Black and White Cats: 11 Fascinating Facts About These Dapper Felines

There’s something undeniably debonair about a black and white cat. These dual-colored cuties are arguably among the most well-dressed in the cat world—but what else can we learn about these fashionable felines? 

Read on to discover what sets these cats apart from the crowd.

1. They Have Some Interesting Coat Patterns (with equally unique names!)

A black and white coat can manifest in a number of brilliant ways. Here are some of the most common patterns you might see, according to

  • Tuxedo: Just as the name suggests, a tuxedo cat (or “tuxie” as they’re affectionately called) appears to be wearing gentlemen’s formalwear. These cats will be mostly black with a white chest and paws. How posh! 
  • Van markings: These are white cats with a black tail and ears.
  • Cap and saddle: This refers to a white-furred cat with a black patch on his back and head. 
  • Cow pattern: These are cats who (you guessed it) have markings that resemble a cow. They will be mostly white with a smattering of adorable black spots or patches.
  • Mohrenkopf: While rare, this pattern describes a cat with a white body and a black head.
  • Thai pattern: This pattern could have your cat mistaken for a skunk—these kitties have a black body with a distinct white stripe racing down their backs.
  • Blanket or mantle pattern: This refers to white cats with a large, blanket-like patch of black over their back and shoulders.
  • Cummerbund pattern: This one is also rare, but refers to a black cat who sports a white band around his torso.
  • Tips pattern: These are black cats with white toes.
  • Locket pattern: Black cats with a tiny patch of white on their chest are said to have a locket pattern.

2.  Black and White Cats are not a Distinct Breed

These bicolor beauties don’t qualify as their own distinct breed. Instead, a tuxedo cat’s distinguished look refers strictly to his two-toned coat pattern, which, as we’ve discovered, can manifest in many variations.

According to, black and white cats can turn up in a number of breeds, including Maine coons, American, British and Exotic shorthairs, American curls, Manx cats, Munchkins, Persians, Orientals, Siberians, Scottish folds, and Norweigan forest cats. 

Even though these black and white darlings can be found in so many breeds, we still think they’re one-of-a-kind.

3. Black and White Cats Come With a Lot of Unique Nicknames

Aside from the ubiquitous “tuxedo” moniker, black and white cats come with a host of adorable nicknames, including magpie, pied cats, patched cats, Harlequin cats, Felix cats (after Felix the Cat, the famous animated feline from the silent film era). 

These dapper felines also lend themselves naturally to some pretty nifty names. Pulling from our database of users, we’ve gathered some unique black and white cat names to consider if you’ve recently brought home one of these sweet kitties:

  • Oreo
  • Bandit
  • Batman
  • Beetlejuice
  • Eightball
  • Boots
  • Jeeves
  • Klondike
  • Mickey
  • Panda
  • Patches
  • Penguin
  • Phantom
  • Pepper

Once you get your creative juices flowing, the naming possibilities are endless!

4. Their Most Common Eye Color is Green

Aside from their eye-catching coat, black and white cats captivate us with their mostly green eyes. According to, green eyes are often tied to mystical powers. While that’s up for debate, we can’t deny that these cats’ eyes have got us bewitched. 

5. They’ve Got Sass to Spare

So…is “tuxitude” a thing? Fans of the breed will happily chirp the affirmative. While the connection between coat color and personality is largely anecdotal, many pet owners maintain that their black and white cats are extraordinarily friendly, intelligent, vocal, and active. Either way, these dashing felines have charmed their way into the hearts of many ardent animal lovers.

6. One Even Ran For Office!

Here’s something you don’t see every day: in 2012, one ambitious cat in Halifax, Canada ran for mayor. While the spunky Tuxedo Stan may not have won the election, he did succeed in raising awareness for his homeless brethren, spurring city council to donate funds for an affordable spay and neuter clinic. Not bad for a cat!

7. Tuxedo Cats Play a Bunch of Animated Roles

You can’t ignore the infamous black and white cats who’ve made it big in the world of pop culture. There’s Felix the Cat, who rose to fame during the silent film era. Looney Tunes featured the iconically hapless and lisping Sylvester the cat who is forever pursuing Tweety bird. And who could forget Dr. Suess’s rhyming deviant, The Cat in the Hat? 

Tuxedo cats also star as the protagonists of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which served as the inspiration for the popular musical, Cats!

8. Some Famous Real-life Tuxedo Cats Also Existed

We’d be remiss if we failed to mention Socks, the striking tuxie owned by former US president, Bill Clinton. Also worthy of note is Humphrey, who took up residence with Britain’s Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street from 1988-2006. There was also Oscar—or “Unsinkable Sam” as he’s often called—who miraculously survived the sinking of THREE different ships during WWII.

Other historical figures who enjoyed life alongside a beloved black and white cat include Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, and Beethoven. 

8. They Have Interesting Genetics

How do black and white kitties get their contrasting colors? It all boils down to genetics. Tuxedo cats inherit something called the white spotting gene, which prevents black fur from occurring in patches across the cat’s body. 

A black and white cat’s coloring exists along a scale, which helps to express how much of his fur is black and how much is white. A cat, for instance, who has less than 40 percent white fur is considered to have “low grade” white spotting, whereas a cat with an even blend of black and white fur is said to have “medium grade” white spotting.

10. A Black and White Cat Holds the Record for the Loudest Purr

According to PetMD, Guinness World Records named Merlin, a black and white cat from England, as the cat with the world’s loudest purr. Recorded at a remarkable 67 decibels, this vocal feline certainly commands your attention.

11. One Famous Tuxie Was a Decorated War Hero!

In 1949, a brave tuxedo cat named Simon was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal—Britain’s highest honor bestowed upon animals in wartime. Simon boosted morale and hunted pesky rodents aboard a British Royal Navy ship called the Amethyst. Unfortunately, he was seriously injured during an attack and succumbed to a viral infection because of his wounds. Nevertheless, Simon’s legacy lives on, inspiring owners of black and white cats worldwide.

We have to say, it’s hard not to fall in love with these elegant yet spirited cats. Is there a special black and white tuxie in your life?

Featured image via Pixabay

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