Tuxedo Cats-All About Black and White Cats


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

Tuxedo cat

What are tuxedo cats?

You may have heard people refer to their cat as a tuxedo cat. The word tuxedo is actually used to refer to the colour/pattern of the coat and not the breed.

Tuxedo is a form of bicolour (a cat with two colours), in the case of tuxedo, he is predominately black with white patches on the chest, throat, legs and face. Bi-colour can come 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.

Tuxedo cat

Image Helen Haden, Flickr

Bi-colour markings:

The official CFA definition of a tuxedo cat is one who has white on the paws, belly, chest, throat and sometimes face. The white colour is a result of the white spotting gene (S) causing 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).

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”.

What breed is my tuxedo cat?

If your cat came from a shelter, pet shop, or a random litter, the chances are you have a domestic. The lack of pedigree or papers doesn’t make these cats any less special.  As mentioned above, a tuxedo is a black and white bi-colour cat, which describes the coat colour and pattern, not the breed.

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?

No, the tuxedo pattern is quite common, that doesn’t make tuxedo cats any less special though.

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
Image Jason Wolff, Flickr

Tuxedo Cat Names: 

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