How Do You Tell if Your Cat is a Tuxedo Cat or Cow Cat?

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

tuxedo cat vs cow cat

Have you ever seen a cat with black spots and thought, “oh, that cat looks like a cow”? Or perhaps, you’ve seen one with a triangular spot starting from its neck to its chest?

These patterns made these felines earn their names – tuxedo and cow cats.

In this article, you will find out how to tell which one your furry friend is by learning the differences between a tuxedo cat vs. cow cat.

How Do You Tell if Your Cat is a Tuxedo Cat or Cow Cat?

The only way to distinguish a tuxedo cat and a cow pattern cat is to look at their differences. That said, here are the differences between these cat breeds:

1. Appearance

Tuxedo cats

Tuxedo cats sport a black-and-white coat pattern, where black is the dominant color

Tuxedo cats have a black-and-white coat pattern, with black being more predominant. The pattern resembles formalwear, specifically a tuxedo.

Apart from the tuxedo-looking pattern on its chest, this breed also has white paws and a white belly. The black fur mostly covers the head, back, and tail.

Cow cats

Source: X. A cow pattern cat is a white feline with black spots resembling a cow, with large, irregular patches on a mostly white cat.

On the other hand, a cow pattern cat, sometimes called the reverse tuxedo cat, is exactly as the name suggests, a white feline with black spots that are similar to a cow’s.

If you’re not sure if your furry friend is a cow cat, look for large and irregular patches on a predominantly white cat.

2. Personality


Tuxedo and cow cats are both social felines, so telling their difference based on their personality can be a challenge. Still, there’s a difference that’s worth noting.

  • For one, tuxedo cats are usually social and outgoing. They tend to be affectionate and enjoy interacting with their caretakers, making them ideal for pet enthusiasts who spend a lot of time at home.

That said, tuxedo cat is not one breed. Rather, it is a term used for felines with a tuxedo-like coat pattern, so they may belong to various breeds or even mixed breeds.

  • A cow cat is a term used to describe a feline coat pattern rather than one specific breed. So, their personalities can vary greatly. Some can be playful, while others can be independent and aloof.

3. Cat Size


The size of tuxedo and cow kittens depends on their specific breeds. For example, if your tuxedo or cow cat is a Maine Coon, it will be a lot larger than most other breeds.

4. Lifespan

The lifespan of tuxedo and cow cats will depend on their specific breeds, environment, medical condition, and diet. For instance, an outdoor cat may live shorter than a well-cared indoor cat.

On average, a tuxedo cat can live up to 15 years. On the other hand, an indoor cow cat has an average life expectancy of 20 years.

Are Cow Cats Rare?


No, cow cats are not rare. In fact, they are so common that people tend to ignore them in hopes of finding a more exotic-looking feline.

In addition, bi-color cats are generally common, so there’s a high chance you will pass by a cow cat while walking outside.


Van-patterned, tuxedo, moo cats, and magpie cats – these are just some of the most common bi-color cats that you will find on the streets, pet shops, and shelters. If you’re looking for the differences between tuxedo cat vs. cow cat, we hope that the comparison above will help you!

And if you are looking to get one of these felines, it’s worth noting that their price differ depending on their breeds and the place you’re getting them from.

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