Tuxedo Cats-Everything You Wanted To Know


What are tuxedo cats?    What breed is a tuxedo?    Are tuxedo cats rare?    Famous tuxedo cats    Breeds which come in tuxedo

Tuxedo cats

Key points

  • Tuxedo refers to a black and white coat colour and pattern and is not a breed of cat. It is a form of bi-colour.
  • The colour is common among domestic cats as well as a number of purebreds.
  • Both male and female cats can be tuxedo.

  What are tuxedo cats?

You may have heard people refer to their cat as a tuxedo cat. Tuxedo describes the coat colour/pattern and is not a breed of cat.

A tuxedo is a form of bi-colour or piebald (a cat with two colours), and tuxedo cats are predominately black with white patches on the chest, throat, legs and face. Bi-colour can occur in other colours such as blue and white, brown and white, tabby and white. The name tuxedo comes from the fact that the cat appears to be wearing a tuxedo.

Bi-colour markings

Tuxedo cat

The official Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) definition of a tuxedo cat is one who has white on the paws, belly, chest, throat and sometimes face. The white colour is due to the white spotting gene (S) which causes patches on the black background. Genetically the cat is black; however, the white spotting gene masks the colouration on certain parts of the body. While tuxedo is one example of the effects of the white spotting gene on the coat colour, it comes in many grades from 1-10, the lower the number, the less white.

Grades 1-4  (low grade)- Less than 40% white. Cats with low-grade white spotting can range from almost entirely solid coloured to tuxedo. Names are commonly used to describe the location such as mitted (paws), locked (chest)
and tuxedo cat.

Grade 5 (medium grade) – 40-60% white.

Grade 6-10 (high grade) – Over 60% white, but some cats can be almost entirely white with just a small smudge of colour. Some descriptions include van (colouration on and between the ears and tail), magpie or cow (random spotting on the body) and Harlequin (random spotting on the body and a coloured tail).

Did you know?

Tuxedo cat

Tuxedo cats are sometimes known as jellicle or billicart cats. The name jellicle comes from T S Eliot’s book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”.

Are tuxedo cats always male?

No, the tuxedo pattern occurs in both male and female cats.

Tuxedo cat eye colour

Tuxedo cats can have yellow, green or brown eyes.

Are tuxedo cats hypoallergenic?

Long haired tuxedo cat

No cat is truly hypoallergenic, some breeds such as the Sphynx and Devon Rex have less fur, which means there is less dander in the environment.

Tuxedo cat personality

Tuxedo cat

Coat colour does not appear to have an impact on a cat’s personality. The adult personality of a kitten is mostly determined in the first sixteen weeks of a kitten’s life, which highlights the importance of proper socialisation of kittens in those early weeks.

The first cat I adopted as an adult was a tuxedo female who was a beautiful cat; she was very friendly towards others and adored me. We are currently fostering a tuxedo cat, and he is extremely friendly and loving, but again, that comes down to those early few weeks. 

What breed is a tuxedo cat?

Tuxedo is not a breed; it is a coat pattern which consists of black and white. If your cat came from a shelter, pet shop, or a random litter, the chances are you have a domestic shorthair or longhair. The lack of pedigree or papers doesn’t make these cats any less special.

Although most tuxedo cats are what we term domestic shorthairs or longhairs, some registered breeds of cat do come in the tuxedo pattern, which you will find listed at the end of the article.

Are tuxedo cats rare?

Tuxedo cat

The tuxedo pattern is common, that doesn’t make tuxedo cats any less special.

Can tuxedo cats come in grey and white?

The tuxedo is a black and white bi-colour (which describes the coat pattern), it is possible to have a grey and white bi-colour; however, they are not a tuxedo, which refers to the black and white coat pattern only.

Grey and white cat
Grey and white piebald/bi-colour cat

Tuxedo cat lifespan

The tuxedo pattern as we know occurs in mixed breeds as well as some breeds of cat. The average lifespan of an indoor cat (purebred or mixed) is between 10 – 15 years.

Famous tuxedo cats

  • Socks – Owned by former US president Bill Clinton and his family.
  • Sylvester – Cartoon character.
  • Felix the Cat – Cartoon character.
  • Jess – Owned by Postman Pat.
  • Kitty Softpaws from the Shrek spin-off, Puss in Boots.
  • Mittens from the movie Bolt.
  • Mr Mistoffelees from TS Eliot’s book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and its musical, Cats.
  • Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat.

Tuxedo cat

Image Sam S. Flickr

What breeds of cat come in tuxedo? 

Tuxedo Cat Names

  • Oreo
  • Sylvester
  • Felix
  • Panda
  • Socks
  • Spot
  • Boots
  • Figaro
  • Skunk
  • Patches
  • Domino
  • Harlequin
  • Charlie Chaplain (or CC for short)
  • Penguin
  • Phantom
  • Chess
  • Eightball


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