Everything You Need to Know About Tuxedo Cats
Tuxedo cats are cute, smart and make for great house pets, so if you're hoping to own one, read up on what makes them so special.
Everything You Need to Know About Tuxedo Cats
If you’re looking for a really cool cat that will make a good house pet, tuxedo cats should be near the top of your list.
Tuxedo cats are often identified with their mixed black- and white-colored fur, but they also have variations with different colors. Their colors, however, are only part of the story. Tuxedo cats can be a nice snuggly companion, especially when you need something to hold. Yet, tuxedo cats have also been much more than cute pets — they've been famous in pop culture, war heroes and even worshiped in ancient times.
Intrigued? Here's everything you need to know about tuxedo cats.
Tuxedo Cats Are More Intelligent Than Most Cats
Obviously, it’s hard to gauge whether a tuxedo cat is smarter than other felines, but some tuxedo cat owners claim that their cat is around 200 percent more intelligent than other cats. What makes a tuxedo cat so intelligent is its ability to solve problems and how it can adjust well to its environment.
In fact, tuxedo cats are very good at communicating to their owners what they want specifically, and they evolve from kitten to grownup more rapidly than other cat breeds.
They’re Not a Single Breed
Actually, there is no such breed as a tuxedo cat. Tuxedo cats are a coloration appearing in many different cat breeds. For example, the tuxedo cat has actually been defined for its black and white bicolored or piebald coats that appear as traditional formal wear.
It’s like a calico or tabby in that the “tuxedo” is not a cat breed. For example, a Persian cat is capable of having a tuxedo pattern along with an American shorthair, Manx, Scottish Folds, Munchkin or Norwegian forest carts. They can have long hair, short hair, shaggy, fluffy or silky. That’s why most cats can be identified as tuxedo cats.
However, unlike other breeds, a tuxedo cat can be male or female. Also, they can be seen as long- or short-haired cats like many other cat breeds.
They’re Not Only Black and White
We are all familiar with tuxedo cats being black and white, but did you know that some people consider cats with orange and white or gray and white as variations from tuxedo cats? Also, tuxedo cats are known to have white markings on their faces.
But where did this coloring come from? Researchers believe that a tuxedo cat’s coloration results from a white spotting gene along with the recessive allele of the agouti gene. The gene limits the production of melanin and prevents dark hair from growing.
Basically, tuxedo cats and other cats don’t have enough pigment cells to cover their whole bodies and cells fail to multiply rather than fail to spread, and that results in white patches across their bodies.
They’ve Gone Where No Cat Has Gone Before
While there have been more than 4,000 climbers who have reached the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain above sea level, there has only been one cat to make it there. Indeed, that would be a tuxedo cat named Roderick.
However, we must confess that Roderick did not walk the entire way up the mountain. He had some help from his human companion, but it’s still interesting to note that no other cat has done this hike.
Rumor Has It They Have Magical Powers
The idea of tuxedo cats having some sort of magical powers seems a bit far-fetched, but work with us here. Whether it’s true or not, during a vernal or diurnal equinox, tuxedo cats are nearly invisible because of the color of their coat.
Now, there might be an explanation for this strange occurrence, but some believe that this is proof that tuxedo cats have magic powers.
A Tuxedo Was Once the Richest Cat
Back in 1998, one lucky tuxedo cat named Sparky inherited $6.3 million from his owner who passed away. That made Sparky the richest cat in the world at that time.
Indeed, this really takes the owner-cat bonding to a new level. Later, according to Guinness World Records, Sparky’s record was topped by Blackie in 2011 who took in a nice $13 million inheritance left by his owner. That’s a lot of treats!
They Have Ties to Ancient Egypt
During the times of Ancient Egypt, cats had a great influence on people and were worshiped for many reasons. Take the tuxedo cat, for instance. Ancient Egyptians believed that tuxedo cats brought good luck and fortune.
As a matter of fact, considering that many Egyptian deities were represented by cats, approximately 70 percent of the cats shown in ancient arts and tombs are tuxedo cats.
Great Minds Owned Tuxedo Cats
So, what do William Shakespeare, Beethoven and Sir Isaac Newton have in common, outside of being some of the greatest minds in history? They owned tuxedo cats.
It is believed that these three famous men specifically had tuxedo cats because of the cat’s nature of getting into trouble with a sense of mischief. In addition, there is this quality about tuxedo cats of having a loving nature that made them ideal companions and muses for creativity.
