This week’s ‘Behind the Breed’ will actually be focused on tuxedo cats! ‘Tuxedo cats’ aren’t actually a specific breed but rather, a type of coloring that’s found in different cat breeds. Many tuxedo cats are black and white and were given the name ‘tuxedo’ because their coats resembled human formal wear. While many of these cats are black and white, there are some with slightly different colorings!
At one point, some believed that the two colors in tuxedo cat coats were caused by sluggish pigment genes that didn’t move fast enough to cover the coat before the kitten was born. However, the current theory is that a tuxedo cat’s coat comes from a faulty gene. Instead of slowing cells down, this faulty gene reduces the rate at which they multiply and thus, there are too few pigment cells to cover the cat’s full body and the cat ends up having a coat with two different colors!
Tuxedo cats have a special place in history and in the hearts of many. They are, for example, some of the most depicted cats in ancient Egyptian tombs and arts and were often worshipped during that time! It’s also said that William Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Sir Isaac Newton all have pet tuxedo cats. Plus, there have been a few famous tuxedo cats in recent popular culture. Sylvester the Cat of Looney Tunes, the Cat in the Hat, and Socks, the First Cat in the Clinton White House are just some examples!
Some believe that tuxedo cats are much smarter than another kind of cat, although it’s not clear if this is true. Tuxedo cats are very smart but testing just how much smarter hasn’t been done. However, it is true that many newborn tuxedo cats will open their eyes a whole 24 hours before any other kind!
Because of their quick development and smarts, there have been some tuxedo cats who have accomplished a whole lot! Simon, for example, was a British tuxedo cat who won a People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin Medal and a Blue Cross Medal for his help on a Royal Navy ship during World War II. And the only cat to have run for political office was a tuxedo cat named Tuxedo Stan, who ran for mayor of Halifax, Canada in 2012.
While not a specific breed, tuxedo cats still hold a special place in history and in the hearts of many! I have to admit that one of my favorite cats is Archie, the tuxedo cat. He is exceptionally loving and, in my opinion, also incredibly smart!