Orange tabby cats come in many different shades of colour, ranging from red to a more yellow-golden orange, and all of them have a pattern of stripes on their fur. These cats come in different breeds, both long- and short-haired. Depending on the early socialisation of an orange tabby, its age and its breed, the cat may behave in a friendly, rambunctious or reserved manner.
Also known as a marmalade or ginger cat, the orange tabby is not a specific breed of cat; rather it displays a type of colour pattern that occurs in many breeds. A tabby of any colour, including an orange one, has stripes on its coat, lines on its face, lines around its eyes and a tabby "M"-shaped pattern on its forehead. The stripes themselves appear a shade or two darker than the main orange colour of the cat. A mackerel tabby has thin lines along its sides, a classic tabby has swirling patterns on its coat, a spotted tabby has a pattern of spots on its sides, and a ticked tabby has a more solid-looking coat and tabby markings on the face.
Although orange tabby cats are primarily male, female orange tabbies do exist in a ratio of about 80 per cent male to 20 per cent female, according to Arnold Plotnick, DVM. Because the majority of orange tabbies are male, they exhibit typical male cat behaviours. A non-neutered orange tabby cat will exhibit territorial aggression toward other cats, appear aloof, and will try to escape and roam the neighbourhood in search of a mate. Once neutered, these behaviours usually disappear, making the tabby a more affectionate, less aggressive animal. Neutering eliminates the tendency to urine mark in your home as well, for both male and female orange tabbies.
The orange tabby cat's breed can determine its behaviour, as certain breeds share common personality traits, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association. A longhair, orange tabby Persian has a sweet, docile temperament and usually stays more sedentary than a cat of another breed. A Maine Coon, another longhair breed, has an intelligent, friendly nature, and gets along well with other pets. The Ocicat has an athletic build, likes to play and interact with people, enjoys jumping, and exhibits doglike characteristics in terms of training and personality, showing extreme devotion to its owner. The American shorthair, a breed that features many kinds of tabbies, including orange ones, get along well with children and other pets. This breed also enjoys the company of its owner and has a gentle, friendly nature.
While some may claim to have anecdotal evidence of behaviours specific to cats with orange tabby colouring, the main influence of a cat's behaviour is its early socialisation. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the most important period of development for a kitten is between the ages of 4 to 12 weeks old. A kitten in this age range that a variety of people hold and handle for extended periods of time, behaves more friendly and confident later in life. Good nutrition at this early stage also contributes to a more positive, sociable attitude as the kitten grows into adulthood.
- Fanciers.com: Cat Colors FAQ: Common Colors
- CatChannel; Are All Orange Tabby Cats Male and are All Calico Cats Female?; Arnold Plotnick, DVM
- Messy Beast; Is Coat Colour Linked to Temperament?; Sarah Hartwell
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Factors Determining a Cat's Personality
- Vetinfo: What Is Normal Neutered Male Cat Behavior?
- Cat Fanciers' Association: CFA Breeds