Mackerel Tabby – What is it, a Cat or Fish?

When you hear the words Mackerel Tabby, what comes to your mind? I think of a fish I used to fish off the wharf with my stepdad combined with my ginger tabby and I get a really weird mental picture! What is it exactly?

Mackerel Tabby – Tabby Cat with Distinctive Markings

According to, “The mackerel tabby cat has stripes that run perpendicular to the cat’s spine and line his legs and ring his tail. They are sometimes referred to as “tiger cats” because their stripes resemble the only occurring-in-the-wild big cat with stripes, yes, Panthera tigris. ” So it is basically a Tabby cat with vertical lines going down its body like a tiger. I have seen a lot of Tabbies with this type of markings so it is fairly common. But why the name Mackerel Tabby?

The above website says regarding the name, “The tiger-stripe tabby pattern was dubbed “mackerel” because the stripes coming off of the cat’s spine resemble a fish skeleton.” It’s all about the stripes again. But I am not sure if I see the fish skeleton but ok!


Mackerel Tabbies are not a weird new species. They are just Tabby cats with vertical stripes that go down their body like a tiger. Basically, they are our lovable Tabbies that we all adore. These type of markings make them even cooler and unique. And these markings make them even more handsome. So the next time you with your friends, throw out this question. The response might be hilarious. Take care cat lovers and stay safe!