A Tuxedo Cat Was a War Hero
Simon had been wandering around the dockyards in Hong Kong when a seaman found him and took him on a British frigate in the late 1940s. The crew deemed this tuxedo cat as a lucky mascot. But he wasn’t so fortunate when the HMS Amethyst, on a mission up the Yangtze River to Nanjing, came under attack from a Chinese PLA field gun battery.
One of the rounds went through the captain’s cabin and seriously wounded Simon. Somehow, Simon crawled on deck and was rushed for medical treatment. The ship escaped, and later Simon became a celebrity of sorts, earning the prestigious “Animal Victoria Cross,” the Dickin Medal.
They’re Popular in Film
This shouldn’t take too long to figure out who among tuxedo cats is the most famous. Well, it has to be Tom from the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon franchise, right?
However, running a close second to Tom is Dr. Seuss’ cat from “The Cat in the Hat” or Sylvester, the Warner Bros. star who failed to capture Tweety bird on numerous occasions. Also from Warner Bros., comes Penelope, who tried to fend off the smelly French skunk, Pepe Le Pew. In addition, Figaro from “Pinocchio” and Mr. Mistoffelees from the musical “Cats” can join the famous tuxedo cat list.
Lastly, we can’t forget one of the most popular characters from the “Shrek” franchise: Kitty Softpaws. Softpaws originally played a villain in the spinoff “Puss in Boots” and was the only tuxedo cat to appear in the films.
And Popular in Politics
Indeed, there was once a cat who lived in the White House. Actually, this story began in Arkansas when Socks was adopted by the Clinton family when Bill was governor of Arkansas. Apparently, the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, saw Socks through a window during a piano lesson, and she brought him home.
Known as “Chief Executive Cat,” after Bill won the presidency, Socks could be seen outside the White House garden or an office in the East Wing. He even had his own page on the White House website and made many visits to kids and senior citizens.
‘Tuxedo’ Is Only a North American Name
Tuxedo cats are also named Felix cat or Julius cats and are known as bicolor cats with a white and black coat. They are called tuxedo cats because they appear to be wearing formal attire. However, this particular breed of cat is only known as the tuxedo cat in the United States and Canada.
Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, the tuxedo cat is known as “Jellicle cat,” as in the fictional tribe of nocturnal black and white cats described by T.S. Eliot in “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” back in 1939.
They Have Higher Standards in Cat Shows
If you want to go out and enter your tuxedo cat in a cat show, get ready to clear some hurdles. There are standards set by the Cat Registry International Feline and Cat Fancier Organization that will make it tough for you.
For instance, to qualify for cat shows, three-fourths of a tuxedo cat's hair must be white, and they must have at least half of their fur any color other than white. Tuxedo cats are automatically disqualified if they have a small patch of white on their chest.
A Tuxedo Cat Became a Member of the British Government
There was a tuxedo cat who made it to an official position in the British government. Palmerston was resident Chief Mouser of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office at Whitehall in London. (That means this kitty was in charge of hunting down mice.)
Palmerston made news around London when he caught his first mouse on July 26, 2016. There was one time when the curious cat ran into trouble. Palmerston went through an open door into No. 10 (10 Downing Street) and was subsequently escorted out by resident police. Palmerston retired on Aug. 7, 2020.
They’re Also Known as ‘Magpie Cats’
Sometimes, black and white bicolor cats are called “magpie cats.” Cream and white are the rarest colorations that tuxedo cats can have, while the most common are black and white, and gray and white.
The term "magpie" comes from a bird that has black-and-white coloration and is bald, which denotes white patches. The term also applies to coats of any solid color alongside white. Bicolor patterns can be seen in many breeds.
They Don’t Have Any Major Health Issues
As far as any health problems, tuxedo cats are about as healthy as any other feline, if you don’t consider the occasional furball and some sort of ailment. Unfortunately, as much as they clean themselves, you’re probably going to have to live with the furballs.
Yet, that should be your only major concern. Just make sure that your tuxedo cat gets the proper nutrition, which can be covered with wet or dry food, or both, and you can either pick it up at the pet store or through Chewy.
Some Tuxedo Cats Have Goatees
If you look closely, it appears to look like your tuxedo cat has a goatee where the black fur on their chin meets the white stripe running over their face.
Another cute trait for tuxedo cats is their mustaches although not all tuxedo cats have mustaches. They come in different shapes and styles, but it sure makes the goatee stand out.
