Angela Westfall
Your guide to this article today is by cat expert Angela Westfall
Published 12:53 pm

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out where Tuxedo Cats got their name. Of course, it is because of their black and white coloring, which has a resemblance to the men’s formal suit. Generally, they have solid black fur patches which are interspersed with white patches around their paws, chest, throat, and belly. Well-known throughout history, they have appeared in works of art and had famous owners. But how much do you really about these felines. Well, we have created this guide to give you more information about Tuxedo Cats. First of all, it is important to remember that they aren’t a breed in their own right but are a group of cats mainly categorized by their bi-color markings.

Tuxedo cat sitting on a bridge

History of the Tuxedo Cat

It is worth mentioning here that Tuxedo Cats can cross a number of different breeds of feline including the Norwegian Forest Cat, Maine Coon, Scottish Fold, and Turkish Van. Cats have color genes that determine what shade they are going to come out. Tuxedo Cats have mainly black genes with other white-spotting ones. The latter stop color-producing melanocytes from reaching these areas. You can also get a grey tuxedo cat. It is difficult to say exactly when the first Tuxedo cat appeared, but they can be traced back as far back as the Ancient Egyptians.

While Tuxedo Cats have been around for hundreds of years, they were really popularized when the character of Felix the Cat was created during the 1920s silent film era. Next came the Looney Tunes character of Sylvester the Cat.

These days, Tuxedo Cats have retained their popularity in domestic ownership. Unlike some other colors of cats when they are more likely to be one gender or the other, these black and white felines are just as likely to be male as they are female. Tuxedo Cats can be found all over the world. There are plenty in shelters waiting for food homes.

Quick Facts About the Tuxedo Cat

  • As their specific breed varies, they can range in size from 6 to 16 lbs. Sometimes they are shorthaired and other times longhaired. One thing that seems to be true is that the gene connected with the tuxedo pattern is also connected to green eyes, which stand out greatly – especially if they have a black face.
  • Tuxedo Cats are well-known as being the smarty-pants of the feline world.
  • Relatively long-living, Tuxedo Cats can live for 15 years or more – especially if they are kept indoors.
  • Famous figures from the past to have owned one of these cats include Sir Isaac Newton, Shakespeare, and Beethoven, which goes along nicely with the smart theory!
  • More than 70% of the cats that you see depicted in Egyptian tombs were Tuxedo Cats.
  • Some famous Tuxedo Cats that have been represented in works of fiction include Felix the Cat, Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Sylvester the Cat from Looney Tunes.
  • Bill Clinton owned his own Tuxedo Cat called Socks, who was known as the ‘First Cat’ of the administration!
  • Perhaps the luckiest Tuxedo Cat in the world was one called Sparky who inherited more than six million dollars in 1998!

Tuxedo cat lying

Things You Should Know

Before adopting a cat of any kind, it is important that you are prepared to look after them in the best way possible. We have divided some of the essentials of Tuxedo Cat breed ownership into a few key sections that we can discuss in more detail below.

Health

As Tuxedo Cats come from many different black and white cat breeds, their potential health issues can vary as well. However, there are some conditions that are common to all felines that are worth noting. Cancer is a common condition in older cats, so you should pay attention to any lumps or strange skin changes. Lymphoma is one of the most common types of cancer in cats. Next, there is diabetes, which is more common in overweight, male, and older cats. The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus can spread between cats when they fight, so you need to be aware of any threatening felines in the area. Of course, this is not a problem for indoor cat. And there is also the Feline Leukemia Virus that can damage the immune system, making it more likely for blood cancer to occur. A vaccine can reduce the risks.

To increase the chances of your cat living a long and healthy life, you should ensure that they enjoy a high-quality balanced diet, have enough exercise, and plenty of rest. Regular veterinary care will also help your furry friend to stay at the peak of health. The better you get to know your cat and the more observation you do of them, the more likely it is that you will be able to spot any changes to their health so you can react accordingly. Your vet will also be able to do their job better if they have plenty of information to go on.

Feeding

The choice of food depends on the individual breed of your Tuxedo Cat, but there is some general advice that can work for a lot of felines. The main choice that you can make is between and wet and dry food diet, but you could also offer a combination of the two. Or there is also the raw food diet that some owners believe is best, but this requires a lot more careful management to ensure that you get the nutritional balance right. If you are unsure, you could always discuss your cat’s needs with a vet or animal nutritional specialist. Remember, cats have different nutritional needs depending on their age, so make sure the food that you buy takes this into account. Also, the needs of each individual cat also depend on factors like their activity level and metabolism speed.

Whatever kind of diet you offer to your cat, it needs to be one that is based on meats. Felines cannot survive as vegetarians. The meat provides their main source of protein, which is essential to their healthy functioning. While many dog owners are used to feeding their pooch off their plate, this is less safe for cats as there is some food that could be poisonous. If your cat eats too much, this can lead to obesity, which can bring with it a host of medical issues. At the other end of the scale, a cat can become underweight if they are not eating enough, so there is certainly a balance to be struck.

Another choice that you need to be aware of is whether you are going to free feed your cat or offer them set meals. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Free feeding is the more convenient approach as you just have to top up the food when it gets empty. It is usually best done with dry food as this does not go bad as quickly. However, it is not a good approach for cats who cannot control their appetite as it is more likely to lead to obesity. Also, it is not as easy to tell if your cat has a sudden change of appetite that could point towards a medical issue. If you have a multi-pet household, it is harder to tell if one of your cats is eating more than the others. If you give your cat set meals, you have greater control of their food intake. While many cats enjoy eating several small meals throughout the day, some owners find this to be not practical, so they offer one or two bigger ones.

