One theory suggests tabby markings mimic those of wild cats like tigers, lynx, and ocelots. Early cats may have bred with wild felines.
The distinctive stripes and swirls of tabby cats may have naturally evolved as camouflage for hunting prey in the wild.
While varied, tabby patterns fall into three main types: mackerel, classic, and spotted. Each has a distinct stripe appearance.
However they originated, tabby markings are beloved today. Tabbies make up the majority of household cats.
No two tabby coats are exactly alike. Their swirled stripes and spots create an abstract, signature look on each cat.
With their bold vertical stripes, mackerel tabby cats show the closest resemblance to wild tigers.
The spotted or broken tabby pattern is thought to mimic that of wild lynx cats. Both share a spotted belly and barred legs.