The black and white cat is a popular, cute and affectionate family pet. Today we’re going to share 13 amazing facts about these friendly, active, intelligent companion pets that you never knew. And answer some all important black and white cat questions.
- Where does the black and white cat come from?
- Do black and white kittens have blue eyes?
- Is every black and white cat a tuxedo cat?
- Who was the most famous black and white cat?
- Can you get a black and white tabby cat?
- Long vs short haired black and white cat breeds
- How long do black and white cats live?
Black and white cat owners know just what lovely pets these monochrome kitties can be. But did you know that they can be more sociable than other colors? Or that black and white cat breeds may be more likely to be adopted than black cats? Read on to find out some more fascinating and little-known facts about black and white cat breeds.
1. Their Coloring is the Result of a Faulty Gene
These cats have a faulty gene to thank for their unique coloring. And studying them may help scientists treat a range of health defects! A 2016 study showed that the bicolor fur forms when pigment cells fail to develop normally in the womb.
The cells respond too slowly to biological triggers and move randomly, leading to dispersed patches of color. The research doesn’t just change our understanding of cats and their coats. It could also help shed light on human health defects that occur because of faulty cell development!
2. All Black and White Kittens Have Blue Eyes
All black and white kittens are born with blue eyes. In most cases, when the kitten is a month old its eyes will change color. However, some cats hang onto this trait into adulthood and the kitten will grow into a black and white cat with blue eyes.
3. Some Black and White Cats are Called Tuxedo Cats
Cats that are black all over except for white patches around the chest and throat and white paws are known as ‘tuxedo cats’.
The name comes from the distinctive markings that resemble formal dinner wear. These adorable felines are one of the most sought-after types of black and white cats. Famous examples include Sylvester the Cat from Loony Tunes and Dr Seuss’ legendary The Cat in the Hat.
4. Black and White Cat Breeds can be called Moo Cats
Similar to tuxedo cats are ‘moo cats’ or ‘cow cats’. These are cats with large patches of black over a mostly white body.
According to a 2014 study, stray ‘moo cats’ may stand a better chance of finding a home than tuxedo or wholly black cats. Researchers from Keuka College, New York found that the lighter the cat, the more likely it is to be adopted.
5. Black and White Cats Have Lived in the White House
When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, Chelsea Clinton’s tuxedo cat, Socks, moved in and became America’s ‘First Cat’. Socks even had his own newsletter and fan club!
Vice President Mike Pence also owned a black and white cat called Oreo. Oreo sadly passed away last summer after making the move to Washington DC with the rest of the family.
6. Black and White Cats Have Also Been Part of British Politics
On the other side of the pond, another black and white cat has been at the centre of government. Humphrey, also known as ‘Chief Mouser’, moved into 10 Downing Street in 1989. He remained in residence until 1997. In that time he saw three Prime Ministers take office.
Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also the proud owner of a black and white cat called Bob. In 1942 Churchill, who loved and owned many cats, met President Roosevelt aboard HMS Prince of Wales. Before stepping onto the ship he bent down to greet its mascot, a black and white cat named Blackie. The moment was caught in a now-famous photograph.
7. A Black and White Cat Ran for Mayor
In 2012, a fluffy cat known as ‘Tuxedo Stan’ showed that cats can enter politics, when he ran for mayor of Halifax, Canada. 3 year old Stan ran as a representative of the Tuxedo Party and was an advocate for the city’s stray cat population.
8. Black and White Cats Can Have Tabby Patterns
A black and white striped cat is known as a silver classic tabby or a black and white tabby. These unique looking cats have dense black stripes in varying patterns against a white/grey backdrop.
Another name for a black and white spotted cat is a silver spotted tabby. The small black spots give this beautiful pet a leopard-like appearance.
9. Black Cats Are Great at Comforting People
ASPCA Cat of the Year 2012, Scooter, visits a nursing home and rehabilitation hospital every week. On one memorable visit, the black and white kitty snuggled up to a stroke victim doctors said would never communicate again. Within seconds, the patient opened her eyes and began chatting with her new friend.
Another special black and white cat scooped a National Cat Award in the UK last year. Rescue cat Genie won for the support and love she gave her 12 yr old owner, who was battling bone cancer. And, a black and white cat in Scotland was recently given the title of Honorary Purrfessor of Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow.
Kyle is a frequent visitor to the hospital, comforting patients and amusing the staff. He also patrols the nearby Hyndland Station.
10. Black and White Cat Breeds Can Have Short or Long Hair
Like many cats, black and white cat breeds can be either longhaired or short haired, depending on the breed. A black and white Maine Coon cat has a thick, soft coat. The black and white Persian cat is also longhaired and are often tuxedo cats – with the telltale white bib and paws.
The typical black and white shorthair cat is an American shorthair. This domestic cat was the United State’s seventh most popular breed of cat in 2012, according to the Cat Fanciers Association.
In general, a black and white longhaired cat will be more expensive than the short haired variety, especially when buying a kitten. Longhaired kittens are rarer, and should ideally be found from a licensed breeder or shelter.
11. Lots of Black and White Cats Win Awards and Records!
The world’s loudest purr belongs to a British black and white cat called Merlin. In 2015, Merlin broke the world record by delivering a 67.8 decibel hum. In October 1963, France sent a female tuxedo cat into space. Felicette spent 15 minutes in sub-orbital space and survived the trip. She was the very first cat sent into space!
And, in World War II, a cat named Simon showed that bicolor cats are capable of showing great loyalty to their humans. Simon, a mascot aboard the HMS Amethyst, was awarded the Dickin medal in 1949 for protecting the sailor’s dwindling food supply from rats.
