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Celebrating The Tuxedo Cat 

January 15, 2024

Is your feline pal a tuxie? You may want to put a pawprint on your calendar for January 29th: it’s Tuxedo Cat Day! Fluffy is of course super cute no matter what outfit she’s wearing, but she certainly does look adorable in formal wear.  A local Brampton, ON vet offers some information on tuxies in this article.

What Breed Is The Tuxedo Cat?

Tuxies aren’t a specific breed: this is a color pattern. Several different breeds allow this coloring. These include the Domestic Shorthair, Turkish Van, Turkish Angora, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Manx.

What Does A Tuxedo Cat Look Like?

Tuxies—also called the Tuxie, Felix cat, Jellicle cat, or piebald—are distinguished by their bi-color coat pattern. The most common type of tuxie is a black kitty with a white chest. However, a grey kitty with the same coloring is also technically a tuxie. Some tuxies have white paws.

Fluffy’s coat can be long, short, or even curly, though short fur is the most common. Some tuxedo cats have different types of fur. For instance, some tuxies have much longer white fur than dark fur. These pretty kitties can also have any color eyes, including yellow, green, or even heterochromatic.

What Are Some Famous Tuxedo Cats?

There have been quite a few famous tuxies, and the list is bound to keep on growing.

Tuxies have also popped up in many pieces of literature. T.S. Eliot referred to them as ‘Jellical cats’ in his 1939 poetry book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

There are also several animated tuxie stars. Some of these tuxie cartoon celebrekitties have been around for quite a while! One of the earliest is Felix The Cat, a star from the 1920s silent films. Even today, a hundred years later, Felix often pops up in memorabilia. Then there’s The Cat In The Hat, from the beloved Dr. Suess book.

The most famous tuxie of all may be Sylvester—or technically, Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr. —  of Looney Toons. The iconic sputtering furball made his official debut back in 1945, in a short called Life With Feathers. Interestingly, that film also marked the beginning of the feline’s tumultuous relationships with cute and plucky feathered roommates. 

The famous animated kitty went on to star in a whopping 103 cartoons. He is still active today. In fact, Sylvester now has the distinction of having died more times than any other Looney Toons character. He also went on to be the mascot of the USS Alameda County, and appears on the emblem of the  45th Reconnaissance Squadron and the 151st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. He was also the spokeskitty for 9 Lives cat food, though he was outshined by the famous ginger cat Morris.

Some real-life tuxies have also pounced and purred their way into the spotlight. There’s Socks, the Clintons’ kitty, who was often on the news during his tenure as First Cat. A Canadian tuxie, named Tuxedo Stan, actually ran for mayor back in 2012. 

Last but not least, we have Sparky, who made headlines back in 1998 after inheriting 6.3 million dollars from his owner. That made Sparky the richest cat in the world!

What Do I Name My Tuxedo Cat?

It’s always fun seeing the different names people pick for their pets, and how those dogs and cats often perfectly embody those names. 

We can suggest a few fitting monikers for kitties in formal wear:

  • Sylvester
  • Domino
  • Socks
  • Oreo
  • Jeeves
  • Jasper
  • Felix
  • Penguin
  • Piano
  • Soccer Ball
  • Orca

Of course, you can also take Fluffy’s personality or history into mind. 

How Uncommon Are Tuxedo Cats?

Tuxedo patterns are not unusual in our feline pals. In fact, they are one of the most frequently seen coat colors among kitties in shelters. (This actually may work against Fluffy, because some people want pets that look a bit more unique.)

What Is The Personality Of A Tuxie Cat?

Cats all have their own unique personalities, regardless of what outfit they are wearing. Many different breeds of cats can be tuxies, so there really are no universal traits as far as Fluffy’s personality. Breed does play a role in your feline friend’s character, but her history is also a factor. A feline that was raised underfoot and socialized may be outgoing and friendly, while one that was rescued may be more timid. It depends on the kitty! 

Are Tuxedo Cats Boys Or Girls?

It’s about 50/50 on this one. Roughly half the cats donning formal attire are girls and half boys. One may assume that this is the case with all coat patterns and colors, but that actually isn’t true. For instance, the vast majority of both ginger and calico cats are male.

Why Do Some Cats Wear Tuxes?

That striking tuxedo pattern really has more to do with Fluffy’s genetics than anything else. Research indicates that pigment cells move during the development of the embryo. Tuxies all have the genes for black fur, as well as the gene that is responsible for white spots, tips, or patches. That gene seems to block melanocytes, which are responsible for color, from moving to certain areas of Fluffy’s body.

With cats, white coloring is graded on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being all white. Tuxies are usually between a one and four, just depending on how much white they have.

Where Do Tuxedo Cats Come From?

No one knows for sure where the tuxie first popped up, though it’s safe to say that he or she was probably super cute. However, we do know that bicolor kitties have been found in Egyptian tombs. (We’ll leave the story of how Fluffy somehow managed to convince the ancient Egyptians that she was a deity to another time.)

How Do I Take Good Care Of A Tuxedo Cat?

Generally, Fluffy will have the same needs as any other kitty. She’ll require good food, clean water, a fresh litterbox, and regular veterinary care to stay happy and healthy. To get that motor going, you’ll also want to provide your feline pal with lots of toys and playtime, as well as beds, kitty furniture, sunbeams, and boxes.

As far as your kitty’s veterinary care goes, we recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept current on all recommended vaccines, parasite control, and examinations. We also can’t overstate the importance of keeping your kitty—tuxie or no— indoors. Ask your Brampton, ON veterinarian for specific care tips.

What Are The Benefits Of Having A Tuxie Cat?

No matter what outfit she has on, Fluffy is a great pet. While every kitty is unique, tuxies can be charming, playful, affectionate, outspoken, and lots of fun. They go with almost any decor, and also look super adorable as kittens. You may even be able to get some cute ‘void kitty’ photos of your pet, depending on her markings. 

In Conclusion: Tuxedo coats are quite common in kitties, but that’s only reason to love them more. These formally dressed furballs truly make purrfect pets. Be sure to ask your Brampton, ON veterinarian for specific advice on your kitty’s health and care.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care. As your local Brampton, ON animal clinic, we are here for you!