What is the most common coat color in cats?

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Trying to determine the most common coat color for cats is one of those questions that immediately triggers a spirited debate. Excluding exotic and purebred animals and focusing exclusively on domestic shorthairs, it’s likely that the most common coloration is tabby.

There are, however, four different tabby patterns. A mackerel tabby will have narrow parallel stripes down the sides and is often referred to as a “tiger.” The markings on a classic tabby are bold and swirl. Spotted tabbies have large and small spots that often appear as broken stripes, and ticked tabbies have no stripes or spots but have tabby facial markings.

To further complicate the issue, there are also four accepted tabby colorations. Brown tabbies tend to be a brownish gray with black stripes. Blue tabbies have dark gray stripes on a slate or buff background. Red tabbies have orange stripes or markings on cream, with cream tabbies having lighter peach colored stripes on a pale sand background. Silver tabbies have black stripes on a white ground color.

While the point can and is argued often, the brown and gray tabbies with mackerel strips and spots are likely the most common color variation. This is the look most people think of when they consider a “generic” cat, but don’t let your cat hear you say that!

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