Nope, tuxedo cats aren’t a particular breed. Rather, they get their name from the distinct, bi-colored (also called piebald) markings on their coats that resemble tuxedos.
Like we said, tuxedo cats don’t have to be black and white. And because they can be a variety of breeds, like Maine Coon, Turkish Angora, American Shorthair, or British Shorthair, their coats can be short, shaggy, long, or silky.
So, what causes their bi-colored coats? Read on for a little science lesson.
Tuxedo Cats’ Genetics Cause Their Coat Variations
Like calico and tortoiseshell cats, tuxedo cats can thank their genetics for their dapper duds—err, coats.
It was long believed that their bi-colored coats were the result of “slow” or “sluggish” pigment cells that couldn’t reach all parts of the kitty embryo before it was fully formed.
A more recent theory, however, may just debunk this long accepted hypothesis. Researchers now believe that pigment cells move and multiply randomly during the development of the embryo—and they don’t follow any particular genetic instructions for coat color.
Although calico, tortoiseshell, and tuxedo cats do share some genetic similarities that determine their markings, there’s one major difference: most calico and tortoiseshell cats are female (thanks to the same genetic information that decides their coat colors), but when it comes to tuxedo cats, the number of males and females are equal.
Tuxedo Cats Were Worshipped in Ancient Egypt
It’s common knowledge that cats were highly revered and worshipped as gods by the ancient Egyptians. In fact, several Egyptian goddesses were depicted as cats.
For that reason, cats made frequent appearances in royal tombs, gold smithing, and hieroglyphics. But did you know about 70 percent of the cats depicted in these ancient tombs and arts were tuxedo cats? Yep, Tuxies were the most commonly depicted (and worshipped) cats in ancient Egypt.
Tuxedo Cats Have Magical Powers… Maybe
It’s said that during a vernal or diurnal equinox, tuxedo cats become virtually invisible due to the colors of their coats. Completely disregarding the physics of light and shadow, some believe this phenomenon is actually proof of Tuxies’ magical powers!
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Tuxedo Cats Have a Place in History
Believe it or not, there are lots of tuxedo cats with some serious historical cred:
- William Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Sir Isaac Newton all had pet tuxedo cats. Who knows the level of artistic and scientific advancement these kitties inspired?
- Famous cats in pop culture, including Sylvester from Looney Tunes, the Cat in the Hat (the famed character from Dr. Seuss), and Mr. Mistoffelees from the Broadway show Cats were all tuxies.
- In 2012, a tuxedo cat named Tuxedo Stan from Halifax, Canada ran for mayor of his fair city. Although Tuxedo Stan didn’t take office, he still made history in both the cat and human world.
The Richest Cat in the World Is a Tuxedo Cat
In 1998, a tuxedo cat named Sparky inherited a whopping 6.3 million dollars when his owner passed away, making him far richer than any other cat, and most human beings.
Tuxedo Cats Have Gone Where No Kitty Has Gone Before
With their quick development and serious smarts, it’s no wonder that tuxedo cats have gone to many, many places no other kitty has gone before:
- Only one cat has ever made it to the top of Mount Everest and—you guessed it—he was a tuxedo cat. His human carried him, of course, but it’s still pretty impressive, right?
- A tuxedo cat named Simon went to war during World War II and ended up receiving a medal for his services. How did he help the Allies? By protecting British food supplies from pests and mice.
- Yep, a tuxedo cat even made it into the White House. President Bill Clinton had a pet Tuxie during his service as President of the United States.
Where’s next for tuxedo cats? Possibly outer space! Word on the street is that NASA wants a tuxedo to be the first kitty on the moon.
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Richard L. Mort, Robert J. H. Ross, Kirsten J. Hainey, Olivia J. Harrison, Margaret A. Keighren, Gabriel Landini, Ruth E. Baker, Kevin J. Painter, Ian J. Jackson, Christian A. Yates. Reconciling diverse mammalian pigmentation patterns with a fundamental mathematical model. Nature Communications, 2016; 7: 10288 doi: 10.1038/NCOMMS10288