A Tuxedo Cat Ran for Office
He was known as Tuxedo Stan who became a star and was a politician for three years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tuxedo Stan ran for mayor in the October 2012 elections, although technically he couldn’t actually register for office.
The issue was the city’s feral cat problem, and a friend of a friend made this a worldwide campaign. Stan had more than 17,000 followers on Facebook, and a $40,000 grant to the local SPCA was put in Stan’s name. Stan later died from kidney cancer.
They’re Very Loyal
Every tuxedo cat has a different personality because they are different breeds, yet for the most part, tuxedo cats are really cool to have around the house or apartment.
A typical tuxedo cat’s traits include being friendly and outgoing, talkative (sometimes too much), active and playful, loyal, relaxed and very intelligent. These are all great traits to have for a house pet.
They’re Also Affectionate
According to All About Cats, it’s debatable whether tuxedo cats are really more affectionate than most cat breeds. What makes sense is tuxedo cats have been around for hundreds of years, so they are pretty acclimated to humans.
However, tuxedo cats are known to have unique personalities, so each feline has some kind of attitude or what pet owners see as “tuxietude.” That means tuxedo cats can be sassy, moody, and some even take over as the boss of the house.
But Be Careful When Petting a Tuxedo Cat
Picture this. You’re on the couch with your tuxedo cat being affectionate, and your cat is digging every moment. Then, you run your hand over the spot — the spot that your tuxie doesn’t really like. All of a sudden, SWIPE! Your tuxie tries to connect with a left hook and nails extended.
Sometimes, you can play with this and mess with your tuxie, but do not stress him or her too much. The best thing here is to get to know your tuxie as best as you can so you can learn where the good spots to rub are and the spots to avoid.
They Typically Have Green Eyes
Tuxedo cats have an interesting trait when it comes to the color of their eyes. Like other breeds of felines, as kittens, tuxedo cats are born with blue eyes. However, with a tuxedo cat, those blue eyes will transform into a nice shade of green.
The green comes in different shades, including a yellowish or gold tint and even yellow altogether. According to Feline Living, the gene that determines a tuxedo cat’s coat could be connected to their eye color.
They Have a Good Life Expectancy
So, if you’re concerned about how long your tuxedo cat is expected to live, you shouldn’t worry because they typically have a good lifespan, as much as 15 years.
Of note, the oldest living tuxedo cat is believed to be a cat named Corduroy, who made his appearance in the Guinness Book of Records in 2015 at the age of 26. The oldest tuxedo cat recorded age in history went to Creme Puff who lived 38 years and three days until her death in 2005.
Tuxedo Cats Have White Whiskers
If you haven’t noticed, tuxedo cats with black markings on their face usually have contrasting white whiskers. That’s actually pretty cool because the black fur makes for a nice backdrop to the white whiskers.
Speaking of white, tuxedo cats usually have one color but the markings of other cats, such as white paws, white chest and a white belly to go with the whiskers. These markings are considered a spark of its white spotting gene.
They’re Good for Your Mental and Physical Health
We can list many things a tuxedo cat can do, but one of the most important is how tuxedo cats can benefit your overall mental and physical health. When you’re not in the right mood, a tuxedo cat will snuggle up against you and make you nice and warm with their purring, giving you the right therapy.
In fact, the tuxedo cat will endure past your whining. They will listen to your complaints all day, and they cater to whatever sleeping position you need. Still, you should use a hanky when you sneeze or cough because the tuxedo cat wants to protect its immune system, and it will run away if you have a coughing or sneezing fit.
Tuxedo Cats Act Like Dogs
If you own a tuxedo cat, you might notice that your cat has dog-like instincts. Indeed, the tuxedo cat will go around your house and sniff the floor to catch the scent of someone or something that’s been there before.
In addition, there are occasions when your tuxedo cat will acknowledge you when you come home, but they do have an independent nature about them and, thus, can be independent. Not to worry, once you sit on the couch, your lap cat will want to snuggle up with you.
Tuxedos Are Abundant at Animal Shelters
While tuxedo cats are really cute and beautiful, tuxedo cats are not a rare breed, which means there are plenty of tuxedo cats at animal shelters. It has been noted that people are superstitious about black cats, so that makes it much harder for tuxedo cats to find a home.
As a matter of fact, tuxedo cats, on average, stay 10 days longer in the shelter than cats with different colors. So, if you'd like to adopt a tuxedo cat, visit your local animal shelter.