12. Black and White Cats Can Save Lives
A quick-thinking black and white feline made headlines in the UK in 2012 for saving her owner’s life. Charley’s owner suffered a diabetic attack in the middle of the night and collapsed. Sensing something was wrong, Charley alerted Susan’s husband, waking him up by licking and pawing him.
13. Black and White Cat Lifespan Varies A Lot
The black and white cat’s life expectancy depends on a lot of factors, including their breed! The longest lived cat on record was over 30 years old, but the average pet kitty lives to be around 14 years old.
Black and White Cat Facts
We hope you’ve enjoyed those fun facts! Do you have a wonderful black and white feline at home? If you know any other great facts about these kitties, make sure you leave them in the comments!
Find Out More About Your Black and White Cat
- What Does it Mean When a Cat Head Butts You?
- Cat Facts – Your Cat Questions, Answered!
- What Does It Mean If A Cat Winks At You?
- What Does It Mean When A Cat Rolls Over?
- Are All Calico Cats Female? And If So, Why?
- What Do Cats Eat In The Wild?
References and Resources
- Mort, R.L. (et al), ‘Reconciling Diverse Mammalian Pigmentation Patterns with a Fundamental Mathematical Model’, Nature Communications (2016)
- Brown, W. P. & Morgan, K. T. ‘Age, Breed Designation, Coat Color, and Coat Pattern Influenced the Length of Stay of Cats at a No-Kill Shelter’, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (2014)
- Stelow, E. A. (et al), ‘The Relationship between Coat Color and Aggressive Behaviours in the Domestic Cat’, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (2016)
- Beaver, B. ‘Fractious Cats and Feline Aggression’, Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery (2004)
- ‘Black and White Cat Saves Diabetic Owner‘, Daily Mail (2012)
Oh my gosh I just love cats! I have two black and white cats at home, so this was fun reading this!
Allisyn black says
I also love cats. I only have one. and I loved reading this.
My tuxedo cat Memeows past away 4 years ago and I decided never to feel the pain of loosing an animal again. Yesterday my husband & I was coming down the road to a stop light, side of a very busy highway. Walking beside the road looked to be a kitten referred to as the cow cat. Pitiful and extremely undernourished and dirty. While waiting for our light to turn green i leaned out my window calling to the cat which surprisonly started walking towards us. Then ran across the road aftaid when other cars started coming almost getting hit. We had to help this cat before it ended up worse off or dead. Cutting to the facts once we got this cat in our hands we discovered this was an abused tortured cat. Someone had poured hot motor oil all over her, she was covered in it. Her tongue has been burned from trying to lick it off, she has been starving as this was no kitten as we thought due to her very small size, she is a cat. We gave her a bath to clean the oil off that she was soaked and continously licking. She holds her tongue out non stop, her jaws are swollen with puss oozing out, very bad breath. Stools smell like motor oil. Now that weve cleaned her up we are leaving in just a bit to report & seek help finding the abuser and hopefully a vet that can help her. I want to keep her, love and take care of her so hoping that i will be able to. Im disabled on very low income so im praying i can find a vet with a big heart to make sure she will be okay for liwest cost possible. Already this little girl kitty has changed my life with allowing me to change my mind of ever owning another to love and i know we changed her life for the better from never being ABUSED EVER AGAIN. Wish us all luck.
Please let everybody know if all worked out for you. So sad, but I truly hope your story has a happy ending. 🙂
They need to get tougher on animal cruelty laws. God Bless you both and ur new friend.
that is soo sad i hope u fell beter
aww i hope ur cat will be safe :}
We recently found a black and white kitten 2 months ago. We were going to try to adopt him to another family but we became smitten by him….and the other family never came through. He isn’t a tuxedo as he doesn’t have the perfect mask but he’s quite cute….He reminds me of a little impish boy…..full of fun…a little stocky ..very playful and very affectionate. He even has a goatee under his chin!!!! We now have 4 kitties…..again.
Our 18 year old passed away in April. So glad we have these wonderful creatures in our lives. Couldn’t imagine our home without them.
My lovely mannered and loyal friend ‘Patches’ arrived outside my window as a slightly lost looking Black and White kitten. Since then despite being an outdoor and slightly feral fella he rarely leaves my side. He allways comes to my whistle and never sprays in the house. He is a bit unusual as he has longish fur and is evenly Black and White in a symmetric pattern with a broad White face. I wish I knew his heritage as he is not like any other BW cats i have seen.
that is sooo cute
Sheila Fox says
I was the owner of a much loved male Tuxedo cat for 16 years. We talked to each other constantly and believe it or not he would mimic my sounds. He could say no, Mama and hello. I was quite shocked. We were best friends.
I’ve 2 cats male longhaired Tuxedo typical markings however his front paws are white & from the back he’s got a loveheart shapes on the back of his front legs Cute it is especially when walking away & you see them, his sister same litter is a short-haired black cat with a dash of white on her side & a splash of white on her underbelly…both have goldern/green eyes & are completely bonkers & have hrs of fun, they are very bonded with each other …
i once had a cat when my dad found it on the porch it was black and i named it katie it was a girl and it had three kittens the kittens hissed at me and then a week later katie and her kittens were gone it was winter so i thought she went somewhere to be warm but at spring and summer she was not here i waited THREE YEARS and she and her kittens never came back i am still waiting i found her in 2019 it is 2022 right now
i am planing on getting a cat in three weeks a black and white boy domestic short hair kitten so i need u guys to tell me some good names