One of the French translations for tabby comes from a word meaning “striped, silk taffeta”)
- Tapestry (Art made from elaborate stitching)
- Yucca (A shrub with stripes)
Tabby Cat Names – Different Languages
When looking for a different language, you won’t find “tabby” showing up. However, you DO see “tiger” everywhere. And you also see a few other options. If you want to try a different idea for your tabby cat name, going with something in another language is always an option. And since tabbies remind people of tigers – whether or not they’re orange – you can consider following those stripes to the larger feline cousin. Besides, unless someone asks, no one has to know, right?
- Bagha (Nepali for “tiger”)
- Chiu-milia (Swahili for “tiger”)
- Con Cop (Vietnamese for “tiger”)
- Harimau (Malay for “tiger”)
- Ingwe (Zulu for “tiger”)
- Kaplan (Turkish for “tiger”)
- Lodaya (Sudanese for “tiger”)
- Macan (Javanese for “tiger”)
- Marra (Basque for “stripe”)
- Namur (Arabic for “tiger”)
- Rand (Swedish for “stripe”)
- Raya (Spanish for “stripes)
- Shabeel (Somali for “tiger”)
- Sher (Persian for “tiger”)
- Striata (Italian for “striated”)
- Taika (Maori for “tiger”)
- Tarnung (German for “camouflage”)
- Tier (Afrikaans for “tiger”)
- Tigra (Malagasy for “tiger”)
- Tigris (Latin for “tiger”)
- Tikari (Faroese for “tiger”)
- Tora (Japanese for “tiger”)
- Yolbars (Uzbek for “tiger”)
Our Tabby Cat
Look at a household with more than one feline, and odds are you’ll find at least one tabby. We’re no exception. Our oldest gentleman is a mackerel brown tabby. And his name? Creates TONS of controversy. People make plenty of assumptions when they hear it, and we end up explaining that their first guess is always wrong. (Every time – no one gets it right) It’s part of what makes picking out a tabby cat name so much fun – challenging people!
Why all the confusion? Simple – his name’s Firefly. And since we’re undeniable geeks, everyone thinks he got his name from the popular television show. (Which, I suppose makes sense, as he IS a brown coat) But as I’ve never watched the show, that isn’t where his name came from. Instead, he’s called Firefly because the tip of his tail is white. Yup – exactly like a little firefly you see out in the yard on a summer night. Which made sense as he was born in the middle of July.
However, keeping people guessing with tabby cat names? That’s half the fun. And it’s why your feline definitely deserves a name that stands out from the back and makes people do a double-take, ask questions, or get things wrong on the first try. Precisely like our handsome fella does for us!
What Pattern Did You Get?
Tabby cats may not win awards for rarity. However, they’re still special. They come in different colors and patterns. And when you start to mix those two? You get TONS of possibilities. This makes choosing the best tabby cat names all the more fun. You can lean towards the color, play up the markings, or even combine the two. Or forget all of the above and fixate on the tiniest detail and leave people guessing.
No matter what, though, you have a special feline in your life. Their name deserves to reflect that.