You should also give your cat access to plenty of clean, fresh water to quench their thirst. This is particularly important for cats who are on a dry food diet as they are not getting as much moisture from their food.

Tuxedo cat walking through the bushes

Care

Looking after your Tuxedo Cat should be done in the same way as any other feline. You have the option of spaying or neutering your cat at a young age, which is one that many owners decide to take to prevent future problems like aggression and territory marking – not to mention the possibility of kittens arriving if you have a female.

You then have to decide whether you are going to keep your cat inside or allow them out. This largely depends on your living situation. Obviously, if you live in an apartment or near busy roads, keeping your cat indoors is sensible, but if you live in a safe suburban area, it is much more of a viable option to allow them out. The advantage of allowing your cat outdoors is that they can get a lot more exercise and enjoy the mental stimulation that the outdoor world brings. If you keep your cat indoors, you need to work much harder in giving them playtime sessions.

Choose a place to eat for your cat that is separate from the busy areas of the house as cats like to do this in private. You should choose an entirely separate place for them to go to the bathroom if they have their own litter tray and don’t do all their business outdoors. Provide a comfortable place for your cat to sleep and take naps – something they like to do a lot throughout the day.

If your cat is allowed to go outdoors, one of the biggest problems that you may be looking to prevent is the hunting of local wildlife. There are a few ways that you can reduce the number of unwanted ‘presents’ that your kitty brings home for you. First, restrict their outdoor access when wildlife is most active – dusk and dawn, in particular. Also, put restrictions on their access after rain showers as these are the times when it is more likely that birds will come out to feed in the garden. Attach a bell to their quick-release collar and this will help to give the wildlife warning that a predator is approaching.

Grooming

While cats take care of their own grooming needs a lot more than other animals like dogs, it is still important that you put in the work to keep them in good condition.

As you can sometimes get short haired and long haired Tuxedo Cats, the specifics of looking after their coat depends on this. The color pattern does not mean that it requires any special treatment. Brushing your cat on a regular basis will help to reduce matting and can help prevent the formation of hairballs. This saves your cat from unpleasant experiences and makes your life a lot easier too as you will not have to brush out the mats or take your kitty to be professionally groomed. You will also not have to do any of the cleanup from coughed up hairballs! Also, the act of brushing your cat will help to keep their skin healthy and coat shiny. Plus, it provides the opportunity for a great bonding experience between you and your kitty. And by keeping on top of brushing duty, this will also help to keep your house free of pet fur during shedding season, which his important if you have a black and white fluffy cat.

Other grooming activities that you can get into including trimming their nails on a regular basis. You should also provide a scratching post so they can work out these natural impulses. You should also get into the habit of brushing your cat’s teeth. This is a task that many owners avoid, but it is one that you need to keep on top of if you want your cat to avoid periodontal and gum disease. This is particularly common in older cats who have gone for years without having their teeth brushed. It is much easier to start doing this from a young age. This way, your kitty will become used to it and it won’t feel so strange. Remember to use a brush and toothpaste that are made for cats as the human ones are not suitable. You can either get finger brushes or those shaped like regular toothbrushes.

Temperament

Tuxedo Cats have been around humans for a long time, which is why they make such popular pets. They can get on well with both humans and other animals. Some people would describe them as dog-like in their demeanor in that they love cuddling and can often follow their human owners around the house. They are also known as being quite vocal and won’t mind sharing what is on their mind with you! While it seems strange to think that black and white cats can be friendlier than other felines, observation does seem to bear this statement out. Known to be happy cats that will go with the flow, they are quite relaxed in their outlook on life.

Like many cats, they have an independent and curious streak that makes them want to go off and find their own adventures. This is more of a worry for owners who allow their cats outdoors. If your cat starts engaging in unwanted behavior like aggression, spraying indoor, or changes to their feeding or toilet habits, this is a sign that all may not be well.

Cats are more likely to become aggressive if they don’t have anywhere to retreat. Offer your cat a safe hiding place with their bed, water, and toys. You can also offer some treats from time to time. These will certainly be appreciated! While cats can sleep for many hours every day, they still need to be provided with the opportunity to exercise. Otherwise, they are more likely to become obese and may suffer from other common health issues too.

One of the main issues for indoor cats is boredom – particularly if they are left alone for long periods of time. One of the best ways of combating this is by giving them a window perch, as this provides a spot where they can simply watch the world go by – a popular activity for all felines! And then you have the obvious solution of buying more toys and keeping them rotated so your cat is less likely to become bored of them.

Tuxedo cat lying on the sand

Final Thoughts

Tuxedo Cats have been a popular type of cat for decades and it looks like their popularity is here to stay. While there aren’t any breed-specific instructions as they can come from numerous different breeds, you need to provide your cat with the care and attention required for a domesticated feline. There is plenty of advice in this blog post that can come in handy on this front.

While these cats are very beautiful, they are also commonly found at animal shelters, and taking one in who is in need is a great act of kindness. Unfortunately, there are still some superstitions surrounding black cats, which can sometimes mean that they stay in shelters longer than they should. But if you don’t believe in things like this, there is nothing stopping you from adding a beautiful little ‘tuxie’ to your household!

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Angela Westfall
Angela has fostered, adopted, screened and saved cats for over 15 years. She is known as one of Central Ohio’s most passionate and knowledgeable cat enthusiasts. Her rescue, Angels Assisting Felines has partnerships with PetSmart and PetSuppliesPlus to help more cats find great homes.

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