There are two popular and captivating patterns that often catch the pet owners’ eyes: tabby vs tiger cat.
Tabby cats are quite popular among the cat breeds because of their distinct patterns, while tiger cats are tabby cats with a more specific coat pattern, which makes them separate from the tabbies.
In this article, we will explore their differences and key unique traits, including personality, cost, and cat care requirements!
|Size||Varies, but generally 9 to 10 inches||12 to 18 inches|
|Weight||Around 10 pounds||15 to 33 pounds|
|Personality||Friendly and affectionate||Playful and affectionate|
|Hair||Could be long haired or short-haired||Generally short-haired|
|Cat Care||Needs extensive care requirements||Minimal to average|
|Trainability||Mid to Difficult||Easy|
|Lifespan||15 years +||12 to 15 years|
Table of Contents
Overview of Orange Tabby and Orange Tiger
Both tabby and tiger cats have coat patterns and can be seen in a wide variety of cat breeds. But here is the breakdown of the cat breeds that have either tabby or tiger pattern
Tabby cats are known as a common coat pattern in cats with different cat breeds in the cat kingdom. They are domesticated cats characterized by a coat with patterns such as dots, stripes, and swirls. You can also notice the ‘M’ pattern on its forehead and near its eyes.
Tiger cat, on the other hand, is a nickname used for a specific coat pattern among the tabbies pattern. Usually, a tiger cat has a striped fur pattern that appears on its head, body, and legs. In fact, we can refer to a tiger cat as a mackerel tabby cat because of its pattern.
Thus, all tiger cats are tabby cats, but not all are tiger cats. This specific narrow-striped fur pattern of tiger cats makes them look like wild cats, which makes them separate from most domestic-looking tabbies.
Tiger vs Tabby Cat Comparison
1. Body Color
Tabby is a colored cat with a wider range of colors than the tiger cats with common colors of orange, beige, and gray, and brown.
Below is an image of a grey vs brown tabby cat:
Tiger striped tabby cat, on the other hand, is usually seen with a beige and brown fur coat. But this also majorly depends on the cat breed.
It should be noted that tiger cats are known for their striped fur pattern with various black, orange, and brown colors, making them popularly known as mackerel tabbies.
Because of this, some owners thought that there were some cream tiger cats. However, that type of cat is considered a tabby cat with diluted orange body color.
2. Coat Patterns
Tabby cats come with five patterns, mainly classic, mackerel, spotted, agouti and patched. Each pattern can be seen in different tabby breeds.
- Classic coat pattern
For example, the classic tabby pattern cat is usually seen with American shorthairs and has its recognizable swirl on the cat’s body fur. These swirls look like abullseye. Because of this pattern, the cats usually have this pattern are known as blotched tabby cats.
- Spotted coat pattern
From the name itself, a spotted tabby cat has distinctive spots all over its body. The spots can either be rosettes, oval, or round and can come in any size.
Ocicat is one of the common cat breeds which displays a spotted pattern.
Compared to the tabby patterns mentioned above, agouti or ticked patterns look slightly different from tabbies. The only hints that the cat has tabby patterns are the tabby coat markings and the so-called “agouti” hairs.
- Agouti coat pattern
The agouti hairs are cat mix of light and dark colors of individual fur. This pattern is mostly seen in Abssynian cat breeds.
Patched tabby patterns are seen in a tortoiseshell breed with a combination of brown and red tabbies.
The usual patches are located on the head and legs.
- Mackeret coat or tiger coat pattern
Mackerel tabbies, on the other hand, are the most common fur patterns among tabbies. This pattern appears in stripes running down the cat’s sides in vertical and parallel patterns. One of the recognizable traits of this pattern is the darker colors of the stripes on its abdomen or tummy part.
Generally, mackerel tabbies have solid stripes or sometimes have gaps that make the stripes look like a fish skeleton. Thus, calling it mackerel as time passes by.
Mackerel tabbies are also known as tiger cats because of their stripes which make them look like tigers.
3. Cat Personality
Since tabby cats pertain to coat patterns, it’s a bit hard to pinpoint a specific personality trait, which hugely depends on the cat’s breed.
However, like other domestic cats, tabbies can be considered homely and friendly. They are also known for being active and playful.
They are also very affectionate, although they also want their independence and space occasionally.
Tabbies usually don’t like being surrounded by sudden changes or new environments. This causes them immediate stress and anxiety.
- Tiger cat
Tiger cats have almost the same traits as tabby cats, with being friendly and affectionate. However, they also have some wild cats traits for some reason.
This type of cat loves to explore and be adventurous. Often looking like mysterious and intimidating cats, tiger cats are known to have stronger hunting instincts and are kind of hard to domesticate.
Therefore, you can expect some high aggressiveness from tiger cats, especially when they get threatened.
So, if you are wondering if there is a domestic tiger cat, there might be! However, expect that tiger cats would be a bit stubborn to calm down.
Depending on the breed, the cost of either the tabby or tiger tabby kitten still differs. However, just to give you an overview, we have listed applicable costs you may encounter if you are planning to buy either one of the two cats.
Tiger cats are mostly seen both in Toyger and Bengal cats. To estimate the cost of tiger cats:
|Toyger Cats||For adoption: $500 to $1,000
For breeding: $500 to $50,000
|Bengal Cats||Average: $1,500 to $3,500|
As for tabbies, they cost way cheaper compared to Tiger cats ranging from $70 to $1,000.
Which Cat is Right For You?
If you are torn between buying either a tabby or a tiger cat, these tips might come in handy before you purchase your ideal cat:
- Consider your budget: If you want a budget-friendly cat, go with tabbies since this type of cat is easy to find and most likely cheaper than tiger cats.
- Compare which personality traits best fit your home environment and even personality: Although tiger cats are still considered tabbies, tiger cats are more mysterious and display more hunter traits than general tabbies.
I hope this article, “tabby vs tiger cat” has helped you better distinguish between tiger and tabby cats.
Both cats are equally unique in their own ways in terms of appearance, personality, and care requirements. However, whichever you choose, make sure that the cat fits best to your lifestyle, budget, and home environment.
But also considering the cat’s welfare moving forward by providing it with basic needs, care, and love.
Hi, I am Amy Sawy, a veterinary professional working in the field for nearly 15 years. This site is established to provide cat guardians access to helpful information and health care advice. My co-worker and I run this site mainly to help inexperienced families currently taking care of their cats without professional guidance.