Oriental – Tabby cat resting on the bed.

Oriental – Tabby Cat Breed

This lively cat combines streamlined looks with a range of beautiful tabby patterns and does not like to be ignored.

Like the rest of the Oriental group, Oriental Tabbies come in a wide range of coat colors and patterns. Following the rising popularity of self-colored Oriental Shorthairs, breeders turned their attention to producing a line of Oriental tabbies.

Early attempts involved crosses between non-pedigree tabbies and Siamese. The first of these patterned Orientals, officially recognized in 1978, was a modern copy of the Siamese-type spotted tabbies believed to be the ancestors of today’s domestic cats. Spotted tabbies have round, solid-colored spots on an agouti coat, with striped legs.

By the 1980s Orientals with ticked (agouti body, barred legs), mackerel (stripes along the spine and around the body), and classic tabby coats (marbled dark pattern) had also been developed.

The patched-tabby Oriental, typically with a mixture of black, red, and cream, was a further addition to the color palette. Despite their aristocratic appearance, these are athletic, mischievous cats who enjoy playing.

Name Confusion

When the Oriental was developed, this new breed needed a name. Initially, in the UK, only tabbies and torties were referred to as Orientals, while solid colors, except for brown (then known as the Havana), were called Foreign.

Ideas of calling the spotted tabby “Mau” were dropped because the name caused confusion with the Egyptian Mau breed. Now all variations are known as Orientals (as they always have been in the US)—except for
the Foreign White.

Origin: UK, 1970s

Breed Registries: CFA, FIFe, GCCF, TICA

Weight range: 9–14lb(4–6.5kg)

Grooming: Weekly

Colors and patterns: All colors and shade in tabby and patched tabby patterns. Also with white.