Cat coat patterns: a furr-tastic guide

12 October 2023 - 3 min read
Spotted cat

Oh, the domestic house cat! A creature of mystery, a connoisseur of comfort, and an exhibition of some of the most enchanting fur coats you’ll ever lay eyes on.

But have you ever paused during a petting session and pondered the plethora of patterns adorning our feline friends? Buckle up as we embark on a journey through the wild and wonderful world of cat coat patterns.

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Tabby tales

From the classic swirls to the sleek mackerel stripes, the playful spots, the subtle ticked coat, and the vibrant patched, every Tabby tells a tale. Here are some types you might spot:

  • Classic tabby: Defined by bold swirls and a notable 'M' on the forehead, classic tabbies carry a look of timeless mystery.

  • Mackerel tabby: Sleek, vertical stripes give these tabbies a polished, linear elegance.

  • Spotted tabby: A canvas of playful spots, each one a mark of their adventurous spirit.

  • Ticked tabby: gentle colour banding on each hair offers a soft, sandy appearance.

  • Patched tabby: A lively display of various colours, each patch a burst of vibrant personality.

Solid colours

Stepping into the spotlight with a singular hue, solid-coloured cats exude a simple yet profound elegance. Whether jet black or snow white, these cats wear a solid coat with unparalleled elegance and a dash of mystery.

Bicolour beauties

Bicolour cats often rock a coat of two colours, typically white and another solid hue. With various patterns, like the “cap and saddle” or the “mask and mantle,” bicolour cats wear their two-toned coats with nonchalant elegance, proving that simplicity indeed, is the ultimate sophistication. Some colours you might see:

  • Tuxedo: Always dressed to impress and perpetually ready for a black-tie affair.

  • Van is a minimalist in the cat world, sporting stylish spots and a colourful tail.

  • Cap and saddle: The cat has a coloured "cap" on the head and a "saddle" on the back, with the rest of the body being white.

  • Harlequin: A patchwork of colours, ensuring they stand out in the feline crowd.

  • Magpie: Similar to harlequin, but the coloured patches are more evenly distributed.

  • Mitted: Often seen in Ragdolls, mitted cats have a solid or point colour but white paws, which look like they're wearing mittens. Sometimes, the white extends up their legs, resembling boots.

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Calico and tortoiseshell tints

Tortoiseshell (tortie) patterns

Tortoiseshell cats, affectionately known as “Torties,” are the abstract artists in the cat coat gallery. Often, they possess a sassy personality, or “tortitude,” to match their vibrant coats, making them a lively addition to any household.

Bonus: What do you take when you blend a Tortie and a Tabby? A "Torbie," of course, sporting the classic tortoiseshell colour with tabby patterns.

Calico patterns

Calico cats are the patchwork quilts of the feline universe, boasting three colours: white, black, and orange. These tri-coloured beauties often have large, distinct patches that drape elegantly across their coats. Paler coloured versions, including blue, cream, and white, are known as "dilute calicoes". Overall, calicos are often known for their sweet, gentle, and nurturing personalities.

Pointed patterns


Colourpoint cats are like the ombré trend, but in a furrier, four-legged version. Their bodies are a lighter shade, while their extremities—ears, paws, tail, and face—are dipped in a darker hue. Not merely content with being stylish, colourpoints often have strikingly blue almond-shaped eyes, adding an extra dash of allure to their appearance.

Lynx point

Lynx Point cats have a wild side, featuring tabby markings on the face and extremities, combined with the gradient hue typical of the colourpoint pattern. It's like having a mini wildcat in your living room, with a dash of domestic sweetness.

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Specialty shades


Smoke-patterned cats have a solid colour on the surface, but underneath, the fur is a contrasting shade, creating a mystical, smoke-like effect when they move.


Chinchilla cats are like the silver screen stars of the feline world. Their coats, primarily in silver or gold, have black tipping on the ends of the fur, giving them a shimmering, luxurious appearance.


Shaded cat coats are similar to Chinchilla but with more colour extending down the hair shaft, giving a "shaded" effect.


Often seen in Bengals, the marbled pattern features a swirled or marbled look rather than the traditional spots.

Spotted and rosetted rarities


These cats look like they’ve been playfully sprinkled with spots, offering a wild and exotic appearance. From large, distinct blotches to tiny speckles, the spotted pattern is a delightful spectacle in the domestic feline world.


Rosetted patterns, often seen in Bengal cats, feature spots that are dark on the outside and light in the centre, resembling a rose.

Agouti and wild-type

Take a walk on the wild side. Agouti and wild-type cat coats mimic those seen in wild animals. Here are some of the most unique patterns you'll see:

  • Agouti: Agouti hairs are banded with alternating colours, giving them a natural look.

  • Sphynx patterns: Who needs fur? These cats show off their patterns on bare, wrinkled skin. Some Sphnx can actually have a fine peach-fuzz coat that can also display patterns and colours.

  • Ticked: Seen in Abyssinians, the ticked pattern features agouti hairs that give a wild, "coursed" appearance without traditional spots or stripes.

From the wild rosettes of the Bengal to the sophisticated tuxedo, each pattern of a cat's coat tells a unique story, adding another layer to our understanding and appreciation of our feline friends.

Whether they’re curling up on our laps or embarking on a midnight zoomies adventure, their coats are a testament to the diversity and wonder of the cat world.

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